By Lizann Lightfoot, Marine Corps Spouse
When I was a new military spouse and moved to join my husband at his duty station, I faced a struggle that is familiar to military spouses everywhere: finding a job. At the time, I had already earned a bachelor’s degree and had several years of consistent experience, so I didn’t think it would be difficult to start over. I was wrong.
After several months of job searching, preparing resumes, driving to interviews, and being told that I was “overqualified” for entry-level positions, I was willing to pursue any option. I finally found the answer through a staffing company called Kelly Services. Every year, they provide 10,000 veterans and military spouses with jobs, either in temporary or permanent positions. In my case, I was initially offered a temporary position as an executive assistant at Northrop Grumman. After a few months of reliable work, I was hired permanently for the position.
Staffing companies can be a wonderful solution for military spouses seeking employment because they provide opportunities that are not visible or available through traditional hiring channels. Some companies don’t advertise their open positions. Instead, they prefer to save time by relying on staffing agencies to match resumes, screen employees, and find qualified individuals for the job. While Kelly Services is an example of a large staffing company with worldwide opportunities, smaller companies also cater to military families.
Boldly and Instant Teams are two examples of staffing companies that have discovered the value of hiring military spouses.
Audrey Fairbrother, marketing manager at Boldly, has been with the company for five years. She is a military spouse whose husband recently retired from the military, so her time with Boldly included deployments and a PCS move. When she began studying which employees were the highest, most consistent performers, she noticed a trend: Time and time again they saw that military spouses were some of their best team members.
“Military spouses seem to naturally be able to connect and adapt from moving all the time. Flexibility, adaptability, resourcefulness, and connecting with different types of people are important for us with a large variety of clients,” said Fairbrother. She brought her findings to the CEO, who acknowledged that she had noticed those same traits and wanted to launch a military spouse recruitment campaign.
Boldly now proudly boasts that 70% of their team leaders are military spouses. While the company is not milspouse-owned, they have focused on hiring military spouse talent. Fairbrother said this is because “we have seen high performance and (military spouses) are consistently there to support other team members. Those soft skills are so important.”
Instant Teams is another staffing company that focuses on military spouse employment. Erica McMannes and Liza Rodewald founded the company in 2016. As military spouses, they knew firsthand the struggle to find suitable employment after frequent PCS moves. They created a company that could push “the untapped talent pool” of military spouses to get substantial work-from-home jobs. Instant Teams focuses on skilled professionals in the military community, provides in-house training, and connects them with companies that want to form remote marketing and tech teams. The company reminds clients that military spouses are “well-educated, adaptable, have a high retention rate, and are open to contract work” because they already have benefits covered through their service member. Rodewald said, “Instant Teams has given 24,000 hours of remote, paid work to members of the military spouse community.”
Staffing companies can be a good fit for military spouses, especially if they are looking for remote work. Opportunities can be part time or full time, skilled or unskilled, depending on the company. Being part of a team can be a great outlet for a military spouse, because it provides support and adult interaction to break up the loneliness of working from home. Remote work allows spouses to work from any location, such as their family’s house during deployment, or a new home after a PCS. If childcare is an impediment to traditional employment, they can find jobs that let them work evenings and weekends. It provides a regular paycheck and stability that won’t dissolve during a PCS move.
Tara, an InstantTeams member and military spouse, explained why finding remote work through a staffing agency worked for her: I’ve ended up with lateral moves, in sectors I didn’t love, just because it’s what was available in our new city at the time. Now my job that I love through Instant Teams can come with me wherever we go, as long as I have my computer.”
Both Instant Teams and Boldly currently have many positions available. Boldly is unique because their assignments are long-term W-2 positions. Fairbrother said Boldly is always hiring executive assistants, which are their most commonly requested job. Other positions include marketing, project management, and bookkeeping. These positions generally require seven-plus years of experience, but Fairbrother stresses that experience “doesn’t have to be consecutive and can include volunteer positions.”
Instant Teams focuses on offering remote positions such as digital marketing strategist, social media coordinators, content developers, copywriters, technical writers, tech support, customer service coordinators, program managers, and project coordinators.
When asked what makes a great candidate, Fairbrother said, “We really look for people with soft skills and who have thought through working remote for the long term. Remote work is a different type of career. Most of our team has been with us two to five years. We want that long-term commitment for our clients and our team.”
“We really look for people with soft skills and who have thought through working remote for the long term. Remote work is a different type of career. Most of our team has been with us two to five years.”