CalVet simplifies hiring process to attract top talent

At CalVet, serving veterans is more than just our mission. It’s the best possible job we can imagine. Not only do we help ensure that all veterans in California have access to their benefits, but we also provide care and a place to call home to 2,500 people living in our veterans homes.

We want passionate, dedicated staff to give these veterans the best possible care. When we realized that complex hiring rules were limiting our ability to hire and retain great staff, we made some changes. To address the issue, we’ve streamlined the hiring process and reduced the amount of time it takes to get employees in the door.

“We’re really trying to simplify the process to get people into State service,” said Karen Escobar, Assistant Deputy Secretary for Human Resources. “Changing job specifications and creating simpler online exams allows us to be more competitive, especially to attract the best and brightest talent coming straight out of school.”

We’ve already improved the process to hire Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), who work to serve residents in our eight Veterans Homes throughout the state. Of 3,400 staff at CalVet, 750 employees are CNAs. CalVet worked with CalHR to revise the State Personnel Board specifications for this classification. This process eliminated a minimum requirement of six months of experience for this entry-level position. As a result, we’re seeing more eligible candidates who have recently completed school and are looking for quality environment in which to begin their careers.

We also worked with CalHR to revise State Personnel Board specifications for Residential Care Specialists (formerly Residential Care Unit Leaders), who assist residents in our veterans homes with various activities. This helped to create more of a career pathway with these positions, providing the opportunity for CNAs to promote up to the RCS position and ultimately to build a long-term career with CalVet.

We hire everything from attorneys and custodians to food service workers, drivers and nurses, and we want to make it easier for new talent to join our team.

Job fairs are another way CalVet reaches out to potential candidates – taking applicants from the exam process to hiring interview in the same day. Many of our job fairs begin with a workshop on how to get a state job. Candidates then take an online exam, print out the exam results, get a hiring interview the same day and move straight to fingerprinting and background check. A process that might take several months has been shortened to one day.

There is also a monthly seminar at CalVet Headquarters on how to transition from the military to State service. A military skills translator tool will be available on our website soon. It will allow veterans to input their skill sets and discover the types of State jobs they might qualify for.

Interested in landing the best job you’ll ever love?

Our next job fair will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the West Los Angeles Veterans Home, 11500 Nimitz Ave., Los Angeles.

CalHR will host the next monthly seminar on how to transition from military service to State service from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 26, at CalVet headquarters, Medal of Honor Hall, 1227 O Street, Sacramento. The seminar covers how to search for and apply for jobs, the different types of state examinations, where to find examination scores and ranking information, plus much more.