Chris Phillips' enthusiasm was hard to miss. With a broad smile and a firm handshake, she made sure each veteran waiting to speak with her received her complete time and attention.
Phillips, a military recruiter, talent management specialist for PNC Bank and Marine Corps veteran, is part of a contingent of Veterans on Wall Street (VOWS). The group, which held a conference at Goldman Sachs' headquarters in New York City last week, aims to help former service members land jobs in the rough and tumble world of finance.
The fourth annual "Veteran Employment Symposium and Resource Fair" is an added bonus for an industry that is often viewed with deep scorn by the public, especially after the financial crisis of 2008. Those problems, however, don't deter people like Phillips, who called the veterans who come out looking for employment "the best of the best."
She added: "These candidates come here ready to work." Out of the stack of resumes she accumulated, Phillips said she would move forward with about 10 candidates.
VOWS is backed by some of the biggest names in the financial world such as Deutsche Bank, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. In 2012, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon bragged that his bank —Wall Street's biggest—hired the equivalent of 10 veterans per day. The bank also provides perks such as premium checking accounts to former service members.
Most of the recruiters at the conference had effusive praise for former servicemen and women. Still, Wall Street's efforts have yet to put a dent in veteran's unemployment, which stands at 7.2 percent—well above the national rate of 5.8 percent.