Sheakley Updates

Tips for Recruiting & Hiring Veterans

Ella Baker
Tips for Recruiting and Hiring Veterans
Reading time 4 Mins
Published on Oct 2

Their training, experience, and skills make recruiting and hiring veterans a no-brainer for employers. With the current unemployment rate for veterans holding steady at 3.4%, it’s clear that many companies are targeting and scooping up veterans in record-high numbers. If your small or medium-sized company hasn’t focused your recruiting efforts on this highly-trained and qualified group before, here are a few tips to help get you started.

Benefits of hiring a hero

If you had to list the three traits or assets that you look for in a candidate, it’s a safe bet that flexibility, leadership skills, and a strong sense of teamwork would be pretty high on that list. More than any other group, veterans possess all these traits and more.

Starting on the first day of basic training, service members are taught to be reliable, resolute and skillful through a variety of challenges. They understand the need to follow the chain of command, while also demonstrating strong leadership and maintaining the respect of their supervisors and co-workers. Their unique blend of practical experience and training allows veterans to exercise their skills to help motivate and encourage the team to achieve more.

Speaking of flexibility – service members have hands-on experience in fast-paced, high-stress situations beyond what most people will ever experience. Under pressure, veterans have a proven ability to quickly evaluate the relative importance of numerous tasks and take effective action.

Combat veterans in particular understand the value of teamwork. When your life depends on everyone pulling their weight, doing what is best for the team and completing the mission (or task) at hand requires that everyone works together.

Speak the lingo

Military jargon can often seem like a foreign language to civilians. Understanding how to communicate and market your hiring efforts in the lingo that veterans have become accustomed to can do wonders for recruitment.

In addition to adding military-centric language to job descriptions and postings when you send them to veterans groups, think about how your other communication efforts may be perceived. Do you only attend job or career fairs at colleges or universities? Do you send postings to the local job services office, but not to the local Veterans Affairs office? Explore options to put your jobs in front of the veterans you want to recruit. Contact your local VA office or search online for military-specific career fairs and events.

If your career page is completely oriented toward civilian experience, it may turn off some veterans before they even get to the application stage. Consider adding a dedicated military careers page to your website, with a military skills matcher that lets veteran applicants demonstrate how the knowledge and skills they honed during their service can translate into helping your company. While these may seem like simple steps, they can go a long way to demonstrating your commitment to soliciting and welcoming the services of veterans.

Know where your audience is

As with other recruiting efforts, you have to know where your target audience is if you expect them to consider working for you. With veterans, that means going beyond traditional job posting sites and location visits.

Consider visiting your local military base or VA center and ask for permission to post information about open positions and inquire about upcoming job fairs. Veterans of Foreign Wars groups can also be an ideal location to make contact with veterans interested in pursuing a career with your company. In addition to being clear about the positions you have available, make sure that you give thought to how the skills, background, and experience of potential candidates can translate into success with your company.

Put your network to work

The brotherhood created amongst service members is an unbreakable bond. This kinship persists long after their term of service has ended. Many veterans look to their fellow comrades for advice or suggestions when pursuing their post-military careers. If you have a current veteran on your staff, they may be your best recruiting tool of all.

Talk to veterans currently on your staff or in your network about why they came to work for you or what they look for when pursuing a new position. Consider developing a recruiting program that leverages the unique knowledge of the veterans you already employ and utilize their connections to help aid your recruitment efforts. You can also use their experience and feedback about your hiring process, their advice on how military skills translate into those needed for your positions, and other valuable information.

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