Tips for Hiring and Retaining Veterans

Posted by Kathleen Smith

In the cleared community it’s known that recruiting veterans is a win-win for both companies and transitioning military personnel, but building a solid program does offer challenges. Every business will have a unique environment, but there are general guidelines that can be applied to your hiring and onboarding practices.

And now that Veterans Day has past, keep your veteran hiring momentum moving forward with these suggestions:

Build company wide buy-in. Get all departments and appropriate personnel (hiring managers, upper management, recruiters, HR and operations) on board to support your program for military hiring. Or make them aware of the program you already have in place.

Develop quantifiable objectives. It’s crucial to the success of your programs to be able to quantify results that include hiring practices, performance figures and retention rates.

Choose carefully which positions are best for military recruiting. Don’t target transitioning veterans merely to hit a goal number. Evaluate what postings fit best with military experience and skill sets. It’s more important to get the right candidate for the job.

Create a solid network for referrals. There are many ways to reach out to the veteran community, but data indicates that candidates with military experience now rely heavily on referrals to determine where to direct their job search efforts.

Put an emphasis on a successful onboarding experience. Transition from military to the civilian world can be a shaky process. That’s why it’s important to develop platforms that will assist vets during this crucial time. Good examples are networking programs, mentorship, and unique benefits that will appeal to veterans.

Veteran Hiring Tips from Our Veterans

Our ClearedJobs.Net Account Managers are veterans or military spouses, as well as former recruiters. We’ve asked them for their recommendations to improve your veteran hiring and onboarding practices:

Bob Wheeler in AfghanistanBring veterans from your company to job fairs where candidates are likely to be veterans. Everyone representing your company should be able to talk about how a military background is a natural fit for specific openings you have. Best bet, bring a recent veteran hire that is doing the work you are recruiting for. This recent hire can paint the picture of how well military skills transferred into their new role. It creates an authentic connection and helps the job seeker envision themselves as happy and successful in your organization. – Bob Wheeler

Brian GadebergCommunicate to candidates how your company will onboard veterans for success. Give examples of how you’ve helped the current veterans in your company acclimate to the civilian work force. That could be through a formal program or a mentor or buddy program to pair up existing veteran employees with new veteran hires. Prepare an onboarding handbook that includes information on organizational hierarchy to help them become more familiar with the chain of command. Veterans will over-prepare if you give them the chance. – Brian Gadeberg

Sara McMurroughMission matters. Veterans thrive in a mission-based environment. Communicating how your company helps fulfill the mission is a key attraction, and it’s why so many veterans work in the cleared community. The end goals are the same. In fact, veterans, contractors, and active duty service members are often working in the same location so it’s a natural transition from the military side to the civilian side. As an employer, highlight where your employees are working on site with service members with that common mission. Bonus tip: Be sure your employees are educated on your job openings so they can recruit from on site colleagues that are preparing to separate from the military. Have a great referral program in place, allowing them to continue to work on that common mission! – Sara McMurrough

Tracy MitchellIf you’re not a veteran, learn some of the veteran candidates’ lingo so you at least meet them half way. Understand the MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) of the candidates you hope to attract. Figure out how what you’re looking for may already be on a veteran’s resume — in military lingo. Although Veterans are taught in their transition courses to “demilitarize” their resumes, it’s just as important for employers to read through the lines of what a veteran is trying to share with you. Lastly, when a veteran tells you they can do anything, what they really mean is every few years they are put into positions they haven’t been trained for, but learned everything about it, and then became the subject matter expert. – Tracy Mitchell

Ed CustodioBe active on social media in veteran’s groups so veterans can see that your company is committed to providing an employment path for them. Get involved in TAP panels at your local military base and attend base job fairs in your area. Encourage the veterans already on staff to communicate about their experience and to actively recruit in their networks. Share all military focused events your company is involved with on social media to better advertise your support for the military. Create a military focused branding of your organization on your website to highlight your support and marketing efforts. Brand your jobs as “Veteran Committed”. Hashtag all your job tweets with: #vets, #veteransjobs, #vetsapplyhere, #vetswesupport. Make a strong presence on social media and be committed to a year-around sustained veteran recruiting effort. – Ed Custodio

Carrie OliverConsider recruiting military spouses for non-cleared positions and integrate them in your veteran hiring program. Military spouses often move every 3-4 years, which makes it difficult to find meaningful employment and build a career. These spouses suffer a 20%+ unemployment rate. When you see gaps in employment on a military spouse’s resume or widely varying experience, don’t automatically assume they’re a risky hire. They’re used to juggling family, a job and children — often single-handedly while their spouse is on deployment. And a good solid employee for 3-4 years is better than a bad one for a month.  Military spouses are very connected in the military and veteran communities, and they can be the best advocates for your company. They understand the military, and are able to translate military experience and military spouse duties (family readiness group positions such as treasurer, leadership, etc.) to the civilian sector.  – Carrie Oliver

Statistics indicate that many veterans leave their new position within the first year, but if you make the effort to develop an effective year-round hiring and onboarding program, your veteran employees will flourish….and so will your business.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 10:28 am

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