How To Recruit Veterans For Your Next Great Hire

Posted by Kathleen Smith

Tips to help you successfully incorporate veteran hiring into your recruiting strategy.

Are you looking for efficient, skilled, hard-working candidates? If you tap into the veteran talent pool, this is what you’ll find—a pipeline of ready, trained, and loyal professionals that make great hires. Military personnel get the job done, take initiative, have leadership skills, and will do just about anything for you and your company—just as they’ve done in the military.

As part of the cleared community, you’ve likely experienced the benefits of hiring veterans—you may even be a veteran yourself. However, if you haven’t yet focused on this community, commitment is key for recruiters and companies to successfully recruit more veterans. This is not a program you can flip on with a switch or gain by simply paying a subscription fee. It requires commitment as a recruiter to go the extra step to train yourself, connect with the military in your community, and maintain these relationships throughout your recruiting career.

The skills and experiences that veterans bring to the table are greatly transferable to the civilian business world and offer immense value to employers that know how to recruit them. Utilize these tactics to incorporate military hiring into your talent acquisition pipeline or to improve your existing efforts:

Start by finding the veterans already in your company

If you haven’t already checked, you might be shocked at how many veterans are currently employed at your organization. Take the opportunity to meet with these individuals to educate yourself and improve veteran recruitment and retention.

  • Ask them to educate you about military resumes and what kind of military occupational specialty (MOS) codes you should be looking for to fill key spots within your organization. Gain a better understanding of this talent pool by asking what their military experience was like or how it has helped them in your company.
  • Utilize your internal veterans as ambassadors, by asking them to participate in the military hiring events you attend. This will help build your employer brand and further educate you on the needs of the military community.
  • Ask them to be a buddy or mentor to a newly hired veteran at your company to aid onboarding and retention. It’s important for your new employees to have someone they can talk to and call to ask questions about the culture. In the military there is always someone watching your back—veterans will benefit from having that in their new communities too.

How to find the veterans in your community

  • Social media platforms make it possible to connect with veterans and even deployed military personnel that are gearing up to transition. Make sure your LinkedIn profile communicates that you’re very open to hiring veterans, but make it sincere—not just “will hire veterans”.
  • There are over 3,000 LinkedIn groups with the keyword “military”. Become a member of some of these groups and move beyond just blasting your job postings. Really connect with the members by participating—answer questions, provide advice, or ask for referrals. You can also tap into Military Spouse support programs on Twitter and Facebook groups to further garner support and visibility.
  • Several companies provide military hiring events you can attend. You can also find these directly on military bases, and they’re usually free or relatively inexpensive. Focus on your employer brand and connecting with the community, rather than only concentrating on what you need right then and there.
  • There are also military transition programs and career counselors that support military personnel as they transition. With very limited resources and staff, the transition programs do what they can, but they’re always looking for recruiters and companies to participate in their employer panels, hiring events, and counseling.

It may take time to build your relationships, as connecting in the military community is often about face-to-face exposure. However, showing up in the community will greatly increase your brand recognition and get you in front of promising potential candidates.

Educate yourself on military lingo

  • It will aid your veteran-hiring outcome to meet veterans half way, by understanding the lingo in their resumes. Take your most frequently recruited jobs and put them through a military skills resume translator so you can better understand what you need and how to find it on a military resume.
  • You might also consider improving the candidate experience by converting your job posting into a description that someone from the military may understand better.
  • Realize you may not immediately find the skills you’re looking for on a military resume—but they are there: accountability, leadership, initiative, management, detail orientation, and so forth. Someone in the military might not think to put these on a resume, because it’s expected in the military that everyone has these skills.

Become a better recruiter

These are all good resources, but you first have to commit to being a better recruiter. To effectively incorporate veteran hiring into your talent strategy you must do these three things:

  1. Be committed to the process: Whether it’s just you or your entire company, be committed to the entire process, from learning about military resumes to fully integrating your new employee into your company and community.
  2. Be willing to invest the “time”: This is not a software program that you upload or an app you download. This is a program you are going to have to work at each day, from connecting with the veterans in your company and community, to nurturing your military relationships and coaching or mentoring your new employees. You need to be visible in the military community to make the most of this initiative.
  3. Be resourceful:  Some might argue, “I don’t have the time,” but there are probably a few things you’re doing right now that are inefficient or not productive. Recruiting, like any business, is not about using one or two tools well. It’s about leveraging all the tools that work for you and connecting with people.

Even if you don’t launch a military hiring program, I urge you to take the time to give veterans feedback on their applications, resumes, or interviews. There may be “policies” that possibly prevent you from doing this, but as a service to our military, please provide suggestions and feedback on what they can do better in their job search—you will have provided a great connection with your company, enhanced your employer brand, and helped the community. With these insights in hand and a dedication to earnestly considering veteran applicants, you will discover great team players that make exceptional hires.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 3:55 pm

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