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Make the Most of Your Veteran Recruitment Efforts

Posted by Ashley Preuss

Organizations in the cleared recruiting space hire veterans and transitioning military job seekers regularly – and for good reason. With roughly 200,000 veterans transitioning out of the military each year, a successful military hiring strategy can provide long-lasting benefits to cleared employers. These hard-working, efficient, and loyal professionals make great hires and they’re looking for military-friendly organizations to join. Are you a top employment consideration in the eyes of veterans and transitioning military personnel seeking civilian work?

Most of our Account Managers at ClearedJobs.Net are veterans, as well as former recruiters. We’ve put together a number of useful tactics you can add to your veteran recruitment strategy, along with specific tips from our own veteran staff. Use these insights to improve your military hiring program and cover all your bases for continued recruiting success:

Leverage Help From the Veterans Inside Your Organization

You know you have veterans on staff already, but have you turned to them as a resource? Take the opportunity to meet with these individuals to both educate yourself and employ the unique help they can offer.

“When developing a military prospecting plan, focus on employees within your company that have been in the military,” advises John Epp, ClearedJobs.Net Account Manager and Veteran. “Use those folks as resources and ask for referrals. Military personnel work in large numbers and will most likely have a connection or a social media group to reach out to when you need a candidate.” You’ll likely find the veterans at your company want to assist other veterans and are eager to help with your military hiring efforts.

In addition to offering referrals, your internal veterans can also serve as your ambassadors. Ask them to participate in hiring events you go to where veterans are likely to attend. While everyone representing your company should be able to talk about specific openings that will make a great fit for a veteran, “a veteran will not have to ‘sell’ your company to another veteran,” says Shanon Raab, ClearedJobs.Net Account Manager and Veteran. “There is a certain loyalty when one vet tells another that your organization is a great place to work—that’s usually about all that needs to be said. If your organization takes care of veterans, they will take care of you.”

Engage Transitioning Military Before Their Military Exit

Many veterans coming out of the military don’t realize just how many government contracting organizations there are. Most know the big names, but not the small or even medium-sized companies. “Getting these individuals to know your name and what you do early on in their military transition will pay dividends,” says Bob Wheeler, ClearedJobs.Net Account Manager and Veteran. Just as we counsel transitioning military that it’s never too early to start networking, from an employer brand-building perspective, it’s never too early to start sourcing and networking either. So if you’re part of a small or mid-sized company, you need to find a way to market your brand to military personnel well before they transition out.

One way to do this is to “coach your employees to be successful brand ambassadors, who not only know how to answer questions when asked, but who proactively mention your company’s name in conversations,” says Wheeler. For example, if you have an employee working at a military base, the service members they interact with might just know them as a contract worker. Instead, you want that employee to proactively mention they work for your company specifically to get your name in front of those future prospects and build awareness.

Find the Veterans in Your Community

For veterans to regard you as a target company that is top of mind, you need to begin building relationships now. Does your company have a reputation that is welcoming to service members? It will take time to build brand recognition in the military community, but it will be well worth the effort. Use the following methods to find veterans in your community and begin forming those vital relationships:

  • 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 page communicates that you’re very open to hiring veterans, but make it sincere, not just “will hire veterans.”
  • There are over 5,000 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, as well as attend meetup groups and offline events to further garner support and visibility in the community.
  • You can also find hiring events directly on military bases. Focus on your employer brand and connecting with the community, rather than only concentrating on what you need right then and there.
  • There are military transition programs and career counselors that support military personnel as they transition too. 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. These are great opportunities to source candidates while building your employer brand in the military community.

As you search for candidates, consider reaching out to transitioning military job seekers who are not local to further widen your pool. “The government pays for the last move of any transitioning military personnel and they may likely be willing to relocate for a great job opportunity,” says Epp. “So don’t solely focus on candidates that are in the geographic area of the position you’re looking to fill.”

Meet Veterans Half Way

“When hiring veterans and transitioning military, it’s sometimes necessary to ‘read between the lines’ of their resumes,” explains Tracy Mitchell, ClearedJobs.Net Account Manager and Veteran. “Military job seekers often downplay the multifaceted roles they are involved in. Terms such as ‘led, lead, and supervise’ don’t just reflect a leadership role, but often include planning, development, training, and budgeting too.”

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. Your internal veterans can also help you better understand military resumes and what kind of military occupational specialty (MOS) codes you should be looking for to fill key positions within your organization. You might also consider improving the candidate experience by converting your job posting into a description that someone from the military may understand better.

“Be open-minded when reviewing a veterans’ resume,” urges Sara McMurrough, ClearedJobs.Net Account Manager and Veteran. “Their skills ‘on paper’ may not match the position description—however, so many of those skills are teachable. Which job requirements aren’t as ‘teachable?’  Leadership abilities, teamwork skills, initiative, ambition, and the ability to work well under pressure. Those are some of the many key attributes of our veterans. Please give our veterans the opportunity to prove their worth with your organization. They won’t let you down!”

Recruit with Purpose

The presence of veterans in the contracting world is a given, even if you don’t commit to a full-fledged military hiring program. But if you want to really get on their radar and continually attract top veteran talent, it takes work. You must be committed to the process and willing to invest the time. Make sure your Careers page on your website encourages service members to apply and be transparent about your hiring process as much as possible. Veterans are a very tight knit group. If you let it be known that you’re interested in hiring veterans, they will help you get the word out. Strive to be seen as a company that veterans want to work for and you’ll reap the rewards of recruiting the best.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 4:03 pm

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