NEWS + ADVICE
Spring is Here: Grow Your Veteran Candidates
We continue to see a large veteran work force transition. Even with all the transition support programs available, the unemployment rate for veterans who have served since 9/11 is still 10%.
Veteran hiring was the topic of conversation at a recent recruitDC Military Hiring Networking Session, where attendees looked at veteran recruiting through two lenses: Veteran and Recruiter. The discussion was led by Chrissa Dockendorf, a self taught recruiter of veterans now working with Randstand Sourceright, and Bob Wheeler, a Navy “soon to be veteran” recruiter who has been blogging about his transition at the Veteran’s Transition Diary.
Bridging the Gap
Both sides of the employment equation, veteran and recruiter, need to understand each other’s assets and requirements, constraints and opportunities. For example what levels of military experience match with particular corporate needs, salary differentials, degree requirements and more.
“I think it comes down to the difference between active and passive recruiting. To really attract the kind of veteran talent an organization needs, there should be targeted outreach, not just blanket marketing campaigns”, says Chrissa.
There have been many “We Hire Veterans” public relations campaigns and not enough deep down understanding of what each side needs and wants. Veterans are becoming more and more frustrated with these programs, and companies are not being able to tap into a great talent pool.
Recruiters can do a better job of explaining civilian life and job requirements to military members so they understand the business case for degrees and certifications. Engaging with transitioning military members early on allows them to tap into education resources to gain those credentials before they separate.
Tapping into Your Current Veteran Pool
Chrissa encourages companies to recruit the veterans within the company to play an active role in recruiting more veterans. This staff should be encouraged to stay active in their military community through events and on LinkedIn. This not only helps veterans prepare themselves early for employment, but positions a private organization as an employer of choice. Veterans’ already on staff can support the recruiters by explaining which MOS’s, or military assignments, would work best for meeting the needs of the company.
Veterans on staff can also play a vital role by answering questions of veterans as they consider your company. During the hiring process encourage veterans to participate in job fairs you attend. Better yet provide a help line, possibly just an email address, where veterans can send in questions answered by veterans on staff. Finally, be sure that veterans are part of your onboarding process.
A key component of supporting veteran recruitment is to provide access to information. Each company has limitations to their website, but where possible including veteran hiring FAQs and the types of positions with detailed information that applies to veterans. Explain the difference between positions for senior and junior military members rather than a blanket statement about veteran hiring.
Most of all grow your veteran candidate talent pipeline. “I think the biggest message is that early engagement can equal better results for both recruiter and military member. Engage with transitioning members early on in your process so you can help them meet your basic qualifications,” shares Bob.