Tapping Into the Top Veteran Talent Pool

Posted by Pat Tovo

transitioning militaryExperienced recruiters realize that veterans bring terrific qualities to the civilian workforce – they are team players and team leaders, they bring a strong work ethic and exceptional focus, most are educated, disciplined and self-motivated.

The almost 250,000 vets who transition out of military service each year are looking for military-friendly organizations that will value their hard-earned skills and offer them their next mission. This is why the first step in attracting top tier cleared veterans is to build your reputation as welcoming to service members. If you want to be regarded as a target company and top of mind for highly sought-after veteran candidates you need to begin now to build relationships.

How do you tap into this valuable talent pool before your competition does? How do you become a top employment consideration when talented vets are transitioning to the civilian work force?

Promote the Why

Veterans are by training very mission-driven as well as passionate about filling a purpose during their civilian career. That’s why you need to sell the vision of your organization.

For example, if you are recruiting for a cleared systems administrator, will your posting be focused on the basic tasks of the position or do you promote the need for team building, customer service qualities, and organizational skills? How will this role play a key part in serving the mission and meeting company goals? Communicating that the available position requires collaboration, people skills and team building will be more appealing to a transitioning service member. Don’t lose a great candidate to another company because your postings miss the opportunity to sell the why.

The recruitment team, hiring managers and company culture should be addressing the company’s why – what is your mission? What purpose does it serve? How will your company culture connect the employee to this purpose? When recruiters and hiring managers effectively communicate the big picture of your mission, more veterans will be attracted to your organization.

Go Where the Veterans Currently Are

Quite often transitioning service members would like to stay near the location of their current duty station. When the time comes to leave the military they will seek out jobs nearby. This is why it’s so important to go where vets are.

If you’re not already recruiting on relevant military bases, you should be. Contact the bases’ Transition Assistance Programs. It’s the role of TAP leaders to help service members make a successful move into civilian life. Besides various training opportunities, TAP often holds job fairs and employer panels where your company can participate – perfect opportunities to source great candidates and build your employment brand in the military community.

To locate programs in your area, use this contact info:

You probably already have relationships with local organizations that provide support, direction and resources to connect veterans to hiring companies. It is important to continue networking with these organizations to strengthen those valuable relationships. This is how you connect with service members who are transitioning and reach candidates before they enter the private sector. Timing is everything. You want to capture the candidates’ attention before they have made other commitments.

Be a Resource

If you want to be first in line to tap into top talent that means you become a resource for everybody, whether they qualify for a current opening or not, and whether they transition in 4 weeks, 4 months or 4 years. This is how you become respected as a valuable resource for the veteran community. And this is how you tap into a solid applicant pool early in the transition cycle.

Just as we counsel transitioning military that it’s never too early to start networking, from an employment brand-building perspective, it’s never too early to start sourcing and networking.

Learn Military Speak

Services members have spent much of their career learning a second language – military speak. All service branches have their own terms and lingo which become ingrained in vets. No matter how often they are told to get rid of the acronyms and de-militarize their resumes, something always slips through. Especially in a conversation.

If you want to be seen as a resource, you’re going to have to meet them halfway and learn some of the terminology. It’s important that recruiters have a solid understanding of military context when it comes to experience, capabilities, and skills so they can understand the parallels. If you want to build a reputation as a topmost veteran hiring company, develop the skill of understanding military speak.

Market Your Desire to Hire Vets

The military community is a loyal, tight knit band of brothers and sisters. If you let it be known that you’re interested in hiring veterans, they will help get the word out. Make sure your website Careers page encourages service members to apply. Raise the vet-friendly flag higher than your competitors to get the attention of those top cleared vet job seekers that you want on your team.

Initially sourcing top veteran candidates may seem a challenge, but as word spreads you will find your organization creating a strong reputation in the veteran community. If you make it a priority to look beyond the resume, offer a good candidate experience and build solid on-boarding programs, you will soon be reaping the rewards of attracting top vet talent before losing them to another company.

Here are a few more tips to help escalate your program for grabbing prime transitioning military talent:

  • Develop a central contact where all military organizations can direct veteran candidates
  • Create an internal veterans group that offers a supportive environment for transitioning service members
  • Build an efficient process to screen and prioritize the recruiting process
  • Consider a special web page that speaks to your organization’s commitment to hiring veterans
  • Showcase veteran employees who have enjoyed a successful transition to your ranks

Attracting top veteran candidates is a worthy goal. These tips should be helpful in building successful recruitment programs for your company that will make the extra effort pay off in exceptional employees for you and great careers for vets.


This entry was posted on Monday, May 07, 2018 8:07 am

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