November 08, 2022

Why You Should Recruit Veterans

Nearly half of Talent Acquisition leaders rank filling skills gaps at their organization as a top hiring goal. Veterans are a commonly overlooked source of talent, despite being highly skilled and engaged at work. These candidates often have great problem-solving skills and are especially adaptable, even in stressful situations. When asked about critical thinking, problem-solving, and adaptability skills, 7 in 10 veterans rate themselves as strong or exceptional. Additionally, 77% of veteran talent is very or extremely engaged with their work, compared to 61% of non-veterans. And, with 57% of veterans being open to changing employers, they may be the untapped source of top talent you need to keep up in a competitive recruiting landscape.

So, how can you win veteran candidates?

Think about your messaging. Throughout the year, work location and work-life balance became more important to veterans when considering potential employment opportunities, joining job stability as the top three factors when considering potential employment opportunities. Emphasizing these qualities in outreach and job postings can help show veterans that your organization aligns with their values and can provide the qualities they want most.

Secondly, make sure you’re using the right channels. Over half of veteran candidates use LinkedIn to learn about prospective employers, and 41% use Indeed. Additionally, there are several veteran-specific platforms you could use to source veteran talent, like Hire Heroes USA, Hire Veterans, and Military.com. Try not to skimp on outreach here — while almost 3 in 5 veterans are open to changing jobs, only 15% are actively searching for a new job, which means proactive recruiter outreach could go a long way.

Finally, meet them where they are. Some veterans might not have as much experience in the civilian application and interview process; a number of them might not have ever crafted a resume or applied for a civilian job. Additionally, while veterans often have a wealth of experience and a variety of hard and soft skills, it can be difficult for them to describe how their skills and experience translate into other workplaces. Similarly, many veterans join the military right out of high school, so many don’t possess degrees or other certifications.

“When I only had an Associate’s degree, one of the problems I encountered was that many positions require a 4-year degree. Though I was a Logistics and Supply Manager in the military, a lot of the companies that I applied to did not understand how those kinds of skills translate to the civilian sector.”
– 28-year-old veteran, Financial Systems Analyst

 

“Keep an open mind. If resumes are a little weird or have gaps, keep in mind that the military is different and sometimes our work history looks like that. If [recruiters] have anybody who has a military background, get them to review some of their job choices.”
– 29-year-old veteran, Administrative Assistant

Rather than looking for certain keywords or degrees, focus on the qualities and skills that you need in a position, like ability to work well on a team or to balance multiple priorities. In the interview process, consider creating a guide to prepare candidates, as veterans might not have had access to corporate recruiting preparation.

“When I started searching for a job in the civilian world, I felt like everything they taught us in the military was not actually happening in real life. I really felt like I had to start from scratch.”

– 29-year-old veteran, Administrative Assistant

Veterans offer a potential solution to companies reckoning with today’s tight labor market and competition for talent, and for anyone looking to find skilled, qualified candidates to fill their roles. Tailoring your messaging to speak to veterans’ needs, being proactive in your outreach, and reconsidering hard line application or degree requirements can help you widen your talent pool to include this group of experienced and motivated candidates.

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