Why Hire Military Veterans

No matter how long military veterans spend on active duty—whether it’s four years or twenty—they return to civilian life with unique skills that benefit the businesses that hire them. In recent years, more companies have incorporated veteran hiring into their recruitment strategies. Prominent companies, such as Hilton, Boeing, GE, and Union Pacific Railroad, have many military veteran employees and have publicly committed to hiring more through targeted recruitment strategies.

According to CareerBuilder’s 2017 Veteran’s Day hiring survey, two out of five employers are actively recruiting veterans and almost 50 percent of employers pay more attention to applications from US vets. The same survey found the top qualities employers are looking for in veterans include discipline, integrity, leadership skills, and the ability to perform under pressure. The unemployment rate for all veterans dropped from 4.3 percent to 3.7 percent through 2017, according to the US Bureau of Labor statistics.

The rise in military veteran hiring is spurred, in part, by the tight talent market that has persisted since the economy rebounded from the Great Recession. Veterans have emerged since then as a valuable talent pool for all industries and positions, including IT, engineering, sales, and customer service.

Recruiting military veterans requires an understanding of how they enhance your workforce, where and how to source them, and what makes them stay with your organization for the long term. Here’s what you need to know:

The Benefits of Hiring Military Veterans

About 250,000 men and women leave the military every year, with most of them going from enlistment into the job market. According to a 2012 analysis of existing research, the Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families distilled the top “abilities, attributes and characteristics” that make veterans exceptional employees. They include:

Resilience and Adaptability – From bootcamp to training to deployments around the globe, military service is extremely difficult. Enlisted men and women learn to adapt and remain calm through fast-changing situations and harsh conditions. They also learn to remain productive even as their teams and locales shift suddenly. This readiness for challenges and adversity gives them a unique adaptability when the going gets tough at work. Veterans also have a tendency to bounce back from mistakes, and learn from them.  And, they know how to follow instructions. This makes them well suited to high pressure positions such as sales, or within tech startups.

Team-building skills – Veterans have confidence that they can fully “integrate and contribute to a new or existing team.” They tend to recognize and appreciate the contributions and varied skills of all team members, without the competitiveness or insecurities that can undermine team cohesiveness. In the military, team outcomes and organizational goals are considered more important than individual achievements and recognition. Additionally, research has found that military veterans have a high level of trust for their co-workers and supervisors, a quality which is known to improve organizational performance.

Highly technical and transferable skills – Military training is intensive, and veterans of all ranks come equipped with abundant soft and hard skills that can benefit companies. Depending upon their occupational specialty, a veteran may have years of experience working with heavy machinery, electrical systems, computers, information technology, security systems, complex machinery repair, and administrative systems. If their expertise is not directly aligned with the position, veterans are adaptive and find ways to transfer their skills to new projects and responsibilities.

Veterans also have highly developed soft skills, including self-discipline, and the ability to understand directives and communicate clearly. They have a strong work ethic—veterans show up, and they feel a sense of responsibility for their work and to fellow team members. When issues inevitably arise, they address problems directly and respectfully in order to find a solution that helps accomplish their team’s goal.

Finally, many veterans develop into exceptional leaders in the private sector. Often they’ve already held leadership roles in the military where they gain years of management experience earlier than many of their peers outside of the service.

How to Hire Veterans

The first step in recruiting more military veterans is spreading awareness about your commitment. Make it clear on your career webpage and in social media postings that your company welcomes military veteran candidates for job openings.

If you have current military veteran employees, ask about their experiences transitioning from enlistment to work, and what your company could do to be attract more veterans. If one or two veteran employees are willing, consider profiling them for your website with a video profile and/or a Q&A.

Ensure your job listings reach military veterans through recruiters who specialize in attracting veterans, and on the many job boards and social media platforms dedicated to veterans and their spouses. Set up a table at job fairs focused on hiring military veterans.

Finally, stay mindful of their military service during the hiring process. For example, veterans may have difficulty discussing their achievements and skills because they are thought to elevate team over self. Involving a current veteran employee in the process can be helpful in breaking the ice and translating military skills to private sector skills, especially when it’s the veteran candidate’s first post-military job.

Veterans often worry about the transition from military to civilian life, and question whether they can put their technical and organizational experiences to work when they return home. Employing veterans benefits your company, and supports them by offering them opportunities to learn how much they have to offer beyond their service.

Find out how LINKCORPS™ can increase your military veteran hiring.