Integrating Veteran Hiring into Talent Strategy

July 11, 2019

Integrating Veteran Hiring into Talent Strategy

A recent veteran hiring survey found that 48 percent of employers said they pay more attention to job applications submitted by U.S. veterans and 68 percent said that, if they had two equally qualified candidates and one was a veteran, they would hire the veteran. With these ambitions in mind, employers should consider implementing hiring tactics that appeal to veteran candidates. 

First Steps
To best attract veterans to one’s business, the first step is to create a seamless application process to help veterans understand how their skillsets can fit into what an organization is looking for in a new hire. Many veterans lack an understanding of how their military background aligns with civilian job opportunities to find well paid, fulfilling jobs. While a job description for a civilian job will most likely look very different from a job description for a military position, there are underlying skills that actually make a person extremely compatible for both positions. Understanding how to identify and showcase those compatible skillsets isn’t something the military teaches you.

For example, last year, CareerBuilder partnered with Google Cloud to implement a talent solution feature that enables U.S. military service members to enter their military occupational specialty code (MOS, AFSC, NEC) and find relevant civilian jobs that require similar skills to those used in their military roles. Through this feature, veterans can more easily find jobs that match their experience as they transition from the military to the civilian workforce.

Common Challenges
An estimated 250,000 military members enter civilian life each year. In addition to navigating the military to civilian skill transfer, many of these veterans face a major obstacle when transitioning into civilian careers. While onboarding is important to all new employees, it’s especially different and unique for veterans if they are coming into their first job in the civilian workforce. 

Because the change of pace may be vastly different, veterans could find it hard to ask for assistancewhether that be in learning best-practice techniques, translating industry-related jargon, or understanding the inner workings of the corporate world. To make the transition from military to civilian life as smooth as possible and remove obstacles, organizations may consider developing culture programs to make veterans feel welcome. By developing an internal network, ideally populated with other veterans, employers can create an inviting environment for veterans to lean on one another and help the transition into their new roles. This can be as simple as implementing a mentorship program. 

Advantages to Veteran Hiring
Veterans are loyal by nature; they have devoted time in their lives serving their country. Given the proper avenue, transitioning veterans will continue to serve their new employers. Companies that engage with and support local military communities have a positive rapport amongst veterans, and can be one of the best tools for employee retention.

Companies have found that veterans bring unique and important skills to the table. When we surveyed our network of clients about the most important qualities most veterans bring, they shared that the top 10 most important skills were:

  • Ability to work as a team (63 percent)
  • Disciplined approach to work (60 percent)
  • Respect and integrity (59 percent)
  • Ability to perform under pressure (52 percent)
  • Leadership skills (52 percent)
  • Problem-solving skills (52 percent)
  • Ability to adapt quickly (47 percent)
  • Attitude of perseverance (46 percent)
  • Communication skills (44 percent)
  • Strong technical skills (34 percent)

With these simple changes to an organization’s talent strategy, veterans could prove to be a great resource for new hires, a dedicated employee group, and a pool of needed skills for the future.  

For more on hiring veterans, see the toolkit or guidebook from the SHRM Foundation

The Authors: 

Michelle Armer is Chief People Officer at CareerBuilder.