By: Tiffany Campbell on November 11th, 2020

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Strategies to Attract and Hire Veterans to Diversify Your Team

Talent Acquisition

Just in time for Veteran's Day, I'm proud to share a few tips on how to diversify your talent pool to attract and hire veterans and active military personnel. As a Certified Military Veteran Recruiter, here are a few areas of guidance I often share with my clients that may be helpful in your business.

Why You Should Hire a Veteran 

Veterans possess a myriad of different concepts and skills that can benefit your team and your organizationAs they are trained to lead by example, they are required to give direction, delegate tasks, and motivate and inspire other team members. They work well in teams as well as independently. Most service members have also been stationed in foreign countries and are often granted various levels of security clearances. You will find that Veterans tend to be disciplined and value accountability. As veterans are typically mission-driven, it is very important to keep these qualities in mind during the recruitment process. Be sure to encourage them to pursue opportunities where efficiency, teamwork and attention to detail are of importance. 

Understanding Military Workplace Culture 

The military is a unique environment that causes services members and families to have experiences that differ from civilians. While they are confronted with psychosocial challenges created by intense work environments, they continue to demonstrate resilience. In order to further promote this resilience, it is important to understand military culture to better interact with veterans provide information that will aid in creating supportive work environments and additional resources during reintegration into the civilian world following military separation. 

You can start by becoming familiar with the different branches of the military and the ranks associated with each. You will also want to understand the pay. Service members often receive additional allowances on top of their military base pay such as Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) or Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS), for example. Since civilian pay structures are more simplified, it’s very important to make sure we help our veteran talent compare apples to apple to ensure a smooth transition. When discussing and determining salary needsfocus the conversation towards “total targeted compensation”. This will make sure you, as the recruiter, and the veteran are on the same page. 

Sourcing & Social Media Employer Branding 

Make sure to clearly define the duties and responsibilities for the roles you’re recruiting for, with extra emphasis on the organization’s mission. Remember, veterans will more in interested in the purpose or mission of the work to be performed. Build a candidate profile so you know which veterans you need to target – branch, years of experience, skills, specialties, etc. In order to do this, you will need to align the skills and requirements of the civilian job with the equivalent Military Occupation Code (MOC) – My Next Move For Veterans is a great online tool.  

Even though you’re looking to hire for a civilian job, be sure to include some military language in your job posting to make it more appealing to veterans. Be strategic about where you’re marketing your job posting. Don’t forget to tap into other resources specifically for veterans such as meet-ups, TAP offices, and universities. There are also many nonprofit and private organization that help companies hire vets. For example, Hire Heroes is a national veteran employment service organization that helps veterans succeed in the workforce. 

Don’t forget about your employer branding on social media. Include regular posts supporting veterans. Showcase veterans that are currently working for the organization. It’s important that you recognize these members of your workforce, thank them for their service and support them as their employer. Not only do these small acts of support make your vets feel supported, but it may also help attract new veteran candidates. 

Interviewing Veteran Talent 

Please do not expect the interview to tell the whole story – vets don’t always present well during an interview. Why? Interviews normally offer a candidate the opportunity to brag about themselves and the benefit they will bring to a company. Veterans are less inclined to sell themselves so your interview approach with them should be different.  

Below are a few best practices for conducting the interview: 

  • Explain the steps of the interview process 
  • Assure the candidate that being nervous is normal 
  • Thank them for their military service 
  • Ask questions about experience, skills, competencies, and motivators 
  • Probe as needed for clarification 
  • Look for parallels to the job 
  • Save time for the candidate to ask questions 
  • Thank the candidate for interviewing 
  • Outline next steps and time frames 

Be sure to ask follow-up questions and allow time for a deeper dive into their background. This will allow you to receive a clearer picture of the candidate’s individual experiences, abilities, and contributions. Hope you find these tips helpful as you work towards diversifying your talent base with our veterans!