One of the biggest obstacles for military veterans is finding meaningful employment after service. These highly trained individuals are required to make a dramatic shift in their terminology, practices, habits and expectations when entering the civilian workforce. Despite this, however, veterans can bring numerous benefits to your organization, including proven leadership and problem-solving skills, integrity, loyalty and a strong work ethic.
Employers may recognize the value of hiring veterans but often find it challenging to connect with transitioning service members seeking employment. Typically, this is due to language differences, misconceptions and the knowledge gap between military and civilian culture. Read on to find out how your organization can recruit, hire and retain America’s heroes as part of your diversity strategy.1. Draft Veteran-Friendly Job Descriptions
Ensure that your job descriptions explain responsibilities in detail. Use relatable, military-friendly language to describe familiar skills. This will help veterans understand how their experience is applicable and transferable to the position.
Communicating with veteran candidates in familiar terms demonstrates an organization’s inclusive culture and commitment to hiring transitioning service members. You may also want to consider shifting your job requirements to be competency-based, rather than demanding a certain number of years of experience.
2. Connect with Veteran Service Organizations
Don’t rely solely on traditional methods of recruitment or job posting. There are many military, government and non-profit establishments that help HR leaders and managers find qualified veteran candidates. Make an effort to reach out and partner with organizations such as:
- The Department of Labor
- The Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Program
- The Department of Veterans Affairs
- The Wounded Warrior Project
Many of these institutions provide access to databases of competent jobseekers and host events such as job fairs or education sessions, which are ideal for veteran employee recruitment.
3. Involve Veterans in the Hiring Process
Involving current veteran team members in various aspects of the hiring process could provide a better experience for veteran job candidates. It may also help with veteran employee retention. Personnel can attend veteran-focused job fairs, review resumés, sit it on screenings and interviews, and even train new hires. Inviting existing veterans to participate demonstrates that the company values the perspectives of former service members.4. Know How to Interview Veterans
Job interviews can be intimidating for many veterans. Often, they are aware of the public misconceptions of service members. They may have been asked inappropriate questions in the past and might have difficulty translating military experience to civilian skills.
When interviewing, avoid questions about active duty or specific deployments. Instead, ask about relevant military and civilian training, as well as their professional experience and why they believe they are qualified for the job. Be sure to take the time to dig deeper into their background in order to get a clearer picture of their capabilities and contributions.
5. Provide Mentorship and Peer Coaching Programs
Veterans can benefit greatly from mentor relationships, especially if their mentors are former service members who have learned how to be successful in a civilian occupation. Peer coaching programs also offer the opportunity to talk to someone who understands the struggles and obstacles of transitioning out of military service. These connections help veterans stay motivated and engaged, since a coach is there to keep them accountable and root for success.
6. Recognize the Veterans You Currently Employ
It is essential to recognize the veterans who currently work in your organization. You can thank them for their service and support them by:
- Acknowledging veterans on special holidays and providing a luncheon in their honor
- Highlighting those employees on corporate social media pages
- Providing a special badge identifying staff members who have served
These small acts may help your veteran employees feel supported and might also attract new candidates who have served.
Once hiring strategies have been revised, HR leaders and managers can begin the search for veteran talent. Being aware of the effort involved in employing former service members will help ensure a better job match and can contribute to the success of the veteran in the workplace.
This guest post was written by Veteran Car Donation and may not be copied or published without permission. Veteran Car Donations is a national organization that accepts vehicle donations to better the lives of veterans. The organization partners with a number of well-known veteran charities to help provide essential medical care, mental health services and more.