Key Hiring Strategies for Veteran Recruitment

Key Hiring Strategies for Veteran Recruitment

Veterans are natural team players. They are organized, disciplined, and encompass an unmatched work ethic. 

Returning from military life and joining the workforce can be a tough transition. 

Over 200,000 veterans leave military service every year and return to their families and communities. Today, roughly 18 million Americans, or about 7% of the U.S. population, are veterans. 

This talent pool holds many unique skills needed in the workforce, such as leadership, delegation, and inspiration. 

Recruiting these skills requires recruitment and sourcing strategies, unlike non-veterans.

We were recently joined by Cassie Cristo, NBV Recruiting Strategies and Operations of DoorDash, and our own Rhonda Taylor, SVP. Diversified Executive and Board Sales

So, whether you're looking to hire veterans or retain them, here are our five takeaways to ensure they can thrive in your company.

Veteran experience is unique

Many transferable skills, but the challenge is understanding military skills/resumes within a civilian workforce.

Military life and civilian life are different culturally. 

Educate managers and leaders about military culture if you're hiring veterans for the first time.

Be aware that veterans are used to directing communication and may not be accustomed to the nuances and lingo of office life.

Keep in mind that a casual tone in the office while talking about current events or politics can come across as crass and deeply offensive to a veteran who, quite literally, was on the front lines of real-world issues.

Veterans have a lot to adapt to in civilian life, and you must be ready to meet them halfway. The key is to be aware of inevitable culture and communication gaps and be ready to provide any needed education.

Be deliberate

When sourcing veterans for your workplace, deliberateness and personalization are key.

Develop military-friendly messaging when reaching out to veterans with a cold outreach email. 

  • Emphasize that veterans' strengths are what you're looking for. 
  • Talk about company benefits for military family members. 
  • Explain how your company has initiatives and systems in place to provide support.

An employee referral program is a great way to get veterans in your hiring pipeline. Incentivize your current employees to reach out to the veterans in their network.

Realize that veterans may have never created a resume before and will not have a long work history. You may need to adjust your sourcing criteria to ensure veterans are not being filtered out. 

One size does NOT fit all! - Stay away from “copy and paste” messaging, opting otherwise for communication that is accessible and caters to veterans of all generations. 

Network with Veterans

This is one of the most important strategies when recruiting veteran talent. 

Set up face-to-face meetings and luncheons to fully understand veteran individuals and their skill sets aside from the often lengthy veteran resume. 

Creating a veteran-specific employee resource group (ERG) will also give your veteran employees space and community just for them. It is a great way to provide veterans with dedicated learning opportunities to support their transition.

Another support you can provide comes in the form of benefits, including:

  • Military childcare 
  • Upskill and training courses
  • Military family support
  • Military therapy
  • Mentor/mentee opportunities

If you haven't yet set up your first employee resource group, or are unsure how to properly support incoming veterans with an ERG, read our step-by-step deep dive on 7 Ways to Build Employee Resource Groups.

Support is the largest strategy

Make your employer's brand clear around its support for veterans. 

Do you have veteran support groups? What does your veteran benefits package look like? How will your company specifically support veterans to be able to foster their success? 

Transitioning back to civilian life is extremely difficult for many veterans. 

Making your company inclusive to veterans allows you to expand your hiring talent pool with untapped, high-quality talent.

A veteran who feels empowered to be their authentic self will be loyal to your company, just as they were devoted to our country. They will be valuable members of your team. 

Making your workplace inclusive to veterans is another step closer to making our workplaces inclusive to all.

Give Back to Your Community

Go to the specific bases on Facebook pages, etc. Resources mentioned from this event are listed below: 

Veterans thrive in service. Giving back to the community is another way to instill purpose in veteran employees. 

This is a great opportunity to collaborate with your veteran employees and uncover what social impact initiatives inspire them. 

Research social impact opportunities in your area and present ideas to your veteran employees. Encourage them to take on leadership roles to help expand their skills.

Community impact programs are good for the community, your company brand, and your employees.

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