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How to Hire Veterans: 4 Ways to Tap Into the Veteran Talent Pool

Recruitment professionals already know that diverse and inclusive hires not only drive progress but boost the bottom line. But hiring veterans provides additional benefits, including 8.3 percent longer retention rates than their non-military counterparts and, for those with bachelor’s degrees, almost 3x the work experience than non-veteran employees. 

Read on to learn how to hire veterans with these four recruitment strategies.

1. Write Job Descriptions with Veterans in Mind

After completing military service, veterans find themselves transitioning to civilian life, including into non-military jobs. But, often, transitioning to civilian jobs is challenging as it’s difficult to compare military skills to civilian ones. 

When drafting your job descriptions, keep this transition challenge in mind. One way to overcome this barrier to hiring veterans is to shift your job descriptions to ones that are competency-based instead of those requiring a certain period of years in a specific position. 

So, instead of saying, “3-5 years in corporate management,” focus on veteran competencies, such as leadership, working with diverse teams, personal accountability, strategic thinking, loyalty, and resiliency.  Where “3-5 years in corporate management” may disqualify most veterans, taking a skills-based approach is much more veteran-friendly, encouraging veterans to apply. 

Additionally, attracting job candidates that can perform the job’s skills will go a long way to helping you boost your recruiting strategies and employee retention and loyalty. Another way to firmly grasp the skill set of veteran job seekers is to implement pre-hire assessments. These assessments can help you hire 10x more accurately, ensuring you have the right man or woman for the job.

To learn more about how to hire veterans, check out the Veteran and Military Transition Center, a U.S. Department of Labor division and part of the American Job Center Network. 

2. Revamp Your Interview Processes

Revamping your job ads is not the only thing you should do to attract veterans. You’ll also need to overhaul your interview process.

Yesterday’s interview methods won’t work for employers wanting to interview and hire non-traditional candidates. Changing business (and job candidate) priorities along with high-touch technology require companies to update their interview process, attracting today’s best talent. For example, similar to your job descriptions, you’ll need to create interview questions that solicit responses about hard and soft skills

At the end of the interview, you should understand the candidate’s communication style, values, and other soft skills, determining if the interviewee is the right fit for the open position and your company. 

Here are some interview questions to consider when hiring veterans:

  • How do you typically respond to conflict?
  • How do you prioritize multiple tasks with similar deadlines?
  • How do you approach a new task?
  • Have you ever mentored a colleague? Did you achieve a positive outcome?
  • Tell me about a time when everything did not go according to plan. How did you handle it?

By asking veteran job candidates these types of questions, you’ll encourage responses that will help you determine whether the interviewee’s soft skills align with those of your company.

3. Leverage Veteran-Specific Job Boards

Another way to boost your recruitment strategy is to leverage veteran-specific job boards. Numerous private and governmental organizations support hiring veterans while giving you greater access to more diverse job candidates. 

Here is a list of specific veteran job boards that you can incorporate into your recruitment strategies when you’re tackling how to hire veterans:

Note that some of these sites are free, whereas others require payment to post a job.

4. Market Your Veteran-Supported Culture

Our final strategy for how to hire veterans? Don’t forget to market your company as “veteran-ready” with a supportive culture for veteran workers.  For example, when describing your work culture in marketing efforts or job descriptions, highlight that you support the hiring of veterans as well as setting these employees up for success with critical transitional tools, allowing these workers to transition from the military to the civilian workplace. 

When considering transitional job development programs for veterans, a good place is to create policies and procedures based on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Transition Assistance Program, which provides guidance for creating resumes and training on interview skills as well as learning about job certifications or licensure requirements. 

When creating these policies and procedures, you should also target families, helping spouses to also move from military life to civilian.  Further, transitional programs can include job re-skilling or upskilling to supplement education. 

Many companies spotlight their veteran-supported cultures and veteran transitional programs. Here are some links to these companies’ veteran recruiting pages:

Now more than ever is the time to focus on diversity and inclusion. When broadening your recruitment efforts, be sure to consider hiring veterans as part of that equation.  See how Cangrade can support your veteran hiring efforts as we move into a new era of work. Find out more today.