Salute and Recruit Veterans for a Stronger Workforce

Did you know the military has over 7,000 job positions across more than 100+ functional areas, and 81% of these jobs have a direct civilian equivalent. Veteran candidates already have the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to join and lead civilian teams. Recruiting veterans makes perfect business sense, and attracting veterans is easier than you probably think.  

Former military members have held positions in the obvious areas like IT, engineering, healthcare, transportation and leadership. They also held positions in less obvious areas like PR, accounting and law. The veteran workforce has everything you need, and they join the ranks of civilian job seekers every day.

They bring diversity, security clearances and even funds for training and certification. Programs like the Veterans Career Transition Program (VCTP), connect veterans with the specific career training and education programs they need to make a successful transition.  These programs also offer soft skill training. The veteran workforce is your ready to work talent pool, there are just a few simple steps to take to attract these ideal workers.

There are an abundance of highly-skilled Officers, former enlisted, Guard members and Reservists poised to join the civilian workforce. In fact, the current unemployment rate of veterans is far higher than the national average at 15%. So, let’s recruit some veterans!

Veterans Have a Lingo

When you receive a veteran application, or invite a prior military member in for an interview, you might experience a bit of a language barrier. When asked about experience or skills, the candidate will probably spout out a string of acronyms, abbreviations, locations, ranks and honors that most civilian recruiters won’t be able to understand.

The good news is what you’re hearing is still the English language. You can certainly give yourself a quick and easy Google tutorial on ranks and abbreviations used in the resume or application. Not only are you now armed with new and useful recruiting knowledge, your veteran candidates will appreciate and note the extra effort.

Another great way around this language barrier is to tailor your career page and job listings. You can highlight positions that have been previously filled by a veteran candidate and show how their skills and experience translated to the position. Now veteran job seekers can easily visualize how to highlight and translate their own skills. It will also be helpful to create your job listings and applications so they are skill-based. Turning the focus on skills rather than traditional job titles will help veterans see how their experience could translate. This method will also make sure your veteran candidates don’t self-select out of a position they are actually qualified for when they aren’t sure how their previous job title translates in the civilian world.

Where Can I Find Veterans?

When attracting these valuable veteran candidates, there are some niche sites and job boards with a wealth of ready and willing candidates. Look for military placement sites, job boards and career fairs. Other great spots to recruit veteran candidates are college campuses or Guard and Reserve units. It is usually easy and welcomed for recruiters to set up visits in these locations.

Scan military job boards, they offer services to make the recruiting process easier on veterans and recruiters alike. Veteran niche websites make it possible for recruiters to post jobs, access resume databases, exhibit at military career fairs and target advertising. You can also facilitate positive workforce diversity by using each branch’s wounded warrior programs, which help veterans with disabilities connect with interested employers.

How Do I Reach Veterans?

It can be is challenging for veterans to transition into the civilian world. As with any highly-skilled or niche candidate segment, recruiters need to slightly modify their recruitment marketing to reach and attract veterans.

  • Veterans need to see how the skills they already have can be applied at this organization. Don’t completely change your job requirements (that’s not possible) but figure out what areas you can emphasize that correlate to core military skills. Look what Microsoft is doing to attract and support veteran hires.

  • Have an area on the career site dedicated to welcoming veterans, and informing them their skills sets and experience are valued in the organization. This section should also house information specific to veterans. Check out how Cisco does it.

  • Recruiters can also create recruitment messaging across all communication mediums geared towards veterans. This could mean joining social media groups for veterans and doing some engagement. Here are some great ideas from on how to implement social media into your veteran recruitment plan.

  • You can also create company social pages specifically for veteran recruiting. Veterans tend to be part of very supportive communities. If you ask one veteran to share your veteran targeted recruitment page, you will likely be amazed at how far it travels in the social-sphere.

  • Some companies even have “Careers for Military” links with jobs specifically designated for veteran skills. This is an ideal area to apply the language and abbreviations they are used to. Create job listings they can directly relate to their own previous experience. can show you how it’s done.

Ultimately, remember to be a facilitator to this diverse and skilled workforce. The transition from the military to the civilian workforce is one that requires recruiters to take a few extra, simple steps, get familiar with the language, widen their search and create a welcoming environment for veterans. These easy ways to tailor your recruitment efforts will encourage veterans to invest their time and resources in your process.

Bio: Kelly Robinson

Kelly Robinson is the founder and CEO of Broadbean Technology, a sourcing and recruitment technology company. Broadbean Technology has created a strong global presence with offices in the US, Europe and Australia The company remains true to the core fundamentals of its inception: “Keep it light and fun while getting the job done!” Kelly writes about leadership and culture, as well as reducing friction in the candidate experience.

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Comment by Katrina Kibben on April 24, 2015 at 11:48am

Great article. As an army brat watching my own parents transition into the civilian workforce, it was so surprising to me that veterans aren't getting more consideration in workplaces.

Now, working at RecruitingBlogs and researching this topic myself, I'm even more shocked. In addition to the value system that's built during service, the government offers financial benefits to companies hiring vets for training, etc. It has to be a lack of education at this point in civilian HR departments so every time I see an article like this teaching people a little bit about sourcing vets, I'm thrilled.

Thanks for the post!


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