How to Hire Veterans: 5 Quick Tips
It’s no secret that members of the military make countless sacrifices and gain many skills during their time in service to the country. And yet, many veterans still have a difficult time finding work that matches their capabilities after they’ve transitioned out of the military.
Thankfully, many companies are beginning to realize the benefits of trying to recruit and hire military veterans, and there is an increasing number of resources available to help employers and veterans alike. If you’re an employer wondering how to hire veterans, consider the following advice as you prepare your recruiting strategy.
1. Understand Basic Military Culture
A basic understanding of the values, structure, policies, and expectations of the military promotes a stronger working relationship between employers and employees who are veterans or family members of veterans.
When it comes to recruiting, it can be very helpful to have an existing employee veteran—if you have one—involved in the process in order to better understand and connect with your veteran candidates. This is especially true if you plan to recruit near a military base where the number of service members you’ll interact with is higher than normal.
Regardless of whether you already have a military veteran in your company, you can reach out to the community through your local Veterans Service Organization, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post, or American Legion post. These organization can provide insights into veterans entering the civilian workforce and may even have job transition programs in place that you can join. You might also consider sponsoring specific events to get your company name out into the veteran community.
2. Write Veteran-Friendly Job Descriptions
Even if you’ve already written an effective job description for your open position, it may need to be adjusted to attract veterans. This is especially important if the job is specifically relevant to a candidate with a military background.
Ensuring that your job description explains responsibilities in detail, uses relatable language, and lists familiar skills will allow the veteran to understand how their skills and experience are applicable and transferable to the position. For example, your job posting could emphasize the need for candidates with leadership or problem-solving skills, adaptability to change, communication skills, experience working with diverse groups, or technical skills.
You will also want to cultivate an understanding of the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) codes used to describe your job qualifications in the military. While different branches of the military use different terms to describe what are generally referred to as MOS codes, they serve the same basic function. New recruits are assigned an MOS prior to basic training, but may sometimes train into a new MOS during their service.
Understanding how your open positions relate to various MOS codes can help you write job descriptions that attract veterans with the requisite skills. You can look up MOS codes at O*Net Online (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor) by selecting a military branch and entering keywords. Similarly, TAOnline allows you to search job titles, functions, or MOS codes to find civilian roles that best match military occupations.
3. Ask the Right Interview Questions
Learning how to hire veterans also requires a conscientious approach to interviewing. Ask about relevant military and civilian training as well as their experience and why they believe they’re qualified to do the job.
Avoid asking directly about the type of discharge they received or about specific deployments (which could be construed as trying to determine if the veteran has any type of medical affliction like post-traumatic stress disorder).
If you’re interviewing a candidate who is a Reservist, you should also avoid asking whether they could be mobilized or whether their service could interfere with their job in any way as this cannot be a basis for denying them a position due to several legal protections.
4. Tap Into Recruiter Resources
There are many resources available to help recruiters and hiring managers find qualified veteran candidates. In addition to using MOS codes in your job description to help veterans understand the available job, other resources include:
- The Department of Labor
- The Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program
- The Department of Veterans Affairs
- Military.com’s Employer Resource Center
These sites include information on how to find qualified veteran candidates, attending career fairs, retention strategies, and more.
5. Hire Military Veterans for the Right Reasons
While some employers want to understand how to hire veterans because it feels patriotic or for the tax break, it’s crucial to ensure that your veteran applicant is in fact the right candidate for the job. Just as with any candidate, you’ll need to assess things like their technical and soft skills, cultural fit, expectations regarding work life balance, and career goals.
Still Wondering How to Hire Veterans for Your Company?
With the discipline and sacrifice that comes with military service, veterans are a sure value add to any workforce. But to recruit and hire veterans, you need to make sure that your company is attractive to those who’ve served. You can start by reaching out to the job market experts. Let Monster be your destination for free hiring resources, such as job market updates and helpful insights into recruiting trends and strategies in your industry.