Attracting veterans to your company’s workforce takes a special approach, and there are tools for small-to-medium-sized businesses that can strengthen your hiring practices. Recruiting technology and third-party assessment companies make it possible to perform deep assessments on job candidates before they’re hired. The right approach allows even small companies to attract high-quality applicants.
Hiring Former Service Members
Hiring service members for civilian work is challenging because the talent pool tends to be high-demand. Veterans place a lot of emphasis on leadership and mentorship opportunities. Structure is very important, and it’s important to demonstrate how candidates can advance in the civilian workplace. The following five approaches are excellent ways to attract and retain veteran hires:
1. Understand the Military Mindset When Hiring Veterans
It’s important to educate your HR staff to understand military jargon, resumes, job titles, and acronym-heavy abbreviations. Otherwise, the information can be confusing or look as though the candidate is “posturing.” The military actually requires pinpoint accuracy, and these terms are necessary to describe veteran skills and work experiences.
The first step for successful veteran recruitment is learning the language of the military. Employers need to ask questions about acronyms and jargon that they don’t understand. Remember that many veterans haven’t applied for civilian jobs very often, and they don’t know what’s important. Encourage them to ask questions about the job, company culture, and opportunities for advancement.
The use of military classifications for jobs is a great way to show veterans that you’re serious about hiring them. The practice helps veterans apply for the right positions based on their military skills.
2. Partner with Military Assistance Groups
One of the easiest ways to target veteran job candidates, according to Shrm.org, is to contact local military assistance groups, visit military bases and build a database of military personnel who will soon be transitioning into the civilian workforce. The New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority schedules about 60 trips to military bases each year for recruitment purposes.
Small businesses can contact Dol.gov to learn more about how to hire a veteran. The site offers various tools and programs to educate employers, find qualified veterans, and help them transition to civilian jobs. There are also private sector organizations that can help you find and hire veterans. These include Military.com, HelmetstoHardhats.org, and TurboTap.org.
3. Offer Training Programs
Reintegration into civilian life can be difficult for veterans — especially those who have been in active combat. About 2.4 million veterans have returned to civilian jobs over the past 13 years. It’s not the same as changing jobs — it’s a paradigm change in every aspect of life.
The transition to civilian life means new jobs, homes, different responsibilities, and a radically changed lifestyle. Guaranteed training programs relieve one of the major causes of transitional stress so that veterans can focus on adapting to their new lives.
Special veterans abilities include IT, mechanical, engineering, building, and nursing skills. These abilities have value in both civilian and military environments, but civilian jobs often require additional skills that include customer service, marketing, and other skills. Offering a cross-training program is an excellent way to attract loyal veteran hires.
It’s important to offer training programs, support for military spouses, easy onboarding, healthcare, and work mentors to help veteran hires adapt to today’s business practices. Many veterans appreciate training programs that allow them to continue developing the skills that they already possess.
Training isn’t all about the job but involves social adjustments as well. That’s why establishing a mentoring or buddy program is so beneficial for attracting veterans to your company. A peer advisor can help veterans adapt to today’s fast-moving business world. Many veterans need the most basic training in today’s business and marketing practices.
4. Show Evidence of a Work-life Balance
Veterans worked long shifts while on duty — often 12 to 14 hours — and they’re looking for easier shifts that allow more time for being with their families. Work-life balance is one of the most important things that veterans are looking for after years of military service. Companies that offer flexible work schedules and telecommuting programs enjoy a recruiting advantage over other companies.
Veterans have many concerns such as daycare for their kids, healthcare for their families, and integration into the community. Companies that offer a manageable balance between work duties and reasonable accommodations for time off work enjoy a big recruiting advantage. Veterans want to be included as regular workers and not just veteran “poster people.”
5. Recommend Company-sponsored Outside Activities
Veterans come from all demographic groups, and they are proud of their service. However, many don’t want their backgrounds to define their lives. These candidates might appreciate social opportunities outside the workplace to engage with community groups and fellow workers in sports, hobbies, charity events, and other outside interests.
Almost all veterans retain loyalty to their services, and many veterans appreciate the opportunity to maintain contact with other vets. Companies that help homeless veterans can use their veteran employees as representatives in their initiatives. Veterans should be encouraged to network with their military buddies and veterans groups – not only to maintain contact but also to find other qualified candidates for company jobs. Starting an internal veterans group is one way to help veterans maintain contact.
Developing a Proactive Approach to Hiring Veterans
The most successful hiring strategies focus on attracting highly qualified veterans and screening them effectively and quickly. The Predictive Index and third-party professional assessments can help you hire the best candidate for the job.
Sprockets can help your company assess veteran candidates with pinpoint precision based on your specific business needs. The matching algorithms are 94 percent accurate when matching candidates to jobs successfully. Using recruiting technology in the hiring process today is a critical part of hiring success.
Using a systemic approach, you can get to know your veteran audience, determine each candidate’s civilian skills, build an outreach program, and provide the necessary training. These recruiting practices will give you an edge in today’s competitive hiring environment.