Creating a Veteran-Friendly Hiring Process: A Step-by-Step Guide for Businesses
With over 16 million veterans in the United States as of 2023, creating a veteran-friendly hiring process has become an important consideration for many businesses looking to expand their talent pools. However, reaching out to and onboarding veterans can present unique challenges if companies aren’t equipped with the right tools and strategies.
In this guide, we will walk through the key steps to put together a hiring process that resonates with veterans and helps them transition smoothly into civilian roles. With the veteran unemployment rate holding steady at 3.6% in September 2023, up from 2.7% the prior year, competition for hiring former military members continues to heat up. Follow our tips to get ahead of the curve and build up a strong veteran recruitment pipeline.
Let’s jump in and build a strategy to bring veterans on board and maximize their potential.
- The Benefits of Hiring Veterans for Businesses
- Veteran-Friendly Hiring Process: A Step-by-Step Guide for Businesses
- Step 1: Build Partnerships with Veteran Organizations
- Step 2: Highlight Veteran Skills in Job Postings
- Step 3: Use Military-Friendly Language
- Step 4: Feature Veteran Employees
- Step 5: Offer Mentorship Programs
- Step 6: Structure an Onboarding Buddy System
- Step 7: Highlight Company Values
- Step 8: Celebrate Veteran Employees
The Benefits of Hiring Veterans for Businesses
Below, we will explore the benefits of hiring veterans. Veterans bring unique skills and experiences to the workforce, making them valuable assets for companies. Let’s get into the advantages of employing these dedicated individuals and how it can positively impact businesses.
Veterans offer a wealth of real-world experience that enhances any organization. While their background may not align directly with a specific job opening, veterans glean invaluable transferable skills from military service.
Many veterans have been deployed overseas and endured challenges most civilians cannot fathom. Even stateside postings require navigating high-stakes situations and dynamic conditions.
The military drills the meaning of teamwork into all service members. Veterans are accustomed to coordinating with diverse groups, often under intense pressure, to accomplish collective goals.
Veterans become adept at shifting priorities rapidly when missions change. They operate effectively amid uncertainty thanks to contingency planning skills honed in service. This composure proves valuable in businesses dealing with volatility.
Managing high-stress training and perilous deployments develops veterans’ resilience and perseverance. Their determination helps drive initiatives through obstacles and setbacks in the workplace.
In essence, veterans accumulate a tremendous amount of formative experience by their very nature of serving. Their seasoned perspective and field-tested abilities enable veterans to enrich any workforce.
- Soft Skills
In addition to tangible expertise, veterans build an impressive repertoire of adaptable “soft skills” that deliver enormous value. These intangible yet critical abilities strengthen any organization.
Communication: Veterans become adept at clear, concise communication during high-consequence missions. They know how to deliver key messages efficiently to motivate teams.
Teamwork: The military drills the essence of teamwork into all service members. Veterans collaborate seamlessly and unite groups around shared goals.
Adaptability: Veterans grow accustomed to ever-changing conditions during deployments and training. This ability to adjust quickly allows them to thrive amid business volatility and guide teams through uncertainty.
Problem-Solving: Veterans develop strong analytical abilities and critical thinking skills to assess complex situations and identify solutions.
Leadership: Veterans gain invaluable leadership experience managing teams under challenging circumstances. They lead by example and foster loyalty through inclusivity and good judgement. Their leadership motivates and empowers.
Work Ethic: The military instills unwavering diligence, dedication, and perseverance in veterans. They operate with integrity and see initiatives through to the end.
Time Management: Strict military schedules and deployment demands ingrain effective prioritization and efficiency. Veterans maximize productivity and resources to accomplish the mission.
The soft skills cultivated in the military give veterans an edge in excelling across roles and levels in corporate settings.
Above all, veterans bring an unparalleled level of commitment that elevates any organization. Their dedication and willingness to work tirelessly to fulfill their duties deliver tremendous value.
Serving in the military, regardless of branch, requires immense commitment. The challenges and sacrifices only those who have served can fully understand. It’s not a path for the faint of heart.
This commitment is ingrained deeply across military training and deployments. Veterans persist through grueling conditions and high-stakes obstacles that require total dedication.
In the process, they learn commitment goes beyond motivation. It’s showing up each day ready to put in the work and do what it takes to accomplish the mission – no matter how small or large their role.
Veterans carry this attitude and work ethic with them into civilian jobs. When faced with a difficult project or tight deadline, they commit to grind and get it done right.
They don’t shy away from challenges or inconvenient tasks. Their commitment empowers them to step up to responsibilities that may deter others.
This determination lets them power through setbacks. Veterans honor their commitments and have the resilience to pivot when plans go awry.
Veteran-Friendly Hiring Process: A Step-by-Step Guide for Businesses
Hiring veterans is not only a patriotic gesture, but it also brings various advantages to your company. In the following steps, we will provide a step-by-step guide for businesses to create a veteran-friendly hiring process.
Step 1: Build Partnerships with Veteran Organizations
The first step is to build partnerships and connections with organizations that support veterans and military families.
Research local chapters of nationally recognized groups like the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and Student Veterans of America. Reach out to forge contacts.
See if you can align on shared missions and values to form deeper partnerships. Offer to collaborate on initiatives like career development workshops, resume review sessions, mock interview events, and more.
Ask to present at their meetings to share company overviews, recent news, and current openings. Make sure attendees have materials to pass along qualified referrals or applicants.
Inquire about being added to their job boards or newsletters to gain visibility on open roles. Offer to create a co-branded veteran hiring flyer for distribution.
Attend military-focused job fairs, networking nights, conferences, and community events to connect face-to-face with veterans. Come prepared with giveaways, information packets, and ways to follow up with promising talent.
Step 2: Highlight Veteran Skills in Job Postings
It’s crucial to explicitly call out the array of valued and transferable skills that veterans developed through military service. This shows you recognize and will make the most of these experiences.
Emphasize how abilities like leadership, team coordination, discipline, time management, and problem-solving under high-stakes conditions readily translate from the military to corporate roles.
Note how veteran training instills a strong work ethic, perseverance, effective communication, technical aptitude, and the ability to perform well under pressure. These competencies align closely with top skills needed across business functions.
Call out specific military certifications or security clearances that qualify veterans for roles dealing with technology, data, logistics, or global operations. Their ability to manage confidential information is highly attractive.
Underscore how veterans thrive when given autonomy and responsibility. Their resourcefulness in dynamic situations and calm under fire make them adept at steering initiatives through uncertainty.
Being overt about the precise experiences that make veterans ideal candidates will grab their interest immediately. It indicates your organization recognizes the breadth of abilities cultivated during service and is eager to capture them. Veterans will feel confident their background is an asset, not a hindrance, making them more inclined to apply.
Step 3: Use Military-Friendly Language
Get creative by incorporating military terminology and jargon into your job postings where relevant. This helps resonate with veteran candidates by framing the role in a familiar context.
For example, include the “rank” of the position, such as “first lieutenant of operations” or “brigadier general of business development troops.” Translate responsibilities into missions like “spearhead regional market infiltration” or “quarterback product launch battalion.”
Emphasize the leadership and strategic planning skills needed to “command a unit” or “mobilize a platoon” of reports toward company objectives. Note it requires being “on point” when meeting with clients and leading presentations.
Use phrases like “mission-ready,” and “combat-tested” to underscore the value of abilities honed under pressure. Seek those ready to “serve on the frontlines” and have a “military mindset.”
While certainly creative, this military terminology directly speaks to veterans by connecting corporate roles to service experience. It paints a vivid picture of how their capabilities can transfer and positions them as uniquely qualified to take on these “missions.”
Step 4: Feature Veteran Employees
Actively showcasing veteran employees who are already succeeding in your company is a powerful way to attract more veteran applicants. Feature their stories across your platforms to underscore that military experience is valued.
On your careers webpage, create profiles highlighting current veteran staff across different roles. Share details on their military background, time in service, achievements, and how it shaped their career journey.
In job postings geared toward veterans, call out veteran employees by name who thrived in the same or similar positions. Speak to how their military skillsets translated seamlessly into corporate success.
Share video testimonials of veteran team members talking about their positive experiences at your company. Capture why they felt welcomed and set up for advancement based on their strengths.
Repost user-generated video content of veteran employees speaking at industry conferences or company events about leveraging their military leadership abilities.
Across social channels, recognize veteran staff during Military Appreciation Month or Veterans Day. Thank them for their service and contributions to your organization.
Quote veteran employees in press releases related to new products or initiatives they spearheaded. Tie it back to the knowledge gleaned during military service.
Step 5: Offer Mentorship Programs
Launching formal mentorship programs specifically for veterans can greatly ease their transition into civilian roles. These initiatives pair new veteran hires with current veteran employees who serve as mentors and guides.
The programs should match mentors and mentees based on aligned interests, backgrounds, and skill sets. Meet with them separately first to gauge goals, personalities, and preferred communication styles before matching.
Encourage mentors to meet at least once a month one-on-one with mentees and remain available for questions in between. They can grab coffee, lunch, or chat over video conference to nurture the relationship.
During sessions, mentors should aim to boost mentees’ business acumen and fill in any gaps the military may not have covered. Share insights on best practices, company politics, communication norms, and other keys to success.
Mentors can also coach mentees on translating military skills into civilian workplace competencies. Help them recognize their strengths and how to apply them to meet business objectives.
Step 6: Structure an Onboarding Buddy System
Implementing a “battle buddy” system can make onboarding more seamless for veterans. This pairs new veteran hires with current veteran employees who serve as mentors and guides as they acquaint themselves with the company.
The onboarding battle buddy should reach out right after the veteran accepts the job offer so they start establishing a rapport early on. Ideally, they’ll connect in person during the first week on the job to go over orientation materials together.
Encourage the buddy to take the new hire under their wing and show them the ins and outs of the workplace. Have them sit together in meetings and team activities so the new recruit can observe firsthand. Schedule times for them to grab coffee or lunch and build their relationship in a more casual setting.
Make sure the buddy checks in regularly with the new hire during the initial 90 days to see if they have any pressing questions or need clarification on processes. Be available to provide real-time feedback or coaching if any issues emerge.
Allow the new veteran employee to shadow their buddy during key tasks to learn the role. Watching a fellow veteran complete deliverables is often more impactful than just reading a manual.
Step 7: Highlight Company Values
Emphasize any alignments between your company values and military values like integrity, teamwork, excellence, and grit. Emphasize where they sync up to underscore how veteran outlooks and mindsets can thrive in your culture.
For example, if integrity is key for your business, point out how this aligns with the military’s firm principles of honor and ethics. If teamwork is central to your operations, note how it mirrors the military’s core tenet of cohesion and working together as a unit.
You can specifically call out military mottos that dovetail with your values, like the Marine Corps motto of “Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful) or the Navy’s “Honor, Courage, Commitment.” This demonstrates you also hold principles like loyalty and courage in high regard.
When excellence is expected at your company, draw comparisons to the military’s deep-rooted dedication to being the best of the best. If you prize attributes like resilience and determination, tie it back to military training that ingrains unwavering perseverance and grit.
Step 8: Celebrate Veteran Employees
It’s important to make veteran employees feel continuously appreciated rather than just on certain holidays. There are many creative ways to highlight and commemorate their service throughout the year.
Profile veteran staff members on your company website or intranet. Showcase their photos, backgrounds, and military stories to put a face to your veteran workforce. Tracking their journey from military service to civilian roles shows you value their path.
Give veterans a platform to speak at company events, meetings, or conferences to share their experiences and unique perspectives with the broader organization. Facilitate veterans interacting and connecting with non-veterans to boost camaraderie.
Support veteran employees in giving back to the military community through volunteering or pro bono services. Accommodate any needs to take time off for activities like visiting disabled veterans or mentoring fellow veterans who are transitioning into civilian roles.
Mark major military-related holidays by sending appreciative notes or small tokens of thanks to the veteran staff. Offer Veterans Day as an additional day off so they can commemorate in their own way.
Implementing a strategic, veteran-friendly hiring process takes dedication but pays dividends. Veterans offer tremendous assets, from adaptability to leadership abilities, that will bolster your workforce.
While creating an accommodating program requires an investment, the long-term benefits of tapping into the veteran talent pipeline outweigh the costs. The steps we’ve outlined will help you knock down barriers, open communication channels, and demonstrate your commitment to attracting those who served.
Ready to start attracting veteran candidates? The experts at CCS Learning Academy have been helping companies recruit qualified veterans since 1997. Our seasoned team is adept at aligning your needs with the best veteran talent. Get in touch today to learn more about our hiring and onboarding programs tailored specifically for veterans.
Let us review your current hiring practices and provide specific recommendations on enhancing veteran outreach, recruitment messaging, interview accommodations, mentorship integration, and onboarding programs. We’ll help you create an authentic, values-driven process that resonates with veterans.
Don’t leave veteran talent acquisition to chance. Leverage our decades of expertise and connections to the veteran community to build a pipeline of qualified candidates. Contact us today to learn more about our veteran hiring solutions.
Q1: Why is it important for businesses to have a veteran-friendly hiring process?
Answer: Creating a veteran-friendly hiring process is important because veterans bring unique skills, discipline, and perspectives to the workplace. Additionally, it demonstrates a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity and can enhance the company’s reputation and appeal to a broader customer base.
Q2: What are the first steps in developing a veteran-friendly hiring process?
Answer: The first steps include understanding the unique experiences and skills veterans bring, educating your hiring team about military culture, and reviewing current hiring practices to identify potential barriers for veterans.
Q3: How can job descriptions be tailored to attract veteran applicants?
Answer: Job descriptions can be tailored by recognizing and valuing military experience as equivalent to civilian work experience, using language that translates military skills to civilian job requirements, and avoiding corporate jargon that may not be familiar to veterans.
Q4: What training should be provided to HR and recruiting teams to support veteran hiring?
Answer: Training should focus on understanding military culture and structure, recognizing how military skills and roles translate to civilian jobs, and addressing unconscious biases that might affect the hiring of veterans.
Q5: How can businesses connect with veteran job seekers?
Answer: Businesses can connect with veteran job seekers by participating in veteran career fairs, partnering with veteran organizations, using veteran job boards, and networking with local veteran groups and military bases.
Q6: What are some best practices for interviewing veteran candidates?
Answer: Best practices include using behavioral interview techniques, being aware of and sensitive to potential combat-related experiences, and asking open-ended questions that allow veterans to discuss how their military experience relates to the job.
Q7: How can a business create a supportive environment for veterans once hired?
Answer: Creating a supportive environment involves offering veteran-specific orientation programs, establishing veteran employee resource groups, providing mentorship opportunities, and ensuring access to necessary resources and support for transitioning to civilian work life.
Q8: What are the benefits of hiring veterans for a business?
Answer: Benefits include diverse perspectives, strong leadership skills, exceptional teamwork capabilities, discipline, adaptability, and a strong work ethic. Veterans often have advanced technical skills and experience in high-pressure situations.
Q9: How can businesses ensure compliance with laws related to veteran employment?
Answer: Compliance can be ensured by understanding and adhering to laws such as the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), and by implementing policies that go beyond the minimum legal requirements to support veteran employees.
Q10: What role does company culture play in attracting and retaining veteran employees?
Answer: Company culture plays a significant role. A culture that values diversity offers support and flexibility, recognizes the unique experiences of veterans, and provides growth opportunities and development is attractive to veteran employees and aids in retention.
Q11: Can small businesses effectively implement a veteran-friendly hiring process?
Answer: Yes, small businesses can effectively implement such processes by focusing on creating inclusive job descriptions, understanding the value veterans bring, and building connections with local veteran communities and organizations.
Q12: How can businesses measure the success of their veteran-friendly hiring initiatives?
Answer: Success can be measured by tracking veteran hiring and retention rates, soliciting feedback from veteran employees, assessing the effectiveness of partnership programs with veteran organizations, and evaluating the overall impact on company culture and performance.