“There are certain character traits many veterans possess, such as perseverance, discipline, stamina, ability to follow orders/instructions, leadership qualities and ability to work on a team. Of course these qualities can vary from person to person but are essentially the core strengths of every Veteran. ” — Michael Moroney, SPC, United States Army Reserve
Hiring and recruiting veterans is not something that often comes to mind when hiring managers and recruiters are looking to fill a role with the right candidate. There, I said it. But why?
In my experience as a recruiter, I believe that the reason veterans aren't at the top of recruiter's minds is because people don't fully understand their military backgrounds, skills and training and how they can truly benefit their organization. In the hiring and recruiting process, it's easy to stick to what you know, aka profiles that are comfortable to us, rather than finding those who may require more understanding and attention. Many of us take the path of least resistance, and when it comes to choosing a candidate pool to select from, it's easier to sort through 100 résumés of applicants who have corporate or business-to-business experience as opposed to military field experience. However, we can’t let this ignorance get in the way of our recruiting strategies — as recruiters, we must realize the obvious benefits that veterans can provide any organization and capitalize on these skilled individuals.
Here are five tips to focus your recruiting strategies on veterans:
1. Perseverance. Let’s face it – in today’s recruiting landscape, we all need to be perseverant. Perseverance is one of the core traits of any veteran, something that is drilled into them from day one. How could perseverance not be a huge asset to any startup or global organization in today’s economy? When employees have so many tasks and insane deadlines, veterans will offer key skills – they know how to manage expectations and will not quit until that task is accomplished.
2. Team Oriented. I end up hiring many candidates who have sports backgrounds for one reason – athletes possess many of the same qualities as veterans. They've both worked in team environments and truly understand what it means to be a part of a team. Veterans are not only part of a team, they’re saving their team member's lives. Teamwork is vital in any role at any company, and the experience a veteran brings to a team-oriented environment is invaluable.
3. Ability to give and follow directions. Carrying out various projects always comes with a set of priorities. Veterans know how to multitask because they are put in situations where their lives depend on it. In the field, veterans need to understand the task at hand. Every company can benefit from employees who know how to follow orders and carry out objectives, plus people who know when it’s their turn to step up and when a leader is needed.
4. Leadership. In my personal opinion, leadership is the most underestimated quality when evaluating veterans for job opportunities. Not all people are born leaders — veterans, however, raised their hand to serve our country. True leaders lead by example, which veterans have plenty of experience doing. Having a veteran next to you when managing a full workload or hectic project will help you evaluate priorities and accomplish tasks quickly and efficiently.
5. Stamina. Veterans have been through the ringer. They have an incredible ability to get through tough situations and end victorious, strong and resilient. The pressure put on military professionals compounded with the situations they encounter in the field far outweighs the stress that many business professionals feel on a day-to-day basis. A veteran can take your understanding of stamina and strength to the next level and make you — and your team — work harder.
When all is said and done, your job as a recruiter is to hire the best candidates for any given role. To truly increase diversity and talent at your organization, consider hiring more veterans. Do your homework to actually understand what these pros can bring to the table — also understand the actual tasks these vets have completed and how those qualities can compliment your open roles.