Between all U.S. military branches, there are almost 1.5 million Americans currently serving our country and nearly 250,000 of those service members transition out of the armed services every year. Chances are your company could benefit from hiring a veteran.
Veterans bring a unique skill set, a good work ethic, leadership and management experience and an understanding of teamwork. Many have international exposure, knowledge of technology trends and have experienced overcoming difficulty or adversity, which are all valuable assets in the workplace. In fact, veterans are filling all types of positions, from entry level to executive, and more than 80 percent of military jobs have a civilian job equivalent.
To recruit this unique group of job seekers, you must start by thinking about what their needs are. Many large corporations like Walmart, Amazon and Halliburton are seeing the value of hiring returning service members and are actively recruiting them. The companies that are doing it best are positioning themselves as veteran-friendly, keeping in mind the unique needs and benefits of hiring veterans.
A great place to start recruiting veterans is through career fairs. Did you know there are actually career fairs set up just to connect you with veterans and military personnel? From the military.com & NCOA Career Expo to veteranrecruiting.com’s virtual career fairs to Hire Heroes’ Career Opportunity Day, there’s no better place to recruit veterans than to go to where veterans are looking. The American Legion also hosts dozens of careers fairs each month for veteran and military job seekers.
Most military bases also have career service centers or advisors to connect returning military personnel with employers. If you have a base near you, connect with the base’s career advisors as they are typically a trusted source for veterans and often are the first place veterans will go seeking employment. Make these advisors part of your network to create a pipeline of talented veterans ready when you have positions open up.
Beyond including military career advisors in your network, reach out to veterans personally using traditional online recruiting, but in non-traditional ways. There are plenty of career sites that are specifically focused on recruiting veterans, such as military.com and vetjobs.com. Those are certainly a valuable resource, as veterans tend to seek out sites that are specifically for veterans before they branch out to sites like LinkedIn, Monster and Careerbuilder. When it comes to those more traditional websites, think outside the box, like utilizing groups such as LinkedIn’s Recruit Veterans Employment Network to reach veterans.
There are also several government resources that veterans have available to them and that you can be a part of. The United States Department of Labor’s VETS program has Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives who “conduct outreach to employers and engage in advocacy efforts with hiring executives to increase employment opportunities for veterans, encourage the hiring of disabled veterans, and generally assist veterans to gain and retain employment.” To get into contact with your local representative, visit their website.
As with traditional recruiting, word of mouth can often be your most valuable tool. Nearly all of us know an active or returning service member, and nearly all of us tell our family and friends about the good and bad aspects of our job. When an employer goes the extra mile for veterans, word gets around. Your employees can be your best recruiters and employer brand advocates, telling their family and friends that their employer is actively seeking veterans and has a lot to offer.
Do you have another resource for recruiting veterans? Let us know in the comments below.