Veterans make the ultimate sacrifice both for our people and our country. They often leave family and friends behind to do a duty only a handful of individuals are capable of. And, with this exposure to different elements and situations comes their experience, loyalty, and overall skill sets that are difficult to compare to other candidates.
However, veterans often find it difficult to find work after the hardships of war have ceased. In fact, research has shown that the unemployment rate among post-9/11 U.S. veterans stands at 9% compared with 6.7% for the civilian population.
At WCN, we understand the need to recruit and seek out more veteran workers for these exact reasons. And, given federal programs and legal requirements, veteran hiring may be a priority for your organization. Veterans offer unmatchable skills and experience consisting of a variety of degrees that most employers may not comprehend. However, the lack of time, resources, and possible disabilities due to wounds in conflict make it hard for these 10 million working-age veterans to get out there and make their presence known.
So, what can you do to be more in-tune with veteran candidates in the workforce? Here’s how to get started:
Learn About Veterans
Before doing anything, you must first learn about the candidates you are wanting to attract. Where or how can veterans fit in your organization? What are veterans like? What types of degrees do they hold from their military experience? And, what perks/benefits are they interested in? This also means knowing the difference between all the different military segments. Knowing these can tell you a lot about the veteran candidate, their experience, and past roles. This includes understanding acronyms, pay grades, and rank. For example, someone who was a LTC (Lieutenant Colonel) in the army is under a certain compensation plan and values things like loyalty and respect. This will help you make the best decision when hiring and allow you to reach your candidate better by creating that connection.
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Someone who was in the Army may have a completely different background than someone from the Marines. Knowing this will help make the rest of the process easier. You can understand the candidate more and better judge your potential candidates.
For the purpose of learning and developing around these new veteran candidate insights, you may look for a tool that allows you to tailor your recruiting approach, and even create targeted candidate personas. This will help in staying on track and work to cater to each different segment of veterans. Which, we will take a closer look at later on.
Bonus Idea:Learn the Lingo. If they aren’t speaking the same language, it might be hard for your recruitment team to get on the same page with your veteran candidates.
Attract Veteran Candidates
Once you understand your target base, what is the best way to attract them? Well, that differs on each segment and each set of skills you are searching for. However, an overall view at attracting veterans means being veteran friendly. This consists of understanding their possible limitations, turning our “civilian talk” into jargon that they may be more acquainted with, and working with/leveraging current government and private initiatives.
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Work to use the above aspects to your advantage while also using your own networks, and even some team members. Many of your team may have family in the military or were once in the military themselves, and their insight can be extremely beneficial. Consider local, grassroots efforts like visiting and speaking to local military recruiters in your area in addition to reaching out to veteran specific resources like job sites/boards. Take note as to what other companies are going as well. How are they working to attract veterans and what can you do to within your own company? For example, Coca-cola posts on a military website as a way to attract candidates. They use jargon as we mentioned above, while also reinstating their value of veteran workers and how their company has worked to support and nurture both military efforts and its soldiers.
Lastly, make things simple. When looking for work, it can be time-consuming and sometimes disheartening to go through a 30-minute to an hour long application process. Find a resource that gives you the opportunity to allow fast and easy applications while also providing effective measurement, communication, and organization.
Bonus Idea: Make sure your career site has a place just for these special candidates. Show those who left the military world to come to civilian life and programs you have for veterans (and their spouses).
Engage and Make Connections
Time spent on duty means time out of the workforce and creates a disconnect when it comes to new trends, job seeking methods and more for veterans who are just returning home. Be understanding with your process and be sure not to make them feel isolated in their endeavors. Show that you are there to give them a chance. If you, or a family member, has a background in the military, mention that and let them know they are not alone in this search.
To aide in these actions, find a way to truly engage with veteran candidates, and again, make it a more personal experience. 94% of senior-level executives believe delivering personalization is critical or important to reaching customers. And, it’s important to look at potential candidates in the same way. To do this, show off what your company has done. Share success stories of veterans you have hired in the past, cater your job site to help them find the right career match, or even state efforts that your employers make everyday to help veterans with their professional development.
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Accomplish true engagement by using a system or tool that allows you to interact and nurture veteran candidates on a regular basis; keeping them in the loop and forming a constant way of communication. That is how to show them that you care and are willing to see if they are the right fit for your company.
Bonus Idea: Instead of the standard interview day or career fair, open your recruitment team up to coach veterans on their job search. You’ll be providing a service and still meeting qualified candidates. You may also get a keen insight on whether your culture is conducive to a veteran transitioning!
When it comes to hiring veterans, many employers may be out of their element. That’s why WCN has created the WCN Veteran solution. Tailor your recruiting approach to deliver greater candidate engagement and leverage best-in-class technology to achieve demonstrable ROI.
Are you looking to dive into the veteran talent pool? Get recruiting today!