Why Your Recruiting Strategy Should Target Military Veterans
Despite talk of a looming recession, the U.S. unemployment rate in October 2022 remained near record lows. For talent acquisition teams, high-quality, dependable, and enthusiastic candidates can seem as elusive as the Holy Grail. But there’s a hidden-in-plain-sight talent market that can provide hiring managers with a robust list of stellar applicants, and that’s our military veterans.
Recruiting military veterans bring a wealth of benefits to organizations in nearly any industry. The training grounds of the military’s branches weed out those who aren’t up to the challenge of defending the country. After basic training or officer training and their tours of duty, veterans are eager to make an impact stateside.
Connect with this untapped talent pool to fill your next open role and see firsthand the benefits of hiring veterans.
The ongoing economic trend of The Great Resignation has made it increasingly difficult to find dependable, skilled employees. However, you will likely find that your new military veterans don’t just walk off the job. Instead, you will find willing, reliable, and hard-working individuals.
1. Veterans are world-class leaders.
There’s no better training program for emerging leaders than America’s military.
Whether soldiers or sailors enlist or enter through National Guard programs or Officer Training School, all acquire leadership skills. And if they’ve passed basic training and maintained a military career, they’ve exited with honors — chances are they’ll make highly valued employees.
Coming from all walks of life, military members learn discipline, strategy, and how to motivate themselves and others. When it’s time to enter the next phase of their careers, their leadership training can prove invaluable to their employers.
Military life demands teamwork, no matter the branch of service or seniority level. Their lives and mission are at risk without collaboration, understanding, and respect. This loyalty and commitment to excellence is an asset any veteran offers to employers, company contacts, and clients.
Identify transferable leadership skills earned during military service to bolster your organization with veteran talent. Military personnel has been taught to “learn how to learn” — a skill that takes time and money to teach in your organization. Broaden your criteria to include more than just officers or squadron leaders.
Veterans whose service includes multiple missions, awards of honor, and other achievements will be significant contributors. Of course, not all military members are leaders in an official capacity, nor should they be. However, their contributions to projects and teams beyond the battlefield make veterans well deserving of recruitment.
2. Ambiguity and shifting priorities don’t throw veterans.
If there’s one thing military service teaches a person, it’s how to flex and be flexible when plans change.
Variables run rampant on the battlefield, in a strategy session, or while testing high-tech equipment. Not every person does well with ambiguity, but veterans become accustomed to making fluid decisions in difficult situations with imperfect information.
After a stint in the service, most veterans have forward-thinking plans running through their heads and at the ready. Likewise, a vet’s years of service prepare them for quick thinking and the ability to execute a strategy.
In the civilian workspace, their calm, cool demeanors can improve outcomes in the face of evolving challenges. Crises can spread panic within teams, even when a team constitutes a broad cross-section of individuals chosen for talent and cultural fit. Battle-tested veterans can lead by example, even without a leadership title.
Consider positions within your organization that could benefit from an employee comfortable with variability. Craft updated job descriptions that reflect these skills so job-seeking vets can easily find a match. And once they’re on staff, ensure their contribution is leveraged on teams where their unique perspective is a value-add.
3. Vets are masters at managing deadlines and deliverables.
Everything else seems less challenging when you’re trained to handle life-and-death situations daily.
And while the stakes aren’t quite so high in most post-military employment opportunities, a veteran’s sensitivity to urgency is priceless. So keep recruiting military veterans top of mind as you proceed in your search for employees.
Deadlines for troop movements, cybersecurity response, and other high-stakes situations train vets to plan accordingly. And while reality will shift demands, such rigorous training results in a strong appreciation for fulfilled commitments.
For employers whose results and profit margins hinge on promises kept and schedules managed, vets will add consistent value.
In the tech space, for example, time-sensitive development and testing schedules must be well estimated and managed to keep pace. Moreover, as project managers, veterans’ understanding of contingencies, risks, and variables surpasses that acquired through traditional PM training.
In your deadline-driven environment, recruit veterans whose military experience meshes well with sensitivity to schedule commitments. Former officers and training leaders who’ve mastered large teams and battle plans can quickly deploy their service experience.
Keep an open mind to their fresh perspective and military approach — they may have wide-reaching insights to enable business transformation.
4. Former military members bring meaningful perspectives forward.
Increasingly, the conversation about culture fit is on the lips of recruiters, business leaders, and job candidates. As companies adjust their recruitment practices to ensure an ethnically diverse workforce, contrasting thoughts and varied life experiences come to the forefront.
The military experience places individuals across the globe, giving them a front-row view of varying cultures and ideals.
Sometimes, our military personnel performs duties in a densely populated city center; other times, soldiers are stationed in remote, underdeveloped communities. While immersed in these surroundings and fulfilling their military duty — they’re picking up global perspectives. We want these viewpoints and philosophies in our businesses.
The life experiences that veterans have lived add to their way of existing in and contributing to the world. Take note if a candidate’s service includes time spent outside of the country where your organization is based. Their overseas assignment likely informs how they work with others, especially when considering cultural and language differences.
Pay attention to resumes submitted for open roles and look for global experience and indications of greater cultural understanding. Consider how a veteran’s broad experience can enhance the makeup of your team and benefit the clients you serve.
If your company has expansion goals in its strategic plan, hiring people with global experience will be advantageous. In addition, a broader understanding of the human condition and global environment often comes with military service, improving teams, and companies.
Hiring Veterans Has Wide-Ranging Benefits
Adding veterans to your roster can enhance your organization’s effectiveness, but the benefits of recruiting military veterans don’t stop there.
Employing the nation’s finest helps communities thrive, especially as many veterans complete their service well before the traditional retirement age. With many more productive working years ahead, veterans give senior-level contributions, and world-class perspectives rarely found elsewhere.
Veterans elevate the quality of work and service your organization provides, and you’ll have an advantage over the competition.
Image Credit: RODNAE Productions; Pexels; Thank you!
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