Why Your Recruitment Strategy Should Target Military Veterans


Today’s job market is constantly changing. Unfortunately, as the market adjusts to many recent setbacks, companies often lose sight of recruiting military veterans.

Despite talk of an impending recession, the unemployment rate in the United States in October 2022 remained near record lows. For talent acquisition teams, high quality, reliable and enthusiastic candidates can seem as elusive as the holy grail. But there’s a talent market hidden in plain sight that can provide hiring managers with a solid slate of stellar candidates, and that’s our military veterans.

Recruiting military veterans brings many benefits to organizations in almost any industry. The training grounds of the branches of the military eliminate those who are not ready for the challenge of defending the country. After basic training or officer training and their periods of service, veterans are eager to make an impact in the United States.

Connect to this untapped talent pool to fill your next vacancy and see for yourself the benefits of hiring veterans.

The continuing economic trend of the Great Resignation has made it increasingly difficult to find reliable and qualified employees. However, you’ll likely find that your new veterans don’t just quit the job. Instead, you will find strong-willed, dependable, and hard-working individuals.

1. Veterans are world-class leaders.

There is no better training program for emerging leaders than the US military.

Whether soldiers or sailors enlist or enter National Guard programs or officer training school, all learn leadership skills. And if they passed basic training and went on to a military career, they walked away with honors – chances are they will become 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 career, their leadership training can prove invaluable to their employers.

Military life requires teamwork, regardless of branch of service or level of seniority. Their lives and their mission are in danger without collaboration, understanding and respect. This loyalty and commitment to excellence is an asset that any veteran offers to employers, company contacts and customers.

Identify transferable leadership skills acquired during military service to strengthen your organization with veteran talent. Military personnel have learned to “learn to learn” – a skill that takes time and money to teach in your organization. Broaden your criteria to include more than officers or squadron leaders.

Veterans whose service includes multiple missions, honor awards, and other accomplishments will be important contributors. Of course, not all military personnel are formal leaders, nor should they be. However, their contributions to projects and teams beyond the battlefield make veterans well worth recruiting.

2. Ambiguity and shifting priorities don’t throw veterans off.

If there’s one thing military service teaches a person, it’s how to adapt and be flexible when plans change.

Variables run rampant on the battlefield, in a strategy session, or when testing high-tech equipment. Not everyone does well with ambiguity, but veterans get used to making fluid decisions in difficult situations with imperfect information.

After a stint in the service, most veterans have forward-thinking plans going through their heads and are ready. Similarly, a veterinarian’s years of service prepare him for quick thinking and the ability to execute strategy.

In the civilian workspace, their calm and laid-back demeanor can improve results in the face of ever-changing challenges. Crises can cause panic in teams, even when a team is a diverse mix of individuals chosen for their 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. Write up-to-date job descriptions that reflect these skills so vets looking for work can easily find a match. And once they’re on staff, make sure their input is leveraged on teams where their unique perspective adds value.

3. Veterinarians are masters in managing deadlines and deliverables.

Everything else seems less difficult when you are trained to handle life or death situations on a daily basis.

And while the stakes aren’t quite as high in most post-military job opportunities, a veteran’s sensitivity to urgency is priceless. So keep recruiting veterans in mind in your search for employees.

Deadlines for troop movements, cybersecurity response, and other high-stakes situations train vets to plan accordingly. And although reality changes the requirements, such rigorous training results in a strong appreciation for the commitments made.

For employers whose bottom line and profit margins depend on promises kept and schedules managed, veterinarians will provide consistent added value.

In the technology space, for example, urgent development and testing schedules must be well estimated and managed to keep pace. Additionally, as project managers, veterans’ understanding of contingencies, risks, and variables goes beyond that gained 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 have mastered large teams and battle plans can quickly deploy their service experience.

Keep an open mind to their new perspective and military approach – they may have big ideas to enable business transformation.

4. Former military personnel bring significant perspectives.

Increasingly, the conversation about culture fit is on the lips of recruiters, business leaders, and job candidates. As companies adapt their recruiting practices to ensure an ethnically diverse workforce, contrasting thoughts and varied life experiences take center stage.

The military experience places individuals across the globe, giving them a bird’s-eye view of varying cultures and ideals.

Sometimes our soldiers serve in a densely populated city center; other times soldiers are stationed in remote and underdeveloped communities. Immersed in this environment and performing their military duty, they gain global perspectives. We want these views and philosophies in our businesses.

The life experiences Veterans have had add to how they exist and contribute to the world. Take note if a candidate’s service includes time spent outside of the country where your organization is based. Their assignment abroad likely informs how they work with others, especially taking into account cultural and linguistic differences.

Pay attention to resumes submitted for vacancies and look for overall experience and indications of greater cultural understanding. Consider how a veteran’s vast experience can improve your team composition and benefit the customers you serve.

If your company has expansion goals in its strategic plan, hiring people with global experience will be beneficial. Additionally, a broader understanding of the human condition and the global environment often comes with military service, improving teams and companies.

Hiring veterans has many benefits

Adding veterans to your roster can improve your organization’s efficiency, but the benefits of recruiting veterans don’t stop there.

Employing the best in the country helps communities thrive, especially since many veterans finish their service well before the traditional retirement age. With many more productive years of work ahead, veterans bring high-level contributions and world-class perspectives rarely found elsewhere.

Veterans enhance the quality of work and services provided by your organization, and you will have an edge over the competition.

Image Credit: RODNAE Productions; pexels; Thanks!

Deanna Ritchie

Editor-in-chief at ReadWrite

Deanna is the editor of ReadWrite. Previously, she worked as an editor for Startup Grind and has over 20 years of experience in content management and development.


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