Attracting transitioning military can seem like unknown territory. They’re a different type of candidate that require a different type of recruitment strategy.
The current active duty population is over 1.4 million people. Veterans make up over 21 million of the US population. With 10,000 baby boomers exiting the workforce daily, Veterans represent one of the single largest pools of talent that have the skills that are in high demand across all industries. That veteran pool is ever-increasing. It is estimated that in 2015, 300,000 service members will transition out of the military. Of the current 4 million job openings, close to half of these jobs match skills that service members possess.
So as an employer, how do you attract these candidates?
Consider attributes over “real world” job experience
Not all transitioning members have 20 years of service under their belt. Some transition as soon as they have fulfilled their 3-6 years, depending on branch of required military service. During this time, short or long, they are ingrained with responsibility, ethics, work ethic, and trustworthiness making them an ideal candidate. The attributes that they possess outweigh lack of corporate experience. As early as age 20, service members are put in leadership positions. They are trained to delegate while motivate. Teamwork is very important in the military and as leaders they understand that the individual is only as good as their team. These qualities would be an asset to any company.
Talent Acquisition knows…
To support this, the House Veterans Affairs conducted a survey asking corporate Talent Acquisition leaders what the most desirable assets are that veterans possess. Their top chosen attributes included work ethic, security clearance, leadership and the “seven Army values” acronym LDRSHIP, which stands for Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage.
Consider skills over education
The majority of active duty military has only a high school diploma or at least an Associate’s degree. As recruiters you know that education level can determine whether or not someone can be considered for a position. However, when it comes to recruiting military, consider that their skill set is higher than their civilian counterpart. Because of their ability to learn new skills at an accelerated rate, they can adapt to any situation with ease.
You might think that IF you don’t have a military base near your physical location, it means you can’t recruit. While on active duty service members will serve tours all over the US and overseas along with deployments. They aren’t afraid to relocate. I asked a few of my personal friends questions about their transition experience and what determined how they job searched and if hometown was a factor. Almost all said they went where the job was.
Walk the walk
You might already consider yourself a “military-friendly employer.” But do you do anything beyond just saying that? Do you have extra programs in place to help them transition into a civilian job? Good companies hire veterans. Great companies have special military programs. It’s already an overwhelming experience to go from a structured environment into the civilian world. Showing potential candidates that you support them and want to make their transition easier is an attractive bonus. There are a few companies that do a good job of this. Microsoft has their own in-house “military training academy.” JP Morgan Chase partners with Syracuse University offering a Veterans Career Transition Program. Walmart has a unique program called the “Military Family Promise” with a goal to hire 100,000 veterans. Caesars Palace and MGM Grand have their “Enlisting Heroes” and “Boots to Business” programs. No matter how big or small your company is, having programs like these shows veterans that you understand that their transition is unique.
Military-friendly career site
Part of walking the walk is also having a good military candidate experience within your career site. NAS recently partnered with USAA to create and launch a new career site with a dedicated tab called Military & Spouses.
USAA is another great employer with their own unique program. As you can see below, the site has a dedicated skills match tab that’s easy to find. This tab helps service members match military skills and experience to civilian occupations.
Use your inside resources
In my own survey I asked, “what methods did you use in your job search?” Aside from job boards, almost everyone said they networked through military friends. I’m going to go back to one of the attributes, trustworthiness. Not only are veterans themselves trustworthy, they also trust their network of military coworkers. Remember that while in the service they are part of a team. Outside of the service they will still continue to work as a team. They have a camaraderie like no other. Do you already have veterans working for you? Use them as a resource to find more talent.
Use translator tools
Looking at military jargon and trying to decipher what it all means can be confusing. What do all these job numbers mean? What is the difference between a Lieutenant, Staff Sergeant, Commander? Use translator resources to help you understand what job titles and rank mean and to help them understand how their skill set translates into your job description. There are some great resources online that can help you. It’s a good idea to also integrate this tool into your career site.
Some helpful sites include:
FuturesInc.com (formerly Heros2Hire)
There is no doubt that if you consider these points, you will attract military talent.