It pains me to see the veteran unemployment rate so high while at the same time good companies are struggling to find skilled workers. It pains me because as a recruiter and a veteran, I know there is a pool of qualified candidates that most companies tend to overlook, the military veteran. I believe every company needs to develop a veteran recruiting program to seek out and hire military candidates. It has been proven by companies such as General Electric, Home Depot, Starbucks, and Amazon.com that hiring veterans can benefit the organization in a multitude of ways, while at the same time improving the bottom line. Here’s why:
- They are highly motivated. Veterans tend to outperform their counterparts when they enter a new company and end up raising the bar.
- They’ve had a strong work ethic engrained into their psyche and will do what it takes to get the job done.
- The military produces outstanding leaders in both the officer and enlisted ranks. A 22 year old veteran has more leadership training and experience than their civilian counterparts.
- They have the ability to perform and make decisions under pressure.
- They are able to make a commitment and stick with it for the long haul.
- The U.S. military is a high-tech force. The majority of veterans utilize computers and technology for the daily performance of their job.
- They are highly trained in their job fields. The longer a veteran has been in the military, the more professional and leadership training they’ve received.
- They are the ultimate team players. Veterans are used to working in diverse groups where the team dynamic is continually changing as people come and go.
- They are clean cut, drug free, and they show up on time. In the military if you don’t show up on time you could face charges and there is no calling in sick.
So why is it veterans tend to get overlooked in the job market? It’s because veterans are misunderstood! Most people, without any direct knowledge or experience with the military, only know what they’ve seen on television or in the movies. They think of every military candidate as a gruff, stiff backed, infantry rifleman. In reality, the military workforce is just as diverse as the corporate workforce. You have your infantry riflemen as well as Information Technology professionals, Human Resources professionals, finance specialists, administrative specialists, logisticians, mechanics, electronics technicians, drivers, culinary specialists, welders, equipment operators, etc. It is a slice of America. Here’s where the problems lie:
- Veterans have a difficult time translating their skills and experiences into language that corporate America understands. It doesn’t matter if they’ve been in the military for 4 years or 20 years, when they’re transitioning from the military it’s most likely the first time they’ve ever had to write a resume or interview for a job. The lucky ones have had the opportunity to attend a military transition assistance class before exiting the military. If corporate America wants to hire more veterans, they need to learn the right questions to ask and learn to read between the lines.
- Corporate leaders (1) don’t know which military job functions best relate to the job openings in their companies (2) don’t understand the fundamental differences between the military branches and (3) don’t know where to look to find the veterans they should hire.
In an effort to combat the growing problem of veteran unemployment, the U.S. and state governments are changing their strategies by developing new programs to better prepare veterans to enter the civilian workforce. Companies also need to change and start developing veteran focused recruiting strategies to seek out, hire, and retain these dedicated, well trained, motivated, and often misunderstood candidates. Hire a Vet!
Eric Mouillesseaux spent six years in the U.S. Navy, including a 6 month deployment to the Persian Gulf during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Eric has eight years of experience as a corporate recruiter specializing in recruiting military candidates and is currently a Senior Recruiter for a Fortune 100 defense contractor. He holds a Bachelor degree in Human Resources Management. Eric has been invited to speak at Military Transition Assistance Classes, Outplacement Training Sessions, Job Fair Training Sessions, and Hiring Conferences.