Where Companies Fail Hiring Transitioning Military Veterans

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In the current employment climate, it is hard to think of a company failing to hire military veterans if they wanted to. With the current unemployment rate at 9.1% and sitting at 9.8% for Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you would think a corporation could and would hire any veteran they wanted easily.

But companies fail at hiring veterans, in spite of all of the press, job boards, and patriotism surrounding veterans’ hiring initiatives all over the country.

Strategic Fail

Companies don’t know who they want.  A CEO, a VP of Operations, or an HR Director walks in to a corporate meeting and 30 minutes later the company veteran hiring initiative is born.  Company recruiters go to a local base, attend a veteran job fair, and start getting hits on their corporate website.  Or a staffing director posts a job ad on Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com and resumes begin to fill her inbox.   It’s that easy, right?

Companies fail strategically because they don’t know which veterans will make the best employees for their firms.  Whether your company employs 25 people or 25,000,  job-mapping is an important part of the process.  A lot of companies are looking for good managers, or warehouse clerks, or customer-service representatives and many different veterans qualify for those positions.    But there is a big difference between a nuclear technician in the Navy and a nuclear, biological, and chemical technician in the Army.  Companies need to know who they should hire and which MOS/AFSC/Branch/Rate is a fit for that profile.

Marketing and Recruiting Fail

The recruiter knows who to go after, but where to find them?  MOS, location, seniority, and service all figure into this solution, and honestly most companies don’t have to specialize too much.  But looking for pharmaceutical sales representatives at Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio or communications technicians at Fort Benning, Georgia will cost time and money with negative results.

I don’t want to trivialize marketing and recruiting basics – there are major differences in military services and locations and minor differences in training, qualifications, and seniority.  But if someone sells you a table at a military job fair that has very few skilled electronic technicians and you are looking for field service technicians, you need another way to recruit the veterans you need.

Execution Fail

How many potential applicants do companies lose because they don’t move fast enough, require too many interviews, ask for personality tests after the interviewing cycle is complete, or take three weeks to make an offer?   Are there long periods of time between interviews during the interviewing process?  Do hiring managers express their lack of confidence in finding a military candidate for this particular position?

Military candidates have a transition deadline and a separation date.  Recruiting them requires a fast, high-touch process.  Are military candidates dropping out of your job requisitions because you haven’t streamlined your process?


Companies fail at hiring transitioning military veterans because of a lack of strategic planning, failed marketing and recruiting targeting, and poor execution.  The companies with the best military recruiting operations – GE, Booz Allen Hamilton and Samsung USA to name three – know who they want, where to find them, and how to recruit them aggressively.

Does your company?


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