Translate Military Backgrounds into Corporate Success

Dedicated. Mission-focused. Skilled at working in collaborative environments. Your recruiting team is on the lookout for these attributes every day, in nearly every hiring scenario. Have you considered that many in the military share these same attributes?

Former military personnel are often strong job candidates. However, they typically have very specific skills and competencies that don’t map directly to corporate positions. It sometimes takes a shift in perspective to attract veterans and translate a military background into a great hire.

Here are four steps you can take to prepare your TA department and hiring managers to successfully engage with military candidates:

  1. Identify the right job opportunities. Ask your recruiters to identify the positions that best align with military candidates’ skills and experience. Then, tweak job descriptions so they emphasize the skills and attributes veterans will have. Edit job postings so they focus on what military candidates bring to the table, and consider removing other less-critical requirements that veterans would not likely meet. As with any job candidate, you want veterans to easily see how they could fit into your organization.
  2. Get your hiring managers on board. Making veteran hiring both an enterprise-wide initiative and a performance goal can provide the incentive hiring managers need. If you’d like to start on a smaller scale, meet with hiring managers for the positions you’ve identified, and talk with them about the benefits of hiring veterans. Help them understand the potential this unique talent pool holds for their own departments and business objectives.
  3. Coach the hiring team on interviewing. A typical interview question such as “How do you handle conflict?” will not have the same meaning for military candidates, and won’t necessarily generate the insights your hiring team is looking for. Coach your recruiters and hiring managers on the types of questions that will enable veterans to present themselves, their skills and strengths with authenticity. This ERE blog post offers smart suggestions for building rapport by asking the right questions.
  4. Tailor your application process to their logistics. These candidates may be job hunting before they’ve separated from the military. Often they’re still working round-the-clock shifts and may be planning to relocate once their military career has ended. You can make it easier for veterans to engage with your company by offering on-demand voice and video interviewing. Virtual hiring allows them to apply on their own schedule, from any location.

Getting veterans engaged in your organization may be one of the most meaningful ways to express appreciation for their service. It’s also a smart strategy for building up your workforce.