In 2018, there were more than 19 million veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, making up about 8% of the adult population in the country. Veterans entering the civilian workforce bring a wide range of talents, experiences, and skills to their new positions. Many employers are interested in adding more veterans to their organizations but both veteran applicants and civilian hiring managers can sometimes run into obstacles in the recruitment and hiring process.
Employers that want to hire veterans may not know where to look for qualified candidates. Veterans may struggle to translate the skills and qualifications from their military service into terms that employers understand.
Here is a brief overview of how to hire veterans more seamlessly – and the ways this can benefit your organization.
Why Hire Veterans
- Transferable skills: Veterans form a large and diverse group, offering a variety of general and technical capabilities. Many have received training in specific technologies or methodologies.
- Soft skills: Veterans have worked on many different teams, cooperating with peers and leaders to reach common goals, and honing soft skills such as communication, leadership, flexibility, and problem solving.
- Diverse perspectives: Adding a veteran team member can offer a valuable new perspective, new questions, new ideas to a team, and can shape services or products for different audiences. Diverse teams are frequently more productive, develop more innovative ideas, and drive business growth.
- Cost benefits: Employers can receive a Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) for hiring eligible veterans – up to $5,600 for hiring unemployed veterans and up to $9,600 for hiring long-term unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities.
How to Find Veteran Applicants
- Advertise open positions with veteran organizations or on veteran-focused job boards.
- Promote your organization as “veteran-friendly” or “veteran-inclusive” on your website and social media profiles and in job descriptions.
- Work with returnship programs like York Solutions’ Barriers to Entry (B2E) program aimed at veterans. B2E is a comprehensive paid training program open to veterans and military spouses interested in starting a career within IT. It offers employers a pipeline of skilled talent and eases the transition into new careers for veterans.
Tips for Hiring Veterans
- Remember that veterans are no different than any other qualified applicants. If you don’t understand something listed on their resume – a qualification, skill, or previous position, just ask.
- Be curious about the roles they had while serving in the military and how those experiences could be valuable for your organization. Some sample interview questions you can ask:
- What soft skills were most valuable to you while in the military? How will those help you succeed in this position?
- What specialized or technical skills did you develop? How will those apply to our organization?
- What other training did you get in the military that you will be able use in this job?
- What experience did you gain in the military that you will be able use in this role?
Learn more about the Barriers to Entry program.