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Best Practices for Hiring Veterans

Before beginning the process of recruiting veterans there are some important factors that you should consider. Connect with our Veteran Services Coordinators and our Business Services teams to learn more about important steps you should take. 

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Best Practices: 

  1. FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM, MAKE SURE EVERYONE IS ON BOARD. Successful veteran hiring programs need “buy-in” by organizational leadership. Hiring cycle support from HR managers at all levels, especially “first-level” screeners, is also critical. Make sure everyone understands your organization’s veteran hiring program and goals.
  1. CREATE A VETERAN “AFFINITY” OR EMPLOYEE RESOURCE GROUP. Many employers have found that having an employer resource group (ERG) is helpful, and it should be as inclusive as possible. For example, the ERG should be open to all employees regardless of whether they are a veteran. The only requirement should be the interest to participate positively. These kinds of groups create a place for veterans to collaborate as well as act as a recruiting and retention tool. To promote the group, you could build a veteran career website or landing page, as well as create veteran hiring flyers.
  1. CREATE A VETERAN MENTORSHIP PROGRAM. This is also a successful tool used by companies who don’t want to create a formal ERG but want to have a support system for their veteran employees. This is especially valuable for the new veteran hires who are learning the company culture.
  1. EMPOWER YOUR EMPLOYEES TO RECRUIT FOR YOU. Do you know how many veterans you currently employ? They can be your best asset when it comes to recruiting more veteran employees. If possible, have employees who are veterans participate in the recruiting process so that they can articulate their positive experiences to job candidates. The veteran community is tight-knit and “word of mouth” is a powerful tool. You can also share success stories of veterans who are employed by your company online and in flyers.
  1. KNOW THE CODES. It helps to know the Military Occupation Codes / Specialties (MOC/S) used in the military. Here are two MOC/S crosswalk tools to learn what skills correspond with specific military occupations:

It is important to understand that while translators will help you understand what someone did in the military, an MOC/S should not be used as an indicator of an individual’s core competencies and/or career aspirations.

  • After the military, not all veterans want to do the same thing they did in the military.
  • Some veterans do many more or different things than a MOC/S indicates. An example would bean Airman who served in the Security Forces but was also augmented an Intelligence Squadron.
  1. DRAFT VETERAN-FRIENDLY JOB DESCRIPTIONS. Shift the descriptions to be “competency-based” versus requiring a certain number of years of experience. A job description stating “2-3 years outside sales experience mandatory” would immediately disqualify the majority of transitioning service members, many of whom may need only minimal training to succeed in a sales position. Here are some common veteran competencies to consider including in your job descriptions:
  • Leadership/achievement orientation
  • Personal ownership and accountability
  • Advancing the organizational mission
  • Building relationships with diverse groups
  • Flexibility
  • Experience working with diverse teams
  • Technical skills
  • Verbal/written communication skills
  • Creative problem-solving/strategic thinking
  • Development of self and others
  • Adaptability to change
  • Experience delivering quality service
  • Loyalty
  • Resilience