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3 Ways to Improve Veteran Hiring All Year Long

A recent CareerBuilder survey revealed an interesting correlation between Veteran hiring versus actual ex-military employment. Conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Career Builder, the nationwide poll surveyed upwards of 2,500 hiring and human resource managers as well as 256 full-time employed veterans.

CareerBuilder Survey Results: 

  • 38 percent of employers are actively recruiting veterans over the next year
  • 47 percent have hired a veteran in the last year, compared to 44 percent in 2014
  • Nearly a third of employed veterans (31 percent) say they are underemployed or in a low-paying job (up 23% from last year)
  • 65 percent say they are satisfied with their jobs (down two percentage points since 2014)


The good news is that employers continue to plan and invest in veteran recruiting efforts. However, it seems that there is a disconnect between the position and salary for veteran employees. And, while this isn’t the first time we’ve reported on mismatches in compensation, in this instance, it is avoidable.   


While fair compensation is a factor, it’s certainly more complex than pay when it comes to operating a successful and long-term veteran hiring program. Often the first touch point, HR or recruiting is ill equipped to effectively communicate with transitioning military candidates.  And, when communication is lacking, both the esteemed veteran and company looking to do good by our service personnel lose.


3 Ways to Improve Veteran Hiring

Members of your organization who engage with military candidates need to be properly equipped to communicate and connect with them. By neglecting to make veteran hiring a priority from the top down, this will undoubtedly set the tone of veteran hiring efforts throughout your organization.


Make Veterans a Priority All Year Round

There are a number of ways you can make veterans a priority today or better yet, all year round. As part of Day & Zimmermann, Yoh actively participates with a dedicated Veteran Employee Resource Group (VERG) comprised of a mix of ex-military, HR and training employees. Together, this group meets regularly to discuss how to best welcome and engage with ex-military and families of those currently serving.

The solution

Steve Selfridge, President of SOC, and together with VERG recognized the gravity a modest gesture can make. Leading up to Veteran’s Day, VERG asked select leaders within the SOC, Day & Zimmermann and Yoh organizations to take a moment to recognize self-identified military employees by addressing a personalized letter and esteemed token of gratitude.

This included a subset group of 600 SOC employees, currently working in the United States and abroad, who have previously served in the United States Armed Forces. Selfridge states, “We take tremendous pride in the sacrifice our employees have made for our country and continue to make today through our work of supporting the same mission, as a partner to the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of State and other federal agencies.”

The impact

When asked the impression this program left one of those vets on the receiving end, this was their response:

“When I received a letter addressed from the Yoh CEO to my home, I was obviously very interested in the contents (who wouldn’t be?).  When I read the two letters, one from our CEO and one from the President of Yoh, and the lapel pin, I was so impressed that a company would even take the time for a personalized note.  I’m continually energized by the history and patriotism of our organization.  Many companies have women and men that have served our country, but our leadership has set the bar high as to the recognition of that service and thus truly showing others our strong value system. Semper Fi!”


Establish Recruiter Training Programs      

Sourcing and recruiting talent is a core service Yoh offers; of which includes veteran recruiting. When reviewing military resumes, it can be confusing for HR and recruiting professionals not versed in military terms to identify top talent or transferable skills. 

With this in mind, Yoh established a Veterans training initiative. We created a comprehensive eCourse that outlined tactful tools and helpful resources to bridge the communication gap between military to civilians; including commonly used military terms, military job boards, and veteran resume posting sites.


Provide Veteran Resources

There are a number of not so obvious barriers that transitioning military or veterans returning to the workforce must overcome. From understanding civilian versus military compensation packages to knowing how and where to search for work, these are tasks that many of us take for granted.

To counteract these challenges, we suggest creating a dedicated company page to house veteran resources. Include items that will assist vets returning back to work; see the items listed below.

If you are unable to easily create new content, you can post articles to support military hiring initiatives on your company’s social media profiles or through an internal newsletter. You might consider such subjects as how to leverage military experience on your resume, understanding the current job/salary market, etc.


To positively impact veteran hiring at your place of work, it’s important to lead by example. For Yoh, Veteran hiring is much more than an initiative. It’s a core belief we’ve hung on to since supporting our armed troops providing them staff for war production and training back in 1940.

With each new business entity, the philosophy of rewarding and recognizing ex-military has remained intact. Through strategic planning and most importantly, open lines of communication, we are able to tap into the full benefits of Veteran hiring, which can be both heartfelt and impactful to the bottom-line. Take the time to get to know vets, learn to speak the same language and you’ll be certain to create a program that makes these unique individuals feel like a priority for more than just a day.


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