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Expert Tips to Source & Hire Veteran Candidates

Military_Men_Flag_Yoh_Blog.jpgVeterans are some of the most unique, most qualified and most misunderstood candidates in the job market. If your organization is committed to employing Veteran candidates, you'd better be prepared to equip recruiters with the proper training to get the job done right. 

Some Veteran employees have spent the bulk of their professional career in the armed forces. As a result, many are more comfortable reporting to a different type of leader than you or I am accustomed to. Moreover, consider the fact that some of these individuals have never had to submit a resume to advance their career. This ought to provide you with some context as to why Veteran candidates might not have a proper, up-to-date or even searchable resume. 

We take Veteran hiring pretty seriously around here. So much so, we've dedicated a large portion of our Recruiter Certification Program to diversity and Veteran recruiting. Here's the thing, when it comes to recruiting Veterans, there is a completely different language you'll need to learn to be effective. One that is not teachable overnight. Like their dedication to proudly serving our country, it’s going to take some work on your end to identify and communicate with this unique candidate group.

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There are a number of challenges associated with Veteran recruiting. But with the proper training and a little help from the following Veteran recruiting tips, you'll be able to do your part in securing these exceptional men and women a place back into the workforce. 


Learn How to Identify Transferable Skills

For some roles, military experience is a requirement. However, there are other openings that could benefit from a Veteran candidate – you just might not realize it. To give you an example, if I were to receive a job requisite for a candidate that needed to work in a fast-paced, hazardous environment where they are focused on maintenance or material handling tasks, I instinctively think of an Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (ABM). These individuals direct and supervise navy staff and equipment in one of the most hazardous work environments, on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

The moral of my story is that the Armed Forces use a language and terminology that is completely different than what is used by the private sector. It's not realistic to think you'll master this talent in months or even years, but you can make yourself aware of these terms by cross referencing publically posted lists of varying military occupations and codes. Acclimate yourself with some common jobs, ratings, tabs and schools to help broaden your search as well as to expand your conversation with potential candidates. 


Create a Relationship with Military Networking Groups

Military networking groups can provide you with direct access to diverse and military talent through exclusive job boards, resume databases, conferences and/or networking events. However, if your plan is to approach these groups with the goal of filling a job, don't expect to get very far. 

Connecting with these groups should be a part of a long-term recruiting strategy for you or your organization. Like most networking opportunities, you get what you give. I suggest identifying which group is most aligned with your hiring needs and really make it a point to get involved on an on-going basis. 


Reach Out to Internal Employee Groups 

Connecting with people inside your organization is an easy and often overlooked Veteran sourcing strategy. Usually, HR or someone within the company has access to contacts with military affiliations. If this is not the case, can you request to create a database for this purpose?

Once you are approved to gain access to this information, start making the connection between you and other individuals in the company. A few important items to note here.

  • Be sensitive in your approach. You might want to start out with an email informing them of your intention.
  • I've found that most employees will want to help if they trust you have the best interest of hopeful candidates in mind. 

As a recruiter, you bring certain skills and knowledge to the table that benefit Veteran candidates and vice versa. When using any of the tips above, the partnership aspect is key. Having a genuine interest in finding Veterans candidates the right job should be your top motivation.


About the Author: Justin Favela is a recruiter tasked with connecting world class engineering talent with one of the world’s largest Aviation companies. As an experienced recruiter and program manager, Justin’s experience spans commercial and military environments. Connect with Justin on LinkedIn to chat about upcoming recruiting opportunities or to discuss some of his other passions; which includes watching soccer, reading and cooking spicy foods.

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