“Thanks” is Nice but, “You’re Hired” Is Better


As we approach Veteran’s Day, many veterans will hear, “thank you for your service.” Kind words many patriotic Americans like to offer to veterans who’ve put their lives and time on the line to serve in our armed forces. While our service men and women returning from active duty surely appreciate the sentiment, it’s safe to say they’d prefer to hear “you’re hired” instead upon their return. As we pause to reflect on Veteran’s Day this year, let’s look at the dynamics required to help our returning veterans achieve a smooth reentry into the civilian workforce.

Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) reported on the recently released 2018 Veteran Hiring Survey produced by Monster and Military.com which polled hundreds of returning veterans nationwide. The insights it contained are quite useful to those organizations that would be employers of returning veterans.

For example, understanding where vets envision themselves in the civilian workforce is an important factor in developing the most effective recruitment strategies. While all hiring organizations are receptive to the idea of hiring veterans for their discipline, dedication and work ethic, the three sectors in which vets are most interested in attaining new roles are: information technology/information services, defense technologies, and government. Not to say that there aren’t roles in other sectors that would be appropriate—both for employee and employer—but recruitment efforts aimed at veterans in these sectors could yield the best results.

If your organization seeks to harness the strength of returning veterans but you’re in sectors not among those identified above as preferential, then it will be critical to step up efforts to bridge the gap. Too often, recruiters and companies hiring veterans fail to properly engage these resources in ways that are mutually beneficial. The SIA article explains, “When it comes to translating military skills and communicating those skills to employers, more than 67% of [poll] respondents said they did not feel like they found work at a comparable level to their military service, and 55% felt recruiters and HR professionals didn’t understand their military skills. 33% of veteran respondents still feel underemployed today.”

To bridge the gap, there are five steps hiring organizations can take to ensure better alignment between their offerings and the skills brought to the table by former military personnel.

  1. Make it known that your company accepts military training in place of civilian credentials
  2. Advertise your organization’s track record of hiring veterans
  3. Employ recruitment personnel who are themselves veterans
  4. Run special programs specifically focused on onboarding veterans
  5. Establish support groups and other internal organizations for veteran employees within your operation

With today’s talent shortage, particularly in the IT and tech sectors, it makes perfect sense to take full advantage of the talented men and women of the armed forces returning and seeking reentry into the civilian workforce. The report underscores the availability of this pool of qualified talent noting that a whopping 94% of returning vets seek employment after leaving the military. Most say they prepare for a job before leaving active duty.

Do all you can to help these brave warriors make the transition. It is a great act of patriotism in support the kind words frequently offered and an exceptional way to celebrate Veteran’s Day!

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