The Unknown Benefits of Hiring Veterans

September 3rd, 2014 | Articles, Hiring Resources | No Comments »

Hiring Veterans

Hiring for a technical fit alone has a tendency to backfire. A CareerBuilder survey found that 60% of bad hires are people who clash with their peers and 59% have a bad attitude from the start. A candidate who is both a cultural fit and a quick study is the safer and smarter bet. However, the benefits of hiring veterans, many of who have the leadership and problem-solving skills that employers desire, still go woefully overlooked.

Veterans Face Greater Unemployment Rates

The truth is in the numbers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the unemployment rate among recent veterans surpasses the national average. In the July 2014 jobs report, overall unemployment inched up to 6.2%. The unemployment rate of Gulf War II veterans, who served from September 2001 onward, drastically increased from 7.7% the year before to 9.2%.

What is the Disconnect?

Discrimination against veterans is not the issue. The problem isn’t even a lack of transferrable skills between military and civilian roles. What deters most employers is an inability to decode the value that veterans in the workforce bring.

Military job titles and official jargon can make a recent veteran’s resume difficult to decipher. Certainly, there are technologies and duties that only pertain to military service; however, it’s unwise to overlook their broad range of transferrable skills.

In the technical fields, veterans have often used many of the same technologies and techniques that are of value in the private sector. Whether a veteran fortified network connections or maintained vital propulsion systems for an aircraft carrier, the core principles are no different than that of the civilian world. In fact, many have received regular training and further certification as they gained hands-on experience.

That’s just on the technical side. Veterans can also fill in the gaps with their extensive list of transferrable soft skills.

Why Veterans Offer a Good Cultural Fit

For one, servicemen and women are no strangers to juggling responsibilities. Technical responsibilities, rigorous training programs, fitness routines, and on-base operations are expected to be conducted without fail.

Additionally, their ability to work as a team is often unparalleled. A healthy military outfit operates as a unit. In basic training, it’s made clear that the needs of the individual are subordinate to the needs of the whole. Flash forward to a civilian setting and you have an employee willing and able to adjust to the working styles of others to bring projects to completion.

So, there are obvious benefits of hiring veterans, but the trick is translating their military history into something you can understand.

What to Look for in a Recent Veteran?

  • The Right Military Experience – If you don’t know what certain military jargon or titles mean, there are ways to get a translation. In fact, there are skills translators online that, though directed at job seekers, can prove to be handy for employers. As with any other candidate, it’s better to hire someone who can grow from comparable skills into the position.
  • Regular Promotion through the Ranks – Though a veteran’s rank isn’t the only criteria to evaluate them, it can help you to get a better sense of their aptitude and drive. Unfamiliar with military ranking? The Department of Defense offers a guide to officer ranks across all military divisions.
  • Creative Solutions in Assigned Tasks – Depending on the exact role, a veteran may or may not be able to choose projects. However, an exceptional candidate is one who manages to exercise creativity in the task he or she is given. In the interview, they should be able to explain the resourceful ways they worked within the military hierarchy to achieve success.

by James Walsh

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