Sourcing Exceptional Candidates: Military Veterans

military veteransMilitary veteran have always been attractive to employers. Tax credits aside, the soft skills – the personal qualities and emotional intelligence  possessed by this talent pool are important predictors of job performance. Vets are recognized as having a strong work ethic, positive attitude, time management, and communications skills. And, while it’s possible to assess all candidates through pre-employment testing, service men and women are already proven in terms of leadership, resiliency and responsibility.

Full disclosure –  my husband was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army, which probably makes me more qualified than most to wax eloquently on the attributes of this candidate pool. Precision, discipline and teamwork are part of our daily routine.

Why should veterans be part of your candidate sourcing strategy?Here’s an easy one: 90 percent of them already have security clearances, so they’ve been background checked. Other pluses include:

They’re used to playing on a team – Regardless of the branch of service and whether the team was large or small, vets rarely work as individual contributors. Sourcing military talent means you’re assured of a candidate who knows how to play his or her position and contribute to the overall organizational goals.

Falling asleep on the job isn’t an option – Having someone’s life rest on your shoulders means you’re accustomed to being a reliable, steady worker with an exceptional work ethic. Additionally, vets are not frightened off by long hours or non-traditional work environments.

Someone else has already trained them – Even if your training budget is rebounding, rarely is it possible to source a candidate who has been trained to the extent of a veteran. The military features not only occupational training, but leadership, management and operations, further ensuring both hard and soft skills are well developed.

They understand the mission is most important – Tested under circumstances that few civilians can imagine, vets are comfortable being focused and accountable. Whether directly in a leadership role or supporting the overall initiative, candidates with service experience are capable of grasping the big picture and why meeting milestones without drama or complaints is so important.

More than a million service members will exit the military by 2016. Make them part of your war for talent – you’ll be a hero.

Jeanne Achille
Having started her career as a recruiter, Jeanne Achille now heads The Devon Group, a marketing and PR firm that specializes in everything HR.

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