Every year, nearly 250,000 service members transition from military to civilian life. They join thousands of other veterans across the nation who are looking to advance their careers outside of the highly disciplined military environment. Veterans are a desirable demographic for companies of varying sizes and industries, and it takes a special mindset and knowledge to recruit them.
Are you ready to start your veteran recruitment efforts? These seven essential steps can help establish your staffing firm as a military friendly employer:
1. Strategy First
To effectively reach and recruit veterans, it is important to develop a separate veteran recruiting strategy, tailored to their needs. Veterans often begin their search for a civilian job a year or more out from their actual departure from the military. That means they may not look for your services in the same places as civilians would.
2. Spend the Time
While many civilian workers are looking for a more “high tech” job search, many veterans need a more “high touch” approach, requiring more investment from individuals or teams in your company. This investment could include things like spending money to train and educate your recruiters or re-wording job descriptions in ways that veterans would understand and relate to.
3. Speak Their Language
Many veterans learn on the job or receive specific skills training throughout their careers. Many others attend school during their time in the military and emerge with a bachelor’s degree in a discipline that doesn’t directly match their military experience. It’s the recruiter’s job to translate these skills and communicate effectively with both the recruit and the client.
4. Specialize Your Business
Once you’ve developed an understanding of military culture and experience, and you begin investing in building relationships with veterans, you can designate your business as a “staffing firm of choice” for veterans. To help your staffing firm stand apart as veteran-friendly, try highlighting successful veterans in your marketing materials and on your website, participate in veteran specific job fairs and provide in-person veteran training.
5. Some Dos and Don’ts
As you begin regularly recruiting and interacting with veterans, there are some dos and don’ts to help facilitate effective communication. For example, DO thank veterans for their service. DO prompt veterans to “speak freely.” DON’T mistake the formal style of military communication for coldness, unfriendliness or poor verbal skills. And DON’T pigeonhole veterans. Give them an opportunity to express their individuality and unique qualifications.
6. Seek Extra Support and Partnerships
Once you get the hang of veteran recruitment, expect your business to grow. This growth may happen gradually or all at once, and it can be helpful to have partners, organizations and resources on hand to help support that growth. Some helpful resources include The Value of a Veteran, RecruitMilitary and the Veterans Hiring Toolkit, just to name a few.
7. Set Yourself Up for Success
While there are many tactics for reaching veterans, the number one way is through referrals. Veterans have a kinship and team spirit from the military that continues into their civilian life. They love connecting with and sharing resources with other veterans. If your staffing firm can successfully help these individuals, you can be sure they will spread the word to their friends and colleagues.
Bottom line: Recruiting veterans isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s a great way to grow your business.
Interested in establishing your own veteran recruiting program? Download the complete guide to learn more.