It’s clear – recruiters love hiring veterans. For defense industry and government contractors, the benefits are tangible – veterans know the customer and there are tax savings for vets hired. If you’re a large company, you likely have a robust military outreach and hiring program. But if you’re a smaller employer or you’re an individual recruiter sourcing for a specific position, it can be more difficult to identify what strategies will work best. Even for employers with the benefit of a vast military outreach program, making a great veteran hire often comes down to the individual recruiter or sourcer. Here are a few concepts to consider as you look to fill your talent pipeline with more military talent.
1. Make a secure profile.
Veterans leaving service today have just been flooded with warnings about spear phishing scams, identity theft, and just all of the details of their private life currently owned by China. If they get your unsolicited LinkedIn request, they’re most likely to reject it – or report it to their security officer. One of the key selling points of ClearanceJobs.com is that online profile data is always 100% private – we don’t share profile pics or resume details with Mr. Google. Security conscious candidates covet that privacy, and are taught to not trust what they might find via a basic Google search.
If you haven’t completed your profile on The Cleared Network, now is the time to do it. Having a profile photo isn’t an option – it’s a requirement if you want to get a call or email back. Completeness also comes down to company information and profiles, as well. Unlike public facing social networking sites, candidates know profiles on The Cleared Network are secure and vetted. Take the time to make a great profile on a secure site such as ClearanceJobs.com.
2. Consider university outreach.
You may think your university outreach program is all about reaching out to ‘young’ talent, but thanks to GI-bill benefits, many veterans are also in the throes of full-time university life. And those veterans often feel like fish out of water in a sea of young faces. Their employment needs are also different – while they may be able to take advantage of an unpaid internship while using their GI bill, they’re likely to be much more aggressive about pursuing full-time employment the moment they graduate. Their salary needs may also be higher. Take that into account. The soft skills veterans bring to the table are intangible, and can often lead to a more long-term, successful hire.
3. Show them the money.
On the topic of compensation, keep in mind that military compensation is different than civilian compensation. Many veterans fail to equate cost-of-living allowances into their ‘prior salary’ calculations. That’s unfortunate, and can set up recruiters and military personnel to be on different wave lengths from the start. If you think a veteran’s salary request is off mark, make sure to clarify how they’re establishing that dollar amount. They may be padding the expectations, or they may just be factoring in the whole benefits package they received while they were working for Uncle Sam. You may not think you can compete, especially at an entry level position, but that’s the time to show how time off and flexibility relate to compensation. Salary may be set, but flexibility is priceless.
4. Clarify Work-Life Balance.
Work-life balance can be key for many vets. Some are willing to transition from crazy military schedules to life as a road warrior; many are looking for careers where they can also focus on building their families and being home. Particularly if your compensation package is lower than expected, show veterans all of the extra perks, including paid time off, or telework. Younger vets, in particular, may be very willing to trade time for money.
5. Give them a mentor.
Don’t wait until they’re hired to link them up with talent already in your company. Informational interviews can be a great way for veterans to test drive new careers and get to know a company. Keep in mind that providing these educational opportunities will pay dividends. Even if they don’t take a job you currently have (or if you don’t have one), being willing to be a resource goes a long way. Veterans have years of civilian career ahead of them. If you can’t be their dream job today, that doesn’t mean you can’t offer it down the road. Make sure your talent pipeline stays warm with regular contact, both online and in-person.
These are just a few points to consider as you continue to make veteran hiring a strategy. We know are employers are leaders in this arena, and have their own great success stories. If you’d like to share your best veteran recruiting success or tactic, drop us a note in the comments!