It’s National Hire a Veteran Day today. (Talk about a Hallmark holiday). If you’re a recruiter in the defense industry, you’re probably shrugging your shoulders and thinking, ‘Hey, EVERY day is hire a veteran day!’ It’s true – veterans are a critical part of the national security industry, and a key part of the candidate database here at ClearanceJobs.com, where roughly 75% of our candidates are veterans.
When it comes to hiring veterans, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The veteran population is diverse, so your veteran recruiting strategy should reflect that. But there are a few tested and true approaches to making sure your hiring approach is veteran friendly. Here are five tactics for how to hire a veteran.
1. Have a Veteran-Friendly employee networking group.
Employee networking groups are an increasingly popular way to build culture within companies. And they’re also critical places to build your referral programs. Having a military-focused community can give you a great hub to help welcome and onboard new hires with a military background. Those hubs then lay the groundwork for you to build out your referral programs, and connect your current hires with their peers who may be interested in a career with your company.
These groups can also help you foster a community that’s welcoming to veterans. Vets transitioning into the civilian workforce bring both unique strengths and unique challenges. Having a core of employees who’ve gone through the same experience can help create a smoother transition for your veteran hires.
2. Connect with Career-Minded Veteran Groups.
Talent communities specific to veterans include targeted groups on sites like ClearanceJobs.com, as well as networking groups gathering talent for meetups and events. Many organizations offer resources that help veterans translate their military skills into the civilian workforce. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes was founded to connect veterans and their families with relevant job opportunities. They host a number of networking events across the country (and are the founders of the national ‘Hire a Veteran’ day).
3. Help Vets Advance Their Education.
Many – though not all – who serve often defer college education or advanced degrees in order to perform their military service. You can help them make up that time by providing education benefits, tuition reimbursement, or flexible work schedules that allow veterans to pursue degrees or certifications.
Even if your company cannot afford robust education benefits, you can provide educational resources to help vets capitalize on their G.I. Bill benefits and other unique veterans programs. For example, the VA’s VET TECH program allows veterans with at least one day of G.I. Bill entitlement to enroll in technical certification programs for things like software coding. You can also offer bonuses or opportunities for promotion to incentivize employees to advance their educations.
4. Partner with Other Companies.
You’re not the only company who’s making veteran hiring a priority. And this is one area where the mission trumps the competition. Companies like Microsoft are actively working to prepare more veterans for tech careers – even tech careers with other companies. Companies like BAE Systems have robust programs to help transitioning service members get their boots in their door. As Amazon brings their HQ2 to the D.C. area, they too are targeting veterans for their workforce. ManTech has just started an apprenticeship program in cybersecurity specifically geared toward veterans. Work with other companies to launch networking events, promote job interview techniques and enhance civilian workplace skills.
Learn from other companies and work with them to enhance your veteran hiring program. Because every day is ‘hire a veteran day.’