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Mon, Mar 26, 2012

News & Events

How to Recruit Veterans Effectively

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Monster is co-hosting the Veterans Virtual Career Fair this week, giving veterans and recruiters the chance to connect in a collaborative virtual environment. The event, which is being held March 27-29, is free to our veteran community. I spoke to retired Rear Admiral “T” McCreary, who now serves as a vice president at Monster Worldwide and president of Military Advantage, to learn more about the latest news and trends in veterans employment issues.

What are the biggest challenges facing vets as they transition from military to civilian life?

The biggest challenge facing vets, according to both vets and hiring managers, is translating military skills into civilian-equivalent skills. That is particularly true for those serving in traditional combat roles, where it may not be obvious how their skillsets translate into the private sector. Our Military Skills Translator can help that process. You can enter a military occupational code from any service assignment, and it will give you some civilian-equivalent skills, match then to existing jobs in the Monster/Military.com database and give you idea of how to speak the language of civilian hiring managers.

Culture and language are also big challenges. Military members rarely use the word “I” when taking about accomplishments. They are used to team success. That is the opposite of what you  need to do in a job interview. Vets are used to saying “we” did that, or they underplay what they accomplished because the were “just doing my job” or they were ” just doing what I was trained to do.” Vets need to learn how to appropriately take credit for what they have done.

Also, it falls on the veteran’s shoulders to learn civilian terminology. Look through job boards at how positions are described. Read the skillsets required and use the language you see there. Stop using military terminology unless you are applying for a government job with the military.

What can recruiters and HR professionals do to help with this transition?

  • Interview a little differently. Ask what a military member did in a typical day or week. If they were in a front line combat position, ask them about other duties than their primary job. They will find a lot of hidden skill sets there. Also dig into issues of leadership, teamwork responsibilities other than doing their primary jobs.
  • Tailor the onboarding process. These men and women know how to be trained. They need meat. What am I doing here? What is our mission? Why is this job valuable to the company? Who do I work for? Who has responsibility and authority for outcomes? All these questions and more need to be answered when onboarding a vet. They want to know that a company is worth their toil and sweat. They want to be motivated. They want to be a part of their culture and need insight. Most companies gloss over this in their orientations, but research suggests that an in-depth orientation improves retention and productivity for veterans.

What is the biggest myth corporate recruiters have about hiring veterans?

The biggest myth is that a military members are “trigger pullers” and do not have any transferable skills. In fact, the majority of the military have directly transferable hard skills. They are heavy equipment operators, electricians machinists, welders and electronic technicians. They are doctors, nurses and medical technicians. They are pilots or aircraft mechanics. They are logisticians, program and project managers, financial managers, payroll clerks and HR professionals. They are IT professionals. They are physical security and job safety experts. They are law enforcement professionals. They are trainers and team builders.

The next biggest myth is that they are hiring a vet as a duty to the country. Hiring a vet is not a charitable dutiful action. A Vet should be hired because it is the best business case. You get a trained experience individual who can contribute the company immediately and over the long term. In our Veteran Talent Index, the vast majority of employers reports Vets out perform most in their companies.

Want to learn more about hiring veterans, including our recruitment solutions for employers seeking to hire vets? Check out Monster’s Veteran Employment Resources.

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