How to Secure Talent When the Veteran Unemployment Rate is at a 50-Year Low

Reading a headline like “Veteran unemployment rate is at a 50-year low,” is something to celebrate. Veterans are a group of talented individuals, which are instinctive to rally behind because they have served our country and acquired amazing skill sets in the process.

However, let’s keep in mind that “Veteran unemployment rate is at a 50-year low” is just the headline. When you break down what that can mean for nationwide employers, it translates to increased competition. It means that Veterans have more employment opportunities than they have had in 50 years. It is no longer a matter of if one of these candidates has a competitive offer, but how many offers do they have to choose from.

Retiring baby-boomers, a healthy surge in the economy, and more companies jumping on the bandwagon to hire veterans has created a perfect storm for a race to the finish line to secure military talent.

Finding, screening and matching employers with military talent is what Bradley-Morris has specialized in for the last 27 years.  No one can attest better than our firm to what it takes to connect with the military community. We have been watching the trends in hiring, implementing new processes, and improving technology to stay competitive, as this is our specialty and our success relies upon it.

Winning in a candidate market is increasingly difficult. Clients must be competitive and eager to engage. Here are some tips that can help your team win the leadership and technical skills of the military talent many seek:

  • Speed kills the competition. Make streamlining your hiring process an internal priority. This won’t just affect your ability to hire veterans, but all talent. Assess time wasters and bottlenecks in your hiring process, then craft alternative solutions. Keep interviews moving quickly and keep the candidate’s available dates filled with activity involving your company. Be decisive and get an offer out quickly. Keep decision bands narrow.
  • Develop your team’s skills. How would you rate their engagement, their persuasion, and their ability to identify a good fit for the roles you have open? Top tier candidates like veterans don’t appreciate wasting time with someone who knows little about the position or what success looks like in it. Your team needs to listen for cues, red flags, and points of interest. They need to know if the career progression, company culture, location, and salary are going to work. They need to see the candidate’s entire hand, not just a couple of cards.
  • Make sure your offer is competitive. Look at competing salaries from the job seeker perspective, don’t be afraid to ask the candidate what they are looking for, and realize that internal equity is not market-adjusted.
  • Build relationships with veterans earlier. Even savvy employers who have onboarded several veterans before may need to rethink their “tried and true” timelines in a candidate market such as this. The danger in sticking to regimented timelines is that companies who haven’t define this for themselves may be more flexible and willing to set up pipelines of talent before your team even starts.
  • Be flexible. Oftentimes in the hiring process, compromises may need to be made. Right now, it is highly unlikely that a job seeker is going to have to be flexible when it comes to wages or even perks. Are the requirements of the job description realistic? Could additional onboarding training post-hire broaden the scope of potential applicants?

An efficient and effective hiring process is more critical than ever. The current hiring climate requires a greater depth of candidate interaction and engagement. As technology is leveraged, we must be careful to also increase our focus on the human side of recruiting. Contact us if you’d like to discuss your options, consider Bradley-Morris’ services an additional resource you can use to secure military talent.


Bobby Whitehouse