The Two Most Common Recruitment Marketing Mistakes Companies Make when Trying to Attract Military Veterans to their Company Website

If improving how you are recruiting military veterans is on your list of diversity initiatives for the coming year, you need to know that there are two common mistakes many companies make when trying to attract military veterans to apply through their company web site.

First, let’s start with a definition. The term “bounce rate” is an Internet marketing term that refers to the percentage of single-page visits. In other words, a visit in which a person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. Is your company tracking the bounce rate from your main career page? A high bounce rate is an indicator that your entrance page isn’t relevant to your visitors. “I didn’t see what I was looking for, so <bounce> – I’m outta here!”

Presumably, your company has invested a lot of money in the development of its employer brand and its career page. Perhaps your company even has a team that monitors the effectiveness of the branding effort and tracks recruitment metrics for the number of applicants, by type, received through the career site. Are you tracking the number of veterans who apply through your main career page?

If the number of military veterans applying through your career page is very low, it may be that your company is committing one or both of the most common mistakes companies make when trying to attract service members to apply.

Mistake #1: No customized information for military veterans accessible from the career home page. Make it obvious from the home page that you are interested in recruiting military veterans. A simple link or a dramatic graphic calling out for “Military Veterans – Click Here!” will capture a service member’s attention and indicate right from jump street that you understand their information needs are different and that you are making an effort to address that need.

When I get push back from companies on this idea, I ask them if they have a special link for college students/university relations on their career page. The majority of them do. And when I ask why the company has customized information for that demographic, I get explanations such as:

  • This is a group that is searching for their first job and they need a lot of additional info on company culture and career paths.
  • This is a group that is likely, for the first time, applying for a job online, and they aren’t clear on how to put a proper resume together, how to navigate an applicant tracking system (ATS), and how the application review process works once the resume is uploaded.

At which point I remind them that they just described the same challenges that military members face when transitioning to the civilian sector. The main difference is, of course, the veteran has 4-5 or more years of direct, relevant work experience than the college student. But they’ve never had to put a resume together (we don’t need them in the military), they’ve never had to apply for a job (we are given assignments), and they definitely don’t know what happens after they click “submit”, other than they sometimes get an almost instantaneous automated rejection notice from the ATS with no explanation for why they don’t meet the criteria for the job.

Mistake #2: Hiding the customized information for military veterans under the “Diversity” link. Human resources professionals consider “veteran” to be a diversity category for a variety of reasons. However, the military member does not consider him/herself to be a diversity category and as such will not think to look under the diversity link to see if customized information resides there.

If you are looking for more information on recruitment marketing tactics for attracting military veterans, consider signing up for my webinar entitled “Marketing to Attract the Military Applicant”. I not only show you what you can do to attract more veterans to your company, I also explain why certain tactics work.

Otherwise, spend some time researching what companies on the Most Valuable Employers (MVE) for Military and G.I. Jobs Top 100 Military Friendly Employers lists are doing on their career pages.