Does Your Interview Process Unknowingly Exclude Veterans?
Let’s say your organization recognizes the value of hiring veterans and has the desire to bring them into your workforce. You’ve sourced qualified veterans who are working their way through your hiring process, and several are ready to sit down for an interview. Could it still go wrong from there? Possibly. Melissa Dobbins, founder and CEO of Career.Place, and Tim Mossholder, Vice President of Experience at Bradley-Morris/RecruitMilitary suggest incorporating these points in your interview process for maximum inclusivity.
Provide the Dress Code
Tell veterans what to expect, including what to wear and what to bring. In many cases, a veteran transitioning from military service may never have interviewed for a job before. Many employers may not realize that the promotion system in the military doesn’t necessarily require an interview. An email with instructions to make sure candidates show up on the right foot can go a long way toward lowering anxiety.
Don’t Confuse Interview Inexperience with Job Inexperience
Veterans aren’t used to taking credit, and they can struggle in interviews because of their cultural sensibilities regarding humility and teamwork. Keep in mind as well that a candidate is trying to translate military terms and customs to your organization’s culture and environment. You will often hear veterans say, “We did this,” or “The team did that.” While you might expect someone to directly claim responsibility for success, understand that’s fairly uncommon, even amongst the senior ranks. It doesn’t mean a veteran won’t take the bull by the horns once he or she is hired.
Don’t Assume Using “Sir” or “Ma’am” = “Too Formal”
If it’s bothersome, let them know it’s ok to use your first name. Again, this is part of providing a road map. Understand that this cultural sensibility begins in bootcamp and lasts throughout a career, with “sir” and “ma’am” used as conventions of respect. It’s been a requirement for veterans’ professional communication the entire time they’ve been in service.
Respect When A Candidate Cannot Share Details
Due to security clearances, many candidates cannot share details about a project or operation. Some veterans who worked in areas of high security may even have had their resumes cleared to ensure they don’t contain details that may not be released. If a candidate tells you this, it’s not a reflection of their interest in your role. They want to provide specifics, but they simply cannot.
One talent acquisition manager chose this lens when interviewing a candidate whose military background was highly classified: “His job required commitment, compassion, diligence, and the ability to secure information in a timely manner. A lot of that really translates well to what we do every day. Without giving me anything, he was able to give me everything!” he said. He got the job.
Explain Compensation and Benefits Clearly
Understanding the benefits portion of compensation is critical for a transitioning veteran. By asking questions, a candidate may be seeking more awareness, not trying to haggle over terms. Veterans come from a world of covered healthcare, cost-adjusted housing allowances, and moves that are largely tax free. This changes drastically when they leave the service. The adjustment from non-taxable to taxable income can become a hardship if they haven’t considered those implications with respect to their spending and take-home pay.
Want more best practices for eliminating biases in the hiring process, allowing companies to secure the best veteran talent? Check out our webinar.