10 Step Checklist to Find the Best Talent

The strong economy and tight labor market mean the demand for quality hires far outpaces supply across every industry. Employment data tells us that companies know hiring veterans makes good business sense. In January 2020, the veteran unemployment rate was 3.1%, with non-veteran unemployment at 3.4%For 17 consecutive months, the veteran unemployment rate came in lower than the non-veteran unemployment rate.

Use this checklist as you look for talent in the military niche:

1. Embrace the Diversity of the Military Community

Study after study shows that diverse companies make more profits. As you look for talent, aim your search at an existing diverse community: the military. Annual reports show that nearly one third of the military community is made up of racial minorities. That number is projected to grow in the next two decades, according to veteran population projections from the Department of Veterans Affairs. More women are serving as well. Since 2000, more female active duty enlisted members and officers serve, rising from 14.7% and 14.4%, respectively, in 2000 to 16.2% and 18.0% in 2018.

Today’s military is a melting pot where everyone works together. An Army veteran now working as a recruiter in the education space credits his service for giving him the ability to be able to talk to people from all different backgrounds. “You deal will all kinds of personalities in the military. It helps you learn to work with everyone,” he said.

2. Defer to the Experts

Navigating the veteran hiring space can be challenging. Because most Americans are civilians, including most HR professionals, they may know little about the military. Nevertheless, understanding the skills acquired during military experience and how they apply to post-military employment is vital. Full-service veteran hiring authorities with access to a large veteran population are an efficient way to source quality veteran candidates.

Firms like Bradley-Morris and RecruitMilitary offer large veteran candidate pipelines and tools to create long-term veteran hiring initiatives. Because we are veterans, too, understanding military occupations, military life, and the changeover to a civilian environment is in our DNA. We grasp the subtleties in a veteran’s background or MOS that qualify them to lead people and manage projects and operations.

3. Add a Military Recruiter to Your Team

Many of the most successful veteran hiring initiatives are led by veterans as companies look for talent. “It helps to talk to another veteran,” said one military hiring program director. “I can relate and speak their language. I’ve walked that walk before.”

One industrial painting company hired mostly seasonal employees decided to hire permanent employees who represented their brand well. The company recognized that veteran hires would help build a more professional image for their company. They acknowledged that they didn’t speak the language of the military and hired a veteran to head their veteran hiring initiative.

4.Attend Career Fairs

The ability to meet, assess and speak in depth with candidates makes veteran career fairs a cost-effective screening tool. Over a four-hour span, they deliver exposure to hundreds of veteran job seekers. On-the-spot hires occur frequently.

One recruiter noted, “Job fairs are a great way to connect qualified veterans with our talent needs.”

Recruiters often “matchmake” and network with other exhibitors while at an event. “We’re all there with the same objective to hire veterans, so we try to help each other out,” said one frequent attendee.

5.Tips for Career Fair Success:

  • Send representatives who are knowledgeable about the company’s open positions
  • Ask a veteran employee to attend
  • Don’t hide behind your table - be outgoing, enthusiastic, and engage with job seekers
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to interview candidates on the spot
  • Don’t leave early - you may miss your ideal candidate

6. Prize Leadership Over Direct Experience

Veterans possess high levels of initiative. They absorb training quickly and their service proves that they can think beyond just themselves. As you look for talent, remember that experience can be trained. Veterans already have leadership and drive.

One national cosmetics retailer prizes leadership skills over direct experience. “A lack of specific experience is expected,” said the company’s HR director. “We want to hear about their leadership qualifications. If a candidate can show they possess fundamental qualities, we can teach them the business side of the job.”

7. Learn the Talent Pool

The best placements come from companies that work hard to understand military life. They use that understanding to place veterans into the right role. There’s so much jargon in the military that recruiting veterans often requires an extra level of probing. One manufacturing recruiter said, “If a candidate tells you they worked as a 91B (wheeled vehicle mechanic) in the Army, don’t let that shut down the conversation. Go deeper by saying something like, ‘Tell me more about that. What were your duties?’”

Another aerospace recruiter added, “Instead of just glancing through a resume, stop and ask, ‘What does this mean?’ Google is your friend. Don’t know what someone’s rank means? Google what a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (SNCO) does. You will find that the time invested up front could make all the difference in finding the right person.”

8. Recognize Intangible Skills

Most veterans have undergone inspections and audits. They understand quality control and standard operating procedures. “The value that veterans bring to a business is in no way limited to technical ability,” said a sales vice president for national logistics company. “It’s in things like leadership, commitment to people and training, and being able to work as part of a team.”

Veterans are accustomed to dealing with gray areas and ambiguity, something that is hard to train. They also learn to voice concerns. “I was used to having conversations with my superiors that were necessary, but not always pleasant,” said one Army veteran. “I also learned to arrive with a solution and not a complaint and to present the reasons why I made my decisions.”

9. Use Job Boards to Help You Look for Talent

Veterans are encouraged to register on job boards during transition classes. Sophisticated filtering techniques that allow for precise searches to targeted candidates make database subscriptions an extremely cost-effective option for recruiters. We even use it ourselves.

RecruitMilitary’s advanced search engine powered by Google helps employers find the right personnel quickly. The remote work functionality also provides a better job search experience and allows clients to make remote work opportunities in the U.S. more discoverable on their career sites.

10. Recognize the Perks of Hiring Veterans

Today’s military is an all-volunteer force. That means applicants endure a comprehensive screening process to measure aptitude, personal characteristics, and more. Employers benefit from accessing a pool of veteran talent that has already undergone a rigorous screening process.

Veteran hires also bring security clearances, tax breaks for hiring veterans, and OFCCP compliance.

Our webinars and solutions help companies understand the many qualities veterans can bring to their team.

A company speaks through its hires. Veterans exude leadership and discipline and come from a team environment where they work closely together to get things done. Keep that in mind as you look for talent.