July 13, 2022

National Hire a Veteran Day: How to Hire Veterans

National Hire a Veteran Day was founded by Dan Caporale, Marine Corps Veteran and founder of Hire Our Heroes, a national nonprofit organization. This day, which falls on July 25, is intended to raise awareness for veterans transitioning to civilian employment.

It also encourages employees to hire these veterans who bring a strong work ethic, teamwork, and many other positive traits to the workforce. If you’re a small business owner, you can support and hire vets in various ways.

10 Tips for Hiring and Supporting Veterans

With these pointers, you can hire and support service members who have the potential to take your business to new heights.

1. Understand Basic Military Culture

It’s easier to offer jobs to veterans when you understand the culture they come from. To hone in on their values, policies, and expectations, you can speak to current military members, veterans, and their families. You might also want to visit a military base to experience the culture firsthand.

2. Write Veteran-Friendly Job Descriptions

A job description can attract or deter a veteran. That’s why it’s essential to write compelling job descriptions that specifically cater to those with military backgrounds. Make sure you clearly outline the responsibilities, use easy-to-understand language, and list skills familiar to veterans. For example, if you’re hiring recruiters, emphasize communication skills and the ability to work with job seekers from diverse backgrounds.

3. Ask the Right Interview Questions

When it comes to hiring veterans, you must be strategic with the way you conduct your interviews. During an interview, please find out how a veteran’s military experience can help them excel in the role. Make it clear that you value their former positions and acquired skills even though they may be new to the civilian workforce.

4. Use Recruiter Resources

Fortunately, many resources are designed to help recruiters and hiring managers understand how to hire veterans. These include:

  • The Department of Labor
  • The Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs
  • The Employer Resource Center on Military.com.

These sites discuss how to find and retain qualified veterans.

5. Utilize Social Media

In addition to recruiter resources, you may want to tap into social media to find talented veterans for your open positions. You can connect with veterans and veteran recruiters on LinkedIn pages like Hire America’s Heroes or Facebook pages such as Hire Our Heroes.

6. Consider Transferable Skills

Research has shown that many military members are excited to leave their current positions to pursue fulfilling careers in the civilian world. Just because they may be new to your industry doesn’t mean they won’t be successful in the position.

Countless veterans have used their transferable skills to thrive as salespeople, managers, IT technicians, and other professionals. Do your best to leverage a candidate’s former military occupation and skill set.

7. Promote Yourself as a Veteran-Friendly Employer

When you market your brand, make it clear that you appreciate veterans and hope to add them to your team. You can add information about your dedication to veteran employment on your website's career page and other marketing materials.

If you attend networking events, make it known that you’d like to hire veterans so that others can spread the word.

8. Don’t Forget About Military Spouses

The reality is that although many military spouses are motivated, they’re underutilized due to their career gaps and frequent moves. That’s why hiring and retaining military spouses is in your best interest. Make an effort to support spouses through remote work options and flexibility.

9. Focus on Retention

Retaining veterans is just as important as recruiting them. When you first hire a veteran, invite them to participate in an onboarding program that will set them up for success.

Check in with them regularly and provide honest feedback so they know you value them and their future career. Also, offer frequent praise and try to avoid micromanaging. In addition, be flexible and willing to accommodate any physical or mental disabilities they might have.

10. Offer Mentorship Opportunities

A mentorship program can be a great way to keep veterans engaged and excited about your business. Pair each veteran with an employee you believe they could turn to whenever they have questions or need advice. Mentors should be patient, understanding, and passionate about supporting veterans’ career goals. A mentor who has been in the civilian workforce for a while can do wonders for a veteran’s confidence and motivation.

Conclusion: Become a Veteran-Friendly Workplace

No matter your industry, veterans can be valuable assets to your business. With these tips and a bit of creativity and flexibility, you can attract and retain them with success.