Attracting Military Veterans

Today I am going to talk about how your company can benefit from hiring our military veterans and having a veteran friendly program at your company. One of your greatest company assets is your employees. I know you want great employees who give you their best and communicate well with your customers.

Sometimes finding cream of the crop employees is hard and takes a lot of work. I am going to go ahead and say that some of the very best employees are military veterans. They have a strong work ethic; they are disciplined, detail-oriented, they adapt to any situation or environment. Hiring a veteran brings strong leadership to your company and is just smart business.

Now I’d like to take a minute to say my motivation for talking about this today is for a couple of reasons. First of all one of our goals at Florida GovCon is to help small businesses gain a competitive edge and succeed by providing the knowledge that can help you make better business decision concerning government contracting, technology, software, social media, marketing, and more. We want you to be able to take your business to the next level. So helping your business learn techniques to find and keep veteran employees will ensure you have a strong and reliable work force.

The other reason is because helping veterans is something I am passionate about. After serving 11 years in the military and getting out of the Marines with a good conduct discharge I thought transition would be really easy. What I found out was there are challenges with finding a good company, and more importantly one that is the right fit. Sometimes there is a communication gap that is hard to get across due to terminology or even the “I vs team” issue. Even after finding a job it can be a real struggle and it might not last if it’s not the right fit. There really needs to be a level of understanding and respect for what our military veterans have been through.

Keep this in mind when thinking about hiring a veteran. Many go in at an early age and spend their life serving their country. They work their way up taking on enormous responsibilities. Think about some of the things they are responsible for: attack and support aircraft, hundreds of troops, deploying units around the world, protecting the nation. I could go on and on but I won’t. In the military you unit, your team is your family. They are like your brothers and sisters. Now think about your company and all the things that you are responsible for.

So these days I do everything I can to help transitioning veterans make a smooth transition. I help with resumes, coaching, networking and introductions. I volunteer at Project Transition USA to help teach monthly classes to transitioning veterans on how to use LinkedIn to create a brand, network, and find a job. I am a student Veteran mentor for the University of South Florida and a couple other veteran mentoring websites.

I want the veterans to find you I want to introduce them to you. Are you veteran friendly? Do you have a reputation for hiring veterans? Have you made it easy for veterans to find you?

How do you get these highly motivated, dedicated, and skilled veterans to join your company, and how do you keep them? That is what we are here to talk about today.

Another exciting thing I just wanted to throw in there is how awesome it is for the last episode of this series not only to be about helping you find the veterans and them finding you but it is also International Podcast Day! I love podcasting, I love helping veterans, and I love helping small businesses. Podcasting gives me the ability to talk about the things I love and to help others succeed at the same time. So for International Podcast day why don’t you help someone too and share this podcast with them. FloridaGovCon.com

So let me answer those questions attracting veterans!

First of all you want to be completely clear about the fact that you support and are interested in hiring veterans. You can add something about this on your website. A great thing to do is have a dedicated page or sub-domain where the information is veteran specific. You can talk about your goals of hiring veterans, you can have testimonials from currently employed veterans, you can highlight jobs available that would be a good fit for veterans, use words like leadership, challenge, team, and career. Having a dedicated page or sub-domain allows you to market directly to veterans and you can use a special URL even using the word veteran. Also on your website be sure to publish your mission statement and core values. This is something veterans understand as they are mission oriented and they will feel more at ease knowing what you stand for. Use military friendly language on your website, let them know about career paths, opportunities for promotion, team events, and that their family is also important to you.

Highlight your current veterans workforce! If you already have military veterans that are employees you can introduce them to potential new veteran candidates. Let them know there is someone that understands them and that will show them the ropes. Have an employee veteran be part of the interview process for veteran candidates. You can mention employee veterans, their branch of service, and how your company has benefited from hiring them. Let veteran candidates know that your company takes a special interest in helping veterans transition from the military to the corporate workplace.

Educate your recruiters to target veterans and change the recruitment process to meet the goal of recruiting veterans. Highlight jobs already identified as a good fit for veterans. Have your recruiters explain why the veteran would be a good fit and how they could be successful in the position. Remember your job descriptions need to be translated into language that veterans can understand and match up with skills they had when serving in the military. You or your recruiters need to be skilled at gauging a veterans proficiency from their resumes. Many recruiters may not be able to translate military skills to a corporate job.

The resumes of many skilled veterans may not make it through your application tracking system if you have one. It should be setup to additionally recognize military related keywords. If possible in your applicant tracking system the resume could even be tagged to separate veteran resumes from the rest of them so a dedicated veteran recruiter can review them. Your recruiters may have to probe for the veterans accomplishments, collateral duties, awards and recognition to figure out if they are a fit for your company and how their experience can add value to your company. Remember they have been trained in a team environment where everything is we and not I so they are not used to talking about themselves or their achievements. It may take multiple rounds of open-ended questions, solid listening skills, and patience.

To be veteran friendly don’t just stop at the recruiters. Ensure you educate your employees about the importance of hiring veterans as well. You could even have a training program for your non-military employees. They can learn about the military community and what they bring to the table.

Once you have hired a military veteran match them up with a mentor, preferably also a veteran, who can show them the ropes of your company. The mentor will make the transition from military to regular life much smoother, and your new hire will feel like the company cares about their growth.

Start the team building right away.  On the veteran’s first day have the mentor show the veteran around and meet the teams and have lunch with the veteran. Introduce the veteran to the chain of command. Go over benefits, policies and procedures, dates for evaluations, career paths and timeline.

So with this information do what you can to make your company military-friendly and be a motivator for military veterans. Watch their leadership and dedication help transform and move your company forward!

And don’t forget to use your social medial accounts to spread the word about your company’s veteran opportunities, veteran friendly program, and your love for veterans and our country.

You can mention FloridaGovCon.com and International Podcast Day too!

Next week Jenny will be starting and is excited to bring you a new series about pricing strategies.

I hope that you have enjoyed this podcast and I hope you enjoy this series.

FloridaGovCon.com is brought to you by Solvabilty. If you have questions or want to learn more about what we can offer you go to Solvability.com and click on contact. There you can request a free system assessment. Thank you for listening and let me know how I can help you?