How to Successfully Recruit Veterans

November 27, 2013

At LinkedIn, our mission is simple: connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. And we believe we can help every professional find their dream job. That includes Veterans. Wait, no, especially Veterans. In my humble opinion, there is no one more deserving of their dream job than a U.S. Veteran.

You probably already know some of the reasons Veterans make great hires (built-in leadership skills, integrity, teamwork, respect, performance under pressure – not to mention tax incentives!), but do you know how to recruit them? Joe Vroman, Matt Luther and John DiPiero (all proud military Veterans themselves) happily agreed to be panelists at a Talent Connect session called Why Military Recruitment Matters. Here are some of the unique insights and tips our experts shared about hiring Veterans – and why it should matter to you, too.

What you’ll need to start a Veteran hiring program:

  • Executive Sponsorship and Passionate Advocates who help ensure success of your program
  • Identify roles that are a good fit for military personnel transitioning to civilian life
  • Identify the Veterans you have working for you and enlist their assistance
  • Train your recruiters on how to recruit and enable Veterans

Sounds easy enough, right?  It will take some work, and these things don’t happen overnight. But creating a program of your own can certainly be accomplished if you do your research and create a plan. Work with your HR Department to identify Veterans working at your own company, and enlist their help in developing your plan. Also, use LinkedIn to find Veterans within your own network who might be willing to assist you, even if they don’t work for your company. Chances are they’ll be more than willing to help!

Why create a separate program to recruit Veterans?

Now you might be asking, what’s so special about hiring Veterans?  Here are a few insights into some of the unique components of veteran hiring:

  • Veterans aren’t always comfortable with the civilian form of networking – they find it to be a little aggressive and it often makes them feel uneasy. You can help them understand that traditional networking is not only OK, but is actually a respected way to find their next job and become better at what they do.
  • Veterans typically don’t know how their military skills translate to civilian roles, and neither do recruiters. Use data to understand what roles translate best within your own organization and help recruiters understand why Veterans would be a good fit for these roles.
  • Veterans transitioning into civilian roles don’t necessarily want to do the same thing they did in the military – they want to understand what career opportunities are available (which may or may not match their military skills). When they identify a role they’re interested in, help them understand what the career path looks like and what experience is needed to qualify, then train them to get the skills they need to get the job they want. They’re worth your investment!

Resources to help you get started:

As my Dad (an Army Veteran) always says, “Nothin’ to it but to do it!”  So get out there and start creating your program. Here are a few easy tools you can leverage today to start hiring Veterans:

  • Check out the great resources on LinkedIn’s NEW Veterans site
  • Step-by-Step hiring toolkit
  • Guide to Hiring Veterans
  • Resources for Military Skills Translation
  • Join existing Veterans groups on LinkedIn (try Veteran Mentor Network)
  • Provide resources for recruiters to assist transitioning Veterans (Tips for Veteran Job Seekers, How Veterans Use LinkedIn for their Careers)
  • Get valuable stats about Veterans on LinkedIn
  • Create a Veterans group on LinkedIn for your own company
  • Enhance your onboarding materials to include tools for Veterans
  • Create a company playbook for employees mentoring transitioning Veterans
  • Create peer mentor & senior mentor programs for Veterans
  • Ask for help from people you know who have already created successful veteran hiring programs
  • Ask for advice on where to find the best resources (LinkedIn and otherwise)
  • Ask if they’ll share outlines or project plans for their own programs
  • Ask them to share search strings for Veterans within LinkedIn Recruiter

Joe, Matt & John are extremely passionate about helping talent acquisition teams create their own hiring programs, and they’re happy to help you, too! Connect with them on LinkedIn (Joe Vroman, Matt Luther, John DiPiero), and join their group on LinkedIn Military Recruitment Playbook to ask questions and gain valuable insights. You can also contact Sarah Worley at the U.S. Chamber about ways to help military spouses find meaningful employment.

No doubt you’ve got Veterans sitting right under your nose within your own organizations. Get to work recruiting them as your ambassadors!



* image by PANationalGuard