The unemployment rate among military veterans is at 2.5% as of August 2022, a downward trend from 2.7% in July 2022 and from 3.6% in the previous year. That means one thing for employers: increased competition for high-quality veteran talent. Savvy business owners know that hiring veterans is not only a patriotic thing to do — it’s also good for business.
Despite research that shows that military veterans are more productive and have less turnover than others, biases persist that are roadblocks to hiring vets. This perception is something that needs to change. If your company is asking “Why hire veterans?” hiring managers may be facing several misconceptions.
Common Reasons Why Employers Shy Away From Veterans
Here are some of the reasons employers give for not hiring veterans, and why they shouldn’t be deterrents:
“I can’t tell what they did from their resume.”
The military has over 7,000 jobs across more than 100 functional areas. Most of these jobs have a direct equivalent in the civilian job force. Hiring managers need to understand what skills they’re looking for in order to understand how a veteran’s experience might fit. It might be more work for the hiring manager, but if you can uncover fresh talent in the market, won’t that be worth it?
“They don’t have the experience we need.”
Are you sure? What questions did you ask? Asking directly about a veteran’s customer service experience, for example, may elicit a brief and unsatisfying response. Asking how they solved problems for teammates may tell a different story about their customer service-related crossover skills.
Hiring managers increasingly need strong interviewing skills to get the most out of interviews with veterans, who typically don’t brag about their accomplishments. The need for stronger interviewing skills comes into play when recruiting other non-traditional candidates like career changers and early career professionals. To fully realize the benefits of hiring veterans, employers just need to get better at interviewing.
“I need someone who can lead, not just take orders.”
This persistent stereotype has deterred some hiring managers from considering veterans. In actuality, the military provides leadership experience and great responsibility at a young age.
For example, the average age of a Marine is 19. At 20, most Marines become non-commissioned officers who are placed in leadership positions. In the military, leadership training includes learning how to foster cultural inclusion, motivating a diverse workforce, solving complex problems, and accomplishing goals — all under stressful conditions.
“I don’t want to deal with PTSD.”
While combat-related PTSD is a serious issue, it’s important to keep it in perspective; only 2% of veterans will be seriously impacted by PTSD.
These are valid concerns, but they don’t tell the whole story. There are many benefits of hiring veterans that far outweigh the challenges.
10 Benefits of Hiring Veterans
The benefits of hiring veterans go well beyond filling a role. Here are 10 reasons why hiring veterans could positively impact your company and your culture:
1. Veterans are adaptable.
While on active duty, military men and women deal with varied circumstances that require versatility. Veterans have often traveled, worked for diverse bosses, learned about different cultures, and faced adverse situations.
2. Veterans take their responsibilities seriously.
At a young age, military people learn that there are serious consequences to their decisions — sometimes involving life or death. Veterans have faced trials that most people haven’t, and as a result, they learn to be responsible individuals.
3. Veterans are loyal.
While many workers jump to a new job every year, the military takes a multi-year commitment. With the high cost of hiring and training, a veteran could prove to be the best choice.
4. Veterans truly understand teamwork.
Their lives may depend on how well they work together. Increasingly, managers recognize the need to hire not only smart, talented people, but those who work well in teams and are dedicated to something larger than a paycheck. Achieve proudly supports a veterans and veterans family resource group focused on supporting veterans and community building.
5. Veterans have learned resilience.
Resilient people bounce back in the face of failure and setbacks; they don’t crack under pressure. Veterans have developed courage in the face of fear, which will help them face up to challenges at work.
Examples of veterans living out those principles are abundant in the work world. One example is a well-known businessman and philanthropist Bob Parsons, who enlisted in the Marines in 1968. He credits that experience for his extraordinary success: “I graduated magna cum laude in college after the military. I would have never done that without the Marine Corps. I taught myself how to program a computer. I would have never done that without the Marine Corps. Everything I’ve ever done I owe to the Marine Corps.”
5. Veterans have experience with global diversity.
With military bases located all over the world, it’s not uncommon for veterans to have worked with people from diverse cultures. In fact, the military is one of the most diverse workplaces in the world.
6. Veterans are detail-oriented.
In the military, even the smallest details can make a big difference, so members of the military learn to pay attention to detail. This can be a valuable skill in any workplace.
7. Veterans have leadership experience.
The military provides leadership training and opportunities at a young age. Veterans have often learned how to foster cultural inclusion, motivate a diverse workforce, solve complex problems, and accomplish objectives even under intense pressure. Farmers Insurance, founded by two veterans, understands that veterans bring leadership, initiative, and skill to the table. They promote hiring veterans and supporting them in their careers.
8. Veterans are good communicators.
To be successful, the military depends on clear and effective communication. Veterans have often had to explain their actions and decisions to those above them, and so they’ve had to learn how to communicate clearly and concisely.
9. Veterans are problem-solvers.
The military is a team environment where members are constantly solving problems and utilizing strategic thinking. Veterans can bring this problem-solving aptitude to your workplace and help others improve their critical thinking skills. Axon honors this problem-solving mentality by promoting their veterans global Affinity Group, which gathers solutions from innovative veteran employees.
10. Veterans are disciplined.
The military is a highly structured environment, and so veterans have developed discipline — both mental and physical. They know how to follow orders, stay calm under pressure, and complete tasks even when they’re tired or hungry.
So, again, why hire veterans? Consider how your staffing challenges might be solved by hiring them. Veterans bring a number of valuable skills and attributes to the workplace, not to mention a strong work ethic. And, with a little understanding and accommodation, they can be a perfect fit for your operations.
One way to improve or increase your veteran recruiting efforts is by participating in BestCompaniesAZ’s Military Career Events. These events are designed to connect employers with transitioning military, National Guard, reservists, and their spouses. To learn more about our Military Career Events or other veteran recruiting solutions, please contact us.
BestCompaniesAZ has been connecting great companies with top talent for over 10 years. We know that when you find the right fit, everyone benefits. We’re proud to help veterans transition to the civilian workforce and continue their service in a different capacity.
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