Veteran Recruiting: A Way to Solve the Talent Shortage?

Each Veteran’s Day, we see an outpouring of support for those who have served our country – but many don’t know how to express that support beyond a Facebook post. As a recruiter or HR professional, you are in a unique position to help them with a big problem: the veteran unemployment rate.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the unemployment rate is 7.2% for veterans who have served active duty in the past 15 years, which is higher than the national and the all veteran unemployment rates. Without a traditional career path, veterans are having a difficult time transitioning into the civilian workforce – particularly recent vets.

Many veterans have transferrable skills that are relevant to the civilian workforce, but don’t necessarily understand what those skills are or how to present them.

As a result, their resumes aren’t polished, and many struggle with interviews. In their careers thus far, they’ve been assigned roles and trained on how to do them. So while they don’t lack the skills needed to do a civilian job, they do lack the skills they need to find one.

On the other side of the table, employers are struggling with a talent shortage. Manpower’s 2015 U.S. Talent Shortage Survey found that 32% of employers are having difficulty filling jobs. One third say that their difficulty filling jobs is due to a lack of available applicants, 19% cite a lack of required experience, and 17% cite a lack of candidates with technical competencies.

A focus on veteran recruiting could help you solve the talent shortage. The veteran talent pool is largely untapped because they’re being screened out by applicant tracking systems and recruiters who are looking for specific skills, experience and education that are only present in the civilian workforce.

By focusing on veteran recruiting, you can tap into this market to find qualified talent for your team. Here are three things to focus on:

  1. Sourcing: Train a recruiter (or hire a veteran as a recruiter) to specifically source veterans. Learn how your open jobs and required skill sets relate to military roles and skills so you can proactively source and screen qualified talent. Once you start hiring veterans, learn about what makes them successful in your organization so you can find more people like them.
  2. Nurturing: Once you have qualified veterans in your pipeline, provide a great candidate experience by nurturing them. You probably won’t hire all of them right away, but you can keep them in your pipeline for future opportunities. Offer them resume advice, interview feedback, and mentoring to guide them in their job search. Then, when you have a better opportunity for them, they will be eager to hear from you.
  3. Learning and development: A survey by Beyond found that 73% of HR professionals said that they would hire someone that needs some training for a lower salary over someone that has a lot of experience but is expensive to hire. If you meet a great veteran who doesn’t quite have all the skills needed for your open opportunity, you could provide a career path and provide the training they need to get there. In addition to helping you fill open positions, a learning and development program can help you retain the employees you work so hard to recruit.

Rather than simply thanking our nation’s veterans with a Facebook post, use your skill set to really support them. You don’t need a formal veteran recruiting program to source, nurture and train veterans – particularly because these are things smart recruiting organizations are already doing.

You just need to learn how to extend your matchmaking talents to a talent pool that has been largely left untapped. So, this Veteran’s Day, say thank you by extending your hand and helping a veteran find their next role – it could be a win-win.

2017-08-02T20:38:16+00:00 November 10th, 2015|

About the Author:

Jen Dewar is a marketing consultant in the HR technology space with a focus on developing educational content for recruiters, corporate HR professionals, and staffing agency owners. She has spent the past 10 years working with a wide variety of companies — from corporate marketing for healthcare organizations and recruitment firms, to startup marketing for both Identified and Bright.com, prior to their respective acquisitions.

When she’s not doing marketing, you can find Jen snowboarding in Tahoe with her husband, traveling abroad, or enjoying a night in with friends and a good bottle of wine. She’s a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a degree in Socio-Economic and Political Global Studies.