Unlocking Talent Gold: Embracing Hiring Veterans

In HR and talent acquisition, we’re always on the hunt for the ultimate hiring solution. We’re willing to explore almost anything that promises better talent for our organizations. So, it perplexes me that most organizations overlook a massive talent pool – veterans. Let’s dive into why hiring veterans is a game-changer:

Teamwork – The military hones teamwork skills like no other. While a lot of companies find it hard to get their teams to work together, veterans are all about teamwork.

Following & Giving Directions – HR pros always have the best stories of employees struggling with basic instructions. Leadership training discussions are recurrent, focusing on the need for clear direction. Veterans bring an ability to both follow and give concise directives—a skill set sorely needed in organizations.

Pressure Handling and Deadline Management – When someone’s life or safety is at risk, you learn how to work under extreme pressure, which probably pales in comparison to much of the pressure we put on ourselves and our employees in normal work situations.  Regardless, having individuals who can not only handle pressure but thrive under pressure, are skills our organizations need.

Planning and Organization – Military training instills impeccable planning and organizational skills, an area where many employees struggle. Hiring managers often stress the importance of being organized, and veterans are really good at it.

Flexibility and Adaptability – Change is a constant in organizations, and managing it consumes resources. However, veterans excel in adapting to change, drawing from a background where constant adaptation was the norm. Their ability to navigate change smoothly is a skill that organizations desperately need.

So, why the struggle in hiring veterans? It’s not about the veterans but about HR professionals stuck in a rigid mindset. We’ve cultivated a culture fixated on matching every single qualification in a job description, missing out on the potential of great individuals. It’s time to shift from instant gratification to investing in training and nurturing talent within our organizations.

While we are at it, let’s dispel some myths around veterans:

  1. Misconception: Military service is for troublemakers or those not smart enough for college. Reality: For many the military is a strategic choice, not due to a lack of intelligence or options.
  2. Misconception: Veterans are rigid and only understand top-down management. Reality: Today’s veterans are well-versed in soft skills leadership, adaptable to various management styles.
  3. Misconception: There’s no time or resources to train veterans. Reality: Not true – plus haven’t you already had that position open for 6 months? The fact is, this is an organizational choice and you as an HR Pro have the influence to change it. There are many resources out there for organizations to train returning veterans.

We have great men and women who make a personal choice to keep this country great.  As employers and American citizens, we owe these men and women a chance. At HRU Tech, 28.6% of our new hires in 2020 were Veterans. Grab this free eBook, crafted to elevate your Veteran recruitment approach to new heights. They deserve a shot, and this resource can help to make that happen.

5 thoughts on “Unlocking Talent Gold: Embracing Hiring Veterans

  1. Thank you! My son is nearing the end of his second year of enlistment in the U.S. Navy as part of one of their special warfare operations groups — he has been in training this entire time for a very specialized job that requires incredible physical skills, high-pressure decision-making, and courage, in addition to a large volume of technical and procedural knowledge that he has mastered. He could have easily gone to a state school on the highest lottery-funded scholarship, and he also received a large scholarship to an acclaimed art school — but he made the cost-benefit decision to enlist, knowing that it was a wise choice for him financially and in terms of future opportunities AND because he holds dear the Navy’s core values of honor, courage, and commitment. I’d hire him in a split second!

  2. As a military dependent of a 27 years of service officer, and being a HR profession for more than 20 years, it saddens me how very much the opposite of everything stated here has been my experience. Just this week I had a warehouse manager mention how well the veterans in a department were at barely doing their job, covering for each other in dishonest ways, and threatening to leave as a group if they didn’t get their way (special treatment). Unfortunately that’s just the story this week.

    I’m certainly not saying don’t hire a veteran, but hire after hire in multiple industries has not shown me anything exceptional other than people that were interested in ‘free’ college.

  3. Thanks for this Tim! As both a veteran and a college graduate, I can tell you that what I learned in the military has been far more valuable to my career than what I learned in college. My success has been a direct result of what I learned and put into practice in uniform. I often remark to folks that the most difficult leadership challenge in the world is to get 18yr old’s to get up and follow you under fire. Just giving the order isn’t going to do it, you have to “lead” you have to set the example, earn trust and be willing to put yourself in the same situation as your troops.
    The U.S. military has the single best leadership development program in the world in my opinion!

    • As a fellow veteran and college graduate I couldn’t agree more. Today in the private sector, I simply embody the leadership traits that were ingrained in me as a Marine and I’m viewed as one of the top leaders in my organization.

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