Want to Thank our Veterans ? Hire Them!

Posted on November 11, 2015.

Unless someone close to you has served, Veterans Day can sometimes end up being about a day off and department store sales with maybe a moment or two devoted to thinking about veterans.Which is kind of crazy. Where would we be without the brave folks who fought for us in World Wars I and II and every conflict thereafter?   The answer can be chilling.  

Almost as surreal is the fact that employing these folks after they’ve served has become an issue, especially for hte diabled veterans. Contributions to our country aside, these are highly trained people with transferable skills.   So, this Veterans Day, along with reflecting on the holiday’s meaning, resolve to hire more veterans.

Take action on that commitment right away by educating yourself.  While a veteran is without a doubt an asset, the candidate search and interview process is sometimes challenging for recruiters as well as for veterans.  Though they may make their resumes read "civilian," learning how to talk about and sell themselves is another story. There are also cultural gaps between military and corporate life, which are simple to bridge with a little support. There’s a great article on Entrepreneur (see it here) that provides a lot of insight and really great tips on how to hire veterans as well as integrate them into your team.  And, of course, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a Veterans Employment Toolkit that’s a fantastic resource.

If you find yourself procrastinating, remember that the effort you put into hiring veterans will pale against the benefits. Consider the following:

  • They’re Team Players:  These men and women know how to work together to get the job done. They’ve spent their years in service working as a team, executing directives and reaching goals, all while under stress that us civilians can’t fathom.
  • They’re Organized and Get the Job Done: While in service, veterans are expected to be on top of their responsibilities 24/7. There are no weekends or holidays, and they’re expected to perform their duties no matter what. I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly the sort of person I want working for me.
  • They’re Problem Solvers: Despite the rigid stereotype, serving in the military requires folks to think fast and on their feet.  They must devise solutions in situations where a precedent may not exist.  This culture produces men and women who can take directives but also forge their own solutions and ideas.
  • They Have Integrity:  Honesty and ethics are critical in the workplace.  As a manager, you need an employee who is reliable, will speak up if they see a problem, and will always do the right thing.  That employee, without a doubt, is a veteran, because all branches of the military cultivate a culture of integrity. Anything less is not tolerated.

Most importantly, despite any rank they may have held, veterans are natual born leaders.  Whether you're hiring them to be an independent producer or lead a team, their confidence, their positivism in the face of obstacles and ability to deflect credit are all characteristics of great leadership. 

So this Veteran's day, take another look at the resume's on your desk and invite a veteran in for an interview. No doubt you'll be impressed.