How to Serve Veterans in Your Hiring Process

How to Serve Veterans in Your Hiring Process

Last year we reflected on all the ways that veterans can bring value to your workforce. Best summed up by Carlos del Pozo, Team Engine Co-Founder and U.S. Army Veteran, “The skills and values that transitioning service members take for granted are among the most universally valued by employers, regardless of the job.” Those credentials are typically defined as “soft skills” and include discipline, strong work ethic, teamwork, and communication. 

Additionally, veterans bring a wide spectrum of skills and experiences to the table that give them unique problem-solving abilities. According to a 2020 report published by The SHRM Foundation and USAA, 96% of polled HR professionals say veterans are uniquely trained to work through chaotic times and thrive in a multitude scenarios including both entry level and managerial roles, white-collar and blue-collar work, and team-based and individual settings. 

While it’s clear that hiring veterans is a good move for any blue-collar organization, what’s not so clear is how to find them and how to assess their skills. If you’re ready to repay veterans for their service to our country and make a concentrated effort to hire more veterans at your organization, keep reading.

How to Find Veterans

The report from SHRM and USAA revealed shocking statistics that demonstrate how little is known about the challenges that both employers and the veteran community face at all stages of the employee lifecycle. 

Specifically in regards to recruiting, over one-third of employers said that they don’t think their organization has been effective in hiring veterans since the start of the pandemic. Even worse, 53% of polled organizations say they need advice and tools for veteran recruitment. If you fall into these categories, consider trying the following:

Partner with labor agencies and organizations.

Your local department of labor, staffing agencies, and similar organizations might have an employment specialist that focuses on veteran hiring. If they can’t refer candidates directly to you, they will have websites and other resources to share with you. 

Collaborate with vocational schools and similar training providers.

Find training schools who target military personnel once they are separated from the military. Work with their outplacement personnel to find appropriate candidates. They might even hold hiring events you can attend as an employer.

Leverage veteran employees at your organization.

A google search is a great place to start, but you can also turn to your existing veteran employees for advice on where and how to find veteran-focused agencies, schools and events.

Make sure veterans can find your job openings.

Grab our quick reference guide to leverage the five channels of job promotion that we recommend to all Team Engine clients. (spoiler alert: just posting an opening on your website or a job board isn’t enough!)

How to Translate Veteran Skills to Civilian Jobs

It’s not just finding veterans that’s troubling employers; they’re also having trouble translating military skills to civilian roles and vice versa. The SHRM and USAA report disclosed that a whopping 51% of employers need help with finding language for job descriptions that will resonate with veterans. If you fall into this category, try any or all of the following:

Complete the ‘Veterans at Work’ certification.

Developed for HR professionals, hiring managers and front-line supervisors, the SHRM Foundation’s Veterans at Work certificate program is completely free and open to all. The self-paced online course is designed to “equip you with the actionable knowledge and tools needed to attract, hire and retain veterans and members of the military community in the workplace.”

Leverage veteran employees at your organization.

Just as your existing veteran employees can help you find the right places to recruit veterans, they can also assist with translating skills. Ask them to help you revise job descriptions to be written in military-friendly language that lets applicants see how their military skills translate to the civilian job. You can also ask your veteran employees to help you review submitted resumes and give context to the skills listed there.

Use the Military Skills Translator tool.

Most commonly used as a tool for veterans drafting a civilian resume, this tool can also be of great use to HR professionals. If you don’t have a veteran in your organization to help you decipher other veterans’ resumes, you can enter applicants’ service branch and job title into this tool to see what type of hard and soft skills they might have mastered in that position. 

If you do have veterans in your organization, talk to them to learn about their military experience and positions held. Then, use this tool to learn more about those positions and how that experience set them up for success in specific roles at your organization. This process will help you write better job descriptions, and ask better interview questions. 


On this Veteran’s Day, more than anything, we hope you’re thinking about the service members in your life and thanking them for protecting our freedom—but if you’re in a position to hire more veterans, we hope you’re thinking about that, too.

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