In honor of Veterans Day, it’s time to explore the new world of veteran recruitment. If you think that you’ve tried it, it doesn’t work for you or there is no one to recruit in your area, then you simply aren’t up to date.
Why recruit Veterans?
Many companies find veterans to be more productive employees with lower turnover rates when compared to their nonveteran counterparts. Additionally, their past military background can give veterans distinctive capabilities and perspectives that can add insight and diversity to your team’s problem-solving. Employers can also qualify for up to $10,000 in federal tax credit per veteran.
There are multiple state and federal organizations that exist to connect employers with veterans. Many of them work with veterans before they leave active duty to ensure they have skills that can plug immediately into the workforce. Furthermore, just because you may not have a military base located near you is no longer a reason to exclude veterans from your search. Organizations looking to place veterans into employment include working to get veterans back to their home states if that is what they are looking for. Taking a few extra steps could mean providing a veteran the opportunity to truly come home.
Approximately 40% of veterans leave their first job out of the military within a year of being hired. The transition can be challenging but there is some common sense, yet very real ways that you can position your company to retain your veterans.
First, define what your motivation is to hire veterans. Then identify what skills, attitudes and experience would benefit your organization the most. (If you are not sure, simply find your best current employee in that position and identify their skills, attitudes and experiences.)
Decide what a successful veteran hiring program for your organization looks like. Are you looking for just one or is this going to become a regular program?
Identify the service branches, ranks and occupational specialties you might like to target. Don’t know? That’s okay because there are multiple ways to connect. You could reach out to your state or local Veteran’ office and talk with someone or here is some great website you can connect with:
Understand the basics
It's important to understand the terms and culture of the military and here are a few resources to help.
While building your veteran’s program, don’t forget to tap into your secret weapon – any veterans you are currently employing. Get their thoughts about skills and areas of service that might be a good fit. Don’t forget to ask them what about working for your organization might appeal to a veteran. After all, they have stayed with you! There are multiple employment organizations that will connect you with veterans. A few of my favorites include:
- Hero's MAKE America ( provides 10-week accelerated skills training for manufacturing)
- Hire a Hero
- Bradley-Morris, Inc. (Specifically for Skilled Technicians)
- Orian Talent
Lastly, don’t forget that to retain your veteran, you may want to consider having some supports in place to make their transition smooth. Connect them to existing veterans in your workplace, let them know about opportunities for professional growth and advancement, and consider engaging current veterans in creating the program to ensure its effectiveness.
Veterans who are coming out of service where they have worked with heavy equipment may be a perfect fit for the construction, agriculture, mining, utility or forestry industry sectors. Don’t let taking a few extra steps keep you from your next best hire.
Julie Davis is the Director of Workforce Development for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.