More and more, employers are using social networking to source, attract and evaluate candidates—including military job applicants. From online tools designed to assess potential employees’ qualifications and fit in the organization, to recruiting sites specifically geared to connecting veterans with veteran-friendly employers, the internet offers tremendous opportunity for employers interested in engaging with veteran talent.
One often overlooked opportunity to enhance a veteran-recruiting strategy involves interacting with veterans online, aside from the tools mentioned above. Through blogs, articles, chat rooms, discussion boards, and public forums there are opportunities to enhance your recruiting and retention efforts within the growing veteran community. The benefits of conversing, sharing input, chatting, and providing information and resources with veterans online include:
- You learn more about the concerns and challenges facing veterans transitioning to new careers. Awareness of the issues facing veterans is critical to employers seeking to hire, and then onboard and retain these key employees. By interacting with candidates in forums, blogs, and discussion boards, you’ll learn first-hand where the obstacles might be in your hiring process.
- Whether you are actively recruiting veterans or learning more about this workforce, engaging with them online allows you to offer your talents and skills, and provide guidance to veterans. The act of assisting or mentoring someone with a military background can enlighten you to additional opportunities to hire veterans into your organization.
- When veterans see your company participating in online communities – by offering assistance and resources – your company receives positive brand lift. The veteran community will believe you are a veteran-friendly organization, not just a company that professes to support the military.
- As you interact with the online community of veterans, you will begin to see them as more than just individuals with a military skillset. Through your conversations and sharing of ideas and information, you’ll learn to see them as innovators, thinkers, leaders, entrepreneurs, etc.
- By keeping an eye on online conversations and discussions, you will also be able to identify those in the group who might be a fit for your company. You can watch how they interact with their peers, support each other and mentor others in the group or forum. Similarly, you can identify those who would not be a fit for your company because their attitude or beliefs don’t align with your company goals.
Over the many years I have coached and assisted military veterans through the reintegration process, I have personally experienced many benefits from my interactions online. For instance, I have:
- Learned where I can add value to this community, as a civilian with a specific skill set and talent.
- Received support and encouragement from this community as I help employers understand the value and steps to successfully hiring and engaging with veteran talent.
- Benefitted from having an online pool of resources to help me understand the many terms, acronyms and differences between the military and civilian cultures.
- Received tremendous gratitude from veterans I’ve personally worked with, and many I’ve never met.
To successfully engage with veterans online requires you to be genuine, open-minded, resourceful, and sensitive to the differences between a military background and a civilian one. I have found that asking questions, providing answers, and then listening provides tremendous insight to engage with veteran talent.
If you’re unsure of where to begin, Military.com’s Audit, Consulting, & Training Solutions program is a great resource. Companies looking to introduce or improve upon their veteran hiring and retention programs are well-served by this program that helps businesses achieve their hiring goals, overcome challenges, and create a veteran-friendly culture within their organization.
For more information on building your veteran hiring and retention program, see our Veteran Employer Resource Center.