Hiring Veterans: An Employer’s Perspective

job fair panoramic photo

It’s been a few years since I was in the recruiting business, a place where I was at the focal point of matching talented veterans with companies in need of their abilities. This week, I had the privilege to attend an event held by the University of Southern California Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans (CIR). The event, entitled “Serving Those Who Have Served”, was focused on introducing veterans to employers who were interested in adding new talent to their teams. The list of companies that attended included well-known employers like Home Depot, Deloitte, Disney, Warner Bros. and Prudential. At the midpoint of the agenda, I had a chance to sit down with a few of them. Here’s some helpful insight they shared.

Honest desire to hire veterans. First and foremost, all of them identified a true desire to bring veterans on board. One HR professional told me about the different generations of military members in her own family. In her words, she expressed respect for what veterans do and a personal understanding of the value they have brought to her life. Others spoke about the veterans they already hired who were true assets to their team. To a person, it was easy to see they had nothing but admiration for those who have served.

Trouble reading resumes. The group did mention one area of concern. Sometimes understanding the resumes provided by veterans is a challenge. One standing joke in the military is that, in the service, you can speak in complete sentences using nothing but acronyms. That’s great for life in the service, but it can be problematic for anyone that does not speak the language. The point is that you need to do some translating on your resume before you send it out. If you are applying for a job outside of the defense industry, have someone who is unfamiliar with the military take a look at your resume before you send it out. While they may not be HR professionals, they will at least be able to review the resume from the standpoint of an outsider.

They have a plan. One of the most eye-opening things I learned was how many of them have an agenda for hiring veterans and their families. Disney had a corporate challenge to hire 1,000 veterans in 3 years. They were successful in surpassing that goal within a few months and have since revised it upward. Prudential has a plan to hire 1,000 veterans this year. They also have a program for training spouses as well. Home Depot also has a plan for military spouses. This year, they revised their transfer policy to make it easier for military spouses to find jobs when moving to a new station. Additionally, they have a community out reach program where they help to veterans repair their homes. These are all positive moves these companies are pursuing to both show their appreciation for the military and to find great talent.

It was great to see so many companies looking for talent and looking to find it from the military. USC’s CIR put on an outstanding event… one that exemplified what a hiring conference for veterans should look like. It was their first event of the sort. Hopefully, it won’t be the last.

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