Recruiting Former Recruits: A Guide to Hiring Veterans

How you handle recruiting differs for different groups. Tactics for hiring college students, for example, might not be the best fit for hiring older professionals. The same is true for recruiting veterans. Luckily, there are a lot of resources designed for helping you make the most of your recruiting program when it comes to hiring veterans.

Under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act’s (VEVRAA) affirmative action requirements for federal government contractors, covered contractors are required to undertake appropriate outreach and positive recruitment activities that are reasonably designed to effectively recruit individuals with disabilities and protected veterans.
So what is “appropriate” outreach and recruitment? And what would the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) think is a “reasonable design” for a recruitment program for veterans?
According to guidance issued by the Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) at the DOL, there are a lot of things employers can be doing to reach and recruit qualified veteran candidates. The following are just some of the suggestions and resources from VETS:
Actively Recruit Veterans and Wounded Warriors

COOL (Credentialing Opportunities On-Line) offers websites to help you determine how military careers, ratings, and experience can translate to meet civilian certification and license requirements:

Mil2FedJobs Crosswalk helps employers identify the military occupations related to a specific federal job. It also provides information about military careers and terminology to help hiring managers and HR professionals better understand and assess a veteran’s education, skills, and experience.
Consider Using Military Language in Your Outreach and Job Description
O*NET OnLine offers a “Military to Civilian Crosswalk” that may help employers improve your veterans outreach by targeting specific Military Occupational Classification codes that relate to civilian positions.
Simply enter the job title employers are looking to fill (e.g., accountant, human resources, warehouse) into the military search section. Most civilian occupations will display a list of the occupational specialty codes used by the different branches of the military.
Employers might consider including a list of these codes in your job announcement as a way to help veterans better understand the correlation between their military training and the civilian career employers have available.
Consider Alternatives to Full-Time Employment, such as Work Experiences, Internships, and Apprenticeships
Many transitioning servicemembers and veterans are ready to jump right into civilian employment. For others, the value of a preemployment civilian work experience is unparalleled. Internships and work experiences offer a “safe” opportunity for many to learn and practice the intricacies of the civilian workplace. Furthermore, for individuals with combat-related injuries and/or disabilities, having the opportunity to see firsthand what their minds and bodies can do postinjury is extraordinarily helpful.
For veterans worried about transitioning to a civilian employment environment, a preemployment work-based experience can help to develop self-confidence. The same can be said for employers without experience hiring veterans. Both parties have the opportunity to conduct a “test drive” to see if the fit is right (including the environment, culture, job duties, etc.), which often creates a win-win situation. The following are an assortment of preemployment possibilities:
Paid internships. Many medium- to large-sized businesses have structured corporate internship programs. Those that don’t, but would be interested in partnering to create one, should consider contacting their State/Governor’s or Local Workforce Investment Board to determine if funding exists to support such a program. In this case, let the Board know that your goal is to ideally create jobs and help put servicemembers and veterans, including those with combat-related injuries, to work.
Consider working with a local Veterans Service Organization to support a veteran intern who can help you to plan, manage, and direct your veterans’ hiring initiative. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has developed a list of Veterans Service Organizations according to state/local area.
Tomorrow, we will present more about recruiting veterans, including information on official wounded warrior programs. Plus, an introduction to BLR’s premier HR oriented publication, HR Decisions Magazine.