Diversity & Inclusion, Recruiting

The Barriers that Exist for Job-Seeking Veterans and How to Eliminate Them

For military service members, transitioning to civilian life is riddled with challenges and finding a job is one of the leading obstacles. Job search struggles affect nearly 200,000 veterans every year, and only one in four veterans have a job lined up after leaving the armed forces, according to the Pew Research Center. Some of the most prevalent barriers that veterans face are rooted in long-standing HR and recruiting practices. These barriers, including bias, non-traditional titles and occupations, lack of traditional corporate or industry experience and “stagnant” rankings, can be overcome as we explore the future of hiring.  

The Biases and Barriers Veterans Face

Most job seekers must go through a candidate filtering process to be considered for a position. This process is inherently exclusionary for veterans and other non-traditional workers. The most-used platforms usually remove a candidate if they don’t meet an education threshold, years of experience or previous title and industry alignment. This filtering approach doesn’t account for skills gained in life experience versus education, or adjacent careers that are still valuable. Veterans have different types of occupational experience that typically don’t line up with traditional corporate backgrounds.

Veterans also have their own specific challenges. They have non-traditional titles that are hard to translate into a LinkedIn profile or one-page resume. Their occupations are typically difficult for corporate employers to understand and relate to the job. The absence of a traditional corporate ladder one can quickly ascend in a military career makes it hard to understand exactly how a veteran candidate has advanced in rank and occupation. Extended time in a certain rank or role based on how the military works can make a veteran look like they’ve been stationary. Corporate employers don’t know the different levels of responsibility and tasks that veterans occupied, so this “stationary” time appears as time without promotion.

The differences between military occupations and corporate careers are apparent, and this makes veteran experience more difficult to translate into information employers can understand.

Veterans ASCEND Steps in as a Solution

Robyn Grable exited the Navy after nine years of service and it didn’t take long for her to realize the incredible need for translation between military career skills, civilian sector hiring needs and a tool that could break down the barriers that existed between veterans and civilian employers. That’s why she founded Veterans ASCEND, an AI-powered talent sourcing platform for veterans and their spouses. Veterans ASCEND has a 95% success rate getting veterans interviews for positions that are perfectly tailored to their skillset.

The way Robyn has leveraged her experience in the field – both military and HR – to create something transformative is an incredible story about a woman who achieved against all odds and is now using her experience to lift up others who are experiencing the same challenges she faced.

Bridging the Gap Between Veterans and HR

Bridging the gap that stands between veteran job seekers and hiring teams is essential, and the first step is translating the needs of the two parties into a language they both understand.

We need to change how candidates match to job roles. Rather than thinking in terms of job titles, breaking down the role into skills enables job seekers and hiring managers to see beyond the surface and identify an excellent fit in one another.  

Harnessing the Power of AI to Realize Skills-Based Hiring

AI software that has been programmed to facilitate skills-based hiring challenges the status quo and represents the new approach hiring managers have been looking for. Technology like Veterans ASCEND’s proprietary CATE leverages algorithms to translate experience into skills and then match those skills to the employer’s needs. The innovation is in the matching process. It does not use filters that eliminate and discriminate against candidates, instead it implements skills-based matching to bring the best candidate forward.

This talent technology has the power to transform the job-market for both organizations and job seekers everywhere. This approach removes bias from the job placement process and breaks down the barriers that exist between job seekers and employers by redefining the talent sourcing process.

Skills based hiring AI is the inclusive talent technology of the future.


People and systems don’t always embrace change, especially when they think the “old guard” benefits the greater good. When it comes to hiring, that just isn’t the case – so many people, including veterans, are being overlooked.

Our job is to convey that the value of a new model outweighs the discomfort of pivoting and learning a new process. On the heels of Veterans Day, a time of year when our nation remembers the sacrifices that brave men and women made for us, businesses should think about how these skills help scale their business. 

Implementing skills-based hiring in your organization is not only a step your business can take to serve veterans, but it is also a measure that will serve your organization well in the long run.  Empowering these incredible men and women to utilize their skills is a smart business decision with no downside.

Robyn Grable is Founder and CEO of Talents ASCEND and Veterans ASCEND.

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