We’ve covered topics related to hiring veterans including the benefits of doing so, possible challenges and the financial incentives and programs that may be available. Now, for businesses who’ve decided this is something they want to do, how can you hire veterans? How do you connect with veterans and get started?

What businesses should know about hiring veterans

There are quite a few options to getting started, and below is an overview of some of the ways you can become a veteran employer.


According to the Department of Labor’s advice on hiring veterans, businesses need first to create their own strategy that focuses on who they want to hire and what they need. Employers are encouraged to do the following before they start looking for specific candidates:

  • A job description is needed which will include the purpose of the position, essential functions, and any other important information.
  • Employers should know what they must have in a candidate, and what they’d like to have but don’t necessarily need to get in a new hire.
  • Another question people need to ask themselves is whether they want someone who is already trained or if they want to train the right person. There are opportunities offered by the federal government, such as registered apprenticeship programs, that provide benefits for both employers and veterans.

When creating job descriptions designed to attract veterans, employers should really try to do so with military correlation in mind. To attract top veteran talent, employers should try to frame descriptions in a way that’s going to be appealing to a veteran regarding values and priorities.

When employers are recruiting veterans, they have an extra layer of having to find the right person, but also someone who served in the Armed Forces. While the above information can be used to recruit employees in general, the following are some veteran-specific recruiting tips:

  • A recruiting strategy needs to be built around going where winning talent is. For example, employers can participate in hiring fairs and events where veterans are likely to be present. There are also military job boards, which are an excellent and easy way to gain access to veteran employees.
  • There is something called the Veterans Career Network which is available on Military.com. This is an amazing resource for employers and veterans. Users can see upcoming job fairs, and search for veteran jobs by industry and location. There are not only public but also private initiatives that work to help connected employers with veteran talent. For example, there is com. This is another comprehensive resource for anyone interested in veteran employees. Users can post resumes or search resumes and post specific job opportunities.
  • For employers who are really serious about hiring veterans and leveraging their skills and talents, it can be important to build a reputation and employer brand that is military-friendly.

One program that can be especially helpful as well is Hiring Our Heroes. This is a joint effort between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the VA. Under this initiative, which helps not only transitioning service members and veterans but also military spouses, there are frequent events held throughout the country. Hiring Our Heroes holds job fairs in every state, and they also created something called Fast Track. Fast Track is a guide for veterans who are transitioning after their time in the military. Fast Track helps them make good decisions regarding employment and education.

Interviewing Veteran Candidates

When an employer is interviewing veteran candidates, it can be a different experience, and the approach should reflect what a veteran is used to. For example, veterans don’t typically brag about their experiences or accomplishments, so sometimes employers have to be prepared to dig a little deeper

First, to be prepared, any staff responsible for interviewing veteran candidates should be familiar with what are called military occupational skills or MOS. Recruiters and anyone doing interviewing should know how these skills can translate into the position that is being filled.

It’s also important during the interview process to listen and draw your own conclusions as to how the veteran’s unique experiences could work well for the strategic goals of your company.

There are certain things that can’t be asked of a veteran during an interview as well. For example, veterans shouldn’t be asked about their type of military discharge, whether or not they will be deployed again, if they’ve ever killed anyone, and if they were injured in a combat situation. Instead, what interviews should be focused on is whether or not the candidate will be able to perform the duties of the job.

Hiring Military Spouses

Along with the benefits of hiring veterans, hiring military spouses has also become a big topic of conversation. Spouses provide another appealing pool of talent for employers, and more than 85% of military spouses have attended college or done some higher level coursework. Military spouses also tend to have a lot of volunteer experience and civic engagement.

With that being said, they also tend to have a lot of gaps in employment, usually because of frequent moves and times they’ve been separated from the servicemember spouse.

If an employer wants a truly military-friendly hiring program, they can also consider hiring military spouses. When interview military spouses, it can be useful to ask more about volunteering and even unofficial accomplishments that address their gaps in employment a bit more clearly.

Once a company has made the commitment to hire veterans, started actively recruiting and is interviewing veteran candidates, they have to start thinking about onboarding. Onboarding is so important for retention and also to help new veteran hires be successful in their new role. Onboarding veterans is unique from training other employees because it’s a transitional process.

There is a lot of change that’s happening for veterans who are moving from the public sector to the private, and these changes need to be addressed in onboarding, as well as specifics about the job role they’re filling and the company they’re coming into. Continue reading for tips on onboarding and training new veteran hires.

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