Veterans Are the Best Investment on your Hiring Dollars The drawing down of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is focusing attention on the overwhelming need to help transition our country’s veterans into meaningful, rewarding civilian employment.

Today’s veterans are returning to a grateful nation, but also to an economy that has been challenged by record, unwavering unemployment rates and almost stagnant job growth.

Many employers look for immediate value for an immediate problem, but sometimes it is hard to align a set of skills with a set of needs.  Veterans do have the skills that employers seek, in addition to leadership, problem solving and the ability to effectively work in team, which are the intangible skills that are so difficult to identify in candidates.

The problem is that, in many cases, veterans do not receive adequate job search training, nor do they know how to write a resume – one that translates military jargon to “civilian-speak” –  or how to handle themselves in a behavioral interview.  Therefore, it may be difficult to fully understand their resume without the Dept. of Defense’s Dictionary of Military & Associated Terms at your side, or to clearly identify their “soft skills” (which is the point of a behavioral interview).  However, their ability to learn your culture and embrace and execute clear tangible goals makes them valued candidates that are worth the effort to interview.

The fact is that returning veterans are a different kind of candidate.  They have many marketable and intangible skills that cannot be taught on-the-job.

1)    A commitment to discipline and structure – veterans are trained to be focused and deliver high-quality work that meets exacting standards on schedule.

2)    Teamwork – the basis of the military is teamwork.  Veterans have had to work effectively together as a unit, with people from different backgrounds, viewpoints and skillsets.

3)    Breadth of experience – military service gives veterans experience in many equivalent civilian jobs – IT, transportation, logistics, communication, management, security, etc.

4)    Ability to handle pressure and complex situations – veterans learn to think critically and act decisively under stressful conditions.

In addition, returning servicemen and women have many leadership qualities – qualities (based on the idea of duty, service and self-sacrifice) that have been developed, honed and refined over the course of their enlistment. Combine that with the ability to work well in diverse teams, work under extreme pressure and the ability to break complex problems into “do-able” tasks and you have a powerful addition to any workteam.

Employers are starting to recognize how invaluable these work characteristics can be in the workplace, and not just for the PR value.

Walt Disney Co. has announced that it would hire at least 1,000 veterans over the next three years, and General Electric Co has promised to hire 5,000 veterans over the next five years.

It is risky to hire someone, but with their strong work ethic, intangible “soft skills” and powerful leadership potential, it is worth actively recruiting and hiring America’s veterans.

Those employers who have hired a veteran have felt that their work experience was about the same or much better than civilian workers.  Ninety-nine percent would recommend hiring a veteran (Source: Veterans Talent Index by Monster, 2012).

Snelling also understands that veterans are a different kind – a powerful kind – of candidate.  In our 120+ offices across the country, we are working to help America’s veterans re-enter the civilian workforce, and we want to partner with you to effectively integrate them into your company.  Our focus on the intangibles that make for a great hire or temporary employee makes us the perfect partner for an effective veteran recruiting campaign.  Visit us today at to find your local Snelling office, where we can partner with you for a ll your human capital management needs.

NOTE:  A full-color, downloadable PDF is available.