4 Mistakes Employers Make When Hiring Veterans

Many employers “promote” their efforts in hiring veterans. They “brand” their websites with images of veterans and military logos.  Are they really walking the walk when it comes to these efforts?

Here are 4 typical Mistakes employers make in their efforts to recruit and hire veterans:Military veteran sitting at his desk with computer

Inability to translate military terminology

The language of military personnel can include jargon that many employers don’t understand. Reviewing a resume from military personnel requires translation from military to civilian terminology. The mistake many hiring managers and/or recruiters make is in the translation process. for example, the term “quality assurance” in the military world may mean “high pressure situations, deductive reasoning skills, strategic Thinking, survival skills, and team coordination,” — which would be skills used in a high-stress civilian job. If not properly translated, the same term may be related to a software quality position in the civilian world. In the military world, service members acquire leadership skills; yet in the civilian workplace candidates can skate by without ever pursuing this skillset. A tool I’ve found that can help hiring managers with this challenge is the Military Skills Translator Tool.

Pigeonholing officers and enlisted personnel

This mentality is offensive and harmful.  During my research I discovered an article that illustrates how a top banking and financial services firm conducted this practice. They used the philosophy of “hire an officer for leadership and an enlisted vet for call center type work.” Many enlisted veterans have the skills that would qualify them to be in leadership positions. This mentality leaves much to be desired and needs to change!

Using the “veteran-friendly” label in name only

Is your company actually walking the walk when it comes to hiring veterans?  Companies use this as the extent of their veteran recruitment strategies. Thinking locally by getting involved would greatly benefit both your company and the veterans you want to court. Sponsoring events, using community outreach with your local military recruitment offices, or connecting with agencies that might specialize in helping veterans “translate their skills,” are proactive ways to show your company is walking the walk in hiring veterans.

Not involving your workforce in the hiring effort

Having a corporate involvement strategy in your veteran hiring efforts can be highly successful. Start by including veteran/military hiring in your mission statement. Communicating these efforts to the entire organization, along with creating an employee referral program, are effective ways to execute this.

In closing, I encourage an intentional, respectful and targeted approach!  Keep in mind that learning the military terminology, implementing a plan of action to hire veterans, and involving your workforce in the hiring process, are effective suggestions to increase your veteran hiring efforts.

Pearl actually “walks the walk” in hiring veterans. If you are a veteran, a veteran with disabilities or a military spouse, you are invited to apply for our jobs at this link.


About Michelle Vance

Michelle is a recruiter at Pearl Interactive Network, and has been involved in recruitment for over 25 years.  She has been exposed to diversity-focused recruitment as well as civilian-focused recruitment, with some of the largest known employers as well as smaller entities. Both of her sons served our country during 911. She has a passion to ensure accuracy in the veteran recruitment space.  She hopes her unique perspectives offer enlightenment in the veteran hiring arena.




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