Hiring Veterans: A Guide to Attracting Military Talent to Your Small Business

Employing veterans at your small business fosters a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. Here are four ways to focus your recruitment efforts to attract and hire veterans—on Veterans Day and every day.
Hiring Veterans- A Guide to Attracting Military Talent to Your Small Business
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Each year on Veterans Day, we honor those who have served our country in the various branches of the military. This year, we wanted to turn our appreciation into action—and better understand why veterans make great employees and what HR professionals can do to hire veterans at their organizations. 

As such, we’ve taken a closer look at the benefits of hiring veterans, plus four ways to get started attracting and recruiting veterans to work for your small business, below. 

What Are the Benefits of Hiring Veterans?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), veterans are equipped with the following skills, characteristics, and tools that can be applied in the workplace: 

  • Proven leadership skills
  • Mission-focused approach to work
  • Experience working in diverse teams and organizations 
  • Highly adaptable 
  • Immediate contributors
  • Strong work ethic
  • Ability to perform well under pressure
  • Creative problem-solving skills
  • Self-starter

In other words, veterans come equipped with myriad, real-world skills that have immediate applicability. Their diverse backgrounds and experiences are a competitive advantage that can help your small business succeed.

How to Get Started Hiring Veterans at Your Small Business

Now that you know the benefits of hiring veterans, it’s time to put that knowledge into action. 

Here are four ways to get started attracting and hiring veterans at your small business: 

1. Post your job openings on veteran-specific career websites

Wading through hundreds of resumes from a general careers website like Indeed or CareerBuilder is never an efficient use of your time, but especially so when you’re looking to hire veteran talent. 

Instead, you need to target your search—and post your open positions—on careers sites that are unique to veterans. 

These seven websites are a good place to start: 

2. Partner with organizations that specialize in hiring veterans

So, you want to be more proactive in your recruitment efforts, but you’re not an expert in attracting and hiring veterans. The good news? You don’t have to be. Instead, partner with organizations who are. 

Here are a few organizations to consider partnering with to hire veterans: 

3. Start an apprenticeship program

An apprenticeship program provides the dual benefits of training veterans to learn new skills with company- and industry-specific applicability, as well as promoting your business as a place where veterans can thrive at work. 

Apprenticeships also help support your business’s diversity and inclusion efforts by providing on-the-job training and mentorship opportunities to veterans. Similar to other learning-related investments, your company will see lower turnover, greater retention rates, and improved employee productivity—all benefits that make a positive impact on your bottom line. 

Supplemental reading: Fostering Diversity and Inclusion in Small Businesses: 9 Ways to Get Started

4. Hire for potential over credentials

Providing apprenticeships is one way to attract and retain veteran employees. Another is to rethink traditional job descriptions—you know the ones that have strict requirements for years of experience and/or college degrees—and hire for soft skills and potential instead.

In other words, instead of hiring for culture fit, consider hiring candidates that offer new skill sets that will complement those already on your team. This is called “culture add”—and it’s a more inclusive and beneficial way to think of hiring new talent. 

Your small business doesn’t need carbon copies of teammates. It needs diversity; diversity of thought, diversity of experiences, and diversity of good ideas.

Get Time Back in Your Day to Focus on Your Recruitment Strategy (and More)

This is just a start. As HR professionals, you know there’s always more work to be done to be inclusive in the workplace—and that means hiring veterans with diverse backgrounds and skill sets that go beyond your standard job description. 

From hiring to retention to employee engagement, small business HR pros go beyond the day-to-day processes and procedures to make real impacts on the bottom line—when given the bandwidth. 

How do you get more time back in your busy day? We’re glad you asked. At Eddy, we help busy HR professionals by taking administrative tasks off your plate, so you can focus on taking care of your employees. 

We also do you one better: Each week, we curate the top industry news topics and deliver them right to your inbox. Subscribe to get our updates—and then join the conversation. We’d love to hear your ideas for how to make the world a better place to work. 

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