Is Veteran Hiring the Answer to the Talent Shortage?


We’re all intimately aware with how costly it is to let an open position sit unfilled for long. And yet, every industry appears to be experiencing significant upticks in the average time it takes to fill empty desks. In fact, a recent survey found an average time-to-hire of 31-60 days. Why is this the case? Though there are many factors in play, the toughest one to swallow is the growing talent shortage across a broad range of industries.

There have been a number of initiatives from various organizations, companies, cities and states to try to combat this problem. Many of them focus on education, growing the skills sets of the younger generation before they reach the workforce. However, while this may be a valuable long-term solution, it fails to address the challenges for companies trying to thrive in today’s business landscape.

Beyond lowering your standards and decreasing your requirements, what else can be done to find the people you need to fill your open positions? We believe the answer is in veteran hiring. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a significant 9% of the US civilian population has served in the military.

Is Your Company Open to Veteran Hiring?

We’re all too aware that many companies are wary of veteran hiring. They’re not sure the skills and experience will transfer well from military work to the civilian workforce. It’s easy to pass over their resumes and applications in favor of hiring someone who already has comparable industry experience, formal education or certification in the industry.

In other instances, companies have highly process driven and automated hiring practices, in which the resumes of military veterans do not stand out, even if they do in fact have the right skill sets and experience. Others are prone to judgements and assumptions about the character of veterans that they’re barely conscious of, passing by resumes with military jargon instantly.

Leveraging the Skills of Military Veterans

What non-military persons unintentionally seem to frequently miss is the fact that the military has a very broad skill base and branches of service. From communication, accounting and logistics, to supply chain, mechanical technicians and IT, there is a wealth of career paths a veteran may have followed.

Even if they don’t have the traditional skill sets, however, these individuals are usually very open to training and continued education. Besides, their military experience has likely given them valuable life skills, communication techniques, leadership skills and more, that can give them an edge other candidates simply don’t possess. Much more military experience translates to the private sector workforce than companies may first imagine.

In some case, you’ll need a little specialized knowledge in order to translate the military codes some of these candidates use in their applications or resumes. It’s worth taking the initiative to check these out if you see reoccurring trends present themselves in your application process.

Working with Cultural Differences

The best companies know that attracting and retaining great employees takes cultivating a great culture. They know how that cultural fit really makes a difference in hiring, and how important it is to balance cultural fit with technical fit.

However, military veterans may be used to very process driven, hierarchical cultures without much room for flexibility, personality, entrepreneurship or other characteristics that your company culture embraces. Companies need to be supportive when hiring veterans, understanding the value of their skills and experience while helping them to integrate and transition back into the civilian workforce.

Is Veteran Hiring the Answer to the Talent Shortage?

At the end of the day, we need to get creative when faced with the challenges of a talent shortage. No matter what industry you’re in, it’s not worth the cost, lost productivity, and decreased morale that results from an empty position – especially one that’s been open for too long. Veteran hiring is a viable solution to this problem.

Military veterans often are up for a challenge and are dedicated to getting the job done. That might be exactly what your company needs to take business to the next level. At JDP Search, we work closely with our clients to find out their exact requirements and seek out the candidates who will be the perfect fit. If you believe veteran hiring may be a solution for your hiring challenges, let us know, we’d love to help.