Inclusive Veteran Hiring: Four Steps for Preventing Veteran Underemployment in Your Organization

Blog Thumbnail

As Veterans Day approaches, it’s worthwhile to stop and think about how we can celebrate and honor those who have served our country. Talent acquisition professionals are in the unique position to support veterans in one of the most impactful ways possible. Helping them find meaningful employment as they transition to civilian life.   

Most veterans don’t have trouble finding and retaining work. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the veteran unemployment rate was only 3.9% in September 2021, lower than the general population’s 4.8% unemployment rate. 

Rather, the challenge veterans face is landing jobs where they get to use all the skills they acquired in the military. Veterans have a lot to offer but many employers don’t see how military experience translates to the roles they’re hiring for.  

In this article, you’ll learn how you can be inclusive to veteran job seekers and source qualified candidates from SeekOut’s database of more than 3 million veteran professionals.  

Understanding the “Underemployment” Problem for Veterans 

A joint study from ZipRecruiter and the Call of Duty Endowment found that 33% of veterans are “underemployed,” meaning they don’t get to use their full skill sets in their jobs.  

Underemployment happens because the typical job description is written with someone from a traditional professional background in mind. Recruiters and hiring managers want candidates with X years of experience in a similar role or at a similar company and a specific college degree. Naturally, a candidate fresh out of the military isn’t going to meet those requirements, even if they have the skills required for the role.  

Many veterans end up getting passed over for jobs they’re qualified for and settle for lesser roles, resulting in lower wages, slower career advancement, and a lack of personal fulfillment for the veterans who know they can contribute more. 

How to Hire Veterans for Jobs They’re Qualified For 

Even if your company has the best of intentions when it comes to hiring veterans, you’ll likely find that another candidate always looks more qualified on paper. Let’s explore how your company and recruiting team can move past that mindset and commit to these four actions to help prioritize veteran candidates for your open positions.  

Make a company-wide commitment to hiring veterans 

As with any diversity hiring initiative, there needs to be a top-down commitment in your company to hire and retain veterans. Work with your leadership team to create a veteran hiring program that includes goals to increase veteran representation in your company. Keep reading to learn how to use SeekOut to set realistic goals and source qualified veterans. 

Showcase your veteran hiring commitment on your careers page, job descriptions, and candidate outreach messages. Make it known that your company is inclusive to veterans so you capture their attention and encourage them to apply. 

Refactor role requirements to be inclusive for veterans 

Now that you have a company-wide commitment to hiring veterans, you’ll have an easier time collaborating with hiring managers on role requirements that are inclusive to veteran candidates. Work with them to create job descriptions that emphasize skills over prior work experience and education.  

If a hiring manager is reluctant to extend an offer to a qualified veteran because they don’t have experience in a similar role or at a similar company, use a candidate assessment to confirm they’re qualified for the role. Always remind hiring managers that veterans do have the skills for many jobs, they just took a different path to acquire them.  

Focus on soft skills  

Weighing soft skills is especially important when evaluating veteran candidates. Even if they lack some qualifications, you’ll likely find they have a desire to learn and will be a strong contributor to your company and positive presence in your workplace.  

Veterans may come with different backgrounds and functional experience, but military service instills dedication, teamwork, leadership, initiative, and other soft skills employers value. 

Advance veterans to the interview stage 

Veteran candidates often don’t get to interview for jobs they’re qualified for because they don’t perfectly match the role requirements. However, when they do get the opportunity to speak with the interview team, they often make a strong impression. 

By advancing veterans to the interview stage, you give them the chance to demonstrate their soft skills and speak to how their military experience will transfer to your role. Resumes don’t tell the whole story so give veterans the chance to interview and share what they can do. 

Discover qualified veteran candidates with SeekOut 

Companies today want to hire more people from underrepresented groups but simply set arbitrary diversity hiring goals and hope for the best. SeekOut’s AI-powered Talent 360 platform will help you create a data-driven veteran hiring strategy and surface qualified candidates from a database of more than 3 million veteran profiles. 

Set realistic veteran hiring goals and create veteran inclusive job descriptions 

SeekOut’s People Insights provides a wealth of data on your current employees, the makeup of similar companies, and the candidates in the talent pools you hire from. 

Apply the “Veteran” Diversity Filter and see veteran representation for specific teams, roles, and levels in your organization. You can then benchmark that data against similar companies and regional talent pools to find realistic opportunities to hire more veterans.  

People Insights also displays aggregate data on your talent pool’s job titles, skills, employment history, educational background, diversity, and more. Using this data, you can work with hiring managers to define role requirements that are inclusive to veteran candidates. 

Source and engage veteran candidates 

Combine the “Veteran” Diversity Filter with other filters, keywords, Boolean strings, and more advanced search techniques to build slates of veteran candidates who match your role requirements.  

SeekOut also includes verified contact information on candidate profiles so you can get in touch with the veterans you discover and share your opportunity. Reference what on their profile impresses you and remember to mention that your company makes a concerted effort to hire those who served.  

Be Proactive About Hiring Veterans 

Hiring veterans isn’t just a noble act. Military service provides veterans with the training and skills to succeed in many civilian jobs. Talent acquisition professionals just need to be aware that veteran candidates’ unique experience doesn’t necessarily make them unqualified. Follow the tips outlined in this blog post and you’ll proactively source and hire talented veterans for jobs they’ll excel in.  

Request a live demo and see how the SeekOut Talent 360 platform will help you connect with veterans and other candidates from underrepresented groups.