Four Things You Need to Know When It Comes to Hiring and Onboarding Veterans

Anne L. Laguzza, M.A., The Works Consulting

It is important to remember veterans are coming from a culture, community, and environment
that is unique compared to the corporate world. From communication to expectations, here is
what you need to know when hiring veterans for your organization.

#1 Awareness of the cultural shift taking place for these individuals will enhance the entire
hiring experience. From the moment you review their application and resume through to
the hiring decision itself.
DO: Be aware of the major culture shift from military to civilian work.
DON’T: Assume they’ll just adapt and figure it out without training and structure.
Yes, there’s a different language, culture, and set of expectations in military life. However, with
proper training and communication you can utilize their ability to adapt and their openness to
direction to minimize those differences. This upfront investment in training will ease the
onboarding process, by encouraging them to connect their work to the company mission. This
will set them and the organization up for long-term success.

#2 Use your new awareness regarding veterans who are new hires for your organization.
DO: Be empathetic by taking time to learn about the military culture.
DON’T: Gloss over this opportunity for connection and understanding.
While discipline, work ethic, and camaraderie are required in the military culture. understanding
where these qualities come from will benefit your organization. By taking the time to place
yourself in their boots, learning how their military experience shaped them into who they are
today, will create a deeper connection.
Remember, their experience is not typical, yet many aspects of corporate culture bare strong
resemblance to that of the military. The employer should learn about military culture, by reading
articles, and asking veterans and/or others with military experience. Knowing how military
experience and culture are similar to or different from your organization’s culture will help the
applicant if selected.

#3 One of the most crucial things you need to do prior to interviewing a veteran.
DO: Find out how their military job description relates to the job they are applying for in your
organization.
DON’T: Miss the chance to bridge the gap between what they did and what they can do in this
new role.
Military jobs have numerous correlations to civilian positions. What may seem like unrelated
skills may in fact be easily transferable, ask about their specific duties and have them
communicate how they are transferable to the position. Finding common ground will improve
rapport, and make the interview and selection process more efficient, and you’ll also learn more
about their service experience.

#4 How do you put it all together?
DO: Express how you plan to take time to learn about them and their skills to assist with
training.
DON’T: Assume they’ll just figure it out, or behave in a certain way, without consistent
communication and training.
Now that you know the DO’s of hiring veterans you see these same four characteristics can be
applied to any individual going through the hiring and onboarding process. The value of applying
these tips with veterans specifically, is not just that your effort will be recognized and
appreciated, although it certainly will. The value is in the connection they’ll experience from the
very beginning helping them focus on their job, and creating cohesion between their work and
the company mission. They will begin to see long-term success for themselves within your
organization.