5 Considerations For Hiring Military Veterans Into Civilian Jobs
On Veterans’ Day we honor current and past members of our Armed Forces for the sacrifices they make and thank them for their commitment to keeping our country and the freedoms we enjoy safe. While serving in the military, they also perform jobs not unlike civilians. So the next time you need to fill roles within your organization, consider hiring military veterans for their skills and leadership abilities.
There is regular attrition throughout all branches of the military with service men and women fulfilling their time commitments and retiring from active duty. If they were “lifers,” then perhaps they’ll be able to retire and enjoy their post-military time without having to work. But the majority will likely need to seek full- or part-time employment. With the drawdown of forces in Iraq by year’s end, the number of soldiers separating from the service could increase.
Military Specialties Span the Range of Professions
Veterans aren’t just front-line soldiers. While keeping their fighting and survival skills fine-tuned, they occupy jobs within the military to help it function in support of their domestic and foreign operations. One would naturally think of logistics and supply expertise, but they’re also doctors, lawyers, chefs, communications and public affairs officers, and experts in electronic equipment and technology just to name a few.
While military veterans have many qualities and characteristics that make them attractive candidates, as with any potential hire, you should conduct pre-hire assessments to ensure the best behavioral and job fit. Here are 5 considerations for hiring military veterans into civilian jobs.
1. Winning attitudes. Members of the military possess not only unique skills, but also a distinct pride. They carry themselves well and fulfill their tasks with determination to succeed. Of course they can gripe with the best of us, but they will still follow through on their mission and perform at their very best. This winning attitude can be a positive influence on their coworkers and be an asset to any organization.
2. Unique perspectives. Like it or not, many of the products and technologies we enjoy were first developed by the military. Without giving away any secrets of national security, their knowledge and experience could greatly benefit your organization.
3. Organizational hierarchies. Veterans are used to functioning in a strict hierarchy. The military sets the standard on top-down organizational hierarchy, so if your organizational hierarchy is flat, matrixed, or otherwise unconventional, they may not adjust easily.
4. Some are leaders, some followers. While the military instills and develops leadership capabilities as servicemen ascend through the ranks, remember that not everyone is a leader. Some people, including those in the military, are natural-born followers. They like to be told what to do and aren’t used to taking initiative. This isn’t to say that they’re lazy, but to recognize that you should not assume that just because your candidate is a veteran that he or she is suited for a leadership role.
5. Transitions can be stressful. Returning to civilian life after spending time in the military can be stressful, whether after a 20-year career or a 6 month deployment overseas. Perhaps they’ve relocated their family to a new town, which places additional stress on spouses and children, too. Recognize that while most will make the transition easily (they are trained to adapt), it could be a period of stress. Watch for signs of workplace stress and help them to address it.
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