Hiring Heroes: Resources for Your Veteran Recruitment Program

Hiring VeteransRecently, national attention has focused on the career development of veterans and military spouses with the President’s FY2014 Budget. In addition to a 4% increase in funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, a 13.6% increase in funding to the Veterans Benefits Administration, and a 7.2% increase in funding for veterans’ mental health services, the budget proposes to make permanent the tax credits signed into law in November 2011.

These include the Returning Heroes Tax Credit, which provides companies with up to $5,600 for hiring long-term unemployed veterans, and the Wounded Warrior Tax Credit, which provides up to $9,600 for hiring veterans with service-related injuries. (To learn more about these incentives, read the White House fact sheet.)

Changes in the Workplace

Tax incentives aside, recruiters have always sought to help service members and veterans build careers. The budget has only highlighted an ongoing conversation about the job hunt that veterans face upon returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The post-9/11 generation in particular faces bias from employers who assume that returning military personnel suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In this light, employers should instate programs that facilitate the recruitment, hiring, and retention of veteran workers. This calls for certain changes to workplace mentality and procedures:

  • Educating HR on best practices for veteran employment
  • Creating a welcoming and understanding culture for hired veterans
  • Including a statement in the official company hiring policy

Implementing Programs

The latter may be as simple as adding a line to your careers site—America’s Heroes at Work  recommends the following:

If you are a Veteran or wounded warrior and would like assistance with the employment process at XYZ Company, please contact us at xyz@yourcompany.com.

If you are a person with a disability or a disabled Veteran and are applying for a job with XYZ Company, we would like to ensure your application process goes as smoothly as possible. If you need additional assistance, information or answers to your questions, feel free to contact us (and offer an e-mail address and phone number to your company’s point of contact for military initiatives, rather than a general webmaster or electronic screening site). 

As for the first two, the White House Business Council publishes the Guide to Hiring Veterans, a comprehensive resource for hiring managers and recruiters. This guide covers everything from federal hiring programs to ethical interview questions to corporate benefits, and collects links other resources. The literature isn’t just for top-level management, either—it’s crucial for information to reach middle managers in order to facilitate an open work environment that’s friendly to service members, veterans, and military spouses.

Veteran Employers

Each year, veteran-owned business Victory Media surveys and ranks businesses on their recruitment and retention of military personnel. The top 10 employers on G.I. Jobs 2013 Top 100 Military Friendly Employers include USAA, CSX Corporation, Deloitte Federal, Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., Burlington Northern Santa Fe, ManTech International Corporation, Southern Company, Combined Insurance Company of America, General Electric Company, and J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation also hosts Hiring Our Heroes, a nationwide job fair and employment workshop with dozens of locations and dates each year. Since its implementation in 2011, Hiring Our Heroes has also begun constructing online programs that help veterans and military spouses ready their resumes and conduct searches via a job portal. Some of the employers that have participated in over 430 hiring fairs include Boeing Company, Nordstrom, Time Warner Cable, Amazon, Volkswagen, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, and H&R Block.

How has your company welcomed veterans? What have been some of the challenges and triumphs? Let us know in the comments, or tweet us at @IMemployers!

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Nathan Parcells

Nathan Parcells is VP of Marketing and co-founder of Looksharp. He has spent the past decade helping students launch their career, researching best practices for hiring millennials (including running Looksharp's annual "State of College Hiring") and sharing these insights with employers. Nathan's work has been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, Business Insider and more. Outside of work, Nathan is an avid rock climber, back packer and Bob Dylan fan.