Stop Reaching Out To The Wrong Military Candidates

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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Glen Santy

Your hiring manager wants to see military candidates, but how do you attract the appropriate military skill sets to apply? The answer is simple: Tell them exactly what you want. The more specific you are, the more targeted the backgrounds will be.


Let's consider some frequent job posts where veteran backgrounds are desired: maintenance, logistics and information technology.

Most entry-level maintenance postings will look for two major types of experience: one to three years in the industry or an associate's degree in the appropriate field. There are some companies that will also add the generic “or equivalent military experience” in an effort to attract military maintenance backgrounds.

The specification can help, but it can also cause a plethora of unqualified military candidates to throw their hats in the ring. While it may increase the number of military applicants, it can lead to some overworked sourcers who struggle to understand the different military backgrounds. In the worst case scenario, recruiting departments may regard military applicants as an obstruction to efficient requisition management.

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Be specific in what you want. Adding the phrase, "or a military electronics maintenance background with formal military training in electronics, plus four years of military service” attracts exactly the right military backgrounds to apply, while limiting the unqualified applicants. Plus you get some extra veteran-friendly branding among transitioning service members.

Another great place to attract veterans with specific language is internship positions — as long as university recruiters approve of some of their slots being filled with non-student veterans. For positions where you are targeting students pursuing an associate’s degree, you can use the same format described above.

If you are concerned about the risk of opening up student internships to non-students, consider this: Most veterans have the equivalent of at least one year of college if they have attended any formal training for their military career field. You can also factor in the fact that most of these applicants will also have some formal college credit under their belt and could easily qualify as intern candidates.

Military schoolhouse training can last anywhere between one and six months, with classroom time running six hours a day, five days a week. Compared to a full-time college student doing a 13-week, 15-hour per week course load, we can draw an easy mathematical equivalence here: military schoolhouse training is double the concentration of full-time college. A six-week military training course is the equivalent of a semester of community college.

Other job families would carry similar language that helps reach out directly to your targeted audience. If you are unsure of the language to use, ask someone from your veteran employee resource group for help, or just give us a call at Hirepurpose. Veterans love helping veterans.

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