According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for Gulf War-era II veterans – those who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces any time since September 2001—was 9 percent in 2013. And the jobless rate for all veterans was 6.6 percent.
And although the job search can be a challenge for most people, research shows that veterans oftentimes face an extra set of difficulties, especially in the area of discrimination.
The bellinghamherald.com reported that in 2013, The Los Angeles Times discovered that “the U.S. Labor Department and Office of Special Counsel accepted 1,430 new cases of alleged criminal job discrimination against National Guard and Reserve veterans. That number compared to 848 in 2001: an increase of more than 60 percent.”
And, sadly, a Washington Post article reported that the “biggest offender” when it came to veteran job discrimination in 2011 was the federal government. The article explains:
It is against federal law for employers to penalize service members because of their military service. And yet, in some cases, the U.S. government has withdrawn job offers to service members unable to get released from active duty fast enough; in others, service members have been fired after absences.
In fiscal 2011, more than 18 percent of the 1,548 complaints of violations of that law involved federal agencies, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
The issue with hiring veterans goes back and forth. Some companies worry about veterans having PTSD, while many researchers and psychologists work to dispel the PTSD myth (in relation to it not making a veteran suitable for hire).
And still, research shows that veterans haven’t been able to maximize their military skills in civilian jobs—which some employers use against them—while others point out how a veteran’s training makes him/her the perfect job candidate to meet a company’s bottomline.
And with all the back and forth about whether or not to hire veterans, I’ve never heard anyone make the case for veterans being the ones to do the hiring—until now.
Executive search expert Jason Hanold of Hanold Associates has many years of recruiting experience, and he believes veterans have built a skillset while serving that makes them great for the HR industry and recruiters.
Hanold offered to share his insights and four simple yet compelling tips on why more companies shouldn’t look overlook a veteran when seeking to hire a recruiter. Check out Hanold’s thoughts below:
While leading teams of corporate recruiters and then teams in retained executive search, I’ve studied traits of some of the best recruiting professionals in the world. Some recruiters are naturally gifted at building relationships, yet they have a flat spot when it comes to assessing candidates with a high degree of rigor. Other recruiters, known for their rigorous assessment capability, often fall down when it comes to building lasting relationships.
Veterans (whether officers or enlisted personnel) are proving to be an ideal balance:
1. Meaningful Relationship-Builders:Their lives depended on building trusting relationships. Whether in the trenches or in operations intelligence, they worked as units, in teams, and pushed toward an objective. Authenticity comes to the forefront when lives are at stake. This isn’t about glad-handing but about a deep and real relationship conveyed by the knowledge that you have each other’s back.
2. Strong Interviewers: They’re unflinching when it comes to asking tough questions. I’ve seen great relationship builders overly concerned about being liked by candidates, and it got in the way of great assessment and interviewing.
3. Embrace Ambiguity: Some of us complain about how challenging our jobs are, whether it’s travel demands, hours, or impossible hiring managers. Veterans don’t usually raise those issues. They’ve seen worse and were always paid much less. They’re naturally curious, learn fast, figure out ambiguous situations, and combat training knocks any silver-spoon or corporate naiveté right out of one’s soul.
4. Wise Beyond Years: Whether in executive search or corporate recruiting, we have to be credible with senior hiring managers. The military adds years, if not decades, of wisdom to your life. I’m witnessing our 30-something former Air Force intelligence officer and former Army captain, West Point graduate have meaningful advisory discussions with our client CEOs and CHROs who are a generation or two ahead of them.
If you’re proud of how our veterans have served our country, you’ll be equally impressed with how well they swing the pendulum of credibility forward for our recruiting profession. They make for great recruiters.