November 8th, 2019 | Chris Cassimus, Vice President, Product Management

11 Ways to Recruit and Retain Veterans

11 Ways to Recruit and Retain Veterans

How to Effectively Tap into the Military Talent Pool

On Veteran’s Day, my family, friends, colleagues, and I pay homage to the members of the military and their families that have made sacrifices to keep our country safe. For many hiring organizations, this appreciation doesn’t end on November 11: more and more companies are turning to the veteran community in order to find quality talent. Why? Thanks to their unique work experiences, veterans are great team players who are extremely goal-oriented and can work well under pressure.

For your own organization to benefit from what these workers bring to the table, you must be able to effectively engage them first. The following tips can help in successfully recruiting and retaining veterans.

Create a Veteran Recruiting Strategy

Just as with any other applicant pool, your company should create a plan for attracting and retaining veterans based on your specific needs. For successful veteran recruiting, first familiarize yourself with those in the military community. By understanding their unique skills and needs, your organization then will not only be more likely to successfully find the talent you need, but also better retain them as long-term employees.

Gain Tax Credits

Did you know that by hiring veterans your company is entitled to a Federal tax credit? I reached out to Matt Kelm, Senior Director, Strategic Alliances at TCC, to respond to this question. Over the years, TCC has worked closely with Sterling, delivering tax incentive and human resources technology-enabled services, specializing in solutions for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), income and employment verification, research and development tax credits, sales and use tax incentives, and other federal and state tax incentives to our clients. Here’s what Matt had to say:

“By hiring veterans facing significant barriers to employment, employers can avail of a Federal tax credit. Each year, companies claim roughly $1 billion in tax credits under the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program. For every 1,000 employees you hire, your organization can receive over $100,000 in annual tax savings. In partnership with TCC, Sterling provides innovative WOTC screening solutions to organizations with a configurable process to automatically screen talent for program eligibility and confirm every tax credit opportunity is taken.”

Educate Human Resources on Military Jargon

Veterans bring numerous valuable skills to the table, but organizations must understand what those abilities are in order to determine how a military hire can contribute to the team. The military has a language all its own, so it’s imperative for a veteran-friendly company to have human resources professionals who understand that language and how it translates into terms used in the civilian workforce. PCS, for example, stands for Permanent Change of Station, while OTS stands for Officer Training School. Seeing such designations on a CV and understanding that they mean will make it easier for your company to review resumes from veterans and determine how their skills match up with open positions, as well as better understand their needs during the interview process.

Draft Military-Friendly Job Postings

Once hiring managers educate themselves on the language of the military, they can use this knowledge to draft job descriptions that will appeal to a military hire. This will help prospective employees better understand how their military experience relates to the civilian positions they’re interested in. It also helps you create a better approach to your veteran recruiting strategy overall.

Showcase the Purpose

Since members of the military are accustomed to working toward a higher purpose, your company should showcase its organizational mission whenever communicating with a potential military hire. Think about what your organization does, and how specifically advertised positions fit into the bigger picture. Make a point of communicating these things to applicants. This will allow veterans to see themselves as valuable members of the team, and will make your organization more attractive to their service-oriented nature.

Recruit in Places Where Veterans Are

There are numerous places where your company can go to find veteran candidates. This includes job fairs as well as events that cater to this group specifically. In addition, recruiters can visit military bases and community organizations to raise awareness about their company, as well as post on online job boards that focus on the military community, so that they are top of mind among veterans.

Promotion, Promotion, Promotion!

Creating a veteran-friendly environment is only helpful if people in the community are aware of it. It’s important for your organization to tell the story of why it’s a great place to work for veterans every chance you get. Whether they’re attending networking events or career fairs, your recruiters should always mention your company’s interest in veteran recruiting. Also, consistently encourage veterans to apply when jobs are posted on your website and social media pages.

Another great way to show that your company is serious about having veterans in the workforce is to give back to the military community. Supporting military organizations can help you demonstrate your understanding of the issues that matter to veterans. Take every opportunity you can to support organizations that provide assistance to active military personnel and veterans in order to maximize your brand recall and successful military hires.

Get Referrals

Your organization can increase its chances of recruiting veterans by enlisting the help of current employees who may know veterans or current members of the military. Getting these referrals is an invaluable way of finding quality hires because good workers are likely to refer people who have a similar work ethic.

Offer Veteran-Specific Mentoring

Workers who have recently completed their military service may have challenges adjusting to the civilian workforce. If your company already has veterans on staff, you can leverage their knowledge and experience by creating a mentoring program that allows new hires to get accustomed to the company culture, and learn how to meet the challenges of working outside of the military.

Promote Veteran-Specific Health Services

Some veterans may have medical or psychological needs that other employees may not. Creating and promoting the relevance of your medical and mental health services that are available for veterans is an important part in your military recruitment strategy. From employee-assistance programs to resources offered by veteran organizations, putting such services front and center shows that you understand the needs of these employees and are concerned about their well-being.

As you consider these tips when seeking to hire veterans in your own organization, your background and identity screening strategy should be employed as it would for recruiting any potential candidate. Partner with a background screening company that is thorough, promotes compliance and is accredited, provides integration with your HR systems, is ready with solutions that are customized to your industry, and underlines each aspect with excellence in client service. To gain further insights into what to look for in a background check provider, read this recent blog by our in-house background screening expert.


Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.