Learn more about best practices in recruiting veteran and military job seekers by joining a Talent Circles sponsored webinar on 2/13/14 at 9:00 PM PSTClick here to register & learn more. 

In doing research for our upcoming webinar on Veteran and Diversity hiring for my site Blogging4Jobs.com in combination with TalentCircles, I’ve done a great deal of research, analyzing and my own personal reflection on how we can hire military veterans more effectively while also helping our exiting military who are entering the job search today. You’ll learn more by registering for the full webinar on February 13, 2014 at 12 AM EST by clicking here.
Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all solution, which is what we (recruiters and business leaders) often gravitate towards. This is the foundational challenge with developing a military recruiting strategy. Each individual service member’s experience, training, skills and attitude are different and unique. You can’t lump every service branch or job title into the same category.  Their transitions from military to civilian are all very different. Some do very well in the job search in transitioning from military to civilian life as shown in Marylene’s interview with 24 Hour Fitness CEO, Lance Sapera.
Your recruiting team must include former military.  
As a former military wife, I understand in a small way what it is like for those that are leaving the military and transitioning to the civilian world. He lived it. I watched him struggle and through it all did my best to help. He found work, but he wasn’t fulfilled and encountered many personal struggles including depression, alcoholism and finding his identity outside of the military.
Aside from having personal and relatable stories, having a recruiter who is former military on your team provides you with a constant compass to help your organization moving in the right direction. This individual speaks the language of the military and has his/her own personal experience to draw from. This is extremely powerful on a personal level while providing your team a subject matter expert 24/7.
You must recruit military differently.
The fancy tools and gadgets for recruiting military like the MOS skills translator, they are not enough in effectively recruiting former military.  Without a separate military recruiting program or an organizational focus on these efforts, it is not enough. Military members are extremely networked with one another, and organizations must create a veteran recruiting program where your recruiters talk, teach and engage veterans individually. This means phone calls, job fairs and talking at military events every chance your organization in combination with building a military focused talent network.
You must focus on measuring your success of your military recruiting.
For military and diversity recruiting efforts to be successful, they must be focused on metrics and analytics from the beginning. This means measuring turnover numbers of those that are military and non-military, time in position, and even their performance reviews. We have to look beyond recruiting metrics like cost of hire and go deeper to really understand how a focused recruiting campaign and strategy truly impacts the overall organization.
In my experience, our former military are some of the most loyal employees. It’s one thing for me to just say this. It’s another when I have the metrics and numbers to back up my gut feelings.
HR and recruiting technologies TalentCircles provide a way to continue to engage the job seeker community online especially when you have spent so much time, money and effort working to reach them in real life. The experience within the talent network is customized for your veteran job seekers, STEM candidates, diversity recruiting or other focused recruitment activities that you choose.
You must get creative.
A simple job board advertisement and a couple of press releases while attending a military job fair is not enough to effectively recruit military veterans to your company. The strategies you employ are unique to your organization. You must be focused on the long term. Maybe you find a military internship or training program is best for both your job seekers and your organization allowing them to learn about the civilian working world while both parties take a test drive.
Called “Returnships” companies like Goldman Sacs are offering 8-week career transition programs for exiting military. Programs like this are one of the best ways to successfully recruit while also helping transitioning military. Bottom line is that you have to get creative.
Building a successful recruiting strategy to engage and attract our former military takes research, planning and a lot of effort. It’s evolving and ongoing, but the most important thing is that you take the time to understand your military job seekers so that you can provide resources and conversations that help them through their transition with the goal of filling your organization with the best talent you can find.
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a leading voice in HR and workplace technology. She’s an author and founder of  Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell.

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