Always Active: Juggling Reserve and Full-Time Employment Concerns

As a career reservist and full-time employee, it is often difficult to achieve a perfect balance between these competing obligations. Employers who value the significance of Reserve and Guard employees constantly find ways to accommodate this dual schedule. Overlapping responsibilities will push one obligation into the other’s space and causing friction points. Employers also seek to improve benefits both tangible and intangible for these hybrid employees. This article will highlight that a service member does have to work a little harder than most to fulfill their end of the bargain, and some of the frustrations that are friction points with the balancing act of these two obligations.

As a Reservist or National Guard member, it is a volunteer opportunity to receive job training, educational benefits, and career benefits through the federal government. Most importantly you are serving your country and that does require time, commitment, dedication, and effort. Time obligations include monthly training and yearly training, as well as larger obligations such as deployments and advancement schooling. Keeping your employer in the loop is a great way for predictability in the schedule, but too many friction points still exist, often with compensatory issues. Federal benefits such as an additional paycheck, healthcare, educational benefits, and retirement funding can add significant weight when considering long-term incentives to continuing service in the Reserves or National Guard.

The monthly requirements of performing military duty usually fall on a weekend. From the viewpoint of the civilian employer, it usually has no effect on the employee. However, for the employee it is 12 days of work with no time off, and can quickly tire and tax the employee who may be coupled with additional family responsibilities and other items that can easily get neglected. Peeling away from the desk or worksite and clocking out on a Friday, getting home to pack bags, and hitting the road while “resetting” yourself for military duty, usually earlier on a Saturday morning is a routine for Reservist or National Guard member. Working until closing time on a Sunday and returning back home to unpack and then “reverse reset” yourself for your full-time job first thing Monday morning can quickly take your weekend and personal time away.

Brings to another subject, compensation. In today’s fast world of performance metrics and constant analysis, how and why would an employer pay for an employee who needs to take more time off than someone who is not a service-member? It would be an added benefit to the service member to be off at least a half-day before or after a drilling weekend. Does that count as personal time off? Also, the annual requirements of training with service members can often confuse employers. As they may view the employee as “being off” it raises questions or concerns if the employee then asks for additional time, or another full week off as “vacation”. Why would the employer grant this person one month off for the year, when others may only receive their 2 weeks and holidays? As a service member, it is not a “vacation” at all, but rather hands-on training, often with longer days and nights, and away from home. Reservists can also bring their own health coverage to the offering table when it comes to calculating and formulating reasonable employment offers, which is frustrating when offers are low and do not include their benefits and value-add to the organization.

In an ideal world, and some employers are able to counterbalance multiple “weights” on this complicated scale. Reserve and Guard employees are compensated adequately during their training time and even deployments. They’re given a workable amount of military days that don’t count against their civilian time. Their years and seniority accrue when they are gone for a longer duration. The organization promotes professional development catering to these Reserve and National Guard professionals. As the military relies more and more on the part-time force to fulfill full-time obligations, civilian employers will need to continue to refine the bridge between the two competing organizations.

How to Identify a Military Friendly Company

When thinking of a military-friendly company, one may ask, what exactly is a military-friendly company? It’s the standard that measures an organization’s commitment, effort and success in creating sustainable and meaningful benefits for the military community.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that the military community refers to the people who serve, serve alongside or served: active duty, guard, reserve, military spouses and veterans. These are the people many companies recognize and value. Military-friendly companies value the leadership, reliability, “can-do” attitude, motivation, commitment/discipline, training, work ethic and adaptability. And because employers recognize and value these traits, they provide job training, implement internal veteran/mentorship programs, reintegration support and education and often, partnerships and investments in support of our nation’s military community.

One of the most useful resources to use when in search of a military-friendly company is the list of the Military Friendly Employers and Military Friendly Spouse Employers that can be found on In this annual data, thousands of companies and federal contractors nationwide must have hired military veterans within the last 12 months and complete an exhaustive survey with more than 90 questions to participate.

Another useful resource is G.I. Jobs (which also publishes an annual list of the Top 100 Military Friendly Employers). G.I. Jobs lists sponsored employers that are ready to hire veterans and military spouses. While it may not list all military-friendly employers, it contains a handful that would be a great start. By visiting the G.I. Jobs website, you will be allowed to search by military job title, code, company, title, location and more.

A military-friendly company would be one that is committed to matching every veteran with a role that best fits the skills they acquired while in the military. Typically, what an employer would do, is align the work you performed in the military to a similar job within the company. This would allow for you to have a comfortable, smooth transition into your new role.

More often than not, a military-friendly company has developed partnerships and investments in support of our nation’s military community. This is an employer that has an ongoing commitment to veteran-related causes. To see if a company is involved in any veteran-related causes visit their website. Typically, they will have a landing page devoted explicitly to veterans which will then furthermore explain their commitment to veterans.

To identify more military-friendly employers, join groups on LinkedIn specific to military-friendly employers (by using the list from Military Friendly) and industries of interest. If you attend a college or university, ask their veteran affairs office. Conduct Google, Indeed, or Simply Hired searches. If you’ve graduated college, you may also look at your alumni associations for leaders in the industries that you are interested in or are seeking military professionals.

As a veteran, it is essential to identify these military companies because we are looking for a smooth transition. So. Why choose a military-friendly employer? Simple. Because a military-friendly designation creates a better work environment and lifestyle for the military community. That’s good for veterans, good for their families, the organizations and good for America.

Eight Tips for Veterans Going to College

8 Tips for Veterans Going to College

As a veteran returning to civilian life, the transition can be difficult. Not only does one have to adjust to being a civilian again but also adjust to becoming a student in a classroom. Many veterans plan to attend college soon after their discharge from the military, but where does one start in the process? These eight helpful tips will assist you in the process and give you an idea of the things to look into before you make your next big transition into college life.

  1. Understand what you are entitled to under the GI

Along with receiving benefits, which can be up to 36 months depending on your benefit percentage, it is essential to understand that you are entitled to a monthly housing allowance and an annual books and supplies stipend. Your Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) is typically the same as the military Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents and depending on where your school is located; your MHA is based on the ZIP code of your school. Your yearly books and supplies stipend can be up to $1,000 and will be paid proportionately based on enrollment. It usually is dispersed before a semester begins. For more information, visit Post-9/11 GI Bill Payment Rates for 2017 Academic Year (August 1, 2017 – July 31, 2018).

  1. Part-time school or full-time?

Now that we understand our benefits, it is important to understand how many classes are considered part- vs. full-time and the difference it makes in pay. Usually, students must take a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester to be classified as full-time. You must be registered for course credits that constitute at least 51% of full-time status (for undergraduates, this is a minimum of 6.12 credit hours) to receive the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). In addition, avoid a drastic reduction in BAH, at least one credit hour per semester must physically take place on campus. Lastly, payments are paid at the end of the month based on the number of days enrolled, and the first and last payment is always prorated. For additional information on course credits and Basic Housing Allowance, visit How is Housing Allowance Paid.

  1. Search for colleges with a veteran population

A study shows that 80 percent of student veterans are over the age of 25, and 46 percent of student veterans have children. So, what does this mean? It means that we will stand out in the classroom because the classes will likely be comprised of students who just graduated high school. For some of us, it may be hard to relate and communicate with those students. The best thing to do is search for colleges with a veteran population.  Those colleges will have veteran groups you could join and will bring you closer to others whom you can relate to. Become involved by attending veteran events, workshops and seminars. Volunteer to help with those events if you have time; it will be great for networking. Also, you may have professors who will understand you. Make friends with your professors. Ask questions. Let them know you are a veteran and tell them about your unique situation. They will be happy to have you.

  1. Your military coursework counts as credit

Depending on when you discharged from the military, you may be familiar with the JST (Joint Service Transcript) formally known as the SMART (The Sailor-Marine American Council on Education Registry Transcript). The JST will assist the academic institution you are applying for by awarding credit for the military occupational experience and training you completed while serving in the military. Receiving credit for military experience will enable you to complete your degree program more quickly. Now, the academic institutions establish their policies on transfer credit, so the amount of credit awarded will depend on your school’s administration and your degree program, but it does not hurt to try. There is no limit to the number of JSTs you can request, and they are free. To receive your JST, you can register online using the following link:

  1. Apply for financial aid and scholarships

You might be asking yourself, “Why apply for financial assistance if I am using my military benefits?” Answer: Because you are almost guaranteed to be eligible for a grant. A grant will be helpful if you are attending a college that will not be fully covered by the GI Bill. To see how much you would qualify for a grant, you can apply for the FAFSA  (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). After you apply, they will send you information back on how much assistance you are eligible for. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, ask your school’s veterans administrator or financial aid office. Some institutions that provide grants are the VFW, The American Legion, DAV, American Veterans, Pat Tillman Foundation, Yellow Ribbon Program and Veterans with Disabilities – Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program.

  1. Connect with a veteran’s administrator about your benefits

By now, you may be ready to begin applying for colleges. Before you do, there are two things you must remember. 1. Most colleges will waive the application fee because you are a veteran, and 2. Registration deadlines should not apply to you, or you may have your own early and late registration. Because all colleges are different, it is best to communicate with the veteran officer or veteran’s administrator at the college of your choice. Not only will they clarify this information for you, but they will also assist in informing you of all the documents you will need (for example, the JST transcript and DD214).

  1. Your academic advisor is there to help you

If there is anything we will miss about the military, it’s always having a mentor to go to and ask any question we may have or seek guidance on a subject. That is what an academic advisor is there for. Every college will have an academic advisor, that is, someone who is there to help you make a plan and decide what classes to take that are directed towards your goals. Usually, you’re academic advisor will only work with students in specific degree programs, so they will have a clear understanding of the options you may have as far as figuring out your degree plans from the first semester all the way up until you graduate.

  1. Take advantage of the career center

As veterans, it is possible that the only work experiences we have ever had were our military experience. For this reason, we may not be familiar with how to create a cover letter or resume or how to prepare for an interview. This is why your college offers a career center. Take advantage of the career center because it is there to help you. The employees will be able to assist with resume writing, interviews and any other job-related questions you may have. Many times, a college will host a resume or LinkedIn workshop as well as job fairs. Also, the career center would be able to assist you in finding an internship. Even if your major does not require an internship, it is recommended that you take as many as you can.

In conclusion, you are not alone. The college of your choice is sure to have many other veterans in your situation. What’s important is to connect with those veterans and ask for help whenever you feel the need to. Follow these tips to ensure your next mission is a successful one.

Building a Veteran Onboarding Program

In the last five to 10 years, employers have made strides in veteran hiring. However, there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to retaining veteran hires. To help accomplish this, employers should develop a strong veteran onboarding program.

Organizations of all sizes have adopted veteran hiring programs and increased outreach to veteran and military spouse candidates. In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed the importance of placing veterans in jobs that match their unique skill sets and outlined 13 best practices to hire veterans. However, the problem of low retention rates for veteran employees persists. According to a survey by VetAdvisors, 80 percent of veterans leave their first civilian job within the first two years.

While a veteran hiring program is a strong first step, employers also need to focus on everything that follows an offer letter. A successful veteran onboarding program will ensure veteran employees understand the policies, procedures and culture of their new workplace while making them feel included and welcomed in the civilian work environment.

Culture Shock

While the average age of most U.S. military recruits is getting older, according to USA Today, the average age for enlistment is still about 21-years-old. This means that for many veterans, the military is the only employer they’ve had in their adult lives. The military also has an incredibly strong culture which means transitioning to the civilian workforce can be a type of culture shock.

Military onboarding is basic training, and the culture it instills is quite different than most civilian employers. As this veteran author writes, military culture emphasizes heritage, has symbols, traditions and rituals that mark rites of passage and embraces conformity and comfort in the familiar. This contrasts significantly with employers who focus on innovation, progressive growth and individual identity. As a veteran employee starts a civilian job, it’s important to communicate the organization’s cultural norms, and civilian employees should have some understanding of military culture.

Corporate Basic Training

While civilian onboarding programs are a far cry from military basic training, it is important for employers to build veteran-specific onboarding programs to acquaint new hires with their new workplace. The Harvard Business Review recommends a customized workshop detailing how to navigate the organization that includes “a specific section on understanding terminology, acronyms, and jargon.” Additionally, this onboarding program should spell out written and unwritten rules, and it should outline basic cultural norms within the specific workplace. This should cover things as big as career paths and expectations for professional development and as small as where people normally eat lunch.

Military basic training also instills its own values and sense of identity and purpose for veterans. In the U.S. Military’s Oath of Enlistment, the goal “to support and defend the constitution of the United States,” is clear and well understood. When building a veteran onboarding program, it’s important to dig into and share your organization’s mission, vision, values and goals.

Train the Entire Team

Veterans are not the only ones who benefit from training. The Harvard Business Review recommends extending training to all managers, recruiters and leaders about military culture and language. Veterans cannot be the only ones expected to adapt. Civilian employees should develop an understanding of military culture, and they should be able to anticipate where they may run into communication gaps with their veteran colleagues.

Current veteran employees and military spouses on staff can help build this type of program. This type of education is important for recruiters and hiring managers during the hiring process, but all employees should have some understanding of the skills and strengths that military members develop. This not only improves communication within a team, but it can also improve business outcomes as managers are able to assign tasks and projects that take advantage of skills like decision making, agility and collaboration that many veterans learn in their military training.

Connect Veterans with Each Other

To make the transition into civilian work more seamless, employers should find ways to connect veterans throughout the organization. One way to do this is by creating a veteran affinity group. An affinity group is a voluntary, employee-driven group of people with a common interest or goal. A veteran affinity group is an opportunity for veterans across a workplace to connect and support each other. According to the VA, a veteran affinity group provides a comfort zone for new veteran hires, increases camaraderie, increases morale and helps build an organization’s external reputation through the group’s involvement in community veteran organizations. Current veteran employees with strong leadership skills can help build a veteran affinity group.

In some organizations, developing a veteran mentorship program can also benefit new hires. In a veteran mentorship program, current veteran employees can volunteer to partner with new veteran hires to offer support, answer questions and provide resources. This can be especially important during a new employee’s first few weeks with the company, as the new employee will have someone to turn to who understands what it is like to transition to civilian work. A veteran mentor can also help new veteran employees get involved in the organization’s veteran affinity group. In a small organization with few veteran employees, military spouses or employees who have family members in the military can also serve in a mentorship role.

Connect the Entire Team

While it is important for veterans throughout an organization to connect with each other, it is important to avoid an us-versus-them mentality. As with any new hire, team meetings or lunches can increase collaboration and make team members feel included. Managers should also check in frequently. According to, many veterans are “trained to perform specific tasks that work in tandem with the work and roles of others.” Setting frequent meetings to check in with veteran employees can show that managers are available and eager to assist with the transition.

Building a strong veteran onboarding program is important to ensure that veteran hiring efforts are successful by making new hires feel invested in their new position and team.

2017 in Review: PeopleScout Thought Leadership

Throughout 2017, we’ve covered the biggest technology trends impacting talent acquisition and we’ve seen the growing gig economy increase the need for Total Workforce Solutions programs. We’ve also seen a low unemployment rate and a large skills gap impact a variety of industries. As 2017 draws to a close, we’re looking back on our most important thought leadership from the past year.


To stay ahead in the constantly shifting talent landscape, it’s important to take advantage of the best technology solutions. In 2017, PeopleScout launched Affinix™, our propriety tech platform designed to help connect our clients with the best talent faster. These blogs and ebooks cover the technology you need to know to stay ahead.

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Analytics: What Does it Mean for Recruiting

Defining the Terms of Data Analytics

New Ebook Download: Seven Tech Trends Shaping the Talent Landscape

Introducing Affinix – Empowering Faster Connection with the Best Talent

Does Your Candidate Experience Meet Candidate Expectations?

Four Applications of AI to Improve your Talent Acquisition Program

RPO, MSP and Total Workforce Solutions

RPO, MSP and Total Workforce Solutions are the core of what we do here at PeopleScout. As more people join the gig economy, Total Workforce Solutions are becoming even more important for employers who want a holistic view of their entire talent strategy

Lexicon for RPO, MSP and Total Workforce Solutions Terms

Whitepaper: Total Workforce Solutions: Optimizing Talent Acquisition by Blending RPO and MSP

The Outlook for Total Workforce Solutions: Why Now?

Designing a Total Workforce Solution

Ready, Set, RPO: What to Expect in a New RPO Partnership

Leave it to the Pros: Why Contingent Labor is Better Managed through an MSP

Gig Economy: Beyond the Buzzword

Recruiting in the Gig Economy

Five Key Drivers of MSP Programs

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are important in every workplace. A diverse workforce increases business outcomes, but it can be difficult to attract diverse talent.

Getting it Right: Understanding and Managing Diversity in the Workplace

Creating an Effective Diversity and Inclusion Program

Workplace Diversity: Benefits of Hiring LGBTQ Individuals

Improving Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Workforce

Age Discrimination in the Workforce: What Employers Need to Know

Veteran Hiring

The veteran hiring landscape has transformed over the past several years, and it’s important for employers to understand the needs of veterans and military spouses so that they can build veteran hiring programs to meet their needs.

Exploring the Veteran Talent Landscape: Why it’s Time to Focus on Turning Veteran Jobs into Veteran Careers

13 Best Practices to Hire Veterans

Ebook Download: Best Practices for Hiring Veterans

Hiring Our Heroes: A PeopleScout Commitment to Veterans and Military Spouses

Recognizing Our Veterans

Industry Outlooks

Disruptive technology and talent shortages are impacting different industries in different ways. It’s important to understand the factors impacting an industry to build an effective talent acquisition program.

The Commercial Driver Talent Landscape – Candidates are in the Driver’s Seat

Healthcare Talent Shortage: A Generational Divide

Managing the Skills Shortage in Healthcare

HR Functions

There’s more to building an effective talent program than just making good hires, you need to attract and keep the best talent.

Three Ways to Increase Employee Engagement

Four Ways to Strengthen Your Employer Brand and Recruit Top Talent

The Economy

It’s important for all talent acquisition professionals to understand the job market and the economic factors that could impact hiring. Throughout 2017, we dug deep not only into the U.S. Jobs Reports, but also the international unemployment landscape.

Dissecting the March Jobs Report

Dissecting the April Jobs Report

Dissecting the May Jobs Report

Dissecting the June Jobs Report

Dissecting the July Jobs Report

Dissecting the August Jobs Report

Dissecting the September Jobs Report

Dissecting the October Jobs Report

Dissecting the November Jobs Report

PeopleScout Events

Throughout 2017, we’re proud to have attended several industry events and to have hosted our client forum on the changing world of work. Additionally, we were honored to be named the Skills For Chicagoland’s Future 2017 Corporate Champion for the Unemployed.

PeopleScout 2017 Client Forum Wrap Up

Skills for Chicagoland’s Future: A PeopleScout Partnership to Aid the Unemployed

PeopleScout at the 2017 CWS Summit North America

PeopleScout APAC 2017 Innovation Forum

Recognizing our Veterans

Every year we recognize Veterans Day in the U.S. to commemorate the men and women who have served our country in uniform.

Serving veterans is central to our mission here at PeopleScout. We connect tens of thousands of veterans with work every year, and we have veterans working at every level of our company. We’ve created this video to honor their service and their commitment to the veteran hiring we do here at PeopleScout.

At PeopleScout, we believe in connecting veterans with meaningful work. We understand the unique challenges veterans and their spouses face as they balance a military career or transition to the civilian workforce. This drives our internal hiring and the work we do to help our clients enrich their workforces with veteran employees. That’s why we’re committed to hiring and supporting veterans and military spouses, no matter where they are in their military journey.

For organizations who want to start a veteran hiring program or improve one they already have, we’re releasing the ebook “Best Practices for Hiring Veterans.” The ebook provides insight on the veteran talent landscape and the best practices to build an effective veteran hiring program. Download it here.

Hiring Our Heroes: A PeopleScout Commitment to Veterans and Military Spouses

Over the past five years, the veteran unemployment rate has fallen, and new challenges are emerging. The unique employment issues faced by military spouses are rising to the forefront. In our earlier series on veteran employment, we addressed the 18 percent unemployment rate among military spouses and urged companies to focus their hiring efforts on the entire military family.

A White House Meeting

Hiring our Heroes, a program of U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, is now bringing those issues to the attention of the White House. PeopleScout is a founding and current board member of Hiring Our Heroes.

In early August, representatives from Hiring our Heroes, alongside 10 military spouses, met in the Roosevelt room at the White House. The group met with Ivanka Trump, Kellyanne Conway, Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta and Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon to share the unique challenges those spouses face. Media outlets covered the event as part of the administration’s “American Dream Week.”

CNN reports the group focused on issues like state-by-state licensing requirements that can make it difficult for spouses in professions like teaching, law and nursing to find jobs when a family moves as a part of one family member’s military service. Officials with Hiring Our Heroes say the meeting helps elevate the employment challenges of military spouses to the same level of importance as veteran unemployment.

The Study

In June 2017, Hiring Our Heroes released a report that provides numbers and new details about the employment challenges of military spouses. The report calls attention to the fact that military families struggle to maintain two incomes, something that more than 60 percent of American families rely on. In the military, only about 50 percent of households have two incomes.

Military spouses say they struggle to find consistent employment as their family moves due to a military transfer or as they take on additional family responsibilities during a deployment. 92 percent of military spouses are women, and the unemployment rate for military spouses is about four times higher than the level of unemployment for all American women.

When searching for a job, military spouses say the most frequent issue they face is that employers don’t want to hire them out of fear that they will move. They also struggle explaining gaps in their resume and often need a more flexible schedule while their spouse is deployed. Because of these challenges, about a quarter of military spouses say it has taken them more than a year to find a job after a move and many work part-time or seasonal jobs or work more than one job when they want permanent, full-time employment.

When military spouses do find employment, about 70 percent report that the job does not take full advantage of their work experience and education. Nearly two-thirds of military spouses say they have taken a decrease in pay or responsibilities in their current job. Most military spouses with post-secondary education say that the military lifestyle does not support career opportunities for both spouses.

These issues faced by military spouses have much broader implications. Finding work and managing a career is one of the top stressors for military families, just behind deployments and moving away from friends and families. That stress plays a significant role in a veteran’s decision to leave the military, according to the study, and impacts that military’s readiness and ability to recruit.

A Long Partnership

PeopleScout has long been a partner of Hiring our Heroes in its mission to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities. Our parent company, TrueBlue, was a founding member of the national advisory circle on the Veteran Employment Advisory Council, which was created in 2011. The VEAC is committed to hiring veterans and military spouses, establishing best practices for veteran employment, reporting measures like job opportunities, interviews and placements, providing mentors to military members transitioning into the civilian workforce and working with other businesses to do the same.

TrueBlue is also on the Wounded Veteran and Caregiver Employment Advisory Council, which focuses on the employment needs of wounded veterans and veteran caregivers. The council focuses on finding flexible work schedules or remote-work opportunities to support veterans’ and caregivers’ integration back into civilian employment. Many veterans face permanent injuries, including post-traumatic stress (PTS), physical disabilities and traumatic brain injuries that make the transition to traditional employment difficult.

TrueBlue backs up that commitment through action, hiring more than 30,000 veterans every year. That’s more than any other recruiting company in the world. For three straight years, TrueBlue companies PlaneTechs and PeopleScout have earned the Military Friendly Employer designation. PlaneTechs is also ranked #1 by GI Jobs among small to mid-size companies. PeopleScout also created the Veteran Talent Exchange, connecting veterans to employers committed to their hiring.

13 Best Practices to Hire Veterans

The veteran hiring landscape has transformed over the past few years, which means companies need to constantly evolve their veteran hiring practices to match the changing veteran talent market and the changing needs of veterans. To learn more about this background, check out our post on the need to turn veteran jobs into veteran careers.

These are 13 best practices for hiring veterans we’ve developed working with our clients and nonprofit veteran groups.

Focus on the entire military family

When building a veteran hiring strategy, start broad. While the veteran unemployment rate has fallen drastically over the past five years, veteran spouses still have an unemployment rate of 18 percent. We live in a world where families need two incomes to get by. Hiring Our Heroes is working to draw attention to the unique challenges faced by military spouses. Read more about those challenges and our work with Hiring Our Heroes here.

Meet candidates on military-friendly job boards

We know most candidates look for jobs online, and veterans are no different. Organizations looking to hire veterans should identify which opportunities fit with the skill sets of veteran candidates and post those jobs on veteran job boards. Meet veterans where they are.

Write job postings in military-friendly language

Any jobs on military-friendly job boards or targeting veteran candidates should be written in military-friendly language. Communicating with veteran candidates in familiar language demonstrates an organization’s military-friendly culture and commitment to veteran hiring. It also drives more veteran candidates because those candidates understand exactly what the posting is looking for.

Gain executive sponsorship for your veteran program

A successful veteran hiring program needs to have strong commitment throughout the organization from the top down. Executive sponsorship of veteran hiring programs empowers everyone in the organization to implement many of these best practices.

Create a military hiring website separate from a traditional careers page

A separate veteran careers page gives organizations the ability to speak directly to veteran candidates about their veteran hiring programs and commitments. By separating this careers page from civilian candidates and even other diversity outreach programs, organizations can demonstrate their commitment and direct veterans to opportunities identified as fitting well with veteran skill sets.

Highlight veteran employees who have made a successful transition to civilian employment

On that separate careers page, organizations should showcase successful veteran employees, especially those who have been promoted and are building careers within the organization. As we discussed in our previous blog post, many veterans say they take their first civilian job to make ends meet. However, 44 percent of veterans leave that job within the first year, often for a position with better pay and more opportunity for advancement. By communicating other veteran success stories, organizations can show their commitment to veteran careers rather than just veteran jobs.

Develop a veteran talent community to capture both active and passive candidates

For active candidates, a veteran talent community provides information about the job postings.
It’s more nuanced with passive candidates. We know passive veteran candidates are often nearing the end of their military career and starting to think about the transition. As they finish their career, they may also be anticipating a move, and that might be holding back their civilian job search.

A veteran talent community helps nurture veterans through that process. We know it’s important to capture and communicate with passive veteran candidates because the earlier a veteran starts their job search process, the more time they have to find the right position. That means they won’t feel as pressured to take the first job offer they receive, whether or not it’s the right fit.

Form a dedicated veteran sourcing/recruiting team made up of veterans who have made a successful transition to civilian employment

Veterans report their biggest challenge in job hunting is deciding which career path they want to pursue. Talking to someone who has already gone through this experience can help the veteran work through this process and find a job that can become a career.

These veterans on this sourcing and recruiting team can also help veteran candidates tailor their resumes and practice for interviews. They can pull from their own experience to offer better advice and support.

Educate recruiters to read military resumes and translate skills so they can be advocates for veteran candidates

According to a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, more than half of HR professionals say they have little to no knowledge of military rank and structure. Recruiters need ongoing training about military resumes and skill sets because they need to demonstrate to hiring managers why a veteran candidate is a good fit for their position. One of the biggest challenges in veteran hiring is moving past the knowledge gap most civilians have about the military.

Create a process to screen and prioritize military candidates

This process can look different for different organizations depending on their veteran hiring goals. To identify candidates, organizations can make sure a question in the application process allows veterans to self-identify. Then, it’s up to the organization how much it wants to prioritize those candidates. One option is to prioritize veterans behind internal candidates but ahead of all other external candidates. Organizations can also decide if they want to advertise this prioritization. Publicizing it can increase the number of military applicants.

Create one designated point of contact for federal, state and non-profit military organizations that can funnel military candidates

Across the U.S. there are more than 800 federal, state, and non-profit military organizations. All of them can help funnel veteran candidates looking to make the transition into civilian employment. One contact for all of these veterans’ organizations can share information about job opportunities and funnel these candidates into the recruitment process. This can yield hundreds of prescreened candidates a week. It’s free to source candidates from these organizations. Someone just needs to manage it.

Use social media marketing to reach veterans for a greater ROI over traditional career fairs

Like all job hunters, veteran candidates are using social media as part of their job search. Reach veterans where they are. While more traditional veteran career fairs prove to be successful for some organizations, they are expensive. Using social media marketing can put job openings in front of more candidates for less money.

Establish a veteran affinity group to create a supportive environment for veteran employees

The process of hiring a veteran is just the first step. We need to think of the transition to civilian work as a process, and not just a job offer. A veteran resource group helps veteran employees become a part of the culture and the team. Of the 44 percent of veterans who leave their first post-military job within one year, nearly one-third say they had difficulty relating to their coworkers and to the company. A veteran resource group helps address veteran employee retention.

Exploring the Veteran Talent Landscape: Why It’s Time to Focus on Turning Veteran Jobs into Veteran Careers

There are plenty of reasons to hire veterans. For companies, it makes good business sense. Veterans make great employees. They’re leaders, team players, disciplined, hard workers, and their military experience makes them quick learners who can perform well under pressure. As civilians, it’s the least we can do. After years of service, as veterans transition into the civilian world, we owe it to them to make that transition smooth.

Falling Unemployment

Over the past five years, the veteran hiring landscape has transformed. In 2011, the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans hit a high of 12.1 percent. At the time, the U.S. economy was recovering from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and thousands of veterans were looking for civilian work as the military scaled down operations in the Middle East.

Now, the picture is vastly different. By the end of 2016, the veteran unemployment rate fell to 4.3 percent. The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans is about a percentage point higher.

There are several reasons for this drop in unemployment. The U.S. economy has recovered dramatically. As the veteran unemployment rate fell, so too did the overall unemployment rate. Additionally, many companies started veteran hiring initiatives. The Veteran Jobs Mission started in 2011 with the goal of hiring 100,000 veterans. Member organizations have now hired nearly 400,000. Companies like Walmart and Starbucks also made high-profile commitments that have translated into thousands of jobs. According to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study, companies now consider veterans a top three recruiting priority.

New Challenges

Despite these encouraging numbers, veterans in 2017 face a new set of challenges – the biggest is underemployment. Military Times examined this issue, pointing out that many of the jobs offered to veterans making the transition to civilian work fail to take advantage of their unique skill sets.

We can also see this because when it comes to hiring veterans, one of the biggest challenges now is holding on to them. A study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found 44 percent of veterans leave their first civilian job in the first year. Of those who leave, 31 percent say it was because they took that first job just to make ends meet, but it wasn’t actually what they wanted to do. It wasn’t a good fit. Another 30 percent left for a better job with more pay and more opportunities for advancement.

These issues impact some veterans more than others. Post-9/11 veterans struggle more than veterans from earlier periods of service. Most of the unemployed veterans are middle age or older.

Some challenges affect the entire military family. The unemployment rate for military spouses is 18 percent. They face many of the same challenges as veterans when it comes to finding and holding a job, but they don’t have access to the same employment support networks. Hiring Our Heroes is drawing attention to the challenges faced by military spouses. Read more about those unique issues and PeopleScout’s relationship with Hiring Our Heroes here.

Looking Forward

Now, employers have a new challenge. It’s time to focus on placing veterans in the right job the first time and put them on a track to build a civilian career. We need to focus on building company cultures where veterans feel comfortable and where they can advance.

The biggest challenges standing in the way of these goals are that most hiring managers have a hard time reading military resumes and translating those skills to civilian jobs, and most companies don’t have the training or formal programming to build a veteran-friendly culture.

There are steps employers can take to improve veteran hiring and retention. See our list of best practices for companies looking to improve their veteran hiring.