Last March, as reported here new disability and veterans regulations developed by the OFCCP went into effect.

In the roughly 10 months since, we have heard numerous employers, veteran’s advocacy groups and veterans themselves complain about how difficult it still is to actually accomplish what the regulations require, which is for contractors to  establish a hiring benchmark of 7.2% for protected veterans each year.

Survey after survey shows that most employers would gladly hire veterans. In fact, a CareerBuilder survey from a couple of years back shows that 29 percent of employers are actively recruiting veterans to work for their organizations and sixty-five percent said they would be more likely to hire a veteran over another equally qualified candidate.

So, why the frustration in reaching the relatively modest benchmark of 7.2%? The problem is fairly simple: current traditional recruiting and hiring models don’t work very well for veterans.  According to this Prudential study on veteran employment challenges, the solutions are not simple because veterans face the following hurdles to job search success:

Greatest-ChallengesOn the flip side, employers committed to recruiting and hiring veterans must first change how they recruit this diverse and valuable talent pool by addressing the following:

  • Job posting & resume review:  Veteran experiences and sometimes specialized skills generally don’t translate neatly into all the boxes on the online job posting “Must Have” requirements list so corporate recruiters and hiring managers need to re-assess and re-write jobs so that they highlight a need for specific competencies and transferable skills  Example:  Demonstrated leadership and team management skills, able to make accurate and timely decisions in crisis situations, aptitude for numbers and data analytics
  • Training:  Hiring managers, HR and Recruiters need to be educated in how to review and assess the resumes, career interests and potential transferable or developmental skills and abilities so that they can better match them to job opportunities in their company. A common mistake of many employers is that only the front line recruiters and/or HR professionals receive this kind of training leaving the hiring managers to continue rejecting a high number of candidates presented for consideration.
  • Veteran Career Coaching / Peer Mentoring:  Military job candidates are themselves often unsure of what they want to do in a civilian career, so many need career coaching as a first step in their transition BEFORE they can effectively search for a job that best matches their skills and abilities.  Veteran employee resource groups can play an important role in partnering with corporate HR and recruiters to assist in candidate career coaching, job matching, new hire cultural assimilation / onboarding and/or employee career development coaching.
  • Quality over Quantity – Targeted Outreach:  This is where employers will get stung the hardest in the new OFCCP requirement as a high volume of veteran resumes from various sources is BAD. The government looks seriously at the ratios of those applying to your jobs compared to those moving forward in your recruiting process.  If your recruiters screen out a high number of veteran applicants you could be at risk of an OFCCP audit!  The most important thing to do is be strategic and targeted in your outreach to promote your employment opportunities and attract talent that has a greater chance of moving through your process to a hire.  There are hundreds of veteran employment service organizations  (VSO), employment / career coaching programs and for profit job boards available so developing a targeted outreach strategy that yields veteran referrals who are pre-qualified for your job opportunities is key to improving your hiring ratios and meeting the requirements for demonstrated outreach.

TalentRISE has established a Partnership with ConnectVETS.org, a non-profit organization committed to removing barriers to employment for veterans and employers. Together, we have developed turn-key solutions to address each of the employer military recruiting challenges highlighted in this blog post. If you have any comments, would like to share your experiences OR are currently seeking assistance in overcoming similar challenges in your military recruiting efforts, please contact us for a free consultation on how TalentRISE and ConnectVETS.org can help!

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Carl Kutsmode

About the Author

Carl Kutsmode has over 20 years expertise in talent acquisition transformation — assessing and optimizing corporate recruiting capabilities for greater efficiency and performance.

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Tags: federal contractors, hiring veterans, hiring vets, recruting veterans