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Creating a Job Description to Attract Top Veteran Candidates

It’s good news that veteran unemployment has dropped over the past few years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—for veterans, that is—but it’s not quite such a great development for companies. The incentives that motivated businesses to target and employ former military personnel are now harder to qualify for, simply because there are fewer top veteran candidates available to choose from. It’s essential to have powerful job descriptions if you want to attract veterans, who now have so much more choice of employment than they did before.

Here’s how employers and staffing firms can craft job descriptions to appeal to veterans, so you can draw them out effectively and bring them into the fold.

Specify Military Credentials

One of the biggest challenges most military veterans have when it comes to finding civilian work is that their training and credentials don’t translate into what businesses usually look for. One of the ways you circumvent this problem and make your company attractive to veterans is by listing military skills accepted in lieu of formal certifications in the job description. That removes any concern candidates might have about trying to explain how a particular skill translates into a civilian ability. Military.com offers a Skills Translator tool that enables recruiters to enter a civilian skill and search for military equivalents.

State Your Commitment to Veterans

If your company has a policy of recruiting veterans, make sure you mention this in the job description. Include details of initiatives you offer, such as dedicated veteran outreach program or a veteran recruiting team. If your company isn’t large enough to have a team or even a single person focused 100% on veteran hiring, you can benefit from assigning this role to someone as part of their job. That way, you can announce that you have resources dedicated to the process.

Give a Clear Description of Responsibilities

Former active members of the military have come from an environment where tasks and responsibilities are listed very clearly, and they have no latitude to deviate from the list. Presenting a job description with a vague outline of the duties involved is unlikely to attract top veteran candidates, who are accustomed to following a disciplined approach without the option for taking initiative. Outline the requirements and responsibilities for the position clearly with as much supporting detail as possible. This will enable the right veteran candidates to understand your expectations for the position

Include the Company’s Direction

Most candidates want to know what the plans are for a company they join, and since the market for talent has become so competitive it might help you to attract the people you want if you explain your strategy. If you have major growth objectives over the next few years, highlight these in the job description and include a mention of how they impact the position. Will expanding require the incumbent to manage a larger number of employees? What can they expect to happen when it occurs? 

Compensation and Benefits

Including the salary in a job description isn’t required by law, but it can save you and the candidate a lot of time beating around the bush if you at least list the salary range. Veterans have typically been outside the civilian workforce for some time, and may not know what the going rate is for certain positions. By including an approximate range you can avoid having someone highly-qualified apply for a low level, junior position and vice versa. Why spend valuable hours screening and interviewing a candidate who will never accept the salary you’re offering, after all?

It’s important to list the benefits, for all positions. Military veterans are often people with families, who deliberately seek out stable work with the right benefits package. Avoid using words like “competitive benefits package,” which can be completely useless to the reader. Whether you’re offering basic health insurance only, or HSA savings plans, 401ks and education reimbursement, if you’re aiming to snag one (or more) of these great candidates for your company, don’t wait for the interview to explain the benefits. make sure you tell them upfront what they can expect as part of the package. Don’t be on a losing streak before you’ve even left the plate.

Experience and Credentials

These are just as important when you’re hiring veterans as they are for civilian candidates. Remember, the terminology may be different, so it’s essential to state clearly whether you’re hiring for an entry-level position, a mid-career employee or a senior manager or executive. This wording may be more meaningful than obscure designations like “Operations Manager” or “Business Development Associate.” 

Future Opportunities

This point is closely tied to the one above, and it matters for potential workers to know whether there is a career path available within the company or not. Few top candidates will be interested in taking a job that leads to nowhere, so mapping out a few possibilities can really benefit you in your search for the right people.

If you’re looking to attract competent veteran employees to your company, why not advertise on our dedicated job board that reaches thousands of qualified candidates.