Hiring Our Heroes: Strategic Audience Planning for Veterans

Man in military clothes shaking another person's hand

By any measure, veterans are a key demographic within the U.S. population. Roughly 250,000 military members transition to civilian life every year. And as of 2019, nearly 19 million Americans — or about 8 percent of the adult population — were veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

As we celebrate the contributions and sacrifice of our military veterans this November, we wanted to take some time to discuss the importance of attracting, engaging, and hiring this important talent pool.

On one level, hiring veterans is a recognition of their service to our country. But make no mistake — people coming out of the military possess a unique set of training and skills that civilian employers need. These typically include leadership, effective communication, teambuilding, adaptability, problem solving, and working together to achieve a common goal.

That said, military veterans are a unique audience, and you’ll need to take deliberate steps to make them part of your recruitment marketing strategy. Following are some tips for doing just that.

Make veterans a strategic talent audience

Audience planning is a critical step to building a diverse workforce — including military veterans — and ensuring you can proactively fill a wide range of roles over the long term. By identifying veterans as a strategic audience, you’re making a commitment to getting to know this audience and connecting with them through engaging, meaningful content delivered where they are.

Build personas

A persona is essentially a “composite sketch” of your ideal candidate, based on shared characteristics. Building effective personas requires a clear understanding of the ideal candidate — including where they search for jobs, what motivates them, and what they’re looking for in an employer. Talk with veterans from your current workforce, as well as past employees, to get real-life insight into the mind of veterans and bring your persona to life.

Develop your content strategy

  • At a high level, content strategy is all about ensuring that you’re delivering the right content at the right time, so you need to:
  • Identify what’s important to the veteran persona at each point in the hiring process,
  • Decide the best format for each piece of content (social ad, text, video, email, etc.)
  • Get to work on content creation!

Find the right channels

Remember, part of understanding your target audience is identifying where they’re most likely to look for jobs — because that’s where your content should be. When it comes to engaging veterans, this may include agencies, job boards, and social networks focused on veterans and military hiring. You can also connect with organizations like the Department of Veterans Affairs, DAV, and USO, all of which offer assistance programs for veterans transitioning to civilian life.

Create a customized career site

Your career site is the first interaction most candidates have with your brand, so it should accurately reflect your company’s values as an inclusive employer. A robust recruitment marketing platform can help you create a more personal candidate experience for veterans by embedding dynamic content and functionality into your career site, including:

  • Relevant job descriptions and the ability to apply on-site
  • Targeted messaging based on entry source
  • Employee spotlights that showcase authentic stories about employees who are veterans, their career paths, and their experience with your company
  • Information about your company’s inclusion strategies and affinity programs
  • Execute campaigns to attract veteran candidates

Once you’ve created relevant content, identified the most effective delivery channels, and built a targeted career site, it’s time to pull those pieces together into strategic recruiting campaigns. The specific elements of each campaign will vary, but the ultimate goal is to deliver your content to former military candidates, entice them to your career site, and convert them to applicants.

Monitor and refine your process

It’s important to know where veteran candidates are coming from and how they’re progressing through the hiring process. Over time, a good recruitment marketing platform will provide metrics for every source, program, and campaign to drive key insights like:

  • The most consistent sources for military candidates
  • Which content and campaigns are most effective in engaging veterans
  • The sources that are most likely to result in veteran hires

Deliberate planning, process, and strategy are key to attracting and engaging veteran candidates. But the efforts are entirely worthwhile, given the tremendous value and unique skills that former service members can bring to civilian employers. Keep in mind, hiring veterans can also help companies to achieve their broader diversity and inclusion goals, as the U.S. veteran audience includes millions of women, African Americans, Latinos, and other ethnic minorities.

To learn how one of our customers, Premise Health, has prioritized veterans as a talent audience, listen to this webinar. You can also check out Jobvite’s D&I Pack to see how our unique combination of technology and services can help to support your hiring efforts, including veterans and other diverse audiences.