How to Recruit Veterans to Join Your Organization

Military person reading a smartphone

According to the Department of Defense, as reported by the GAO, around 200,000 service members move into civilian life every year, with many struggling to find employment. In fact, SHRM reported military veterans are 15.6% more likely than non-veteran job seekers to be underemployed.

This, simply put, is unacceptable. We as employers can and must do more to recruit veterans to join our teams.

With the record number of jobs currently open in the United States, previous service members represent a unique and untapped talent pool for enterprise employers.

To support this across organizations of all sizes, here are four recruitment strategies that can help you embrace, attract, engage, and hire military veterans in your business.

4 expert ways to recruit veterans today

1) Educate your hiring teams on military structure

Hiring from this strategic audience begins with training your hiring managers and teams to understand how military skill sets can transfer to your open roles.

Skills gained through military service, like dedication, teamwork, and communication, are invaluable in the workplace, but might not be apparent to the untrained recruiter from a resume alone.

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 group and connecting with them through engaging, meaningful content.

You can then build personas based on your understanding of where veterans search for jobs, what motivates them, and what they’re looking for in an employer.

Talk with veterans from your current workforce and alumni to get real-life insight into the mind of veterans and bring your personas to life.

2) Partner with veteran advocacy organizations

There are currently over seven thousand non-profit organizations that specifically help veterans and military families. One company recently saw great success while partnering with the Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program to offer fellowships to transitioning service members.

This allows active duty service members within the last six months of their military contract to work for a company and gain hands-on training to help them ease into the civilian workforce.

Since partnering with the fellowship program, this organization has hired 10 veterans and hopes to achieve a goal of 5% veteran hires overall.

Additional programs include MedTechVets, Biocom Veterans Initiative, and Candorful.

Identify someone at your org to act as the recruiting liaison between these groups and your company. Make these groups aware of your open roles, and let them know your interest in veteran job seekers specifically. They’ll be able to funnel relevant candidates into your recruitment pipeline.

3) Create messaging that resonates with veterans

Thanks to their military training, veterans are often inspired by causes bigger than themselves. Let them know about your brand’s mission and the positive impact you make to best align with their values.

From the job description to email comms, highlight military-specific traits that your team embodies, like teamwork, commitment, and hard work.

If you have existing employees who have served in the military, include their stories in your messaging to show examples of successful veterans in your organization.

While veterans possess various valuable skills and experience, civilian recruiters may have difficulty decoding military jargon to understand how those skills match up with open roles.

There are numerous online tools available to help veterans translate their military skills for civilian resumes — it’s worthwhile for talent teams to also use these tools to improve their ability to spot desirable skills on a veteran’s resume.

You can also use this knowledge to draft job descriptions that will appeal to candidates with military experience.

By helping veterans to better understand how their experience translates to positions within your company, you’ll help to ease the transition and position yourself as a military-friendly employer.

4) Post to military-friendly job boards

Certain job boards cater exclusively to pairing veterans looking for work with relevant open roles. Target these niche boards to capture the attention of veterans specifically. Not sure where to start? Check out these resources:


JobTarget helps teams to find and attract relevant, diverse candidates. JobTarget’s OFCCP compliance product posts your jobs onto “state job banks and leading niche job sites that reach veterans, minorities, and individuals with disabilities.”

Hire a Hero

Hire a Hero helps you reach job seekers who have served. Posting jobs in all industries, this job board aims to “empower and recognize individuals who have sacrificed and/or given back to society.”

America’s Job Exchange

America’s Job Exchange (AJE) is an industry-leading compliance solution that optimizes your compliance and diversity recruiting efforts. AJE posts your job “across a highly-targeted network of diversity and niche industry sites” and provides the tools you need to facilitate outreach.

Other sources for locating, supporting, connecting with, and seeking out veterans include:

Refine your process for recruiting veterans

To ensure ongoing success with your efforts to recruit veterans, it’s important to know where veteran candidates are coming from and how they’re progressing through the hiring process

Over time, your recruitment software should be able to provide analytics and reporting 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

Understanding these trends and data points can help to optimize your processes over time.

Learn how Evolve — our complete, unified Talent Acquisition Suite — can empower your talent team to better recruit veterans and other kinds of candidates. Schedule a demo today.

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