Are You a Great Military Talent Recruiter?

Good recruiters are not born, they are developed. They are developed through formal training, professional development, and operational experience. Great recruiters, on the other hand, not only develop themselves, but they make a habit of routinely doing exceptional things. Perhaps the most exceptional thing a recruiter can do is have no fear when it comes to attracting and hiring military veterans.


Whether you are a recruiter for a fortune 500 company or a small business, the fact is the military veteran population is a pool of highly qualified, well-trained, and motivated potential employees ready to work.

Here are some things that exceptional military talent recruiters have and do:

Passion. Recruiting is all about passion. It’s obvious that a great recruiter is passionate about the company he or she works for and they are passionate about the people who want to work there. A great military talent recruiter is even more passionate for our veterans and those currently serving. Thanking a veteran for their service is great, but what we should be doing is giving them opportunity. Move from words to concrete action. Making an extra effort to bring veterans to the team is true passion.

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Competence. A great military talent recruiter understands the military culture. He or she understands what a Sergeant is and does. They understand what platoons, companies and battalions are. They understand military lingo and how to read a DD 214. This makes them great recruiters because they do not shy away from calling veterans in for an interview. Instead of funneling veteran resumes to the trash bin, they take action. They believe in supporting our troops by hiring them.

Compassion. An outstanding military talent recruiter does not necessarily need to be a veteran, but they definitely need to be sensitive and empathetic to the life experiences of our service members. Knowing what to ask and not to ask during an interview prevents barriers to communication. Understanding potential disabilities, but not letting them skew the hiring decision is not only the right thing to do, it’s the law. Compassion comes from listening. Great recruiters pay outstanding attention to the needs of a veteran applicant.

9547808574_734a2263c8_bMatch people, not paper. I understand military resumes are sometimes confusing and do not always capture the true value of the veteran.   As I have said many times before, our separating military members need to do a better job at military to civilian skills translation. While this remains an uphill battle for our military, great recruiters do two exceptional things here. First, they do not automatically dismiss military resumes. Second, outstanding recruiters can see past the jargon and are willing to give veterans a chance at an interview where the service member can truly highlight their skill-sets.

Not letting a computer do the recruiting. RECRUITING IS A PEOPLE BUSINESS! Allowing software to run key word obsessed recruiting for an organization is the wrong answer. Great recruiters understand this. They interact with people, not machines.   A great military talent recruiter, is aware, however, of key words such as, Company Commander, Platoon Sergeant, Squad leader, Senior Chief, First Sergeant, Wing Commander, etc. These are the key words that identify true leaders and outstanding candidates.

meetingHonesty. Within the military culture, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines are provided initial counseling at the beginning of each new assignment. This counseling lays out all expectations from personal performance to what to expect on the job. Great military talent recruiters do the same thing. Outstanding recruiters are honest about the job they are hiring for. The job description is going to list the duties of a warehouse worker, but it’s up to the recruiter to tell the veteran that in the summer time the temperatures on the warehouse loading dock reach 95 plus degrees. The applicant needs to know that overtime is the norm and so is being called in on short notice when demand increases.   The veteran needs to know it’s a high stress job with a high turn-over rate. Just lay it all out and the veteran employee will step up and make it happen.

Follow-ups. As I talk to many transitioning veterans and listen to their stories, I am completely baffled at the amount of recruiters who do not return a phone calls or e-mails. A great military talent recruiter understands the fighting spirit of our military members and understand that an aggressive follow-up by veteran applicants are par for the course. While I understand recruiters are extremely busy, that is no excuse for ignoring those who gave so much of themselves to protect the freedoms we enjoy. Outstanding military talent recruiters are never too busy to return a phone call or an e-mail and always keep the applicant informed.

FMI TENANTS LOGOGreat recruiters are not born, they are developed. Let Forward March Inc. train your recruiters to be exceptional military talent scouts. We have a comprehensive Military Talent Hiring Guide and we can help develop a pipeline and hiring strategy for success as well as train your HR department on all the best ways to recruit military veterans. We will take your company from good to great!


Forward March Inc Military Hiring Guide

Forward March Inc Military Hiring Guide

~ Article written by Jason Caswell, Forward March Inc – Director of Training and Talent Pipeline Services

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