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In Tight Labor Market, Veterans Faster to Hire, Easier to Retain

"Not only do veterans consistently achieve higher performance ratings, many have leadership experience in intensely challenging situations that go far beyond most civilian experiences,” explains Mike Starich, CEO of Orion Talent.

Hire veterans because of what they bring to the table rather than compliance requirements or because “it’s the right thing to do,” says a new study.

A majority of companies (79%) find that veterans offer businesses the qualified, committed and high-performing employees they need, according to  Orion Talent’s new Veteran Hiring Survey: Exploring the Bottom-line Value of Hiring Veteran Talent. 

"With over 200,000 people leaving military service each year and about half of those looking to enter the private sector, veterans represent a viable opportunity for companies to get ahead of the talent crunch,” said Mike Starich, CEO of Orion Talent. “Our survey shows that once companies are introduced to veterans they are quick to engage them. Not only do veterans consistently achieve higher performance ratings, many have leadership experience in intensely challenging situations that go far beyond most civilian experiences.”

Veterans Easier to Retain

As a talent population, veterans are no more challenging to engage than the general population, with only 22% of survey respondents reporting that “recruiting veterans is more challenging than recruiting civilians.”

When asked what makes veterans such highly desirable job candidates, companies that track recruiting and employment metrics point to key performance indicators comparing veteran and civilian candidates:

-- Interview-to-hire ratio is higher among veterans (59%)

-- Acceptance rates are higher among veterans (65%)

-- Retention rates are higher among veterans (67%)

Room for Improvement

At a time when people are quitting jobs at the fastest rates since the days of the dotcom boom, the higher retention rate among veterans is particularly noteworthy.

While survey respondents clearly demonstrate the desire and commitment to employ veteran military talent, most acknowledge there is room for improvement. For example, 48% of respondents said they could benefit from access to more qualified candidates; and 18% mentioned training as a way to more effectively engage veterans.

When it comes to interviewing veterans, survey respondents identified the three biggest challenges as:

1. Ensuring veterans understand how civilian employee expectations are different from the military environment (42%)

2. Effectively exploring the candidate’s military background and qualifications (35%)

3. Understanding how military skill sets correlate with civilian skill sets (25%)

Companies also noted that their most effective ways to recruit veterans include specialized recruiting firms (44%), strong referral networks (41%), and military job fairs (38%).

A Process Is Necessary

Ninety-nine percent (99%) of businesses surveyed are recruiting military talent. Yet, despite the enthusiasm, a large majority (73%) of businesses do not have formal processes in place to recruit veterans and recognize there is room to improve how they tap into this trained and transitioning talent pool.

Although businesses are unanimously recruiting military talent, only one in four businesses (26%) have, or are in the process of adopting, a formal program. The widespread informality is a likely reason that businesses rank the success of their military recruitment efforts at only 3.17 on a scale of 1-5 (one being not effective and 5 being extremely effective). Inexperience, too, comes into play as 62% of respondents are giving essential recruiting work to resources not experienced, trained or dedicated to veteran recruitment.

“Employers do and should want veterans for the skills and experience they bring to an organization,” said Starich. “Yet many hiring teams lack an understanding of veteran backgrounds and encounter difficulties throughout the entire hiring process.

 “Today’s job-seeking veterans have a vast number of employment options to choose from. If a company is serious about recruiting and retaining military talent, it needs a thoughtful, focused plan to secure qualified veterans for roles that enable them to excel.”

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