Connect with us


Employers Guide To Hiring Veterans: Resources, Hiring, & Retaining

Last updated by


hiring veterans

Transitioning from military to civilian life can be challenging for veterans, especially when reintegrating into the workforce. However, with the proper support and resources, veterans can bring immense value to any organization.

Employers who understand the unique skills, experiences, and challenges that veterans bring can create a more inclusive and supportive work environment.

In this guide, we’ll explore resources available to employers, discuss ways to improve the hiring process, and outline strategies for retaining veterans in the workplace.

Taking Advantage of Government and Nonprofit Resources

Employers seeking to connect with job-seeking veterans can utilize various resources to streamline the process. Rather than navigating numerous options independently, they can access reputable government and nonprofit resources.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Employment Center

VA offers career assessment tools, military skill translation services, and résumé building assistance. Employers can access veteran resumes directly upon registration.

Department of Labor (DOL) CareerOneStop

This resource provides employment information tools — including a Veterans Re-Employment Portal — and access to American Job Centers (AJCs) offering specialized services for veterans.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation — Hiring Our Heroes

Another resource for job fairs, educational resources, and a mobile app to assist veterans and military spouses in finding employment.

VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Program

The program helps veterans with service-connected disabilities prepare for, find, and maintain suitable jobs by offering comprehensive rehabilitation evaluations, vocational counseling, and employment services.

Official Wounded Warrior Programs

Sponsored by military service branches, these programs connect employers with candidates and provide individualized support for severely wounded, ill, and injured service members, veterans, and their families.

Improving the Hiring Process for Veterans

Employers can help smooth veterans’ transitions into civilian employment by providing detailed job descriptions and language in job postings that resonate with them and highlight transferable skills gained from military service.

Other ways to actively hire veterans include the following.

1. Engaging in veteran outreach programs

Partner with veteran organizations and participate in job fairs targeted towards veterans and service members to actively recruit from this talent pool.

2. Offering skills translation assistance

Provide resources or workshops to help them translate their military skills and experiences into civilian terms during the application process.

3. Customized interviews for veterans

Recognizing and appreciating the differences in experiences between veterans and civilian applicants is crucial.

When conducting interviews with veterans, it is important to ask open-ended questions that allow them to showcase their experiences and skills while avoiding sensitive topics such as combat or discharge status.  For example:

  • Can you provide an example of when you demonstrated leadership skills?
  • Can you describe a significant work challenge and how you handled it?

Additionally, it is essential to understand that veterans may not openly reveal their achievements and instead present with a high discipline acquired through their military training. Therefore, to effectively showcase their skills, veterans need a relaxed yet respectful atmosphere, and hirers must use follow-up questions to help uncover valuable qualities such as teamwork and leadership skills developed in high-stress environments.

Throughout the hiring process, employers should acknowledge and express gratitude for veterans’ service and recognize the value they bring to the organization.

Strategies for Retaining Veteran Workers

Once hired, creating an inclusive and supportive environment is essential in retaining veteran employees. This includes providing disability support, mentorship, support for ongoing duty, investment in training, and forging partnerships with organizations for donations, such as car donations.

Disability support and feedback

Employers can offer reasonable support to ensure veterans effectively perform their duties, regardless of disabilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed that 5.3 million veterans – or 30% of all veterans – had a service-connected disability in 2023.

Regularly seeking feedback from veteran employees and assigning mentors — preferably fellow veterans — can support their integration into the organization. Of the more than 241,000 unemployed veterans in 2023, 60% were aged 25 to 54. This younger group would do well with mentoring from experienced veterans.

Support for ongoing duty

Understanding and accommodating veterans’ commitments to the reserves or other military obligations demonstrates support for their continued service. The BLS report also revealed that one-third of Gulf War-era II veterans were current or past members of the Reserves or National Guard, more than 1.7 million veterans as of August 2023.

Investment in education and training

Supporting veterans’ ongoing education and training initiatives helps them further develop their skills and advance in their careers.

Additionally, businesses can provide managers with training on effectively working with veterans and creating a culture of inclusivity by educating all employees on the value of diversity and inclusion, which can strengthen the overall workplace environment.

Utilizing Car Donation Organizations

Another way for employers to demonstrate their commitment to supporting veterans is by partnering with a car donation organization. These charitable initiatives offer a profound opportunity for community members to contribute to the well-being of past service members in need. By donating vehicles to reputable charities dedicated to assisting veterans — or helping to promote them — employers play a vital role in enhancing the lives of those who have served their country.

Empowering Veterans in the Workplace

Hiring and retaining veterans benefits organizations by tapping into a pool of highly skilled and dedicated individuals and fulfills a social responsibility to support those who have served their country.

By implementing these strategies and those of others like them, employers could create environments where veterans can thrive and make meaningful contributions after their service ends.