Recruiting and Retaining Military Talent

Close up of state building with American flag

As Veterans Day approaches, Aerotek honors those who have served our country and renews our commitment to helping veterans transition from the military to the civilian workforce. Around 200,000 service members transition out of the military each year, and most of them are seeking out job opportunities for the next phase of their lives. As employers across the country in many different industries have already found, veterans represent a ready-made pool of hard-working, qualified talent that brings both technical and leadership skills to their workforces.

Recruiting and creating a pipeline

Some employers are actively seeking out former military members, notes Dave Majerowicz, Aerotek director of business development and an Air Force veteran, because skills and proficiencies that are developed and prevalent in the military translate especially well to certain industries and positions. He offers a number of cases when employers in need of specific characteristics and competencies partnered with Aerotek to broaden their current and future access to a large pool of veteran talent:

Case study: Developing a pipeline

In Arizona, Aerotek is working with a multi-national aerospace manufacturer to build a pipeline of experienced candidates from local transitioning veterans. We support a local military installation’s transition assistance program, offering information, resources and classes to help transitioning veterans translate their military skills and experience into terms that civilian employers will recognize and understand in order to help them successfully make the transition. In addition to supporting transition courses, we participate in discussion panels that cover what skills and benefits veterans bring to a company and what veterans can do to prepare for the civilian workforce.

Aerotek provides up to 120 transitioning veterans a month with a chance to meet with recruiters who will review their resumes, provide interview training and partner with them to find job opportunities in the current market. Because of this, Aerotek has been able to immediately place 25+ transitioning veterans into job openings locally and refer 10 others to Aerotek field offices nationally once they relocated following military separation.

Case study: Validating self-driving cars

An automotive manufacturer testing a self-driving car recently approached Aerotek to ask about access to veteran talent. The company needed employees to work in two-person teams, riding in an autonomous car for eight-hour shifts, in order to monitor and record performance. “It takes a lot of discipline to stay alert, but it’s second nature for veterans who are used to working long shifts and remaining observant the entire time,” says Majerowicz. “This company knew that this talent pool would likely be more successful than others who hadn’t experienced similar environments.”

Case study: Solar panel installation

Another industry that has prioritized veteran hiring is solar energy farm construction. The industry has high-volume and very demanding labor requirements for solar panel installers, and employers have found that veterans may outperform workers from strictly civilian backgrounds. “Vets are very acclimated to the teamwork and the travel” necessitated by the mobile nature of the work, Majerowicz says, making them a natural fit.

Develop talent, aid retention

One of the biggest hurdles veterans face when transitioning is how to effectively communicate their military skills and experience in terms of civilian jobs. As such, it is critical for hiring companies to know how to evaluate not only a veteran’s technical skills but other strengths that veterans offer, such as organization, leadership, discipline, teamwork, communication, work ethic and a mission-first mentality. Hiring companies should also be cognizant of how to best engage veteran talent once on the job, finding ways to leverage those strengths. For employers, Majerowicz recommends taking specific steps to help develop veteran talent and aid retention.

“My best advice for employers is to seek information about your veteran employees,” says Majerowicz. “Coming out of the military, they’re used to wearing a lot of hats. For instance, you may have hired someone for specific electronics expertise but you also may discover that he or she has experience in developing training materials, leading a team and maintaining tools and supplies as well. It’s likely that you’ll find your veteran employees have a lot to offer, maybe even more than you realized when you hired them.”

Want to know more? Contact Aerotek now.