Why Hire a Veteran?
This one seems so easy to me to answer. Most of the veterans I know, have met and have worked with offer so many great qualities that can’t be captured even in these five points. Like any field or any profession the bad behavior of a few may affect hiring decision makers who may make hiring decisions. Even the recent reporting on PTSD must be done but concerns me because it may imply veterans are not stable mentally. They are! Realize that as a whole, the military people perhaps better than any institution on earth and those people may have stress but they deal with it better than any group on earth.
The military has changed since I left 20 or so years ago. Let me clarify. I like the addition of women in many high risk and high responsibility endeavors but other issues, societal issues, and, of course, political issues, hurt the military’s ability to make clear decisions. But the people in the military know how to make clear decisions! Despite those winds of change in the last five to ten years I feel strongly that most veterans carry an edge over any “civilians” in the hiring process unless those very same candidates (or civilians) possess some of these factors/characteristics for hiring. For this blog I chose five what I call core factors. These factors this blog focuses on my personal and professional experience serving in the military and serving career transitioning veterans over 30 years.
Here are five differentiating factors that employers should consider when hiring a veteran:
1. Complete Global Decision Making Mindset
Military people live history and live current events. Our military is more actively involved in the decisions, the daily decisions of this country and its leaders than ever before. How many Guardsman and Active Duty military work to fight our wars and fix problems around the world caused my man made and natural disasters? It’s pretty incredible. They read and are engaged in information exchange like never before. They have access to more information, news and information. They must act and make decisions today that impact events at home and abroad. They know first hand the severe sacrifice good and bad decisions have on their life and health. Nobody has a greater world perspective.
2. They (Leaders) Usually Don’ Ask Why – They Just Do
I would not classify the incredible men and women of the military as yes people. Far from it, I have spoken with many who were in outright favor of us leaving Iraq and Afghanistan years ago. I have many who voice their pleasure or displeasure regarding missions they have been asked to do at home and abroad. But none of those who quietly ask why and doubt mission ever stop serving or carrying out those missions. Isn’t that incredible? They may disagree with the big decision but their faith and honor commits them to carrying out what they gave the oath to uphold – the Constitution. It never ceases to amaze me how committed they are to a cause even if they doubt the cause.
3. They Care About Their Physical and Personal Conditioning
No military person or veteran I know does not understand the impact of their physical well-being. You watch too many old war movies if you think most military people smoke and don’t take care of them. I could drive a little over an hour to Fort Bragg from where I sit now or down to Camp Lejeune and find some of the fittest men and women on planet Earth. I could go watch some intramural indoor soccer game or outdoor PT and see some of the best athletes on the East Coast work out. Yes, our military members for the most part are fit, trim and take care of themselves. What about those members injured in accidents and wars? Are you kidding? They may be the most incredible and hirable assets. At a recent event at Fort Bragg outside of Womack Army Medical Center and the Warrior Transition Battalion where I did a talk for Enable America for our wounded vets you could hardly know it. The ones I talked to didn’t want to talk about their prosthetic or what they couldn’t do. They enjoyed talking about how they could do what they could do. So did I!
4. Under Stress Nobody is Better – Nobody
Is where you work often a stressful environment? Do you need leaders at every level making safe, well thought out decisions based on important facts not wild emotions? Well unless you work in an emergency room at the local trauma center most military people operate under stress every minute of every day. Again, despite media reports of PTSD our military veterans know how to operate calmly and smartly under duress. They have been battle tested to make good decisions about how to speak to people, help people and get things done in the most stressful environments. Does your day at your job start with mandatory physical training? No? I thought not. Try going through just one â€œnormalâ€ day as a military person and you will find you cannot hang very long. Now do this for an entire year where you get up early and are expected to be somewhere and perform without a hitch. Everyday. Do I need to mention the incredible stress of battle and how our veterans handle that, have handled that and then come home injured and still perform excellently in almost every case? Well there you have it. Nobody is better.
5. Total Commitment to Diversity, Adaption and Change
You cannot invent a better cultural integration program than the United States military has created. You cannot find a group of people better “fit” to deal with and adapt to training, people, cultures or new information. When I first went to Fort Bragg for my ROTC training many years ago I remember meeting what seemed to me every single type of American you could meet. How can I categorize this mix? Young and old. Black, White, Asian, Hispanic decent, every religion, every economic type and background. Whew, I could not believe who I was asked to serve with and work with during my first real military oriented experience! We learned as every military person learns that you get work done with everybody. We all spoke English and we all were expected to perform well, encourage and help each other. That attitude of I don’t care who I work with because we are one country and one team absolutely never left me. It really never leaves almost every military person. Whatever pet peeves or misconceptions of each others differences we might have had left us rather immediately. Couldn’t you use a total unbiased, professional attitude like that at your work?
This is just the tip of the positive iceberg you get when you make the right decision to hire a military veteran. If you want to hire the best test any non-veteran by these standards. Look I’m for hiring in general of the most qualified and equipped people to do the job. Our military veterans should be working for your organization and your company.
John O’Connor served in the United States Army and CareerPro Inc. has served our military for more than 20 years to help them find their next mission in this work-life. Our commitment goes beyond our business duty to you, whether you’re in the Navy, Marines, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard or Merchant Marines. We also feel Federal service is national service, so if you’re interested in a Federal job and your mission is to help this country, we feel just as strongly about you and your brand. Serve this nation and earn a Federal government job.
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