Recruiting Veterans Through Social Media: Tips for HR Professionals

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You understand how much veterans have to offer your company and why hiring them is good not just for your business, but for national security.  Your company is ready to add dedicated, motivated, highly skilled veterans to the corporate team.  How can you reach and attract them?

Personal networks and online networking ranked among the most common and useful job search tools by 80% of veterans in a May 2012 survey by The key to recruiting veterans is making sure that your company is connected to veterans through those networks.

Making these connections is easy.  LinkedIn offers affinity groups for professionals, including numerous groups centered on veterans, such as the We Hire Heroes Veteran Employment and Business Group.  Most of these groups encourage job posting in their threads and allow companies and human resources professionals interested in hiring veterans to join and participate.  

Nearly everyone has a Facebook profile, and corporate pages can help you promote job opportunities for veterans and project your company's image as a veteran-friendly culture.  Let other veterans in your organization act as spokespeople on pages aimed at veterans, both customers and prospective employees.

To make your social media outreach to veteran job-seekers most effective, remember that culture and language are the greatest challenges for most job-seeking vets and most HR departments.  In the military, objectives are generally direct and specific; the civilian world may seem vague and abstract by comparison, especially for newly discharged veterans.  Both veterans and company recruiters struggle to translate military experience into corporate terms, or corporate job descriptions into terms familiar to those whose work experience has all been in uniform.  

Learn the language.  O*NET Crosswalk helps bridge the language gap by offering Military Occupational Classifications to clearly map how civilian job descriptions relate to military experience and vice versa.  Utilize this resource, but take time to learn about the military specialties related to positions in your company.  When writing job advertisements meant to recruit veterans, use this language when you can.  Leaning the right service-related keywords can also help you target job ads on Facebook to the right terms in profiles of the veterans you would like to reach.

Take a cue from military culture and clearly define your expectations.  If you are reaching out to veterans, do you want them to apply for an available position or simply be aware of your company?  State that goal explicitly.  Be as specific as possible in job advertisements, especially about things like the duties and responsibilities of the position, skills and experience required, and the company's overall mission.  This will help you recruit focused, motivated, detail-oriented people with exactly the skills and qualifications your company needs.

For more thoughts on issues related to veterans, military families, and journalism, please check the author's personal bloghere.

About the author


Kiona Strickland is a freelance writer, anthropologist, and military spouse currently living on the U.S. - Mexican border.

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