As Veterans Day approaches, and our country strives to thank those who have served and are serving in our nation’s military for their service and sacrifice, we’d like to take the opportunity to talk about how something as simple as “thank you for your service” can be applied toward hiring from the military community.

Transforming your hiring practices to be veteran-inclusive can advance your team’s position on the road to success – all it takes is some effort and intentionality. 

Since the declared end of the longest conflict in American history, more and more service members are exiting the military and seeking their next set of challenges and opportunities. In today’s competitive business environment, success often hinges on adopting unconventional strategies and “thinking outside the box.” One such strategy involves reimagining your talent acquisition process by considering former military professionals and military spouses as an untouched pool of candidates from which you can fish for top-tier talent. Does this seem counterintuitive to traditional hiring practices? That’s because it is – and it can revolutionize your organization’s path to success. 

Shifting from conventional recruiting toward talent-driven practices 


Traditionally, hiring processes in the U.S. typically focus mainly on the contents of a candidate’s resume (i.e., work history). Recruiters often underestimate the value of the skills and experiences brought forth by the military community. Additionally, hiring managers might be unfamiliar with specific aspects of the military experience – whether it’s the varying scopes of responsibilities that come with military service, or certain military terminology, or even gaps in employment that we often see in military spouses’ resumes. 

Another important thing to note with respect to hiring military-affiliated individuals: the “we vs. me” mindset. Military veterans and their spouses adopt a unique mentality that prioritizes team success over individual recognition. In today’s contemporary job market, this poses a challenge – they tend to focus on the achievements of their organization or team as a whole, sometimes de-emphasizing or overlooking their own contributions. 

Because of these challenges faced while adjusting to traditional hiring processes and civilian life in general, the military community tends to get overlooked and deemed as unqualified candidates based on their military background. However, strategic hiring managers recognize that military veterans and their spouses often possess qualities beyond what’s on their resumes. When approaching military-affiliated candidates during the recruiting process, it’s important to read between the lines of candidates’ resumes and ask the right questions. You may discover an untapped source of competitive candidates who have honed skills like adaptability, resilience and leadership and developed global perspectives through years of military service and life challenges. 

By shifting to a talent-driven mindset and focusing on the exceptional strengths offered by this unique stream of talent, your organization can unlock a wellspring of capabilities, dedication, and innovation propelling you to new heights of success. It’s about realizing that sometimes, the most remarkable achievements come from those you least expect, and by thinking differently about your workforce, how you attract and hire them, and how you engage them, you can secure a competitive advantage that sets your organization apart. 

Strategies for attracting (and retaining) talent with military background

It is crucial to have a deep understanding of the “Why” behind your company’s desire to hire from the military community. Understanding the intention cascades down from your CEO to the recruiters and hiring managers. If the “Why” doesn’t permeate each and every level of the organization, it’s unlikely your team will implement a successful military hiring program. All you’ve done at this point is develop a strategic plan, but without buy-in from stakeholders, a military hiring initiative cannot succeed. 

The first step to securing buy-in: evaluate and streamline your processes for recruitment, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding. For example, ask yourself and your team the following questions: 

  • How do you approach the recruiting of people? How do you attract the military community to come work for you? 
  • What does your onboarding process look like? Do you have anyone from your employee resource groups (if you have them) come in during the onboarding process to assist new hires with similar backgrounds integrate into your organization? 
  • What do you do to promote employee engagement? How are your retention rates, particularly as it pertains to former military professionals or military spouses within your company? 

These are all questions that should be answered when you look at hiring from the military talent stream. 

The annals of corporate history are rich with inspiring stories of companies that have not only defied the norm but thrived by embracing former military professionals and military spouses in their workforce. These remarkable tales serve as powerful illustrations of how thinking differently about where you source your talent can help you tap into exceptional results. 

Leading organizations with successful military hiring initiatives 


Consider Microsoft, a tech giant that has actively committed to hiring from the military community. Through their Military Affairs program, they’ve provided countless hours of training and resources to help veterans transition into civilian roles, and this isn’t limited to roles within their company, but other companies as well. This initiative not only supports those who’ve served but also brings to Microsoft a rich pool of dedicated and skilled individuals who’ve made significant contributions to the company’s innovation and success. 


Similarly, Starbucks has been a pioneer in hiring military spouses. Their commitment to offering flexible work arrangements has created opportunities for these spouses but has also significantly enhanced the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts. By valuing the unique experiences and skills military spouses bring to the table, Starbucks has not only embraced a more vibrant workforce but has seen tangible benefits in terms of productivity and engagement. 

While these are just a couple of stories that underscore the concept that success often thrives outside the confines of conventional hiring practices, recognizing the incredible contributions that the military community can offer your organization opens up novel avenues for problem-solving. It also bolsters your company’s diversity profile, going beyond the customary expression of gratitude, ‘Thank you for your service.’ 

By looking to these unsung heroes and crafting a purposeful and strategic military hiring program, you open doors to untapped potential that can bring your company to remarkable new heights. This endeavor isn’t a quick fix, although it can be quite rewarding for your organization and the individuals you bring on board. 

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of having an intentional and strategic military hiring program, Suiting Green Consulting  can help set you on the right path. 

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