Seismic shifts in human and tech-driven innovation are affecting workforce structures, conditions, and cultures everywhere. Getting ahead in today’s challenging business environments requires harnessing a competitive edge from talent pools that may be hidden, invisible, or undervalued.
Canada’s military Veterans are an untapped talent pool. With thousands entering the civilian job market every year, they are highly skilled, adaptable, and ready to take on a wide range of leadership and team roles, including management, operations, logistics, administration, trades, accounting, IT, and more.
Here are five simple steps that HR teams can use to plug Veterans into today’s leaky talent pipelines.
- People and Postings: Use existing resources to streamline your search
Start by asking your current employees if any of them are Veterans or Reservists, or know someone who is. Veteran and military communities are tightknit and work hard to facilitate job opportunities for each other. When you connect with one person, an entire network will open up to you.
- Profile and Prove: Customize your recruitment materials
Social proof matters. Be explicit about valuing Veteran talent on your social media, website, and job listings, and why you’re tapping into their skillsets.
- Prep and Pivot: Ask the right interview questions
Interviewing Veterans can be a bit different than interviewing civilian job candidates. Interviewers who hear “we” phrases (e.g., “we accomplished X, Y, and Z”) can assume that candidates are taking credit where it might not be due. However, Veterans are trained to downplay their success and speak about their accomplishments as collective wins.
Pivot your interview style to find Veterans’ business acumen beneath military-civilian language mismatches. For example, ask about how they prepared for the interview to get a sense of their work ethic, approach to planning, and transferable skills.
- Process and Partners: Use an onboarding framework to retain Veteran talent
Veterans come from a highly formalized, regimented environment and will expect an onboarding framework. This prepares all new hires for success, establishes strong relationships, sets timeframes, and provides structure to the employee, manager, and HR team.
Partner Veteran hires with a trusted staff member to act as a navigator and answer questions about culture and logistics, from payroll to lunchroom norms.
- Preconceptions and Planning: Stay organized and be aware
No matter what role you’re hiring for, creating an organized, repeatable process will help you plug your leaky talent pipelines. Using hiring checklists, interview guides, and onboarding frameworks helps all candidates and streamlines your planning.
Throughout the hiring process, remind yourself that preconceptions about Veterans are pervasive. These can prevent effective hiring. Like other candidates, Veterans should be assessed on their own merits.
Ready to tap in?
These steps—along with practical, reusable tools—are laid out in two Challenge Factory resources: The Canadian Guide to Hiring Veterans and our new MasterClass in Hiring: Tap into the Hidden Talent Pool of Canada’s Veterans.
About the Author: Taryn Blanchard PhD. is the co-author of The Canadian Guide to Hiring Veterans and Head of Research at Challenge Factory, a Toronto-based career and workforce development firm that helps companies thrive through times of massive change and drive a more human-centric Future of Work. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-479-0083, ext. 2.