Want to Hire Vets? Walk in their shoes.

Sometimes it takes a veteran to help recruit a veteran.

There’s a theme that emerges when you talk to some of the employers who were recently recognized by Families and Work Institute for their achievements reaching out to veterans and their families. It has to do with connections.

Lockheed Martin has been holding monthly virtual chats with wounded warriors as part of its efforts to recruit veterans, and the group behind the cyber discussions is the Military Relations Team, a four-member staff who are all vets.

The team, said Kimberly Admire, Lockheed Martin’s Vice President, Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity Programs, is dedicated to supporting military and helping them transition into civilian society. “This team provides great resources both externally and internally,” she noted.

And during a recent Deloitte Consulting LLP’s in-house recruiting event for veterans, the potential employees were able to meet with more than 30 existing employees, all of whom were also former military.

The person behind a big part of the firm’s recruiting efforts is also is also a current reservist himself. William Hubbard is a federal practitioner in the strategy and operations practice at Deloitte. He has over five years in the Marine Corps, and he’s clearly dedicated to helping vets make it in life after combat.

Connecting with vets, he maintained, is all about making connection and understanding the community.

“To have a community to reach out to is really important,” he explained. “We reached out to vets directly, building on relationships we had with bases and campuses, and letting them know we were looking for folks. It’s a matter of having a targeted approach. The general wide-cast net doesn’t garner successful results.”

Indeed, the vet-recruiting event got 60 veterans to attend, ultimately getting applications from nearly 90 percent of those who showed up.

It’s all about thinking outside the box, noted Lockheed’s Admire. “If we just used a traditional application process, many times, the former military wouldn’t know how to capture what they’ve learned and our hiring managers wouldn’t be able to make the translation,” she said.

But the efforts by employers who do a good job of recruiting vets and helping their families go beyond just having vets speak to vets. It’s all about a commitment to this group of workers that have a lot to offer the workforce.

“We hire vets for their experience, leadership, and their ability to work as a team, not just technical skills,” Admire stressed.

And it’s also the less tangible attributes, such as courage, integrity, honor and character, she added. “Individuals understand service and sacrifice and putting others interests in front of their own. That aligns beautifully with our organization, she said.

Ultimately, she said, “We hire vets because they’re good for our company.”
Last year, Lockheed hired about 3300 transitioning vets, about 38 percent of the company’s external hires.

Cornell University also realizes the unique qualities vets can bring to the table.

Cassandre Pierre Joseph, a spokeswoman at Cornell, said, vets “are used to chaotic and unannounced environments that require individual responses.” And, she added, “As Cornell strives to attract the best and brightest, the armed forces are natural pool of talent.”

To that end, the University “sponsors an Employee Resource Group that focuses on veterans,” Joseph explained. “The mission of the Cornell University Veterans Colleague Network Group is to raise the awareness of veteran issues here at the University; provide a forum for veteran’s and their supporters to meet to discuss topics of mutual interest and concern; and to support the University’s recruitment and retention of veterans at Cornell University.”

Making a targeted and extra effort to recruit veterans just makes sense because this population is so unique and has made so many sacrifices for us all, pointed out Deloitte’s Hubbard.

“Their focus has been on keeping the country safe,” he said. “When they’re in the military they’re so focused on the mission and accomplishing everything they need to, the least of their concerns is what to do when they get into the civilian world.”

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