Veteran Tech Talent Pipeline

How to Build a Veteran Tech Talent Pipeline

Sourcing high-quality talent is always a challenge, no matter what role you are recruiting for. But with specialized roles requiring technical certifications and experience, the challenge is far greater. This can be the result of many factors. Very often, in-house recruiters don’t specialize in sourcing high-quality candidates for a technical role, simply because they don’t have a reasonable understanding of the field.

This is often a leading cause behind bad hires, and by extension, high employee turnover. An even greater challenge is that high-quality technical talent can often be very scarce, especially compared to the rising demand for IT and software-related roles. Without access to the right talent at the right time, both your business survival and continuity enter a very risky zone. 

Expanding Your Tech Talent Pipeline to Include Vets

The access to limited tech talent may often simply be a case of a narrow focus. In other words, you may be unable to source top-quality technical talent because you’re targeting a very shallow talent pool, namely one that doesn’t include veteran tech candidates. This can prove to be a shortsighted approach when you consider the hundreds of thousands of military service members that transition out of the United States military every year. Many of these could be exactly the type of tech workers you need for your succession planning and strategic hiring. 

Military technical vets have experience with some of the most sophisticated technology utilized across any modern industry. Accordingly, they may have skill sets and expertise that you don’t commonly find among civilian tech workers with comparable experience. This alone puts them in the “high-value” candidate for just about any technical role in a modern business. Add to that the fact that military vets bring a strong work ethic, a sense of responsibility, leadership potential, and the ability to innovate under pressure to the workplace.

These are invaluable attributes that can only contribute to your business success and they are present in the vast majority of military vets by virtue of their service and experience. In other words, military veteran candidates are something that you need in your tech talent pipeline. Of course, this is very different from working with civilian candidates, so here are a few points you might want to consider:

Create an Onboarding Program Streamlined for Veterans 

In a nutshell, veteran candidates are very different from civilian ones. While all candidates have needs, veterans have a very different set of them. This requires you to create a streamlined onboarding process centred around veteran hires. You have to remember that many of your new hires could still be transitioning into life after service. It is only fair to allow them room to adjust, as well as offering the necessary support they need to transition better. Onboarding processes vary with every business, but an effective one should at least offer veteran hires:

  • Offering access to information and resources that help with the transition. 
  •  Educating them on the finer points of company policy, including benefits and compensation. 
  • Offer orientation packages and coaching to ease the adjustment into their new role. 
  • Prepare care packages that can direct vets to professional support for service-related injuries, mental health issues like PTSD, or severe disabilities. 

Dive Deep Into Each Candidate to Qualify A Better Hire 

We’ve already mentioned that a veteran candidate is very different from a civilian candidate, as a direct result of military service. In many ways, this enriches them with skills like leadership, innovation, adaptability, and accountability. It can also isolate them from the typical corporate-speak that many civilian candidates are used to. This can impair their ability to effectively communicate to a civilian recruiter how their experience and skills translate into the civilian role they are hoping to meet.

In other words, you may miss out on a high-quality military candidate if you continue to interview them as you would a civilian candidate. You need to spend more one-on-one time and know what to look for in the candidate’s answers to ensure you don’t miss out on a great hire simply because of faulty communication. 

Have Someone with Military Experience Taking Point

Concerning minimizing communication gaps, it is always better to have someone who speaks the language a veteran candidate understands. In other words, a veteran from your workforce should be the point person when it comes to interviewing and onboarding veteran candidates. Military service breeds a sense of camaraderie, which can often be very useful in helping a recent veteran adjust to a civilian role. But more importantly, the veteran employee taking point will be better positioned to read between the lines and identify the crucial skills that may escape a casual observation. If at all possible, your point person should be a veteran from a tech background, to help ensure the quality of your talent pipeline.   

Work With Full-Service Specialized Military Recruiters 

Finally, even with all the steps above, you may need to supplement your recruitment efforts, particularly if they apply to technical talent. When targeting veteran tech talent, it is always best to work with a veteran staffing agency that has experience with your desired talent pool. Full-service veteran staffing firms like CGT Vets specialize in sourcing military veteran talent for a range of roles across a variety of industries. This can increase the depth of talent that you can access, ultimately leading to much better hires at a more efficient cost per employee acquired. 

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