21 Benefits of Hiring Veterans

Updated June 24, 2022

Recruiters, hiring managers and other human resources personnel are often tasked with reviewing the qualifications of large quantities of diverse candidates. When looking for the right candidate to hire, one consideration might be candidates with unique and beneficial life experiences in addition to the necessary skills and qualifications to perform the role. When looking at both unique experience and qualifications, veterans often have that competitive edge and can be highly beneficial to your organization. In this article, we explain what a veteran is, describe the benefits of hiring veterans and answer a few frequently asked questions about hiring veterans.

Related: What Is a Veterans Recruitment Appointment

What is a veteran?

A veteran is a person who previously served in the armed forces. A few other distinguishing characteristics include:

  • Branch: Former military members can be from any branch of the military.

  • Status: Both previous active duty and reserve troops are considered veterans.

  • Discharge: In order to be called a veteran, previous active duty or reserve troops must retire out of the armed forces or receive any type of official discharge other than dishonorable.

Some groups and individuals refer to all military personnel, including active duty and reserve personnel, as veterans. For hiring purposes, veterans are those who have completed their military service and are no longer serving. Another candidate pool to consider are those military service members who are preparing to complete their service commitment and are in the process of looking for their next career. These candidates are often referred to as transitioning service members.

Related: 26 of the Best Jobs for Veterans

What are the benefits of hiring veterans?

Former military candidates can provide your organization with a number of unique advantages, both in terms of their training and governmental programs that can benefit your company's financials. Consider this list of the top 21 benefits of hiring veterans:

Related: 12 Military Skill to Put on a Resume for Any Job

1. Goal driven

While in the military, all personnel undergo consistent goal setting and assessment cycles. Veterans are used to developing professional goals for themselves, determining the best action steps to reach those goals and evaluating their success in achieving their objectives. In order to advance their career in the military, a veteran must have been successful at setting goals and achieving objectives, often with minimal direct oversight. Veterans are used to being focused on their own personal growth and development. Hiring an employee who is familiar with career development strategies and can immediately participate in any organizational goal setting can add immediate value.

2. Trained leaders

While not every veteran serves in a leadership role, the military takes care to provide leadership training to the majority of its members and encourages personnel to take on leadership roles whenever possible to hone their skills. Often, within the first few years of their career, veterans have not only received intensive leadership and professional communication training, but they have also been asked to take leadership of junior servicemembers or millions of dollars in equipment or assets. If you hire a veteran, you're likely hiring an employee who knows how to manage others, take accountability for assigned responsibilities and motivate a team of people to accomplish a common goal.

3. Responsible

Many occupations within the military involve immense responsibility and carry potentially dangerous consequences if not performed accurately. Failure to take responsibility or achieve an objective can lead to catastrophic consequences. Veterans understand the importance of professional responsibility, and most take their jobs seriously, even if it's not inherently dangerous.

4. Decisive

Veterans are often capable decision-makers. They must learn how to make independent decisions, based on a quick situational analysis, and take action in dynamic environments with constantly changing priorities. Learning how to quickly evaluate information and come to a conclusion is a common part of military training. Veterans with this skill are usually excellent hiring choices for roles that require regular decision-making.

5. Analytical

As part of their decision-making instruction, military members are often trained to operate as highly analytical people. The military trains them to closely consider information and options as presented before making a judgement call. Veterans are trained extensively in situational awareness, metrics analysis and trend identification. Veterans often use these analytical skills to take decisive action. The ability to think analytically is a highly beneficial skill for many jobs and an attribute that hiring managers often look for in candidates.

6. Autonomous

Once trained, veterans are usually excellent at working autonomously with little need for constant management. While in the service, most veterans receive an assignment or task and are expected to complete their duty independently. Veterans are used to taking technical instructions, standard operating procedures and task checklists and resourcefully finding a way to get the task completed. Employees who can work well on their own give managers and supervisors more time to work on their own job duties, as they don’t need constant supervision.

7. Dedicated

The military usually does an excellent job of helping personnel understand the organizational value of every person's individual actions. For many assigned tasks in the military, failure is not an option as it can put the team or the mission in grave danger. Most military members maintain this no-fail mindset when entering the civilian world, and they're highly dedicated to their work because they understand the importance of every employee's job to the overall mission.

8. Focused

While in the military, veterans are expected to complete their assigned tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible. These habits often transfer to the civilian world. Hiring managers looking for employees who will focus on their work and get their jobs done by a set deadline would do well to consider a veteran.

9. Organizationally minded

The military is a complex organization with a distinct hierarchy. There are few organizations that rely on the sense of teamwork and collaboration as much as the military. Most veterans are taught to be selfless and loyal to the team. Veterans also understand where they fit in an organization and the importance of respecting authority and the leadership structure. After working in this environment, most veterans are well-versed in organizational structure and can help your company maximize its communication and employee formation.

10. Education driven

Most active duty and reservist personnel receive ongoing training and professional development from the military. Many of the jobs in the military require constant training and skills verification assessments to ensure they are ready and able to tackle the mission they prepare for. Once back in the civilian world, the military continues to support continuing education with financial assistance for qualifying veterans. With this financial aid, veterans you hire are likely to seek out opportunities to develop their skills, which benefits your organization.

11. Technologically savvy

Most of the career fields in the military require basic training in common technologies, like computers. Some veterans receive advanced training in niche technological areas, which can benefit your organization if you need someone on staff with that specific expertise.

12. Broad worldview

Nearly all veterans end up serving in a state or country different from where they were born and raised. They rarely get to choose their co-workers or employees they supervise, so they have learned to be flexible while interacting with people from many different cultures or demographics and adaptable to all types of personalities. For veterans who have served in foreign countries, they are asked to serve as an ambassador of the U.S. and build community relationships. Veterans change jobs and locations quite frequently, which helps them learn to adapt to change. By moving frequently and working with a diverse group of people, veterans tend to have a broad worldview and many are highly open-minded and welcoming of peers with different backgrounds than their own.

13. Compliant

The military is an enormous federal organization with myriad rules and regulations. Veterans are trained to ensure their work, performance and behavior are compliant with certain guidelines. Respect for—and accountability to—authority, policies and procedures is ingrained in military members. Military members know the importance of following procedures, regulations and policies as it can be the difference between life and death in many situations. Hiring managers often want employees who understand the importance of internal controls and can meet compliance regulations.

14. Resilient

Some aspects of military life, like the physical and mental intensity of initial training, moving from assignment to assignment and learning how to work within a highly structured environment, can pose an initial challenge for some individuals. However, the military also trains their service members in the skill of developing resilience. Not only do they build resiliency from overcoming challenges which leads to high levels of resiliency, they also learn how to work through professional stress and face challenges head-on. These are a major benefit for employers seeking candidates who know how to remain focused, even in times of stress or complex challenges.

15. Trainable

Training is an enormous part of the military experience. All military personnel go through some sort of initial training when they join their service branch and most receive continuing training as they progress in their career. Veterans are highly trainable employees and tend to learn new skills quickly based on their experience with quickly adapting to new tasks, teams and environments.

16. Collaborative

Most careers within the military are team-focused. Even if some jobs require the attention of a single person, all military personnel are part of units, squadrons or other groups, designed to build camaraderie and offer support when needed for professional or personal challenges. There is no stronger sense of loyalty and dedication to your teammates than in the military. Very few tasks are undertaken alone and almost nothing is achieved solo in the military. Teamwork is essential to a successful military career. Veterans are usually excellent collaborative workers.

17. Stress management

Military training is designed to help military personnel learn to manage stress on the job. Working under tight deadlines, with limited resources and getting the job done under adverse conditions is all part of a day’s work in the military. Hiring a veteran for a fast-paced position that could present some professional stress is often a beneficial strategy for companies since veterans tend to have above-average stress management skills.

18. Consistent

As the military employs an enormous number of people stationed all over the world, ensuring that personnel have the same training and maintain consistent work practices is vital for the efficacy of the organization as a whole. If you hire a veteran, you'll likely find that they're a consistent employee whom you can depend on to maintain a high set of production standards.

19. Potential Special Employer Incentives (SEI)

Besides skill and work ethic benefits, some companies can benefit from federal programs designed to encourage businesses to hire veterans. The Special Employer Incentives, or SEI, program, provides companies who employ certain veterans for specific roles with compensation in exchange for hiring and training these individuals.

20. Tax incentives

There are several tax benefits available for companies that hire veterans. One of the most common programs is the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, or WOTC. Check with your company's tax professional to see if any veterans you have on staff or hire qualify your organization for these tax benefits.

21. SkillBridge Programs

Veterans are eligible to participate in SkillBridge programs. The DoD SkillBridge program allows military service members to participate in internship programs in the corporate workplace during their last 180 days of service. The veteran gains hands-on experience while their salary and benefits are being paid by the government. Your organization can gain access to the work ethic, experience and skills of a veteran for internships that can span six weeks to six months without paying their salary.

Related: 12 Military Skills To Put on a Resume for Any Job

Frequently asked questions about hiring veterans

Review these frequently asked questions about hiring veterans to learn more:

How can I target my job postings for former military members?

If you're interested in increasing the number of the former military on your staff, one of the best ways to do so is to ensure veterans see your job postings. There are multiple job searching websites that cater directly to veterans looking for civilian employment. Additionally, if your company is located near a military institution, you can work with the local career transition counselors to target separating military members as they transition into the civilian workforce.

Can I exclusively hire former military members?

While it's not technically illegal to exclusively hire former military members in most cases, it can lead to potential hiring discrimination suits from non-veterans. It's best to consult with an employment lawyer and review the specific hiring laws, both state and federal, that apply to your industry and company to see how to best structure your hiring practices.

What's the best way to increase veteran hiring for my company?

To increase the number of former military you hire for your organization, it's ideal to establish a dedicated veteran hiring program. Consider these elements when creating your company's veteran hiring program:

  • Set goals: Know how many former military you hope to hire over a specific period of time to help establish relevant action steps for your plan.

  • Learn military language: Many former military use military terminology on their resumes, which civilian hiring managers may not understand. Having someone on staff who can help translate these resumes into civilian terms can help hiring managers better review the applicant's skill set and achievements.

  • Establish a transition program: Entering the military is usually a lengthy, highly regulated process. Meet with new hires prior to their first day to explain what they can expect in terms of training and support so they have the necessary information to succeed in their new role.

  • Encourage teamwork: The military functions through teamwork, and former military members often feel more comfortable and capable in environments where they can rely on their colleagues. Ensure your company culture includes a focus on collaboration and teamwork.

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