A word from the Operation: Workforce Team
Operation: Workforce, an initiative that connects veterans with employers, assists veterans returning to the civilian workforce and supports the employers seeking to hire them.
Veterans are an important part of our workforce and with an estimated 80,000 veterans expected to reenter Georgia’s workforce by 2016, employers need to prepare for the influx to keep Georgia the No. 1 state in the nation to do business.
Over the past two months Georgia employers have had the opportunity to attend summits in Atlanta and Savannah hosted by Operation: Workforce where business executives and HR professionals heard about best practices for connecting with, hiring, assimilating and fully leveraging returning veterans.
For those of you who were unable to attend, not to worry, we will divulge the key points from a man who has been on both sides of the equation, first as returning veteran and now as a liaison between returning veterans and the business community. Dr. James Wilburn, Military Academic Program Director at the Georgia Institute of Technology, spoke to employers at both summits and his presentation was widely received as highlight of the program. Wilburn focused on the veteran hiring process and how employers can increase their likelihood of hiring skilled and diligent service members by breaking the process down into seven steps.
So employers … do you have your notepad ready?
First, prepare a job description. Sounds simple enough, right? Here, employers can further accommodate the veteran population by listing military occupations best suited to the position within the job description.
Second, upon creating a job description, post jobs on various websites such as Operation: Workforce and US Military Pipeline (https://usmilitarypipeline.com/) that are dedicated to connecting veterans and employers. This makes it easier for veterans to find you.
Third, while reviewing applications, rank each one of the individuals on the quality of their resumes but take the time to better understand the nature of an applicant’s military rank and occupation with the help of a military translator like O*NET (www.onetonline.org).
Fourth, commit to bringing a veteran in as an intern and modify the interview as needed. During the interview process, remember to focus on the candidates’ character rather than finding “perfect” skillset alignment. Wilburn suggests utilizing a 2:3 ratio system for selecting candidates: offer three internship opportunities if you plan to hire two veterans.
Fifth, view your internship program as an opportunity to evaluate able veterans on their skillset alignment and introduce them to their professional field. Provide mentors during the internship to act as a guide and offer constructive criticism on their performance.
Sixth, upon completion of the internship, don’t forget to provide feedback. Now is the time to make a hiring decision and decide if they are a good fit for the company. Employers should welcome suggestions from the intern to improve the company’s integration of veterans into the workplace.
Lastly, if the individual fits the profile for the job position, then the company has a great opportunity to add a skilled veteran on to their staff.
Now, what are we waiting for? Put these seven steps to use and go find some great talent among our state’s heroes!