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The Challenges and Opportunities of Helping Returning Veterans Transition into the Workforce

Disciplined, Highly-Trained … Jumpy, Abrasive … What’s Truth and What’s Fiction?The Iraq War is officially over. Globally, other major conflict zones are in a drawdown phase, returning thousands of active soldiers to the civilian workforce. These soldiers are highly trained and often extremely capable performers, yet some employers are reluctant to hire them due to a perception that veterans are unstable or difficult to manage.

This could be a key missed opportunity. Veterans don’t thrive in every work culture, but if you have a fit in your organization, you have the chance to employ a worker with a proven performance ethic and cutting-edge technical skills. Those who are up to the challenges of employing veterans have a chance to leverage the opportunity to build a real competitive advantage for their business.

Tapping the Veteran Workforce

Returning veterans seek the opportunity to rejoin civilian life. Some of them have never known anything but the service, enlisting straight out of high school. Others have college degrees, but skipped “Animal House” antics in favor of early morning ROTC programs followed by serving overseas. The work world they seek to join is often quite a bit softer in discipline and structure than the world they leave behind.

For recruiters and hiring managers, it helps to meet veterans halfway. Learning a bit of the relevant lingo for the field where you are recruiting (technical, mechanical, administrative) will help your business connect with qualified veterans and open up communication channels with prospective hires. As candidates, veterans who feel your business understands them will be more open in sharing their experiences, helping you find a fit for those experiences within your organization.

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