Supporting Veterans in Your DEI Program

Veterans often struggle to adjust to civilian lives because of biases associated with their experiences. Yet, military veterans tend to have extremely reliable soft skills such as leadership, teamwork, and a strong work ethic. 

“Some transitions are seamless and well prepared for, with plenty of resources and contacts available. While others can be hard fought and rough and require significant patience to finally make the jump, but in the end, it still requires us to make that initial and often intimidating request for assistance. (Something, we service folk, typically don’t like doing),” said Jason Patrignani, Recruiter at PrincetonOne. 

Recruiting veterans is a fantastic opportunity to add diverse international and technological experience to your teams. Here are a few ways you can encourage veteran onboarding at your company. 

3 Steps to Encourage Veteran Onboarding

Supporting Mental Health: 
While PTSD is a common struggle for veterans, 42.6% of Americans suffer from mental illness so we should not assume that suffering from PTSD makes a candidate unsuitable for work. Companies should offer all their employees mental health care benefits, as well as compassionate work conditions. Veterans are no different.  

Learning New Communication Skills: 
Another common bias is the belief that veterans have rigid or stern personalities. In the military it is necessary that people learn to communicate clearly, effectively, and in many situations, very seriously. 

Patrignani commented, “The military uses almost an entirely different language to describe key characteristics and performance attributes to those used in the civilian world.” 

Hiring managers should be aware of this barrier when onboarding veterans and help these employees translate their military language. With a willingness to learn, hiring managers will find their new addition offers fantastic adaptability as well as clear, concise, and effective communication skills that will enhance your workplace. 

Translating Work Experience 
The most detrimental bias towards veterans is the assumption that their military experience does not translate to professional experience. Military experience often entails complex problem-solving skills, experience working with innovative technology, strong aptitude for international relations and the ability to work with individuals from many different areas of expertise. 

Patrignani also stated “Our civilian counterparts aren’t familiar with the schools, training credentials, certifications, and many other key descriptors that signify substantial investment in a trade field, and… service personnel typically don’t know how to translate it back to show their skillsets,”  

When faced with a veteran’s resume and cover letter it is important that hiring managers show a willingness to understand and translate important skills and experience. 

We know that some of the biggest hurdles with hiring veterans are a lack of data and a tight timeline. PrincetonOne can offer our data and metric goals services to funnel in veteran candidates, tailored to your specific goals. We will be there every step of the way, from recruiting to retaining, so your company and candidates will experience the most beneficial DEI results. 

Jason Patrignani is a Navy Veteran who served for 8 years. He left as a Lieutenant (O-3). He is currently a recruiter at PrincetonOne. Thank you for your service and your insights into the challenges that Veterans face when coming back into the civilian world, Jason!  


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