It’s the Fourth of July holiday when, appropriately, our nation comes together to celebrate our heritage and salute those who have made our freedom possible.  We devour barbecue, clink our glasses, and become enchanted by fireworks lighting up the sky in almost every community in America.It’s the Fourth of July holiday when, appropriately, our nation comes together to celebrate our heritage and salute those who have made our freedom possible. We devour barbecue, clink our glasses, and become enchanted by fireworks lighting up the sky in almost every community in America.

The Red, White & Blue makes us feel good.

As our nation’s military has been fighting wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, these same patriotic sentiments have spurred interest in hiring veterans.  There is nothing wrong with those sentiments.  But I want to shift the conversation away from emotion and back to why I chose to pursue military recruiting after leaving the Marines:  because I know that the men and women of the U.S. military can dramatically impact business growth.  Hiring vets is not a benevolent gesture or a charitable act.  It’s good business.

A Business Case Study

Look no further than to GE under Jack Welch for the analytics that make the case for hiring veterans.  GE hired hundreds of veteran candidates from Lucas Group each year but not because of patriotism. They were hired because GE studied the strong performance of veteran hires and made the business decision to aggressively recruit in that space.  GE continues to hire vets under Jeffrey Immelt and will, I suspect, under his successor as well.

As a Marine lieutenant, I served as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S., Middle East, Europe, and Asia.  I was recalled to active service from the IRR for one year to do intel work in Washington during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Since leaving active duty, I’ve helped thousands of veterans transition from active duty military to the labor force.  So, I’m especially attuned to why corporations are interested in hiring vets.

It’s this business case that I don’t hear discussed enough when people talk about hiring veterans.  That’s right, business case—not patriotism; not pity; not charity.  Hiring vets makes you profits.

So, rather than focusing on the emotional reasons to hire vets, I want to focus on the business case for tapping into that talent pool.  Why it makes sense to hire top caliber military candidates, how they can add tremendous value to your organization, and how the skill sets they bring can drive your business objectives and improve your profits.

Four Reasons Why Hiring Veterans is Smart Business

Military veterans bring a host of talents to Corporate America, but I think that these are four of the most important reasons to recruit and hire from the military.

  • Leadership Skills – Military candidates are some of the most highly-trained, skilled leaders in the market. By the age of 22, many of these men and women are leading groups of 40-50 military personnel.  By their late 20s, they’re often in charge of more people than their private sector counterparts will ever manage. This leadership experience prepares military candidates to succeed and equips them for long-term career success and advancement with your company.
  • Results, Not Just Effort – Trying is great.  In today’s world of youth sports, kids get trophies for trying.  While effort matters in military service, it’s results that truly define you.  You can’t afford to fail in the military because it can literally make the difference between life and death.  Compare that to making your numbers in the third quarter.  The determination and grit of military veterans is uncommon and unparalleled in today’s workforce. In a civilian career, this “get it done” attitude will help your organization meet and exceed your goals and keep your company on a trajectory of growth and success.  It’s that attitude that I personally developed in the Marines and to which I attribute much of my success in the private sector.
  • Driven for Success – As a Junior Military Officer (JMO) recruiter, many of my candidates come from the military service academies and top university ROTC programs where they exceled in the classroom and, later, in combat. These outstanding men and women would be in the top five percent of any civilian field and their ability to handle the conceptual and the applied is distinctive.  Can’t find someone who meets your requirements?  Consider a JMO whose academic and situational excellence will yield results in business, propelling your team and company forward.  After nearly two decades of recruiting JMOs, I’ve seen plenty of my former candidates rise to the VP and EVP levels in business.
  • Teamwork Mentality – Military candidates, by design, work in teams to achieve common goals. They combine individual excellence with the imperative of teamwork within a collaborative culture to achieve maximum success.   In the military, it’s common for units to task organize and pull together the right people and assets to accomplish a specific mission.  Military candidates understand how to assemble disparate people and motivate them to function as a cohesive team in challenging environments.  And, they don’t always have to lead.  For example, I’ve found JMOs make excellent sales reps in business – sales reps who, when promoted, know how to lead, and not just how to sell. In fact, they make such good sales reps that I have some clients where I’ve placed 75 percent of their sales force who helped drive record setting years.

Military candidates are a dominant force in the job market and represent an incredible talent pool of top performers. Do you have questions about hiring military candidates? Leave a comment in the fields below.