With the tech-industry unemployment rate dropping to an impressive 1.8% nation-wide in May of 2018 according to Dice, it is easy to understand why hiring managers and talent acquisition professionals alike are experiencing heart-ache when thinking about tech hiring initiatives this year - and hiring veterans could be a solution for more than a few reasons.
The midterm elections saw eight veterans elected to Congress, and in the current hiring climate, what does this mean for the future of veteran employment? Currently, there are nearly one million unemployed military veterans in the U.S. according to the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, and with the changing political climate, more veterans could be returning home to join the domestic workforce.
Having worked with military veterans throughout his career Del Crockett, VP of Sales & Operations at Motion Recruitment Partners, has a few great reasons why companies should hire veterans to address their biggest hiring problems. Working in high technology recruiting for the last decade, Del has seen his fair share of hiring markets over the years, and he thinks that today's hiring landscape is easily the most difficult he’s seen for companies to navigate. Quite simply, he says, are looking at an Economics 101 problem to the max degree: High demand and nearly zero supply.
To curtail the depressing amount of supply on the market, numerous development boot camps have popped up to teach non-technical professionals to become developers. Although that has been questionably effective, it begs the question, what about our military veteran resources out there? How are we overcoming common misconceptions and utilizing their unique skill set to impact technical hiring agendas?
The squeeze on the technical talent pool has not only forced companies to broaden their technical expectations, but also take into serious consideration the "soft skills" and/or "intangibles" that can end up making a candidate a fantastic hire over the long term.
Del and his team are regularly seeing companies make offers based as much on intangible soft skills as they are technical abilities. With that trend inevitably growing as the market continues to tighten, it is a great time to be looking at our veteran's as a high-quality option to fill technical roles.
Below, Del shares how bringing on a veteran addresses three hiring challenges he hears about every day.
1. Prospective tech candidates do not fit the team culture
Company Feedback: If I had a dollar for every time I received feedback from a hiring manager stating that a candidate was "technically great, but not the right culture fit"...The truth is that culture fit is beyond critical, especially for small to medium sized companies. Most clients I work with will overlook some technical ability to find someone with a "go-getter" attitude that is ready to learn. In a hiring landscape dominated by more and more candidates feeling entitled due to the current demand, it's not unusual to see hiring managers pause when faced with the decision on someone who might be a detriment to the team/company culture.
Why hire a veteran: Maybe because teamwork and trainability are possibly a veteran's best attributes. Early on, those in the military learn that to become a good leader, one must be a good follower. Rising through the ranks is a rite of passage that must be earned and the same can be said in most companies. Finding a candidate who believes in these concepts will ultimately benefit the growth of the teams, its operation and overall retention rates.
2. Prospective candidates lack experience executing under pressure
Company Feedback: Let's face it: Programming environments have their moments of being high pressure, there is no way around it. Start-ups? How about every day! With the typical development team working on a two-week sprint cycle, the ability to handle deadlines calmly is as critical as the quality of code you put out. Like coaches, hiring managers love finding job seekers who they can count on, come crunch time. Not everyone has the mental strength to execute come "crunch time" on a consistent basis. You're either clutch or you're not.
Why hire a veteran: Veterans have become accustomed to making important decisions (sometimes life dependent) for themselves and their team under the most intense situations. The ability to solve problems under the most unparalleled circumstances is a quality that every hiring manager can use, especially at start-ups.
3. Prospective candidates are generalists: too "big picture" focused and lacking attention to detail
Company Feedback: With famed companies such as Facebook and Google constantly re-shaping the technical landscape, it is understandable that many of today's candidates can find themselves getting hyper-focused on today's "hottest new technology." Unfortunately, for many hiring managers, that latest technology may or may not be a critical element in their current production environment. Even when it is, many candidates only understand the overarching general concepts rather than the in-depth details on the "why" and "how" the technology can be utilized in a real production environment. This inability leaves companies vulnerable to low quality code and implementation, causing bugs, delay, and often-times, resentment within the team ranks.
Why hire a veteran: Officers and soldiers in the field are trained to keep an impeccable sense of detail with everything they do. From the way they dress and keep quarters, to addressing tiny logistical details on the battlefield, veterans are trained to embrace the responsibility of always being meticulous, while working towards the big picture. This is a trait that is nearly impossible to find in today's hiring market. Considering that the slightest mistake in a line of code can be the difference between a product being received well from users and the same product totally failing due to bugs or security concerns, having staff who embrace "getting lost in the details" can make all the difference.
According to Joseph Kernan, NS2 Serves Chairman and Vice Admiral (Ret.), U.S. Navy, in an article from the Business Journal, "Hiring a veteran not only provides your company with a devoted employee who has the potential to become a highly productive member of the team, but you're also giving a deserving veteran a fresh start in post-military life and a chance at a fulfilling career." Looking to hire a veteran? Contact Jobspring here so we can help find you the right talent for the job.
Ready to start job searching? Here are some resources to help guide you to a job you'll love:
- Combating the Technical Talent Shortage in Today's Market
- 4 Reasons Why Now is the Time For IT Contractors
- How GitHub is Changing the Way We Hire