Myth or Fact? Bursting Veteran Hiring Misconceptions
Only a handful of civilian recruiters understand the ground-level realities of military veterans and the work they do. And the little knowledge they have is mostly gained through connections, movies, and television. But the image portrayed on the screen is far from reality.
This half-baked information recruiters receive results in misconceptions, incorrect assumptions, and biases. As a result, recruiters assume that veterans may not possess the right skills to be placed in the civilian workplace.
Let’s understand more about these common myths and misconceptions. And burst them one by one to level the playing field for the potential veteran hiring candidates.
1. Myth – All Veterans Are Combative and Aggressive
When we talk about the military, a combat field with aggressive and bruised army personnel loaded with guns pictures our mind. However, here it is important to know that not every military veteran is part of a combat unit or is trained to fight on the field.
There are hundreds of different jobs in the military that differ from the frontline combat roles. Cook, doctor, nurse, radio operator, pilot, tower equipment installer, logisticians, procurement clerk, medic, personnel manager, or mechanic, to name a few.
Truth be told, service members are trained to work beyond “holding the gun and shoot”. They are taught a lot of additional skills which come in handy in civilian life as well.
Also, when it comes to aggression, most front-line military people are trained to compartmentalize their aggression on and off the field. This helps them make smarter decisions on the field and prevents them from being driven by the situation.
2. Myth – Military Doesn’t Teach Transferable Skills
Like the above myth, this myth also relies on the fact that veterans are only taught combat skills. What often gets overlooked is that a large section of veterans does bring transferable skills to the table.
For starters, military veterans come with qualities like experience, teamwork, work ethics, resiliency, and a mission-focused approach. All these factors prove to be as valuable a skill in the civilian workplace as it was in the military. Besides, their specialized training in healthcare, aviation, finance, logistics, and administration also gives them an added advantage in the civilian workplace.
But before anything, you must engage in real conversations with the veterans to understand what all they have to give to the civilian workplace. Chances are, you will extract a long list of skills that will prove to be beneficial in the civilian workplace.
3. Myth – Veterans Aren’t Techie
People assume that veterans are not up-to-date with the technological revolutions. While there was a time when the military was completely aloof from the tech advances, now things have changed.
There are several tech profiles in military-like cyber operations, signal officers, and IT specialists, where servicemen and women work on advanced technology to transmit, navigate and probe data. Big brands like Amazon, IBM, and Tesla have crafted hiring and training programs to welcome these skilled veterans in their workplace.
4. Myth – Veterans Suffer from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD is common in people who have endured a traumatic event. However, the belief that all veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a complete myth.
Only 8 percent of all Americans suffer from PTSD. Moreover, the number of veterans suffering from PTSD is low in comparison to the total number of people who serve. After 9/11, only 10-20 percent of post-service members experienced PTSD symptoms.
Even if a veteran experiences PTSD, it gives no reason to disregard the veteran’s skills or abilities. Through regular therapy and medicine, people can move through the symptoms and overcome PTSD easily.
5. Myth – Veteran Won’t Fit in the Civilian Culture
Culture plays a critical role in deciding whether the candidate fits the job or not. It ensures that the company’s and candidates’ vision aligns with each other and there is minimum contention in everyday operations.
But, when it comes to veterans, the culture perception changes as there are a lot of operating differences.
Veterans adhere to a strict code of conduct, follow a hierarchical structure, wear work uniforms and stick to defined roles, rank, and status. Whereas civilian operating procedures differ vastly.
Here, you must remember that these are rules of the organization, not people.
And as part of the organization, they must adhere to it. This dedication only helps to understand that veterans bring tremendous value, character, and integrity to the workplace. Their entire time in uniform was a commitment to a mission bigger than themselves, and they serve with honor, dignity, and integrity (military values).
If you seek to hire these passionate, creative, dedicated, and skilled veterans, you must first burst your veteran myths and carefully navigate the unconscious bias to look at the veteran workforce with opportunities.
These people are experienced, skilled, and dedicated. They only need to be trained and shaped to match your civilian expectations. Therefore, if you are planning on hiring experienced people in your workplaces, you must give veterans a fair chance by clearing your viewing lens and looking at them with potential and opportunities.
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