Tactics for Recruiting Veterans

If you had the opportunity to hire a new apprentice who could follow directions, think on his or her feet, learn complicated skills quickly and demonstrate them accurately, bounce back from difficult situations, work well on a team, and exhibit a strong sense of dedication and commitment to an organization, would you? You’d probably jump at the chance!

Our military veterans are ideal future electricians, and many electrical contractors are well aware of this.

“Our trade association members actively recruit and hire our veterans,” said IEC Rocky Mountain (IECRM) CEO, Spenser Villwock, MNM, LEED AP. But the problem lies in finding these terrific candidates.

They are out there, and they are looking for jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the nearly 2.5 million post-9/11 vets at home, 178,000 of them are unemployed. That’s a 7.3 percent unemployment rate for this group of individuals.

How can your company find more veterans for your growing list of job openings? Here are some ideas that have been test-run by IECRM members.

Make it Easy for Job-seeking Veterans to Find You

Make sure your company website provides information about the benefits that it provides to veteran or active-duty military employees wherever job openings are posted on the website. Also, revise descriptions to include these benefits.

1st Electric Contractors, Inc. in Lakewood, Colorado, provides an extended leave of absence to all employees on active military duty, ensuring that their positions are not filled while they are away. Additionally, the company notes on its website that it pays for apprentice training and continuing education for all of its employees, including veterans. This is a benefit that a veteran may be looking for in an employer, especially if they are wary of navigating the GI Bill process.

ADK Electric Corporation in Englewood, Colorado, also provides an extended leave of absence benefit to its veteran employees, which make up about 20 percent of the company’s workforce.

“We strive to maintain some level of stability for these guys, so that they have a job to come back to. Their trucks and equipment are simply put on ‘mothballs’ until they get back,” said Kit Canaday, President of ADK Electric.

The benefit to putting these benefits out in the open on your website and in job descriptions is twofold. First, it will entice job seekers to want to work for your company, and second, it will help your website and your job postings get visibility in search engines by job-seeking vets.

For example, if Fred Smith, a post-9/11 Marine, is searching a major job search engine like Indeed.com for “military jobs” or “veteran-friendly companies,” you will want your search result to display. By placing these keywords into your job description, you are enabling your company’s posting to do just that.

Form Partnerships with Local Veteran-focused Organizations

“We work with Veterans Green Jobs,” said David Scott, Human Resources Manager at Encore Electric, Inc., an electrical contractor based in Englewood, Colorado. The company has about 50 veterans on its payroll, and they continue to recruit more with the help of Veterans Green Jobs, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping military men and women find employment in the energy sector.

As a chapter, IECRM is involved with several nonprofit organizations dedicated to veteran needs. In addition to working with Veterans Green Jobs and the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation, IECRM recently formed a partnership with Freedom Service Dogs of America, a Colorado-based nonprofit that rescues shelter dogs and trains them to become service dogs for veterans, active duty soldiers, children, and others with disabilities that include brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Their program, Operation Freedom, was developed to help returning veterans and