What In The Heck Does A Veteran Recruiting Team Do?
I wrote an article that focused on why Veterans are asked to do certain things when it came to interacting with Veteran Recruiting Teams (VRTs) and tried to explain some of the processes we normally go through. Dozens of InMails later I came to the realization that not a lot of Veterans understand who VRTs are or how they operate. Let’s try to change that.
Where Did They Come From and Why Do They Exist?
One of the many up-and-coming trends these days is the creation of VRTs within a company’s talent acquisition team/strategy. Some companies have created these teams to ensure that they fall within Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP) guidelines that are issued to companies with Federal contracts. Other companies are creating these teams as a part of their overall outreach and recognize that the Veteran candidate represents an under-utilized talent pipeline. I’m not trying to get into the motives of each individual company here, just wanted to give a little bit of background as to how these teams are coming about. A full list of companies that fall within the guidelines can be found on the OFCCP website and those specific companies are required to have 6.9% (national average) of all new hires come from the Veteran population. The Federal Government treats Veteran hires the same as they do minority/disability/gender/etc. when it comes to hitting certain “benchmarks” and these companies are frequently audited on those numbers to ensure they are in compliance. If they are not those companies could get fined and/or lose Federal contracts. If you are having trouble with your job-search, I would recommend checking out the companies on this list. These companies are straight-up REQUIRED to hire Veterans on to their team so they’ll be familiar with what the Veteran can bring to the table.
How Do Veteran Recruiting Teams Operate?
There are various business models out there for how a VRT functions and the best way to find how the one at your target company operates is to reach out and simply ask them. Use the introductory email in the link at the start of this article and reach out about what to do next. They’ll tell you. With that being said, there are some trends that can be viewed from the 30,000 foot level.
Most, but not all VRTs essentially serve as Veteran “consultants.” In this instance the Veteran will apply for a position on the company website and then will shoot a note to the VRT letting them know that they’ve done so. Once you’ve informed the VRT that you’ve applied they begin working the back-channels and will immediately package up your application, resume, cover letter, etc. and get that sent over to the corporate recruiter who is working that requisition. At a minimum, the VRT can ensure that your resume will be read by the recruiter who is working the requisition. This can pull you out of the “black hole” that many people like to write about on here.
Another model that VRTs will utilize is reaching out to hiring managers and recruiters who have high volume hiring needs. What this means is that the VRT will be working within their company to secure/guarantee that X amount of open positions within a certain team will be filled by Veterans. What this usually looks like is that a sales team might have 20 positions they need to fill for the next quarter and the VRT gets an agreement from the team to fill 5 of those 20 slots with a Veteran candidate. In this instance you’ll see the VRT start reaching out to candidates on LinkedIn or candidates who already have a profile within their applicant tracking system and try to find a match. In this instance the VRT isn’t necessarily the battle-space owner, but they’re certainly operating within it. Part of the duties and descriptions of VRTs is to improve the “Veteran Brand” within their company and this is one of the ways they do so.
A third functionality of the VRT is where they are actually the requisition and battle-space owners. In these instances, the hiring manager has said “we hired Veterans for these specific roles last year and we are going to only hire Veterans for this role going forward.” You’ll see a number of companies post these types of positions on their website indicated who they are for. One of the common companies to do this is Amazon and their positions will say something along the lines of “Area Manager, Military Veteran.” This does NOT mean they only hire Veterans into these specific roles, that just means that they only fill these specific roles with Veterans.
While I think that this is absolutely fantastic, something to remember here: If you see this position reserved for Veterans that means that other Veterans are also seeing this position. The “soft skills” that set Veteran candidates apart from non-Veteran candidates within a “normal” open position are no longer in play here. This quickly becomes a game of hard skills vs. hard skills so ensure that your resume is looking good because you’ll be competing against your brothers and sisters in these roles and we all know how qualified Veteran candidates can be. I’ll say it once more so there is no confusion: I think this business model is absolutely fantastic and support it 100%. It’s a total game-changer for Veteran job-seekers. Just keep in mind that who you are competing against for these roles has changed the way candidates are evaluated for this specific role.
That’s Cool and All, But Do You Do Anything Else?
Why yes we do. The final major thing that a VRT will do is conduct training for corporate recruiters within their company. We will conduct classes to “normal” recruiters and essentially go over the benefits of the Veteran candidate, what they look like, where they can be found, why they should be targeted, etc. This training creates a force-multiplier within a company and helps spread the outreach of the VRT and ensures that their company is not only reaching out to Veteran candidates but that they’re also staying within the confines of the law while doing so.
What If I Am Interested in Becoming a Member of a VRT?
This is another question that has been hitting my inbox lately so this seems like as good of a place as any to share my advice (if it’s worth anything). The easiest way to become a member of a VRT is to simply apply for open positions whenever you find them. These positions will be labeled as:
-Veteran Talent Advisor
-Veteran Talent Consultant
-Veterans’ Program Manager
-Military Program Manager
-Veterans and Military Affairs Manager/Recruiter
If you aren’t having any luck on the job board (or even if you are), I highly recommend either becoming involved with or starting an Employee Resource Group for Veterans within your current company. This is a great way to demonstrate your true passion for helping the Veteran as a whole and could provide a natural transition point to jump into the VRT game.
Another option is to go to the talent acquisition team at your current company and volunteer to attend military career fairs on behalf of your company. You can go to “translate” military skillsets or you could simply go to talk to the candidates about life at your current company and why you, as a Veteran, love working there. This is a great way to network within your own company and could potentially create an “ah-ha” moment for your company’s TA team and maybe convince them they need a full-timer for this gig.
Again, for what it’s worth, this is the path I chose. I volunteered at a previous company to attend military career fairs to help advocate for the Veteran candidate and after receiving positive feedback I took it a step further. I then created a PowerPoint presentation on various MOSs across the military and where I thought each MOS could naturally align with my company’s business model and hiring needs. This PowerPoint was initially given to one of our directors who then forwarded it to all of the corporate recruiters within the company. I was able to then utilize that platform and the metrics that came with it to land a job at my current company. Also, don’t worry if you weren’t a recruiter within the military (I wasn’t). While that can be helpful it most certainly isn’t a pre-requisite for positions like mine.
Hope this helps spread some more knowledge and awareness about what the VRTs do and how they do them!
To all of the VRTs out there, if I did not capture your business model OR if you operate in a varied way compared to what I laid out above, please don’t hesitate to tell me so in the comment’s section for Veterans to read. I’m just trying to get awareness out there of what we do to help the job-seeker.