HR's Dirty Little Secret – We don't like to hire Vets

You know what I learned really early in my career in recruiting? Companies really don”t like to hire folks coming out of the military.

Yeah, I just said that.

That might be the most politically incorrect thing that a HR Pro can say nowadays!

In fact, we hear the exact opposite from company executives, don”t we? In fact if you pull up almost every Fortune 500 company, I would guess their HR shops have “formal” military recruiting/hiring propaganda up on how much they want to hire former military candidates. But most are flat out lying to you. When given a choice between the fresh young grad out of college, or the military vet who just spent years defending our country – they”ll chose the college kid – almost always. I don”t have a study of this – I have 20 years of experience presenting candidates to hiring managers and seeing their reactions. It sucks, but it”s the truth.

I remember when I first got into recruiting back in 1993 and I was recruiting for very large companies. I would have hiring managers tell me directly – “I don”t want any military resumes – they don”t work out well.” There was, and I”ll argue still is, a stigma attached to individuals coming out of the military. They can”t think on their own, they wait for direction, they went into the military because they couldn”t get into college, they”re abrasive, they”re jarheads (not used in a positive way), they”re hard to manage, they can”t take sit still in an office environment, they aren”t creative, they”re to regimented into process, blah, blah, blah.

Personally, as a Talent/HR Pro, I”ve never found this to be true – in fact I”ve found military candidates to be better prepared for corporate life, far exceeding those coming out of college. They can get their butts up in the morning and get to work – that beats most of our newbies right! They are loyal, maybe to a fault, don”t we want loyal employees? They are used to working within a team environment. They follow direction and carry out a mission – “we follow orders or people die” – A Few Good Men. They”ve had incredible training, not just physical, but all kinds of leadership, soft skills, academic, etc. – all paid for and documented. They”ve spent their younger years maturing in the military and have seen some serious shit! So, why do hiring managers still not want to hire vets?

There probably isn”t one reason, but I”ll give you some that I think are happening:

  • Hiring managers are intimidated by someone who probably has more training and responsibility as a leader than they”ll ever have.
  • It scares the crap out of hiring manager that a few months ago this person was killing someone, or seeing others killed, and now they have to integrate them into their “team”.
  • Most hiring managers can”t comprehend what really goes on in the military, but they get the college experience, so they hire what they know.

The times I found it most successful in hiring former military candidates are when the hiring manager or executive of an organization are former military. Also, the defense industry is always welcoming of former military candidates. Beyond that, it gets real sketching, real fast. So, as an HR/Talent Pro, how do you get your organization to take advantage of this resource? Here”s a couple of ideas:

1. Have some local active military folks come in and present to your hiring managers on the advantages of hiring military, and force them to ask questions – throw all those stereotypes on the table and talk them out.

2. Tackle your own biases. Most HR/Talent Pros aren”t former military either – so you also don”t get it and you do the same thing your hiring managers are doing – you stick with what”s comfortable – stop that!

3. Make sure you”re using your influence with your hiring managers to hire the “best” candidate, not the candidate your hiring manager feels most comfortable with.

With all the talk about hiring vets in the media today it would easy to assume they have enough support, the fact is, most vets still face a tough uphill climb when it comes to getting hired. It”s even tougher when people aren”t willing to openly discuss the truths about why they aren”t getting hired.

FOT Background Check

Tim Sackett
Tim Sackett SPHR, is the ultimate Mama’s Boy!  After 15+ years of successfully leading HR and Talent Acquisition departments for Fortune 500s and smaller technical firms, Tim took over running the contingent staffing firm HRU Technical Resources in Lansing, MI. Serving as the Executive Vice President, Tim runs the company his mother started over 30 years ago, and don’t tell Mom, but he thinks he does a better job at it than she did!  Check out his blog at Because he's got A LOT to say, and FOT just isn't enough for him.


  1. Michaela says:

    I like. The Tags 😉 Good HR – Bad HR and the Post. Thanks for writing Tim.

  2. Carol McDaniel says:

    Real honest post Tim! Having personally experienced this bias in 1998 when coming back from an overseas assignment (proud USAF veteran), and transitioning to the “corporate” environment, I read this knowing these bias’s do exist. While I think there have been a lot of awareness campaigns about hiring prior military, the stigma is still out there, especially those coming back from combat situations.

    We need to continue to exploit this issue! How about bringing in those of us who have made the transition to share that experience with the hiring managers so they can see that we are not abrasive – unless the situation requires it, and we are actually very easy to get along with -a little biased on my part there! I can’t tell you how many times people say to me, “You were in military? I would have never guessed”. Hard to imagine I held a gun, marched in formation and took orders, I get it.

    • Prof Darell says:

      I wouldn’t hire former military either. They seem to have abrasive personalities from personal experience. I bet that comes from being bullied while in the military and working in a highly unprofessional enviroment for many years, so they don’t quite fit in a real job outside the military. The bullied might become the bulliers to their civilian coworkers in my opinion. We wouldn’t stand for that crap where I work. It used to be that many who join the military are those who can’t get into college cause they performed poorly in high school.

      • Andrew says:

        Wow, that seems very narrow minded. Did you even read the article? You appear to fall within the same human resource ignorance that the author was describing. Its funny, HR people are always saying they are looking for people who think outside the box, yet you are a perfect example of someone who does not.

      • Lt. Col. Preston Dempsey (USMC) Ret. says:

        I wouldn’t hire a liberal kool aid drinking fool like you Professor Darrell. You probably spend more time indoctrinating your students than teaching. That is what you liberals do. Keep in mine pal, if it weren’t for the men and women in uniform making sacrifices, you wouldn’t have your opportunity to indoctrinate at the university you work for moron! It is crucial that companies hire veterans. It is what they deserve for putting their lives on hold to preserve freedom, liberty, and yourrrr!!! pursuit of happiness pal!

      • Lt. Col. Preston Dempsey (USMC) Ret. says:

        Professor Darell,

        I wished you had been old enough to be drafted. Then you probably would learn to keep your mouth shut. Quit drinking the Kool-aid moron! You must be one of Obama’s liberal croonies!

        • Steve says:

          Alright dude, he doesn’t get the “kook-aid” thing… But Darell, your comments are both ignorant and inacuate. How someone as closed minded such as yourself could ever teach in academia amazes me. Professionalism is paramont in the military. there may be a few bad apples, but most hold true to their professional structure. It may be true that the military is a better option for some high school students, but leaders in our armed forces are highly educated indeviduals. It is shamful how ignorant you are.

      • William says:

        Wow, I realize this articles is old but the truths still hold, and for Prof Darell, has this little bleeding heart liberal been back to defend his comment?

      • Katy says:

        First off Darrell I don’t know what “the military” (italics) is and obviously you don’t either. You have confused basic training – where that does likely happen – to the everyday life in uniform. Unless your job in your branch of service involves direct combat (i.e., an Air Force pilot or aircrew member or a member of an infantry unit in the Army or the Marines) most of us had jobs identical to the civilian world. I would say more but clearly your small little brain is overwhelmed and confused so I will end here because as G. Gordon Liddy told the warden in prison in the war of wits you are fighting unarmed.
        Congrats to you however for the last twenty years since my enlistment ended and regardless of how many times I sliced and diced my resume to be so concise that even a business major could understand it, no one wanted to hire me and take advantage of all the skills and experience I learned in “the military” – whatever that is. . . and I was UNDER employed for many years, Unemployed and eventually homeless for a year.
        Now in my mid forties I am on my way to law school where I hope to run in to people like you. And by the way I served in war zones so to you and your ilk I am no doubt damaged goods but here I am still standing so thanks for trying but here I am. . ..
        Katy Casey Proud United States Navy Veteran
        Protecting Dimwits, Morons, Business Majors, and people like you for eight of the best years of my life.

  3. Steve Gifford

    Thanks, Tim!

    Another amazing facet to this is the idea that military experience doesn’t “count” as experience. It’s been almost seven years since I set foot in Iraq, so employers are less concerned about me having violent outbursts towards employees. But I’ve talked to more than a few recruiters who look at my resume an only consider my time as a civilian HR professional as “experience in the field.”

    Final thought on this topic: female veterans have it worse than male veterans. I’m not sure why, but the unemployment rate of post 9/11 females is around 15%, while males are around 9%.

    • Joyce says:

      Lots of us end up working in the strip clubs around military bases; we’re either using our GI bill at a community college or public 4 year university around that vicinity, or are attached to a reserve and/or national guard unit. This is a very common phenomenon around large bases; Norfolk, Jacksonville (both Jacksonvilles; Fl and NC), and Fort Hood.

      • Randy Carlson says:

        That is interesting as hell, do you personally know female vets in that situation or is this second hand?

      • Prof Darell says:

        I think it be easier for women to get jobs cause they dont walk around with the silly GI crew cuts.

        • Dusty says:

          Can somebody tell me why a professor that has been malingering in academia for most of his life somehow has more credibility than a veteran with a college degree?

  4. Sharon Hill says:

    I think the one negative may be in hiring a career-military NCO, one who may need considerable re-training in how to motivate subordinates, and the ways of the “open door” management of most good firms. I witnessed this myself, a 30-year E-9 military retiree whose idea of leading others at his new civilian firm was / is very closed door – “you don’t talk to me, you talk to my 2nd or 3rd in command, peon.” Not saying this would always be the case, but it’s one thing an interviewer should carefully screen out.

    • Steve Gifford

      I hired a white guy who did that, one time. That’s why I don’t hire white guys anymore!

      You can’t generalize leadership traits and styles across any career background. E-9’s don’t all manage the same while in the military; I’ve had great Command Sergeant Majors, and lousy ones. Generally, we want to hire managers who are good at managing. Having a military background, even a 30 year career one, doesn’t mean that you’re good at managing, but it also doesn’t automatically disqualify you.

      • Greg Modd says:

        lol – I love it Steve!

        • Tim Sackett says:

          Steve –

          I think Sharon is sharing what I’ve seen over a long time – many hiring managers still feel military leaders are the pre-1990s prototypical military command and control style leader. Rarely do any of us get to see today’s military leaders in action with their troops, so we assume we know how they lead from A Few Good Men and Top Gun!


    • Doug Hudson says:

      Sharon, I believe your experience with that E9 was not the norm. That IS NOT how we are taught to lead in the military.

      • Taepo says:

        It has been my experience that one should follow the chain of command first. If you get stymied, then you start jumping higher in the chain. I follow this in civilian life as well (as a worker not a manager). As long as you eventually have access, I think this is a great procedure to resolve issues at the lowest tier possible.

        As to hiring bias, I don’t know why, but civilians think US military people are automatons with no ability to adapt and overcome obstacles. They think we just blindly follow orders. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, one of the biggest reasons the US Military is such a great force is we all learn and are trusted with the information to get the job done. We know our jobs and the jobs of others. When people are lost, the mission can continue, unlike some communist forces who are stopped in their tracks until the leadership can be replaced.

        The best run organizations I have experienced in my 32 years of working are the military forces. In my enlistment (Army), I was lucky to see the workings of the Navy/Marines and the Air Force.

    • Prof Darell says:

      Sharon, yes I could easily imagine this happening. Retraining is expensive and no guarantee it will break old bad habits. Hire somebody who you are comfortable with and continue to consider any negatives with the applicants’ past work culture. The person might be a good worker but you want to keep a happy place to work and prevent your current good workers from being chased away by hostile treatment by former military workers.

      • Dusty says:

        Or chip-on-the-shoulder civilians who try to one-up the former military guy in everything because he’s compensating for a lack of something in his pants. Or maybe it’s just ignorant to make blanket statements of people based on their background. Just saying.

  5. Greg Modd says:

    Ohhh TIM SACKETT! You had me upset reading the headline. Thanks for pulling it all together at the end. Thankfully, I’ve been fortunate in my civilian HR career and my military experience has helped me land positions.

    My #1 argument for hiring Veterans is we learn to adapt, overcome, and persevere when encountering challenges. Veterans have this tacit knowledge and that’s what makes them great members of your team. Hire a Veteran.

    • Prof Darell says:

      Tim is probably former military himself, and if he actually was, I would be suspicious that he wrote this misleading story in favor of vets. I don’t hire or fire, I’m just a teacher, but if some other teacher started bossing me around where I work, I would not stand for it and probably invite his GI azz outside to settle his attitude.

      • Prof D says:

        You would resort to violence over a verbal altercation at work? You don’t sound like a teacher. You sound like you’ve been man handled by a vet and are so humiliated that you fantasize about getting your dignity back(revenge). I hope you get better.

  6. ToddR says:

    If you made one minor tweak to this contribution it would probably lend credence to your claim: adjust your second sentence, “Some employees within some companies really don’t like to hire folks coming out of the military.” Most likely, your assertion is an anecdotal observation. I think you’re stretching on this.

    • Tim Sackett says:

      Todd –

      I like my company, I want future clients – I’ll just have to stick with my 20 years of experience on this one! Regardless if I named companies and named individuals they would deny it, just like hiring managers would deny being racist or against hiring women – but we see the data all the time in HR and rarely do anything about those folks either.

      I appreciate your perspective on this but I think this is a much larger problem than people are willing to admit – just ask an out of work Vet.


      • George Gubko says:


        As a current “out of work” Vet, I have faced a lot of what you have written. One of my other frustrations is that of the electronic application process. A lot of companies I have applied to are now looking for “key words” in resumes and if you happen to not have enough of them, you do not get to the interview stage. I do understand with all of the resumes out there that you have to do something to get through them all but again, I feel some HR folks will see the military history and don’t want to interview Vets because of the reasons you state.

        Great article.

        • Tim Sackett says:


          A little tip/trick on the resume thing that I see all the time. At the end of your resume, add a section called “Background/Experience Key Words” and put in all those key words that would not normally be in your ‘military’ background but would be in the position you’re applying for – at the very least, it will get looked at.

          Thanks for commenting,

        • Debra says:

          Tim, i need to get hold of George Gubko. Can you help with a email address. I am from South Africa.

  7. Ben Tessman says:

    Our Federal Defense Contracts team was telling me the exact opposite. Funny how quickly perspective can swing depending upon where your feet are.

    Great post, Tim.

  8. SLS says:

    I think there’s also a issue of salary here, too. HR assumes that recent college grads are more suitable for entry level jobs and the entry level salaries that go along with them. Whereas, a commissioned officer or career veteran, making X number of dollars, may not be as apt to start over again at that level. Even if the transitioning military member IS truly willing, it’s a hard sell to HR and hiring managers.

    • Tim Sackett says:

      SLS –

      Excellent point!


    • Prof Darell says:

      Because college grads are smarter and better prepared in my opinion. I heard my school used to have a Physical Education teacher who was former military but he wasn’t very popular with parents. They canned him long before I hired on but I still hear the other continue to talk about their experiences with him, lol.

  9. Meredith says:

    Good post, Tim!

    And I think HR pros who do hire military, are people who know military in some way, and understand what this is all about, and understand the jobs are more than just a letter and number of some sort. Peronsally, when you lose your fiance in Afghanistan (he was a civilian setting up lines for the military), and someone looks at you and tells you they served there, you go out of your way to hire that person. It’s personal for me.

    Oh, and I like to push out the military propoganda, so here is our company blog, talking about how we hire military! Only for us, it’s for realsies. Because, hey, I really DO want them to come and work here. They can pass drug tests and show up and get along well with their managers.

  10. TM says:

    I think it really depends on the person and their management style more than their military experience. Both my BEST and WORST managers were of a military background (no kidding)…same branch, had relatively the same ranking in the military and yet, their personalities were worlds apart. I certainly agree with Tim that there are assumptions out there, I am of the team that believes we will see this shift in the very near future.

  11. HR Minion says:

    It makes me sad that this is an issue. I’m an Army Brat so I love hiring former military and I guess I’ve been lucky in that I work for a company now with former military at the executive and manager level. It’s a great reminder though that good recruiters fight for their candidates, no matter the hiring managers bias.

  12. Tom Formby says:

    Excellent article and a good topic. In order to hire veterans, we need to actually recruit veterans. We can do a lot with traditional sources like veterans’ service organizations, military transition centers and the like. The majority of veterans leave the military after one or two tours and the majority of veterans return to their home towns. Getting to the point here, we need to seek to influence career and educational choices of veterans through our recruiting efforts just like we do with campus recruitment. A first step would be to build relationships with veterans’ offices on campuses and veterans service organizations at the local level. This is what we teach Federal agencies to do and it works. I found my first job after the Army (a work-study) through the vet’s office in my first semester in college. It was HR related and 15 years later, I’m still with it!

  13. Kristen says:

    Let me make sure I have this. You’re making a hefty accusation and you have no research to support your claim. Everyone is supposed to believe this is a problem because you said so.

    This could be an interesting and informative post, but you did zero homework to validate your claims.

    • Tim Sackett says:


      Definitely would have more weight if I would go out and survey hiring managers and come back and crunch the data – but I actually have a job – figured 20 years of seeing it first hand was good enough for me to write about it.

      I’m not asking people to ‘think’ this is a problem – people know that it’s a problem – but feel free to ignore it, you’ll just be doing what HR folks have been doing for decades.


      • Prof Darell says:

        If recruiters don’t want former military, then why are you trying to convince them otherwise? They have experience in management and they know what culture they wish to have or to preserve moral of their staff of employees.

        • Sagacity says:

          Prof Darell,

          I suspect you meant to say morale (not moral), a concept military folks are well aware of and have had tested on several levels, some you’d probably not experience in the civilian sector (if we’re being honest here). The fact is, most military vets have developed one component of morale that should be considered by civilians (even professional academics like yourself) as an asset, and that is the component of discipline. This component can take an employee past self-serving bias and stereotypical statements, beyond blind and bloated confidence, and can provide employers with a driven visionary, ready to make risky decisions, and all the while considering their team and concepts like camaraderie. As it is with all professions, there are those who fail to showcase the finer and more impressive skills and traits in their field. For instance, throughout my many studies, I’ve had many professors and teachers that were forward-thinking, intelligent, and inspiring people of character…but then I’ve run into a few that displayed lesser qualities. Most of those would have argued that they were actually very open-minded, but I think the problem is they were so open-minded that perhaps their brain had fallen out. 🙂

  14. Robbin L. says:

    All of these comments are very interesting. As a former recruiting manager I too ran across hiring mangaers who did not want to entertain hiring veterans for all the reasons noted above, regardless of the sell we tried to give them. On the flip side of this I have been coaching retired pro atheletes who encounter the same challenges and military veterans; so the real question is what is the military doing to prepare these former veterans on re-entry into the work place, i.e., a civilian resume, interviewing skills, career assessments? I know there are several non-profit organizations that supply this type service but are the exiting veterans provided this information?

    • George G. says:


      As a recently retired military member, in order to leave the Marine Corps I had to attend a Transition Assistance Program class which was one week long. They did have some resume writing classes but did stress that seeking a professional resume writer may help. We did do interviewing and were critiqued. There are quite a few non-profit organizations that help as well. The unemployment agencies here in NC have veterans working there to help other veterans. They can help with resumes as well. The VA has their website ( where you can go for benefits. ONET Online is a website that helps translating military jargon to civilian terms to help separating veterans write better civilian resumes.

      I do know that all of the military services have services to help separating members. I am not sure if the rest of them make it mandatory for their members to go as the Marine Corps does so I can speak for them. I do know that with the ever changing technology, the classes go through changes from one year to the next. I am pretty sure that there are other programs out there that have not been uncovered yet as well. Getting on LinkedIn also helps. Heros 2 Hired ( is a good site as well.


  15. Irene Hall says:

    What an interesting blog!

    I am a military spouse and a Program Director. I hired an Seargant Major (E-9) for a key position because I understood the level of responsibility, critical decision making skills, ability to work under extreme pressure and focus on the mission that his military experience entailed. Gold! All the critical skills to run programs effectively. He’s got my back, can be trusted with confidential planning, solves problems creatively and effectively so that we achieve our program goals. Oh, yes, he fits in well with the staff,too.

    Sure, he needs coaching, just like everyone else on my staff.

    Look for the strengths of each applicants and avoid the generalizations. It just hurts everyone.

  16. Pam says:

    Very good article.

  17. Steven Crosby says:

    I read this article with a mixture of being puzzled and having pride. Puzzled that companies would place so little worth on the experience and attitude of military veterans and reservists, and pride that the company I work for, Frontier Communications, has embraced military hiring. Through membership in the Employer Partnership of the Armed Forces, the 100,000 Jobs Mission and intense in-house efforts, we have added many qualified men and women to our ranks. Their military service gives them technical experience, respect, dedication and commitment that benefits our company, customers, employees and shareholders. It is a mutually rewarding relationship and absolutely the right thing to do.

  18. Charles Burt says:

    This is good to know. There will always be prejudice of some type out there, and it’s good to know it, so it can be identified. I think this article will definately help in ‘combating’ this. Maybe tweak my resumes more, and watch who I talk to and how I talk to them. Each employer is different.

  19. Randy Carlson says:

    Gutsy article. I never thought I would ever see the day where service in the military was a knee jerk negative to the people we care enough about to risk our lives for, but, to use the tired old cliche “it is what it is”. I see your three suggestions here but the truth is that if you are right on this, and this bias has been in the HR folks head for a while, then there is little that Veterans can do about this, not really. Good article. At least you are honest about your peers.

  20. Randy Carlson says:

    Reread the article. If you are right that this is systemic bias (as opposed to isolated bigotry) then this is the most pitiful comment on the human condition within the United States I have ever seen, or dreamed of. Understand that you want to keep your clients, and you have pushed this like a hero, but these people really need to be outed for this one, they really do. Even with all of the really bad reputation that HR people have, part of me still can’t believe that you guys are THIS bad. I mean, dude, THIS is bad…

    Again, great article, I will buy you a beer if I ever meet you….

  21. David Dubin PHR says:

    As a military retiree, a corporate retiree, and a PHR, I have a stake in this issue. First of all Tim, I totally agree with you in so far as my generation is concerned. As a Vietnam veteran, I know many of my contemporaries who got out of service in the 70s and into the 90s had a hard time getting a job outside of the defense sector. Even those with high technical skills found it hard to find a civilian career for the very reasons that you stated, and despite my excellent credentials, I was no exception. As you pointed out, other prior service people look at it differently. I was hired by an Army Reserve officer at PriceWaterhouse because he knew what he could expect from me. However, I was promoted and actively recruited into other departments by senior staff and partners who had no military experience. They were just impressed with the quality of my work and my work ethic (60 hr/weeks). I earned my PHR in 2002 and entered the world of HR from a plans/programs/processes perspective. After 9/11, all of the hiring managers with whom I interacted, felt that military service was a positive aspect as it brought with it those elements that you alluded to: loyalty, strong work ethic, self-starters, out-of-the-box thinking, and team players. When I left the workforce for permanent retirement in 2009, the patriotism pendulum had swung the other way again. Now hiring managers are once more afraid of hiring staff for some of the very same reasons Tim mentions in the second part of his article:

    Fear of better training and leadership skills, the ability to react to and adapt to change quickly and easily, the ability to see both tactically and strategically, and the ability to work as a functional member of a team.

    I also agree that, in the back of the minds of the mindless HR people, prior service members are “professional killers” and potential loose cannons that may have PTSD. We live in an age of tough economies and those that make hiring decisions fear for their own positions, which is really stupid, as all HR professionals know that succession training is a must for good companies to continue to move forward and the best managers always hire people who are smarter and better than they are to take their place when they move up.

    In my humble opinion, I believe that Tim has pointed out an issue that is both real and valid, but I do not believe (I do not want to believe) that this problem is as pervasive as Tim sees it. That being said, Tim is in the trenches working this issue, and probably has a more accurate perspective on it than I.

  22. RMSmithJr.SPHR says:

    Senior Master Sergeant, USAF, Retired reporting for comment.

    I made my successful transition from a 21 year career thirteen years ago. Mi attribute my ongoing success to the transition training provided. Basically, my résumé was civilianized and I was told to network as much as to apply for career opportunities.Establishing a network helped by toning down my mil-speak without tuning it out or turning it off. Networking is an exercise in rapport development and ongoing relationship management.

    Also, focus on problem solving v I need a job. The need for a job piece is obvious. Hiring companies want solution providers.

  23. Kristina says:

    Great post! I had a situation once that went like this: I hired a Vet for a manufacturing facility. He had everything skill wise that they were looking for. It was a client that was still figuring out their culture so it was still hard to pin down the right hire in that aspect. Anyway, so the guy goes to work & he’s great, he gets all of his work done on time, he keeps his work space safe and clean, he has time to be cross-trained in other departments, etc etc. He came in my office to talk to me about the job site after working there a few weeks and he just didn’t understand why some of his co-workers took longer breaks than allowed, didn’t put things back where they go, stood around and gossiped for the first hour of the day, halfway did their job etc etc. I bring this to the supervisors attention and here come the excuses. In short we pegged the culture. The supervisor flipped it on the Vet saying he hadn’t adjusted to the civillian world yet & strangely enough they never chose a former military candidate again.
    As recruiters I think we see uninformed hiring managers more often than we should & the area of Vets is an example of that. No one group of people is exactly alike and sometimes hiring managers swear by the philosophy that they are, it’s a shame.

  24. Liz Lonergan says:

    Agree with Tim Sackett about companies not wanting to hire vets, which is, of course, just one of HR’s dirty little secrets. I spent 25 years in manufacturing and both places I worked at during that phase of my career welcomed vets. We loved their organizational skills, discipline, interest in rule following (we love our rules and processes in manufacturing), work ethic and attention to detail. What we didn’t love, and, yes, I am generalizing here, was the hard time *some* male vets had accepting female and/or non-vet managers and the attitude of *some* vets that everything was better in the military. As one frustrated employee said to me one day: “If it was so !@#$%^&* much better in the AF, why did he leave?”.

    Each side has a responsibility, employers need to show our returning vets and their skill sets respect and consideration, and vets need to understand they have a responsibility to adapt to different expectations and norms.

  25. Tom says:

    I hire and do not discriminate.

  26. @JennPinedaPHR says:

    Love this article… There are many more pro’s than con’s to hiring our veterans including their technical ability, the ability they have to think “Big Picture”, their world experiences, their ability to work within a chain of command and the fact that they work well with others even in disagreements! Yes it may require that we get out of our comfort zone and think out of the box, but isn’t that what we are supposed to do as HR professionals and bring value to the table?

  27. Mary Ott says:

    Guess what else HR doesn’t like to hire? OLDER WORKERS! I have a BA and post-graduate education and lots of healthcare experience. Why can’t I get hired in my field? Simple: I’m 53 years of age. EDD confirms that employers are not hiring workers my age and that this is happening all over the US! Can younger workers talk about this? D-I-S-C-R-I-M–I-N-A-T-I-O-N or Agephobia? We need to dialogue about this taboo to overcome the issue.

    I’m a young looking woman for my age, but once the ‘Talent Acquisition Team’ does the math, I am tossed in the can. Shame. And so many people in this country lament that all the people on unemployment are lazy. Well people/employers – put your money where you mouth is and hire older workers. We REALLY want to work. I am signed up at 77 employer sites and there is no communication from any of them. I have a good work history, too. How sad for our country.

  28. Tim,
    Great post. Yes there is a lot out there now about hiring veterans, yet there are still some big biases ingrained into the mindset of many HR teams. At recruitDC last spring, we had a very inspirational speaker, Colonel Sutherland who laid out for the 300 recruiters what a veteran has done for us and that all they want in return is to be accepted by their community.
    There are some clear steps on how to incorporate more veteran hiring into any company, but it takes a whole company community to do this. I had the chance to lay this out here in Recruiters, Be All You Can Be
    Thanks for sharing your article,

    • Prof Darell says:

      Not really. It comes down to who’s qualified and how they work with other people. So I disagree with you.

  29. HR Protege says:

    A very honest post that is absolutely TRUE from my experience. I’ll never forget my first recruiting job and my manager at the time insisted that I do not look at VETs for positions with this particular company. This manager was another HR person and when she shared her reasons, they were very much aligned with those Tim shared. Without much experience at the time I followed this instruction. However, as my career progressed I’ve learned that this is complete BS. VETs, that I’ve had the pleasure to work with, are some of the most collaborative team members that I’ve ever met. Additionally, they are well respected by their fellow team members and have many other great qualities that add value to an organization.

  30. Alan B. says:

    The truth is the better part of corporate America is just out of touch with the value of military service. Its as simple as that. We constantly hear all this garbage about companies that are committed to hiring veterans but its all just a PR campaign. At the end of the day, we see the same results which are many veterans being turned away and still jobless. Sadly now a days, getting hired is based on who you know NOT what you know or where you’re from.

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  32. Stan says:

    I can not stand to have former military work for me, their rude, they want to manage like their back in war. They really aren’t creative. It frustrates me.

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  35. Bob says:

    I work at a commissary, and I work under an all veteran management team. They are the stupidest people I have ever worked for. They are lazy and treat their subordinates like shit. They expect to be obeyed like they are still in the service. I’m thinking maybe my experience is biased being that it comes from government work. Maybe the best vets would get hired by the private sector, because I meet really nice veterans who come through all the time.

  36. Tim, thank you for revealing the truth about how the HR community sees military veterans. I learned this lesson myself in conversations with HR people who said my military experience was an embarrassment. I also learned it from prospective clients when I worked in financial sales:

    Employers view veterans as just another disadvantaged group subject to affirmative action quotas. In their eyes, hiring a veteran is cheaper than settling a class action lawsuit or government discrimination complaint. It is unfortunate that veterans often must take entry-level jobs far beneath what their skills would otherwise justify, but that is reality.

  37. Andrew says:

    Having recently left the Army, I will say that this has to be true. I’ve been told (by professional resume writers)that my resume is near to perfect, stressing leadership and team building along with problem solving and supervising multiple moving components in a high stress environment with quantifiable statistics. However, despite this and despite the fact that I interview better than a lot of my friends who are non-veterans, I still cannot find a job.

    I left the Army as a Staff Sergeant, having served most of my time in combat arms and operations. I’ve found that civilian companies are all BS when it comes to hiring veterans. They worry that we have PTSD, are abrasive (I’m not abrasive, I just have a low threshold for stupidity). Yes, I am different from other employees. I ran Kill Teams and High Value Target snatches in Anbar. What kills me the most is that civilian companies just aren’t willing to even give you a chance.

    When there are large numbers of homeless vets or combat vets turning to gangs and crime, this is the reason why. Really, it’s disgusting on the part of this country that they are forcing so many combat veterans into either being homeless or going on the lam. I’ve tried hard since I left the Army. I’ve been working on my degree, applying to at least five or six jobs per week and always working to tweak my resume. Nothing works and nothing helps. I can’t afford to pay for insurance right now and VA is taking forever to get my benefits rolling.

    I’m so glad that I spent years fighting for this country. Last time I ever make the mistake of trying to serve this country again.

  38. Tony says:

    I’m 56, and a retired Army LTC, Nurse Corps. I applied for 90+ jobs, and managed to get a VA job. Nobody else wants to hire me. Yeah, it hurts a lot! Strikes against me: My experience level, age, race, and I wear hearing aids. Civilians think we are freaks, I guess.

  39. bob says:

    About half of the vets commenting on this thread answer the reason themselves with their own posts why civilian recruiters don’t hire them: they are abrasive, angry, and certainly more prone to violence. My advice, forget the corporate world, become a cop, go into construction, firefighting, prison guard, etc. those jobs are a better fit.

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