Looking for Leaders and Problem Solvers? Hire a Veteran

It’s really the perfect combination - an employee with the ability to demonstrate leadership while working successfully as a member of a team. But realizing this fact and making it part of your core hiring practices is easier said than done, and resumes are typically light on details about an applicant’s true leadership and teamwork potential.

However, an increasing number of savvy employers are looking at one segment of the population that has been taught those exact traits - U.S. veterans. In making a transition back to civilian life from time spent in the armed forces, this demographic in particular brings leadership potential to the workplace.

The top 3 qualities every employer wants

According to Forbes magazine, in a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), hiring managers within several large companies were asked to list the top 10 qualities that they look for when talking to new candidates in the hiring process. The top three, across all verticals, were:

1. The ability to work in a team environment

2. The ability to make decisions (tie)

2. The ability to solve problems (tie)



While the ability to make decisions and the ability to solve problems were a tie, the ability to work in a team environment was the most important quality when a company wants a strong foundation of dedicated people leading it into future success. Growing a company can be challenging, and that’s one of the things that makes veteran candidates a great choice - they are men and women who have had extensive experience doing all three of the above tasks under intense pressure. 

And while a theoretical understanding of your business and industry is important, veterans with teamwork experience and leadership skills will be quick to learn theoretical concepts, with an added bonus of understanding how to navigate their practical application. They’ve worked in high-stress environments and understand the importance of collaboration and innovation when limits are tested and real-world scenarios get rough.

Resources for hiring vets

One of the best resources available for hiring vets is free, in addition to being a one-stop employment portal provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor for job-seeking veterans and the employers looking to hire them. Veterans.gov provides a way to reach potential candidates through job postings categorized by skillset and offers a free hiring toolkit called America’s Heroes at Work to help guide employers through the process of finding the personnel match that best fits their needs. Veterans.gov also contains links to information on state and federal grants available that provide funding for training and certification programs, as well as tax credits available for employers who hire veterans.