Digital Lumens has been lucky enough to tap veterans as a candidate pool. And approximately 10% of our company has served. I have urged a number of times in the past for all growth companies to consider veterans in their hiring plans — see “Why you should hire a veteran ” and “Are you hiring the 1%?” Every veteran we hire brings a level of experience, preparedness, and resourcefulness that is unique to those who have been trained in the services. So, how do we hire a veteran?
- Pick the right job: We started off with a specific job function that we thought tapped into the resourcefulness, attitude, and experience we were seeing in the veteran candidate pool.
- Attend the right hiring fairs: We regularly attend events that are managed by placement firms with a focus on job placement for veterans transitioning from active service. We often pay recruiting fees for these services, but the filtering and pre-qualification has proved invaluable.
- Have veterans interview other veterans: The resume of a veteran can often be difficult to decipher for a civilian. Do you really understand the ranks and commendations? Our current DL employees that are veterans can better understand the candidate’s experience and provide a relevant sounding board to determine fit and interest.
- Be prepared to sell your company: Unlike many other candidates who are choosing between your company and another hot start up, with a veteran you are often competing with a Fortune 100 company who has been hip to the veteran employee pool for a while. Stability, career growth, and opportunity are key selling points.
- Act quickly and decisively: The reason you want to hire a veteran is that they are driven and act quickly. The lackadaisical or twenty-four step hiring process typical in most start-ups will often have you being too late to the party.
Finally, I wanted to give a shout out to two new firms helping veterans. The first is Incline, a firm focused on training veterans in web development and founded by the daughter of one of the more traditional veteran placement firms. And then the local Cambridge-based RallyPoint, called by some the “LinkedIn for the Military,” is the most recent winner of the MassChallenge top Diamond Prize and set to launch this week.
Again, I urge all business owners – particularly start-ups – to consider hiring a veteran. It will be the right thing for your business and will honor their service to our country. And a personal thank you to the DL team members who served – Aric, Aaron, Damon, Josh, Mike, and Thomas.