Military Misconceptions Affecting Your Hiring Process
In today’s society, there are many myths that influence the perception of how well Military Veterans can perform in civilian organizations. During your search for the perfect candidate, these misconceptions may cause you to overlook or disqualify Veteran applicants who may, in fact, be well qualified for the position your company is looking to fill. Here are 7 of the most common myths about Veterans, as well as the truth behind the fiction.
1. “People join the military because they have nowhere else to go.”
For many individuals, the decision to join the military is one of many options considered when choosing a career path (along with higher education, vocational training, or immediately entering the civilian workforce) and may be motivated by any number of factors. A patriotic desire to serve their country, as is carrying on a family tradition of military service. Joining the military can also be a financially smart choice, as military service offers both a steady income and access to no- or low-cost education and training opportunities. Some people join the military right after graduating high school or college while others join later in life. Either way, military service offers a vast range of work experience and training opportunities while also providing economic stability.
2. “Military personnel don’t know how to use social media effectively.”
Almost every member of the military is extremely knowledgeable about the use of social media. Veterans rely heavily on networks like Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets to keep in touch with loved ones and friends around the globe. Most units within the military create and manage websites and/or other types of social media tools dedicated to keeping their members and families informed and connected. The Army has even started providing iPads in the field to ensure personnel have access to the tools and information needed to complete tasks while away from home.
3. “People in the military aren’t up to speed on new technologies.”
Every military occupation has some interface with technology. From designing computer networks, to installing electronic systems, to inputting and extracting data for analysis and reports, Veterans are accustomed to working in and around a wide variety of technological solutions. The technology in question varies for each military job position, and ranges from basic office programs all the way up to highly sophisticated electronic systems in a number of fields.
4. “Military Veterans don’t have a lot of education.”
The federal government offers military personnel several types of financial assistance for education costs, the most common of which is the Post-9/11 GI Bill. According to a study by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, more than 900,000 Veterans and service members received higher education aid from the US Department of Veteran Affairs between 2000 and 2012. In some circumstances, the educational activities are completed during a member’s time in the military in order to meet specific position qualifications. In other cases, service members complete classes on their own time. The pursuit of higher education is greatly encouraged in all ranks of the military, and can significantly impact an individual’s chances of receiving promotions or gaining entry to competitive military occupations.
5. “Military candidates don’t have experience that applies to our business.”
There is more to the military than just ensuring our ability to fight wars. With over 2,000 different military occupations, military members support positions across hundreds of functional areas including Information Technology, Finance, Human Resources, Medical Services, and Logistics, just to name a few. Chances are, at least some Veterans will have skills that overlap with your organization’s field of expertise. Members of the military possess many of the job skills needed to succeed in civilian businesses. They are hardworking, disciplined, loyal, show great initiative, and are dedicated to getting the job done. Additionally, a strong emphasis on leadership and management skills is part of all military occupation sectors.
6. “All Military Veterans have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).”
According to the National Center for PTSD, the population of people in the US who suffer from PTSD is around 7-8%. For Veterans who have been in recent conflicts, the numbers for PTSD are slightly higher, at about 10-11%. While Military Veterans may have been in combat situations, many also have a very active support system in place to receive help and assistance should they need it.
7. “All Military Veterans were in the infantry and therefore have violent tendencies.”
Many people have the perception that all Veterans spent their time in the military shooting weapons, serving in combat situations and learning to solve problems with conflict. The opposite is actually more in line with military principles, as service members are taught discipline, inclusion, teamwork and a respect for authority from the first day of basic training. They are expected to use all other resources for conflict resolution and only as a last resort to engage the enemy. Veterans and military service members have learned to work and succeed in largely diverse groups of people by using conflict resolution skills learned during their military service.