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Military veterans can add value to organizations, but it’s important to see beyond media hype and check your personal bias about that talent pool, said Peter A. Gudmundsson, CEO and president of Loveland, Ohio-based RecruitMilitary.
The military teaches character, discipline, resiliency and teamwork, and its members are highly skilled. But there are very real biases about hiring veterans, noted Gudmundsson, who served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1985-88.
Gudmundsson led the session “The Veteran Hiring Opportunity: Getting Beyond the Hype and Realizing the Potential” at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Talent Management Conference & Exposition on April 20.
“The bias is real. No one wants to admit bias but everybody has biases—positive, negative, race, gender, foreign accents, regional accents. We all have biases; it’s how the human brain works,” he said. “What do you think when you hear ‘veteran’? What does your team think? Your organization? If you don’t address your bias, you’re not going to get the benefit of veteran hiring.”
Among the biases and misconceptions he addressed:
Also, HR should use internal resources, such as veterans currently employed by the organization, to help interpret how military skills and job experience translate to the job openings the organization is looking to fill.
Building Corporate Support
Gudmundsson advised employers interested in hiring veterans to have goals around recruiting that demographic just like any other.
He recommended that employers:
Kathy Gurchiek is the associate editor at HR News. Follow her @SHRMwriter.
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