5 Tips for Using Social Media to Attract Veteran Job Candidates
A study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reveals that 84 percent of recruiters and hiring managers actively use social media to source and attract employees. In addition to traditional tools such as job boards and online job postings, these employers are searching and evaluating candidates before they even apply. Looking at candidates' online profiles and activities can reveal personality traits, values, interests, and consistencies with what is presented on their resumes.
Veterans and social media
For a veteran seeking a civilian career, social media offers a double-edged sword: online platforms, conversations, and contacts can empower the job candidate with information, insight, and tools to compete more effectively, but the typical veteran lacks skills of self-positioning which can put them at a disadvantage when compared to more social media savvy civilian counterparts.
Five online tips for employers seeking veterans
Employers seeking to find and attract veteran job candidates online would benefit from remembering these five tips:
- Use the right keywords. When recruiters and hiring managers search online for candidates, the tendency is to use keywords directly from the job description. However, many military jobs do not have clearly corresponding titles in the civilian workforce. In the military, jobs are assigned a Military Occupational Code (MOC) or Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) in the Air Force. The work might be similar, but the code is different from what a civilian hiring manager would search.
For example, a military veteran might list their experience in "mission management" instead of "project management" or their role as "commander" instead of "manager." These subtleties in language between military work and the civilian jobs can leave out military job candidates who might be worth considering.
- Use LinkedIn. A business site with well over 450 million members, LinkedIn has emerged as the premiere site for job seekers and recruiters. LinkedIn offers companies the opportunity to find candidates, pre-screen them online, evaluate their work history and connections, and understand their interests, hobbies, and passions before contacting them.
LinkedIn can be used to communicate directly with veteran job seekers by posting questions and answers in various targeted groups, connecting with influencers who have trust and credibility in the veteran community, and highlighting the company's current veteran employees and their career successes. Companies that attract attention from veteran job candidates share helpful information, collaborate with veteran serving organizations (VSOs), and promote tools and resources veterans find helpful in their transition to a civilian career.
- Highlight your company on Facebook. Because of its social nature, Facebook offers companies an opportunity to showcase their culture, build their brand as a veteran-friendly company, and promote open jobs. Building a company page or adding a veteran-facing company page on Facebook is a great start. Then regularly post messages, invitations, photos, and comments which highlight your company's values and goals and show how veterans are desired candidates for your business. Facebook is where companies can show their personality, which is something veterans care about!
- Don't forget YouTube. YouTube is a tremendous tool for highlighting what your business cares about and is involved with. Instead of writing a one-page marketing flyer, why not produce a video? While having an "About Us" page on your veteran-facing website is helpful, a video of your current employees — particularly veterans — talking about their jobs, why they work there, and other advantages of the company can be a powerful recruiting tool. Include contact information on all YouTube videos so the veteran knows how to pursue an opportunity with your firm.
- Engage in discussions online. Recruiters and hiring managers who quietly and discretely use social media only to identify and evaluate potential candidates miss something important to veteran job seekers — the opportunity to hear the company's voice. Veterans care a great deal about values and vision. When an employer shares their perspectives, passion, and mission online through articles, posts, and images, the veteran job candidate has a higher comfort level with the authenticity of the positioning.
Consistent marketing materials
In addition to these powerful social media strategies, be sure your website and veteran-facing marketing materials reflect a consistent passion and commitment to hiring military veterans. Use the same tag lines, imagery, and voice when promoting your company brand to the military community.