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How to Hire the Most Dependable Employees in the World

Almost every company says it wants to hire more veterans, but it often fails. One reason for failure is that it thinks hiring veterans is the only step when it is just step one.

A company may desire to hire more veterans, but to retain them, it must be willing to teach them.

Training the Transitioning Veteran

When military personnel are assigned to a base or post, they are handed a checklist that sends them to the education office, the chapel, and probably fifteen other places in the first week. Each place provides its onboarding briefing followed by a full day of orientation. The purpose of this structure is to ensure that the service member knows where everything is. However, in the civilian world, a new veteran employee gets a few hours of HR training and a handbook, if lucky. Then, they are sent off to work.

Teaching a new veteran employee doesn’t mean teaching them the job functions but a career path within the company. A successful and impactful manager can counsel veterans and show them the stepping stones to rise within their field. Furthermore, share the processes to cross over into other company areas and apply for promotions.

In the military, service members take a test or are selected for promotion; they don’t ‘apply’ for a promotion. An example given by Tony Melchiorre, owner/founder of AimHigHR, states, “An Army veteran was working in the repair section of his plant. A position came up for the next-level position of Evaluator. The job was posted within the plant because it was an inside-hire-only position. This veteran did not apply for the job despite being the most qualified. When asked why he didn’t apply, he said, “Well, if they want me to do the job, they will let me know.”

Veterans have difficulty getting used to people ‘tooting their own horn.’ In the military, it doesn’t matter what your job description is. Service Members are identified by their rank and the proper protocols that go with it. Unlike the civilian employment world, which can be cutthroat and competitive, veterans are likelier to sit there and do their jobs without making much noise.

It is known amongst employment circles that veterans tend to have five jobs before they find one they are comfortable with. Employers fear a veteran will only stay with the company for a short time. But, if a new veteran employee were to be onboarded correctly, they would more likely stay.

Onboarding Veteran Employees

Veteran employees sometimes need to learn how to ask the right questions. In another example given by Melchiorre, a veteran employee receives his health insurance card and doesn’t know what to do with it. As in the military, he assumes he must utilize a specific clinic. Even though transitioning service members must take the ‘TAPS’ program as they leave the service, A program designed to assist with transitioning into the civilian workforce, it touches on basic principles. Still, it needs to address the civilian experience in depth.

As many leave the military, one of the biggest misconceptions is believing their skills will get them into a director or management-level position. Higher-level jobs are only sometimes obtainable because civilian employers need to recognize the depth of experience being brought to the table by the veteran employee. Melchiorre shares, “I knew a retired Navy Senior Chief who was being interviewed by a guy who had never been in the military. I sat in on the interview when the interviewer asked if he had ever supervised anyone. The Navy Senior Chief looked at me like, is this guy kidding me? I just smiled and said, answer yes or no. The Chief took a deep breath and answered yes to the question. The interviewer asked, “How many direct reports did you have?” He replies, “I was an aircraft carrier chief, so I had about 50 direct reports, 500 if you include direct and indirect.” The interviewer shook his head and said, “I’ve never had more than 10 direct reports. He’s more qualified for my job than I am.”

In this particular case, the retired Navy Senior Chief was hired by the company as an electronic technician. Within six months, he was a line supervisor and quickly became manager.

Both Sides of the Coin


Melchiorre explains, “More workshops and training are needed for employers rather than veterans. Employers need to know how to onboard prior military personnel correctly. Employers say, “We hear all these great things, the values veterans bring to the business community, but we hire them, and they don’t stay.” The issue is the employer’s inability to teach community and culture. The veteran employee would be more likely to stay if they did so.

Are You Serious About Hiring Veterans?

Whether you are a small company or large, there are some crucial targets to having a solid employment experience for your veteran employees. Through the success of one Veterans Business Resource Group at a company he consulted, Melchiorre with AimHigHR recommends:

  1. Recruiting Group: Have people with service member experience who can identify and translate that experience into your company.
  2. Onboarding Group: Ensure that onboarding is a thought-out process that establishes the company’s community and culture.
  3. Mentoring Group: Someone on staff who has been in the service and has experienced the same things your new employees will experience.
  4. Resource Group: An essential part of the package is having a library of resources for your employees, veterans or not.

Employers should recognize that they hire adults with their own experiences when hiring veterans. These are not people straight out of high school or college. Adult learning is based on past experiences. Adults tend to learn by relating a current objective to an experience. Most of the adult learning model is based on demonstration performance method training. Which, ironically, is how people are trained in the military.


Melchiorre suggests, “Veterans shouldn’t go out there and try to find a job alone. They should utilize a staffing company. Staffing companies with experience working with veterans can explain the veteran to the private sector employer and teach the veteran the right questions to ask. Veterans don’t have to pay the staffing company for their services. Instead, the staffing company is compensated by the employer who retains them.”

Also, a veteran should be bold and take a lower-level position in a company to get their foot in the door. Once the veteran’s skillset becomes apparent on the job, it will help gain promotions quickly. Finding a company you want to work for, the position you would ultimately like to have, and the stepping stones to get there is essential.

Employee Research!

  1. Do your homework on the company. Learn about its history and mission statement. What is the culture and growth objective?
  2. Understand the education requirements for moving up within the company.
  3. Make sure you have a LinkedIn account. Use it to connect with others employed there and learn what it is really like to work there.
  4. Look up company ratings on Glassdoor or Google.
  5. Watch for available jobs and apply! Reach out through networking to those who already work there.
  6. You can ask questions at an interview. Ask about the job profile, then clarify whether the job they describe exists or how they would like it to be in the future. Are you being hired to remodel a position or build a new one?
Employers- How AimHigHR Can Help You!

Even if you are a small company, having a policies and procedures handbook is a relevant need. All companies have a growth plan. You can stay one step ahead of growth by establishing policies and procedures today. The benefits of having these handbooks in place include protection against unemployment filings by former employees. Have a clear policy that identifies offenses that result in termination, and have your employees sign to acknowledge these policies.

Another crucial policy concerns harassment and discrimination. Every employee should sign this policy and the standard policy and procedure handbook. In addition to the handbooks, each member of management and all other employees should be properly trained on harassment and discrimination.

Is having a personal HR department too costly? Think again. For a free evaluation of your company needs, contact Tony Melchiorre, AimHigHR (813) 955-9248

  • Review/Establish Policies and Procedure Handbooks
  • Leadership Team Advisory Board
  • Legal Posters
  • Review/Establish Harassment and Discrimination Policy
  • Review/Establish Safety Policy
  • Review/Establish Discipline Procedure
  • Review/Establish Benefit Criteria
  • Review/Establish 401k Criteria

Written By: Toni Hedstrom and Tony Melchiorre, retired Air Force and president of AimHigHR Consulting Services.


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