How to Engage Veteran Candidates

Veterans have characteristics that make them unique compared to traditional job seekers. Once you understand the differences, you can optimize the job search process and design a candidate experience tailored to the needs of veteran candidates who are transitioning to civilian life.

Brooke White, Sr. Employer Brand Specialist Written by Brooke White, Sr. Employer Brand Specialist

Engaging Veteran Candidates: Best Practices for Recruitment and Retention

No two candidates are the same, but some have more in common than others. 

Veterans are a distinct talent segment with shared experiences and qualities that pose unique challenges when attracting them. But that’s exactly what makes them such valuable additions to an organization.


Before learning how to engage veteran candidates, you need to understand what makes them unique compared to traditional job seekers. Knowing the differences is key to optimizing the job search process and designing a candidate experience customized for their needs. 

Often times, a veteran’s job search post-active duty is their first real introduction to the civilian workforce aside from part-time or summer jobs in their youth. That means they’re going to be less familiar with the job search process and all its nuances. 

  • Less accustomed to navigating career websites and job search engines 
  • Not as familiar with corporate and non-military jargon 
  • Inexperienced in decoding “nice to have” versus “need to have” job qualifications 
  • They’ve never had to translate their military experience and accreditations into civilian equivalents

It’s daunting to pursue a new career path – never mind, trying to do it while navigating a job search process that simply wasn’t designed for you.


A lack of familiarity is all the more reason to design a simple, intuitive, and overly informative candidate experience when compared to the standard career portal. 

For veterans, this means focusing on a clean, simple experience that isn’t too overwrought from a design standpoint. Seamless candidate and user experiences are essential no matter what, the user should be able to find what they’re looking for and easily take action. 

Prioritize and organize your content–it should be highly informational, yet light and digestible. Select important topics that vets want to learn about, list them in order of priority and present them in a way that is easy to read for the candidate. Skip the fluff – be concise and focus on your key messages and proof points. 

Veterans are accustomed to very direct and specific communication. Flowery verbose language will often result in frustration and disengagement, stick to straightforward language to convey your messages. 

Be explicit about accommodations. Disabilities often associated with veterans – both visible and invisible – require special care. Make sure you’re explicit about what you offer and your willingness to make accommodations when necessary. This can be as simple as including a list of common accommodations or explaining your policies and programs.


As military veterans re-enter the civilian world, there’s a good chance they’ve never had to translate their military experience and accreditations into civilian equivalents. This is your opportunity as an employer to make this process less complicated. 

Many vets aren’t aware of how transferable their skills are, so it’s important for employers to help empower veteran candidates to feel confident in their capabilities. Translate soft skills for them and show them how military skills translate to job qualifications. They’re well-versed with their formal and technical training, but less so with the importance of the soft skills they’ve acquired through their service. 

Avoid jargon and acronyms. Business jargon can be intimidating to candidates who lack the industry experience to decode it. If business-specific terms or acronyms are necessary, spell them out and explain what you mean, otherwise, you can end up discouraging potentially qualified candidates. 

When attracting veteran candidates, avoid job requirements that are too narrow or over-specific, show them you value non-traditional education and experience.


Each candidate values different things when looking for an employer, and veteran candidates are no different. Although each veteran will have their own checklist, they have shared experiences and qualities that will influence what they value when seeking an employer post-active duty. Spell out what makes you special.


With our veteran solution, we offer unique features built specifically to engage and inform veteran candidates. We also offer consulting services to help employers build veteran-specific brand messaging that speaks directly to their specific talent needs. 

If you’re interested in taking your veteran strategy to the next level, we can help!