Should You Hire Veterans? Advantages & Disadvantages

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When you’re seeking employees for your small business, United States veterans are an important segment of the job market to consider. With years of military service under their belts, veterans who are entering civilian life can be a major asset to your company. Understand the benefits and potential drawbacks for your small business so you can decide whether you want to hire veterans.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

Whether you choose to hire military veterans for your small business will depend on the kind of business you run, the skills for which you are looking and the availability of eligible veterans in the job market.

Why Hire Veterans for Your Small Business

Service members of the military who are transitioning to civilian life bring a number of unique skills and abilities to the job market. If you’re looking to expand your head count, hiring a veteran may be the right decision for your company. In addition to providing your business with new skills, hiring veterans is also a good way to give back to the community and the people who have put their lives on the line for the safety of the country.

An ethical choice for many business owners, hiring vets is also good PR for your business. It shows community members and customers that your company values the sacrifice veterans have made and that you are helping them adjust to civilian life with a new career opportunity.

Benefits of Hiring Veterans

The skills that veterans bring to the table as well as the traits they embody can be vital to helping a business succeed. Not only are they excellent at working independently in tough situations but veterans also understand the importance of working with their team. The dedication and tenacity that veterans bring to the workplace can be inspiring for other employees. Some of the benefits of hiring veterans include:

  • Goal oriented: Veterans are trained in environments where goal completion is key. They know how to collaborate and cooperate with teammates in order to get the job done.

  • Leadership experience: Many veterans have experience making important decisions in high-stress situations, which makes them good candidates for leadership roles.

  • Global knowledge: Most businesses operate globally, whether it’s through importing products or ingredients or selling to customers overseas. Many service members have traveled overseas and understand global markets and new cultures.

Accommodating the Special Needs of Veterans

While those with military experience bring a number of advantages to the workplace, it is important to be aware of the challenges U.S. military service members face as well. Making the transition from active military duty to civilian life is a major change which is difficult and can take time. It’s important for both employers and veterans to understand that the workplace has a different culture than the military, complete with its own set of rules and vocabulary.

Men and women returning from the armed forces may have experienced situations where they developed post-traumatic stress disorder, physical disabilities or other health issues. Employers need to be cognizant of these specific needs and help service members adapt to their lives in the workplace.

Tax Benefits of Hiring Veterans

Keep in mind that the federal government offers tax benefits to businesses that hire U.S. veterans. Each credit has specific eligibility criteria that the business must follow. Be sure to look into these tax credits:

  • Work opportunity tax credit

  • Returning heroes tax credit

  • Wounded warrior tax credit

Finding Veterans for Your Small Business

If you have job openings at your small business and you are interested in veteran job seekers, be sure to include that in your job description. Mention that you’re open to candidates who have transferable skills, such those with experience in leadership positions or those who excel in working with diverse groups or under high-stress situations.

In addition to attending military-focused career fairs and job fairs, you can post your job opening on career sites and organization websites that help veterans find jobs. Some of these include:

  • U.S. Department of Labor's CareerOneStop

  • U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service

  • National Labor Exchange

  • U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring our Heroes

  • American Corporate Partners

  • Military.com’s Employer Resource Center

  • Local nonprofits for connecting veterans and employers