Veterans Battle for Jobs on the Home Front




Recently, in the midst of an effort to persuade store managers to hire veterans, I talked to a human resources executive at a major retail chain. She told me she wanted to do the right thing and hire veterans, but added that she was also concerned by reports that many had returned home with post-traumatic stress disorder and other problems. She worried that a veteran could possibly pose a threat to customers and other employees.

I mentioned that conversation when talking to hiring officials whose companies I serve as a consultant. None have said they would reject a veteran out of hand, but many acknowledge feeling hesitant when they see a résumé noting deployments to Afghanistan or Iraq.

One hiring manager said that because he had never been in the military, it would be difficult to ask veterans what they had experienced while serving. He added that “if something in their demeanor makes me uneasy, I politely end the interview.”

At the same time, many companies, including Blackstone and Hilton Hotels, have enacted hiring policies that benefit veterans. The websiteMilitary Mojo works to pair veterans with national employers through job fairs; participating companies include Accenture, Amazon, General Motors, IBM and JPMorgan Chase. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundationhas organized a coalition of 1,500 companies committed to hiring veterans.

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