HR’s Dirty Little Secret – We don’t like to hire Vets

A thought-provoking post about HR and hiring practices. Perhaps it’s time to look in the mirror and ask, “Are we doing enough?”


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Andrew Krzmarzick

A few things I know anecdotally:

1) Sometimes veterans hiring preferences lead to a vet getting a job over a candidate that is more qualified based on a comparison of experience and education.

2) This phenomena leads to a certain stigma around veterans who are hired – sometimes before they even walk in the door on their first day and have had a chance to prove themselves.

3) It also leads to some candidates feeling discouraged in the government hiring process – not that they always know if a vet has been chosen over them, but sometimes they do and it breeds animosity and resentment.

4) We want to give the utmost respect to our veterans for the service they’ve offered our country, but in some ways special hiring mechanisms create a “minority status” for them that leads to a debate similar to affirmative action…and does this really in the end favor our veterans?

I’m sure this discussion has been going on for years, and I hope that we can have a fresh dialogue on GovLoop with all due respect and appreciation for the men and women who serve our country in the armed forces.

Brian Deming

Andy, I agree with you, but I wonder if the methods used to equate military experience and education can be translated 1-to-1 when looking at traditional college and entry-level experience. Is it right? Is it fair?

I am not a fan of “quotas,” but I do believe everyone deserves an opportunity to better themselves. “Meeting minimum qualifications” sometimes screens out internal candidates who have done the job for years and know what success looks like (I appreciate “or equivalent experience” – why not expand its definition?). I firmly believe anyone can learn any job, but the litmus test is how far can we go to ensure everyone gets a shot?

HR needs to focus less on policing our workforce and more on finding ways to create opportunities for them. It is then up to the individual to decide, “Do I have the motivation and dedication to do this? Or, am I content with where I am today?”

No need to hand-hold, but shining a light on options someone may not be aware of? I’m more than willing.