Hiring veterans vs. Hiring people who happen to be veterans

Sirius XM TimCharoo
Jul 18 23 Comments

What's everyone's experience with veterans or as a veteran?

I'm a vet (Navy Surface Warfare Officer) and I think there is a big disconnect in a lot of companies when it comes to hiring veterans.

Ross Perot (a fellow academy grad) once said he could teach a monkey to program, but leadership is something he needed to hire.

It seems to me that a lot of vets who are hired are hired because they've since been to school (like my MBA) or developed relevant skills in other walks of life.

As someone who hires, I want to bring in vets because I understand work ethic, leadership, and followership are all baked in. I can teach someone teradata or pivot tables in a week or two.

Do more companies need to understand this? Or have I had a bad run of luck working at places that hire people who happen to be veterans, and not just hiring veterans?

comments

Want to comment? LOG IN or SIGN UP
TOP 23 Comments
  • Amazon AMZNBucks
    I guess I don't understand the question, are you asking if companies should target more veterans or target people with the right credentials but give preference to veterans?
    Jul 18 3
    • Sirius XM TimCharoo
      OP
      I think the issue is there are a lot of companies who like to claim they hire vets, but in reality they're hiring people who happen to be vets. Maybe I'm not explaining the difference.

      For example, my company likes to point at me and say "see we hire veterans" but in reality they hired an MBA with 10 YOE in corporate. I just happened to have served in the past. Does that make more sense?
      Jul 18
    • Amazon AMZNBucks
      Oh lol that makes sense, I'm sorta that type of hire too bc I was in the army but don't add that to resume

      But added it to my demographics after I was hired
      Jul 18
    • Sirius XM Barnacle
      Why don't you have army on your resume?
      Jul 18
  • Apple f18eh67
    When I was at amazon we had two different programs to bring in vets, usually as systems engineers. It was essentially a year long internship with the hopes of hiring afterwards. There is basically a boot camp that they go through since many of them don’t have much experience in the field before they’re rotated through teams.

    I probably had 10 rotate through my team and enjoyed working with just about all of them. They were all anxious to learn more and be given more responsibility. I had a good experience working with them and wish more companies would do similar programs.
    Jul 18 1
    • Sirius XM TimCharoo
      OP
      That's great to hear. And I think more companies should follow that lead. I know places like Home Depot love to target vets for a similar development program for store leadership roles.
      Jul 18
  • LinkedIn ex-fb
    Personally I’m a bit skeptical of the ability of veterans to perform in a FANG environment, which is flatter compared to the hierarchical military environment.

    Specifically, I don’t know if culture of following orders, and relationship with direct reports will align well with Silicon Valley, especially FANG cultures.

    Lastly I personally feel people with an aptitude for math and programming are often not those who gravitate towards enlisted careers in armed forces. So it is harder to find vets with these skills.
    Jul 18 5
    • LinkedIn ex-fb
      On average is the military more rigidly hierarchical than the tech industry?
      If your answer is no, you’re an idiot. Heck, even civilian sectors like medicine are more hierarchical than SV.
      Jul 18
    • The Home Depot FPQk51
      You are the reason why Veterans had to become a protected class. Do you know any veterans? Probably the most self driven group of people I’ve ever met. Well those that can handle their PTSD anyway.
      Jul 21
    • LinkedIn ex-fb
      Nothing logical to say?
      Jul 21
    • Uber MoarLoadz
      You’re demonstrating your bias, if you think being in the military is all about following orders or that the military is not a flat organization. Try telling any amped-up, 19 year old private to do something because “you told him” and let me know how that works out for you. It involves so much more in the soft skills department. Skills that tech bros who only know how to leet code, tend to not spend any time developing. If you live in the world, you need to learn how to live and interact with humans. There is no better education for that than in a military service.
      Aug 18
    • LinkedIn ex-fb
      So military is as flat as Silicon Valley?

      Relationship with a commanding officer no different than your manager at Uber?
      Aug 18
  • Google hlp2
    Veterans I've met all beg for money on screen corners. I've never thought about it in terms of leadership skills, so thanks for the new perspective!
    Jul 18 1
    • Amazon AMZNBucks
      Ask them their MOS and what unit they were in. Then you'll know they're lying
      Jul 18
  • Intel Kitten420
    I do find that the vets I've worked with are usually good management material. Honest , hard working, can keep teams together and have a no bullshit attitude. But managing a technical project does require domain experience and vets that are willing to develop their tech chops will be immensely successful.
    Jul 18 1
    • Sirius XM TimCharoo
      OP
      I agree. I'd just like to see more companies in house that development through programs like mr/s Amazon pointed to above. I almost want to start a business to talk directly to HR and exec departments about the difference.
      Jul 18
  • I’ve worked with veterans and love it, generally. They don’t put up with bullshit but they also know when it is time to just do the damn work even if the process is fucked. They are blunt and admit when they fucked something up and need some help, rather than try to cover shit up.
    Most of the ones I’ve worked with have extendethose behaviors to other people on the team...
    Their humor is top notch too.
    Jul 18 2
    • Facebook Paoao
      Except the "No fun" police are out in force these days in tech so I just shut up at work.
      Jul 18
    • Lol true
      Jul 18
  • Oracle piee
    No comment on vets or nonvets since equal opportunity employment is important. To the implied question if hard or soft skills should be prioritized, the answer is it's variable.

    The defining factors ought to be the churn rate on your team and how much pressure to make deadlines you have. If people with good soft skills have a lot of time to learn, they can eventually get up to speed and outshine their technically focused counterparts, yes. But how long that will take depends on the amount of work they need to crunch through to meet regular demands. If that volume is too high, they won't learn, or will take so long that you'll lose them sooner. How much time is required to learn (and check their work) depends on the task. Some are easy, some take years.

    Two extreme examples:
    Data pulls? They'll be up and running in a week or two even if they've never touched code. They won't be fast yet, but they'll get there.
    Position responsible for architecture? You need existing experience, or you'll be deep in the hole, and won't even notice it until it's too late.

    Disclaimers:
    *Views are my own and don't represent any company's position, etc
    **A few good friends of mine are vets
    Jul 18 2
    • Sirius XM TimCharoo
      OP
      I agree. There is certainly a breakpoint in skills for higher level of jobs. But with a flood of vets from foreverwar, I'm shocked how few vets I see getting hired at places I work or interact with.
      Jul 18
    • Oracle piee
      Probably because whiteboarding interviews, relevant work experience, and cultural fit rarely align
      Jul 18
  • Amazon jtGV66
    Thank you for your service, OP
    Jul 18 0