Veterans: An Untapped Pool with Rich Skill Set

Countering the Great Resignation with Niche Recruiting

In January, nearly 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), and employers everywhere are questioning where they are going to find a workforce during this phenomenon called the “Great Resignation.” CEO and founder of Pearl Interactive Network, an innovative niche contact center business process organization (BPO), Merry Korn, says the answer is in niche recruiting.

“There are pockets of niche referral sources with a robust volume of strong candidates who are eager to work hard,” she offers. With the colossal shift of remote positions becoming a permanent staple for many companies, one area of niche recruiting that could soften the impact of this workforce shortage and keep call center operations on target is veterans.

“At Pearl, we find that veterans bring many strengths to the workplace,” states VP of business development, Jean Murphy. Veterans possess a strong work ethic and take pride in the challenges and satisfaction of a job well done; they carry a sense of duty and are organized and disciplined. Many veterans have learned what it means to put in a hard day’s work and can follow through on assignments, even under difficult or stressful circumstances.

Much of this attitude translates to their participation in the civilian workforce, making veterans an asset to employers. With large numbers of individuals transitioning and seeking employment each year, this is a prime, untapped pool of candidates with a rich skill set (Department of Veteran Affairs. (2012). “Why veterans Make Good Employees.” Washington, DC; Veterans Employment Toolkit Handout.).

Each year, approximately 250,000 veterans are transitioning from military to civilian life (US Department of Veterans). Sixty-six percent of veterans report that it is difficult to find work after separating from the military. Part of the challenge lies in successfully translating military jargon into private-sector employment keywords.

Seventy-nine percent of veterans report difficulty conveying their military skills into the civilian sector. Likewise, 72 percent of hiring managers say it is difficult to see the connection between military and civilian skills.

“Some occupations like doctor and lawyer are exactly the same in and out of the service,” says John Bohichik, transition services manager at the Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, according to However, “‘Platoon leader’ should probably be translated as something like ‘general manager,’” says Anne McKinney, author of Resumes and Cover Letters that Have Worked for Military Professionals.

In addition to translating job titles, a candidate’s resume should describe—in civilian terms—the candidate’s skills, responsibilities, and accomplishments.

Veterans seeking to transition to customer service roles could easily show their transferable skills in leadership, effective communication, adaptability, and attention to detail.

For example, with customer service interactions, agents use effective communication skills and attention to detail to build a personal connection with the caller, and to create satisfactory resolution. Veterans are mission focused; they excel at following established processes and strive to achieve the mission goal with a more than satisfactory outcome making them ideal employees.

Employers are looking for employees with the potential for leadership and have a desire to learn and grow. Veterans easily check those boxes. By the end of their first year in the service, most are cross trained in multiple skills and have gained core skills like working well under pressure, attention to detail, problem solving and teamwork.

Not all employers are keen on translating these skills or know how to attract these applicants in the first place. This creates an untapped pool of applicants primed to succeed in the private sector and a savvy strategy for companies.

Of the approximately twelve million veterans in the United States, nearly 30 percent report having a disability and 13 percent report a service-connected disability. Both physical disabilities such as amputation, scars, and disfigurement, along with the stigma of potential psychological disorders make it more difficult for veterans to find employment.

Coupled with the lack of access to transportation for individuals with disabilities, veterans with disabilities face yet another significant obstacle to employment. “Transportation may seem to be the least of their worries, but it is the lynchpin that connects disparate parts of daily living,” says Rutger’s researcher at the Bloustein School’s Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, Andrea Lubin. “Access to transportation must therefore be considered in any reintegration efforts.”

With the colossal shift of remote positions becoming a permanent staple for many companies, work-from-home jobs are an ideal pairing for both veterans and other individuals with disabilities and transportation barriers.

The reward for a concerted effort to target niche veteran candidates is a dedicated, loyal workforce. “The key to niche hiring success is for employers to create a work environment that embraces diversity and creates a culture of inclusiveness,” adds Merry Korn.

Pearl is known for delivering high-touch, white-glove customer service experiences, concentrating on the delivery of calls that require a complex resolution while developing a personal emotional connection between the agent and caller.

Korn adds, “Pearl’s culture of caring is at the core of everything we do and transforming the lives of those we serve is our driving force.”

Founded in 2004, Pearl takes great pride in their hiring preferences for veterans, including those with disabilities for remote positions across the nation, with employees in twenty-seven states. It is good for our business and our social mission.