Advice for Employers and Recruiters
Interviewing student veterans
Are you interviewing a student veteran for a job at your company? Congrats! Veterans bring a set of skills that can stand above the other students you are interviewing.
If you are like many hiring managers, you have limited experience interviewing vets, and are not extremely familiar with what military experience looks like. It’s important to make sure you don’t ask anything inappropriate. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your interview while remaining sensitive and legal.
What NOT to ask
- Unless you are hiring for a Federal agency or work with Veteran Preference Points, don’t ask about their discharge status.
- You cannot ask if they will be deployed in the future, even if their resume says they are in the Reserves.
- Do not ask about potential disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act states that an employer may only ask disability-related questions after the applicant has been offered a job.
- “Do you have PTSD?” (First, check your biases about vets and PTSD, and second, any question that relates to their mental health is legally off limits.)
- “Did you get hurt in combat?” or “Do you expect your injury to heal normally?”
- “Have you ever participated in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program?”
Instead, you can ask…
- Behavior-based questions that help you truly understand their previous experience
- Questions about their goals (be smart and avoid the cliche “Where do you see yourself in the future?”)
- “How did you deal with pressure or stress?”
- According to the Office of Disability Employment Policy, you may ask, “Have you ever been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol?” The answer to this question should direclty relate to their ability to perform the job.
Veterans Day is November 11. Reach out to student veteran groups as part of your college recruitment this fall, and you may be impressed with what you find.
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