As the construction industry continues to look for innovative ways to staff our open positions with hard-working and reliable professionals, we must not overlook our military veterans. You and your HR team may not clearly understand military rank or job titles, but you can learn how to translate military skills into construction skills. Recruiting military veterans for construction can provide you with a sustainable new talent pool.

Translating Transferable Military Skills

Many veterans simply aren’t sure how to translate their military skills into transferable construction skills. For example, a gunner’s mate may have no construction experience, but has devolved impressive problem solving skills. Veternas are strategic and analytical. They are tenured in training, teamwork, and supervising large crews. They even understand the mechanics of operating heavy machinery. This could make a gunner’s mate an excellent entry-level candidate on the fast track to project management.

Asking The Right Questions During An Interview And Screening

The example above is just one reason it is important to consider alternate interview questions when recruiting military veterans. Since construction and military job titles are not aligned, you will need to ask questions that pertain to job duties and core skills, as opposed to job titles. A veteran may have developed core skills perfect for risk management, logistics, and even civil engineering. They have also developed discipline, focus, teamwork, and organizational skills that complement construction. However, due to their limited construction knowledge, are unsure of how to highlight that on their resume or apply it to your job openings. suggests focusing on questions pertaining to:

  • Demonstrated leadership skills
  • Ability to set and accomplish goals
  • A task-oriented work style
  • Maturity and responsibility
  • The initiative to solve problems and follow through until the job is done
  • Self-direction, determination, and discipline

Invaluable Team Mindset

Veterans are trained to work together as part of a cohesive team, making construction a comfortable transition. Depending on their role, they may also be required to make fast and strategic independent decisions, as your construction managers will be required to do.

Employers must be mindful of the transition from military to civilian life. To help those recently discharged thrive, it is always a good idea to assign your vet a mentor, with whom they meet at least once each week but is also available daily, someone who will show them the ropes, invite them for lunch, and be their go-to if they have questions. If another veteran is available, that is ideal; just make sure it is someone who will make the time and will ensure your newest team member feels as though they are part of your bigger picture.

Recruiting Military Veterans For Construction—TBG Can Help!

As eager as you may be to recruit military veterans, your in-house HR team maybe unsure of where to begin. AGC of America provides direct links to Hiring our Heroes and other non-profits who help vets identify industries and positions that will maximize their service skillsets.  For a personalized approach, contact The Birmingham Group to discuss a staffing strategy that includes recruiting military veterans for construction.