What’s the deal with hiring or recruiting vets, anyway?


As business owners or franchisors, we often here about the advantage of hiring military veterans. The first thing that often comes to mind is taking care of those who agreed to, or actually did, put themselves in harm’s way to defend our country and way of life. Surely, however, there are many other ways to support veterans than to give them a job, right? Absolutely! I myself am a support of the Wounded Warrior Project, send care packages to deployed personnel, and occasionally pick up a tab in a bar or restaurant for a service member.

So we don’t have to give returning service people a job to show our appreciation. That then begs the question, should we be focusing on recruiting candidates with military experience to join our ranks, either as employees or business owners? In short, YES!

Michael A. Peterson


I myself am a peacetime vet (sorry for the blurry picture, that’s all I’ve got!). That means that I served my entire military commitment (U.S. Army, 13M, STEEL RAIN) in a time that this country was not at war (my time of service ended shortly before 9/11). When it comes to readiness for a position, there is some distinction between peacetime and wartime vets. The qualities I am about to explain to you that make veterans uniquely qualified apply to both peacetime and wartime service members, but in peacetime we were practicing, while in wartime what was once practiced was being executed on.



So what qualities do military veteran franchisees or employees bring to the table that you may not find as easily in other candidates?

Personal Accountability

I went in the military a little older than most, so I graduated AIT

(Advanced Individual Training, the school you attend after Basic Training) when I was 20 years old. At my first duty station (Fort Baumholder, Germany), I was immediately assigned to an MLRS crew, as the driver. I was personally responsible for the maintenance, upkeep, and overall performance for a $2.5 million-dollar vehicle, as well another roughly $100K in tools, equipment, and supplies. When I retired to the barracks each night, the keys went with me. If something wasn’t clean, if a service or inspection wasn’t complete, or if things went missing, that was ON ME. As I mentioned, I went into the military a little late, and many of the soldiers in my same position were 18 years old. That SEEMED like a lot of responsibility, until I was promoted to gunner. At that point, I had the final call over everyone eon the battle field as to whether or not to flip a switch that sent rockets sailing towards a target over 100KM away. All of the sudden, instead of a failing in personal responsibility costing money, time, and possibly “remedial training” (the military doesn’t call it punishment), I was accountable for getting everything right to makes sure that we were time on target. I only thought I understood personal accountability and responsibility before that. By the way, that promotion came 2 weeks before my 22nd birthday.

By the time service personnel leave the military, whether they served the minimum 3 years or stayed through 20 years for retirement, personal accountability is so ingrained in them that it is inseparable from their core being.


They say that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. This is not just a saying, it is considered to be the one of the most important factors a commanding officer has to have at the forefront of his mind when entering an engagement. Unaccounted for enemy troops or weaponry or unexpected friendly equipment failure or other anticipated friendly assets being available or just two examples that a commander can find his or her self faced with within seconds of engagement. As such, the front line’s orders might change extensively, without explanation, rapidly. Being flexible is drilled into a serviceperson’s head from day one of Basic. Sure, if there is time, a solider on the ground may communicate why the change in orders could cause issues on the front line, but in the heat of battle they’ll execute now and ask questions later. This combination of critical thought, but also knowing when to just get the (new) mission accomplished, is a trait that translates equally well into business ownership or employment.


Leadership skills

Every service person knows their chain of command, from the President on down, and where they fit into it. When they begin to achieve even nominal rank, military personnel are given leadership duties. This is in anticipation of some sort of field emergency (mass casualties, communication blackout, etc.) whereby the gal who was just another marine is all of the sudden the ranking person on the ground and must, without hesitation, take charge and lead. The other side of this coin is that vets are used to the person in charge changing, and perhaps taking direct commands from someone today that they were out having a beer with as equals last night. There is a saying in the army “you don’t have to respect me, but you have to respect the rank”.

Mission-oriented with work ethic

military veteran franchisees are mission oriented

Everything in the military is a mission. It’s a phrase that is used to talk about a full-scale war or cleaning a vehicle. Vets come to the table with the ingrained idea that, whatever it is we are supposed to be doing, LETS GET IT DONE. Additionally, the work ethic required of a military individual is really incomprehensible to a civilian. Can you imagine that, if you forgot to set your alarm and were late for work, your boss could take ½ your pay and make you work 6 additional hours a day for a couple of months? Can you imagine receiving an order that you know has a better-than-even chance of getting you hurt or worse, and just executing on it? That is a day in the life of a service member. Comparatively, showing up to a board meeting, making sure that payroll is done on time, or checking the locks on the way out are all nonissues.

There are many other things that the brave service men and women of this country can bring to a business, either as an employee or owner. Putting your patriotism aside for a second, having someone with these qualities represent your brand, either as an employee, a leader, or an owner, is just a smart business decision.

Have you hired vets in your business? Do you have military veteran franchisees in your system? Are you a vet-owned franchisor? What do you think are the benefits of bringing these service members into your organization?

(This article is also published on LinkedIn)