No more excuses – hiring veterans is good for your business. More than half of U.S. businesses don’t have formal programs in place to hire military veterans, and unemployment among veterans is still higher than in the general population. That’s an opportunity for savvy employers who need to grow their teams, and understand that hiring veterans is a smart move.

To get started and learn more, you can register for the 2016 BestCompaniesAZ Military Career Event, taking place on Wed., Feb. 17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at North Phoenix Baptist Church Conference Center, 5757 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ, 85012. Attendance is free. Advance registration is required at Career opportunities and resources are being offered at this free event, which is open to all active-duty men and women, retired personnel, National Guard and Reservists, and members of military families. BestCompaniesAZ can be reached at 480-545-5151. 

Despite research that shows that military veterans are more productive and have less turnover than others, biases persist that are roadblocks to hiring vets. If your company is not actively pursuing veterans to join your workforce, your hiring managers might need to overcome barriers like these:

“I can’t tell what they did from their resume.” The military has over 7,000 jobs across more than 100 functional areas. Most of these jobs have a direct equivalent in the civilian job force. Hiring managers need to understand what skills they’re looking for in order to understand how a veteran’s experience might fit. It might be more work for the hiring manager, but if you can uncover fresh talent in the market, won’t that be worth it?

“They don’t have the experience we need.” Are you sure? What questions did you ask? Asking directly about a veteran’s customer service experience, for example, may elicit a brief and unsatisfying response. Asking how they solved problems for teammates may tell a different story about their customer service-related crossover skills. Hiring managers increasingly need strong interviewing skills to get the most out of interviews with veterans, who are trained not to brag about their accomplishments. The need for stronger interviewing skills also comes into play when recruiting other non-traditional candidates like career changers and early career professionals. Overall, hiring managers just need to get better at interviewing.

“I need someone who can lead, not just take orders.” This persistent stereotype has deterred some hiring managers from considering veterans. In actuality, the military provides leadership experience and great responsibility at a young age. For example, the average age of a Marine is 19. At 20, most Marines become non-commissioned officers who are placed in leadership positions. In the military, leadership training includes learning how to foster cultural inclusion, motivating a diverse workforce, solving complex problems, and accomplishing goals – all under stressful conditions.

“I don’t want to deal with instability or PTSD.” While combat-related PTSD is serious, it’s important to keep it in perspective; only 2% of veterans will be impacted by PTSD, including those who have been in a combat zone.  

On the other hand, here are five reasons why hiring a veteran could positively impact your company and your culture:

Veterans are adaptable. While on active duty, military men and women deal with varied circumstances that require versatility. Veterans have often traveled, worked for diverse bosses, learned different cultures, and faced adverse situations.

Veterans take their responsibilities seriously. At a young age, military people learn that there are serious consequences to their decisions – sometimes involving life or death. Veterans have faced trials that most people haven’t, and as a result they learn to be responsible individuals.

Veterans are loyal. While many workers jump to a new job every year, the military takes a multi-year commitment. With the high cost of hiring and training, a veteran could prove to be the best choice. 

Veterans truly understand teamwork. Their lives may depend on how well they work together. Increasingly, managers recognize the need to hire not only smart, talented people, but those who work well in teams and are dedicated to something larger than a paycheck.

Veterans have learned resilience. Resilient people bounce back in the face of failure and setbacks; they don’t crack under pressure. Veterans have developed courage in the face of fear, which will help them face up to challenges at work.

Examples of veterans living out those principles are abundant in the work world. One example is well-known businessman and philanthropist Bob Parsons, who enlisted in the Marines in 1968.  He credits that experience for his extraordinary success: “I graduated magna cum laude in college after the military. I would have never done that without the Marine Corps. I taught myself how to program a computer. I would have never done that without the Marine Corps. Everything I’ve ever done I owe to the Marine Corps.”

So where can you start?

Learn something about the military. Understanding how the branches of the military are structured, and learning some basic military jargon can get you off to a good start. 

Draw on the expertise of veterans you already work with. You may already have a military expert in your midst. Enlist their assistance as you build awareness and make your compamy more military-friendly.

Walk a mile in a veteran’s boots. While most job seekers have lots of experience with job interviews, it’s possible that the veteran you’re interviewing has never had a job interview and may be nervous. Veterans or often better at doing the job than they are with the interviews. Cut them some slack, be patient.

Ask good questions. When you interview veterans, open-ended questions about details of daily work will get better information than questions about job titles. This is true for all job interviews, but especially with veterans.

Educate yourself. Resources like the BestCompaniesAZ blog and the Employer Roadmap can give you ideas to get started.

Joseph Miraglia, Senior Security Information Analyst for Aetna and a Coast Guard veteran, offers this encouragement for hiring managers; “I truly believe that you will never hire a better person than a veteran. We have all sacrificed time with our parents, spouse, children, and friends for the protection of our country and everything it stands for; and that was simply because we felt it was our duty to. Imagine what we’ll do for a company when we’re doing something that we are passionate about.”