Google Adds New Search Feature to Help Veterans Find Jobs

Google on Monday introduced a feature in its job search functionality specifically geared toward helping veterans find jobs. Matthew Hudson, a program manager for Google Cloud who previously served in the US Air Force as a civil engineer, announced the news in a blog post:

Starting today, service members can search ‘jobs for veterans’ on Google and then enter their specific military job codes (MOS, AFSC, NEC, etc.) to see relevant civilian jobs that require similar skills to those used in their military roles. We’re also making this capability available to any employer or job board to use on their own property through our Cloud Talent Solution. As of today, service members can enter their military job codes on any career site using Talent Solution, including FedEx Careers, Encompass Health Careers, Siemens Careers, CareerBuilder and Getting Hired.

This is just one of several steps the search giant is taking to support veterans. To help those who start their own businesses, Google will now allow establishments to identify themselves as veteran-owned or led when they pop up on Google Maps or in Google search mobile listings. Additionally, Google.org is giving a $2.5 million grant to the United Service Organizations (USO) to incorporate the Google IT support certificate into their programming. Google first made the certification available outside the company earlier this year through a partnership with Coursera.

Although veterans have many skills and qualities that private employers find valuable, they often have difficulty reintegrating into the civilian workforce after their tours of duty. They often underestimate their qualifications for jobs outside the military, while recruiters often don’t know how to interact with them or evaluate their experience. Many organizations have made commitments to hiring veterans as part of their diversity and inclusion efforts, but can have trouble finding veteran candidates because many of them aren’t actively looking for jobs and they often don’t self-identify as “veterans,” either because they are afraid of being stereotyped or because they are still on active duty or served in a non-combat role.

What makes Google’s new search feature remarkable is that it directly addresses a form of algorithmic bias that affects veterans uniquely. Most HRIS software does contain a field for veteran status, but many algorithms that large organizations use to sort through résumés and interview responses to select strong candidates are blind to the unique ways veterans describe the work they performed in the armed forces. Because these algorithms disregard words that appear with very low frequency, they may simply ignore résumés that are heavy with the specialized language of military service. Things like recognition and leadership are talked about differently in the military context, so algorithms (and even human recruiters) may not understand the significance of veterans’ achievements. Google’s “jobs for veterans” tool could help prevent these distinctions from being lost in translation.

Gartner Recruiting Leadership Council members can discover more best practices for recruiting and retaining veterans at our Veteran Hiring Portal.