Shift to the Civilian SUIT: How Veterans Can Successfully Navigate 3 Job Interview Challenges

Transitioning from military life to civilian life can be challenging, but doesn’t need to feel impossible for Veterans.

Below, we’ll tackle three major challenges Veterans face when shifting to a civilian SUIT (Situation, Understanding, Initiate, Tip). Understanding these challenges will help your organization better identify potential Veteran, and assist them through the interviewing and hiring processes.


Situation: Veterans are not sure what their company can do to accommodate a Veteran with PTSD.

Understanding: Not all Veterans have PTSD. Not all PTSD symptoms come in the form or outbursts or explosive behavior.

That being said, the services have ensured to invest appropriate resources and time to work with Veterans who may have PTSD throughout their time in the service and once they have transitioned from the military.

Initiate: Provide information on services your organization may offer through the health and awareness programs or through various medical insurance programs. Tip: Find out what types of working environments the Veteran prefers to work in (indoors/outdoors, on a team or as an individual contributor). Sometimes it is as simple a discussion with them or a profile assessment to identify the best job.

SUIT #2: The Interview

Situation: Service members don’t interview well.

Understanding: Veterans credit their success to the team!

It is not in their cultural makeup to turn the spotlight on themselves, so you may need to give the Veteran permission to toot their own horn. Let them know it is not a sign of spotlighting but a way to better understand who they are and what they have to offer.

Initiate: Try a touring interview. Instead of sitting in a conference room or in an office, walk around while fielding questions to the Veteran. This will enable you to build rapport faster by taking the tension out of the interviewing process.

Also, share next steps in their interview process. Remember, Veterans come from a culture of communication.

Tip: During the Touring Interview, point out different areas of the company. Then, ask very specific questions about how the Veteran’s accomplishments can assist the company and what details they thought qualified them for the role they are interviewing for.

SUIT #3: Skill Alignment

Situation: Many of the jobs in the service that don’t align within the industry jobs I’m looking to fill. There seems to be a lack of certification for certain civilian jobs.

Understanding: There are many online resources you can use to “translate skills” such as the occupational information network (O*NET),, and MOS Translator. The service has also taken the initiative to facilitate certification programs for its transitioning members. Places like Soldier for Life is a great starting point to see what is being offered to ensure the Veteran is competitive candidate.

Initiate: Create a Mapping game using a kiosk during recruiting efforts where Veterans can access their career field from a source like O*NET and match them up to potential skills (both soft and technical) you are searching for.

Tip: Using graphics and technology it will engage the Veteran and make the matchup a fun event and also help the recruiter with the initial vetting dialogue.

These three challenges will better help potential Veteran employees SUIT up to a civilian lifestyle. In turn, this will help ensure your organization is equipped with incredible Veteran talent.

Have more questions? We’re ready to help you. Learn more about our consulting services or contact us today to hear how ShiftForward can help.

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