In June 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 922 into law, which waives certain postsecondary education requirements for public sector job applicants who are current or former members of the armed forces. The law -- also referred to as Veterans' Preference in Employment -- also increased eligibility for such candidates if the open job was being graded on a numerical scale, and called for the development and implementation of a formal veterans’ recruitment plan for government agencies. The law is likely a sign of requirements to come for other agencies in the United States, meaning that being prepared to actively recruit veterans will be crucial for the future of your agency’s hiring strategy. Whether your agency is in Florida (where the law officially went into effect on July 1, 2021) or you’re just looking to expand your reach in attaining diverse candidates like those who have served in the military, it may be beneficial to leverage an applicant tracking system that helps you source and hire eligible applicants.
What government HR officials in Florida need to know about SB 922
SB 922 was designed to give current members of the armed forces or Florida National Guard, as well as honorably discharged veterans, greater access to government agency positions. The following changes were made to help achieve this goal:
- SB 922 waives postsecondary education requirements for such applicants for all positions that are designated as veterans’ preference.
- SB 922 added the following positions to veterans’ preference designation that were previously exempt: 1) personal secretary of elected or appointed officials; 2) department heads; and 3) positions that require licensure like physicians or chiropractors.
- For positions that use a rubric or numerically-based selection process in the recruitment and hiring phase, SB 922 increases point preferences given to qualified active or veteran service people by five (5) points for each category. That means if a candidate previously ranked a fifteen (15) point preference under previous laws, they will now be ranked a twenty (20) point preference.
- SB 922 also dictates that candidates qualified with a twenty-point preference and service-connected disabilities that are rated to be 30% or more must be placed at the top of the employment list.
- Important! SB 922 requires political subdivisions and municipalities to develop a formal, written plan that lays out annual goals for ensuring the hiring and retention of veterans in the public sector workforce. Previously, only state agencies were required to do so. The implementation plan must refer to the above changes laid out in the bill that increase military personnel’s chances of attaining government jobs.
Steps for any agency to take to build a recruitment plan for veterans
Whether you’re in Florida or not, it’s best practice to have a plan in place to recruit and hire diverse candidates, including those with military service backgrounds. Especially if you are looking to stay compliant with requirements signed into law, it will be important for you to have a robust and transparent recruitment process. Some hiring metrics and strategies you should consider when putting together your formal plan for veteran recruitment are:
- The ability to track and report on veteran status of applicants
- Where you’re currently sourcing veteran candidates from (e.g., specific job boards) so that you can put further resources or advertising dollars behind them
- How veteran candidates are currently moving from one stage to the next in the hiring funnel
- The ability to adjust candidate eligibility and interview scoring rubrics to comply with new laws
- The ability to pull up previous candidates who may have previously been disqualified but may now be eligible for employment due to any new laws
Simplifying the task by moving away from paper or manual processes and instead relying on technology can also greatly assist you in implementing a successful recruitment plan. Using an applicant tracking system like NEOGOV’s Insight will give you access to all of the critical data mentioned above that you can use to meet recruitment goals, whether self-imposed or regulated by law.
If you’d like to learn more about how Insight can help you in building a recruitment plan for veterans, sign up for a free demo today.