1. They value time. In one of my last classes a few years back, I taught a module on a system my center used. One of my students, a mid-20’s man fresh out of the Marines, was taking diligent notes through and beyond the lecture. Afterward, I casually asked him what his weekend plans entailed, and he told me his Friday would be a particularly long night.

“Going to enjoy the nightlife?” I incorrectly assumed.

“Nah,” he replied. “Studying.”

I squinted, perplexed, and wondered aloud why he didn’t simply study on Saturday.

“That’s not how I compartmentalize tasks,” he told me.

He made every moment count, as most Veterans do. Part of training a soldier means training someone how to be efficient. Like a farmer, those in the military must make the most of every spare resource. In the call center world, that especially includes time.

2. They can be exceptional CSRs. The cliché military I only know from film and television seems like an odd place to learn manners, but that’s because my viewpoint is cliché. Sure, there are some rough-and-tumble language and lines of thinking that stem from a military mind, but often, soldiers are trained to treat civilians with respect. Just because we don’t see former soldiers and sailors as military any longer, that doesn’t mean they view themselves in the same light.

Many see themselves as forever military in one form or another. For those special Veterans, their training never dies. Addressing civilians formally, trying to assess problems, and working toward solutions regardless of obstacles are part of the military lexicon, traits that fit perfectly in a new life as a Customer Service Representative. Someone who is willing to solve an issue politely and diligently should be the first person we look to hire.

3. They understand promotion. All walks of life come through call centers. Businesspeople looking to start over. Students needing something part-time. Retired employees needing a supplemental income. Teenagers trying a first job. There are usually too many backgrounds to make generalizations about one group over another. Usually.

I’ve never once—not ONCE—taught an honorably discharged Veteran who felt entitled to a promotion. Many see during their service what is required to garner advancement. Many can at least identify traits of a leader, even if they do not possess those traits themselves. They take the job seriously, and they typically understand why they’ve been passed over without undue complaint. They realize the work it takes to get promoted, and they develop plans to improve, if that is indeed their goal.

Operation Managers who groan for an efficient, professional and motivated staff should ask themselves if they are hiring enough Veterans. Target mailers to local units discharging those who’ve served our country. Set up job fairs near ROTC stations on college campuses. Give additional incentives (if legal in your state) to those who have sacrificed for us. Do yourself a favor.

You’d be doing them a favor, as well. God knows they’ve earned it.