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What is an Executive Search for Veterans?

What is an Executive Search for Veterans?

C-level facts reveal that an executive search for veterans provides opportunities for transitioning military officials to qualify for C-Suite positions and lend their impressive leadership skills as well as sound decision-making abilities to propel businesses further down the path of success. 

Transitioning from the military is a monumental move for veterans as it entails leaving the ranks and moving into civilian life. This is even more unique to senior officers. After decades of service and years of experience, they must now seek employment in the corporate world. While their quest for a new job may be the same as any veteran, senior military officers with the ‘O’ rank have a different engagement route known as an executive search. This requires the services of a specialized recruitment firm that locates senior-level positions on their behalf.

Veteran officers are then hired as one of a company's influential personalities and perform functions such as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Finance Officer (CFO), Chief Operating Officer (COO), and other top-management offices included in the C-Suite.  

What is an Executive Search? 

An executive search is a specialized recruitment endeavor to fill top-level posts in large companies. It is often referred to as headhunting, as it requires searching for a suitable candidate to fill in strategic positions in a corporation. 

An executive recruitment firm handles these targeted searches. These firms typically act as ‘mediators’ between the candidate and a specific company seeking to fill a top-level post. The specialized recruitment firm performs an executive search through the following: 

  • Identifies potential candidates
  • Evaluates their capabilities: professional experience, education, technical, and leadership skills. 
  • Assess the candidate’s fit to the given company culture. 
  • Secure the top contender for the benefit of the business. 

How is it Applicable to Veterans?

Military veterans develop key characteristics through years of experience and specialization. They are exemplary models of discipline and accountability that they excel as military leaders and are promoted as senior officials. As they transition into civilian life, they bring these notable qualities to the companies they work for. Their military training helps them to excel in business endeavors. 

The same is true for senior military officials whose management skills and technical expertise were honed through decades of military service. Executive recruitment companies recognize these invaluable characteristics in senior officers and aspire to include them in executive searches requested by companies in need of their capabilities. 

Several military headhunting firms perform executive searches on behalf of transitioning senior officers. Their services often result in military veterans' placement into top-management positions such as manager, director, executive assistant, senior executive, and even C-Suite designations. 

‘O’ Grade Military Veterans and C-Suite Designations

Chief executive titles come with immense responsibility and accountability. Being one of the top company figures requires strong analytical skills to make strategic decisions that impact the growth and success of the corporation. It also demands efficient management skills to ensure that all workforce levels converge to achieve desired goals. 

These demanding roles compel corporations to direct their executive searches towards ‘O’ grade military veterans with the intent to transform them into C-Suite executives. Their management style, logistic abilities, and overall efficiency make them likely candidates in top-rank designations. Once they are on board, they lend their skills and expertise to benefit the company. 

They have proven to be successful CEOs, as evidenced by several military veterans leading Fortune 500 companies in 2019. A study published by and Korn/Ferry International reports the same findings in January 2020, with 8% of CEOs utilizing their military backgrounds as assets to propel company success. 

Military veterans are also more likely to deliver stronger performances. While the average C-suite tenure tends to be 4.9 years, the Korn/Ferry research shows that military veterans-turned-CEOs outrun their peers and serve as long as seven years. This can give corporations some assurance regarding the longevity of a military veteran’s service. 


Hiring military veterans can prove beneficial to any company as their training and experience make for effective employees. This is amplified even further when senior military officials are targeted by executive searches employed by specialized recruitment firms. These searches provide a fit to the skills and capabilities of the senior official to an enterprise’s need for strong leadership. Successful matches made through executive searches benefit the corporation. At the same time, this also serves as an avenue of growth for the military veteran as they translate their skills and expertise to take on the demands of a C-suite position.