Veteran Status and Job Candidate Assessments in U.S. Local Governments
Advocates often present veterans as an untapped resource for local governments to boost the public service workforce. However, there is a lack of understanding of how human resource (HR) professionals value military experience when assessing candidate preparedness for a managerial career in public service. We examine how veteran status affects U.S. city and county HR directors’ evaluations of candidates for entry-level managerial positions in local government. Using an experimental design, we randomly assign candidate characteristics of veteran status and gender, and we observe HR directors’ assessments of candidate preparedness. Our findings reveal a premium on veteran status for candidate assessments relative to similar private sector experience in assessments of candidate experience. At the same time, the results are less conclusive when compared to similar public sector experiences. In addition, we find no clear evidence of disparate assessments of candidate preparedness as a function of candidate gender.