I've seen this post on a couple of the other recruiter blogs. I figured I'd take the time to answer some of Diedre's questions. I was a journalism major for a couple of semesters when I was in college so I have some sympathy for the poor girl.
What I'm tring to find out is why, since February 2005, have active army recruitment numbers fallen so short of their missions?
Well. The Army in 2004 had a RA mission of about 77,000. Prior years the missions were in the mid 70k range. Since 1999 USAREC had mission boxed (accomplished the recruiting mission). When the mission was increased to 80k they failed to accomplish the mission. I'd have to say that part of the reason recruiting fell short was that the mission was set beyond what was reasonably accomplishable.
Are you pressurized(sic) to meet your missions? If so, how?
Of course we're pressured to meet mission. It's a mission. It's our job. It's what we're supposed to do. Are you being pressured to write this paper?
How are we pressured? Hum... we're told to do what we're required to do. Some recruiters have had their careers threatened. Some are made to work insane hours. Some are taken out back and shot like the zero-rolling dogs that they are. Kidding. Recruiting is a numbers game. We need to make those numbers. The leadership will do what it can to make us reach those numbers, whether the numbers are achievable or not. Sometimes they will apply pressure and pain because it's all they have left to do and they have to look like they're trying.
What is your average recruit like?
The average recruit is age 17-39. They are either male or female. They are in good health with a background free of major criminal offenses.
Have you ever seen the army recruit someone clearly not suitable? If so, what was wrong the recruit?
Honestly... nope. Never have. I've seen some corners cut on the process of getting someone in, but I've never seen or heard of someone who was blatantly unqualified getting in. Despite the perception that recruiters are immoral blood merchants only concerned with getting the next body into the grinder, we're not. And there are many many different layers between the recruiter and the swear-in ceremony. It's hard to game the system.
Do you think the "standard" of new recruits is falling in terms of education, capability etc?
I don't think the standard is falling. The standard is a High School diploma or GED with a qualifying ASVAB score. That's the standard. You meet it or you don't. A better question would be do I think the quality of recruit is going down. To answer that I'd say I dunno. I don't have a huge frame-of-reference with which to judge. But the Army is allowing in more people with lower scores. I don't know what that bodes for the future though. I've known plenty of Soldiers who posted great scores on their ASVAB but were piss-poor Soldiers and I couldn't counsel them fast enough to get them out of the Army. And I've known Soldiers who had to retake the test 10 times to qualify for enlistment who were terrific Soldiers and welcome additions to the NCO Corps when their time came. The enlistment standards are like a cover charge in a bar: it's meant to keep the obviously unqualified out.
What do you think of ethnic specific recruitment drives such as the Hispanic H2 Tour?
I hate when I have to give up my Saturday and Sunday to man a booth in a freaking Cinco de Mayo celebration on the 7th of May. Aside from the events and drives being a drain on my time I think they're great. Not all advertising will reach all groups equally. There are a lot of people who are first or second generation immigrants who might not have the same exposure to the Army that other groups do. If something needs to be targeted better to get people to join I'm for it.
What upset/annoys you the most about your job? What, if anything, do you gain satisfaction from?
The stupid. I hate the belief that seems to be held that everything that is wrong with recruiting is the fault of the recruiters. I am annoyed by people who assume that, because I'm in the Army, they can spout off any wing-bat theory about 9/11, Iraq, Halliburton, Bush, WMD and I'll agree with it because I'm being used by the machine to support my oppression.
I gain satisfaction from putting someone into the Army. I love it when they ship-out. I enjoy making fun of people taking a double-major in business and philosophy at a freaking 2-year community college. I like sitting on a college campus watching hot chicks go by in tiny shorts. I like when the station goes to P3 at Hooters.
Hope this helps ya out Diedre. Good luck, let us know how you do on your paper. And if you want to join the Army Reserve let me know. Can help ya pay for college and maybe give you a perspective not many others in the journalism business have now. That of a veteran.