Tuesday, November 28, 2006

RIP Golden Valley and We Have Met the Enemy

If you happen to get a call from the cops about Golden Valley, AZ going missing, I was with you that evening. Right?

Anyways, the person for whom I endured off-roading in a sedan decided that he wasn't ready. He's going to find a job and finish school. I almost broke my cell phone.

Of course I didn't hear this from the applicant. The applicant was too big of a coward to actually tell me this. He had to first spend the day having his 8 year old sister lie for him. And then he had to have his mother lie for him to the point where I had to call in a favor with a recruiter in the area to go out and hot knock the kid. The recruiter went out of his house and was STILL unable to see the kid in person. First the kid wouldn't answer the door, so the recruiter went next door to where the grandparents lived and called from there. STILL the kid wouldn't answer and STILL had his kid sister lie for him.

There are plenty of brave women out there who are serving, or who want to serve. I do not mean what I'm about to say as a slight to them or their gender.

This applicant is a freaking pussy. I hate when a grown man can not muster up enough courage to tell another person "no". I take that back, he is not a grown man. He had to first hide behind his sister and then his mom. And rather than take the still-weak-but-at-least-it's-an-answer route and have either his sister or mom say he's not interested, he had them stall me and delay me. Make excuses for why he's not home or not returning a call. As if I was going to lose interest in a person who told me face-to-face "Yes SFC B, I am ready to become a Soldier." I guess he was lying to me then too.

I'm going to keep following up with this applicant, now referred to as "Mr. Boy". When Mr. Boy enlists, ships, and graduates I'll upgrade him to a better pseudonym. Until that point Mr. Boy will suffice. Anyways, going to keep following up with him until he finally gets a job flipping burgers somewhere. Not to denigrate hard work, but there are not a whole lot of other options for people who left HS prior to graduating and don't want to take a GED.

This has put me into a foul mood. Mr. Boy sat in front of me, his mom, his sister, and his grandparents and said he was going to join the Army. If I was in that position I'd join the Army just to avoid letting my family realize I was spineless and can't keep my word. That his mom lied for him speaks volumes I suppose. His grandparents were at least refreshing when they told me they knew he was going to do that because he's been that way all his life. When I was talking with his grandfather he expressed to me how glad he was Mr. Boy was making this decision to enlist because it was the most adult thing he'd ever done. Grandfather Boy is less than happy now as well. If only because it's another immature mouth to feed.

On a different note the focus of recruiting for us is moving to the left. On the chart of Appointment Made, Appt. Conducted, ASVAB, PHYS, Enlist the past few months have focused a good deal on the right side. Even the far ight side. To the point where I had managed to get my Makes to Contracts to about 2-1. However recently the focus has shifted from the right to the left. And not just any shift left. A focus on appointments being made over the phone.

This means mandated prospecting methods and times. I have a love/hate relationship with mandated prospecting. I hate it because they never mandate something which actually works for me. I love it because, since it's being mandated, it alleviates me, as a recruiter, of the responsibility for if it fails. If I have to make 25 hours of P1 a week, but my history shows another lead source is more valuable, and I'm not allowed to do that as much, then it wasn't my idea. Anyway, the shift of focus to P1 is apparently being driven by data that shows we're not writing enough contracts from P1. I wasn't aware that there is a requirement to have contracts come from particular lead sources. However apprently the new FY has introduced not only enlistment categories, but those categories now have categories. It's not enough to write a GA and a PS. I now have to write a P1GA and a P2PS.

I'm exaggerating, but that's what we're being told in my world.

I think I've said it before, I'm too lazy to look through my own archives, but in recruiting we really are our own worst enemy. Instead of taking advantage of very local recruiting possibilities we have the IMO coming down and making sure no one is using their own MySpace to recruit. God forbid someone uses a free service to develop a slick website that attracts people who are looking for people in their area. If one of them happens to contact that recruiter and enlist, then the Army is getting a contract for an advertising expenditure of $0. But we're not supposed to do that.

Between Craigslist, Backpage, Yahoo Groups, MySpace, Blogspot, and other free, online tools there are countless ways that USAREC and recruiters could make some hyper local advertising at a minimal cost to the government. Instead of assisting recruiters in this by providing website branding kits, banner and logo links, talking points for use online, or anything along those lines, we have higher commands coming down to make sure we're not doing that. This is something I've talked about before. We make this job harder on ourselves when we limit our ways of communicating with the population and getting out our message. Whether that message is the availability of bonuses or the accomplishment of our forces in Iraq or Afghanistan.

My opinion, my opinion alone, but I think that, people would put more trust and faith into what is announced or reported by CENTCOM, DOD, what have you, if they can see what is being said by these commands was also being said by the Soldiers within the commands. If CENTCOM does a press release announcing that some unit somewhere in Iraq connected a village in the Anbar providence that had been without power in a decade, AND a Soldier assigned to the unit who did the installation is able to write on his blog to his friends and family about their accomplishment then that builds a bit more trust. Sure, it starts small, but that's how it started back when Iraq first kicked off.

I don't know if there is a solution beyond "Everyone shut-up". I'd like to think there is a happy medium between Draconian measures to stop non-official comments and a wholly free market where some disgruntled trooper in some cav troop can start their own website where they give detailed instructions on how to attack US and Iraqi forces. But this digresses from my original tangent about recruiting on free advertising.

A year ago myself and SSG George had to go visit the local newspaper to get their ad rates and circulation numbers. After crunching some numbers I think we arrived at an ad that was going to cost several hundred dollars, and it would reach about 2,000 people in our target market. This was for one week. $500 for 2,000 people. I get that traffic in about a month for free. It's not a perfect comparison, but I put no effort or money into it beyond my own time at home. I don't even try and recruit. I don't solicit publicity and I don't attempt to grow my market beyond the seven people (Hi mom!) who happen to sometimes read what I write.

There are several thousand recruiters in the Army. You'd think that some of them, somewhere, would have the knowledge and initiative to make their own successful recruiting website. However that is not encouraged and our intetnet prospecting is limited to bulk emails of 25 at a time.

Anyways, it's late, I'm tired.


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