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What the Recruiter Never Told You

Part 2 -- Meeting the Recruiter

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What Your Recruiter Has to Put up With

The following was provided by By USAFNCO1, an Air Force Recruiter, and a a member of our Message Forum:

  • Recruiting is a tough job regardless of branch. You either have very good times or very bad ones. We call it peaks and valleys. Without doubt, you will work your tail off trying to find "qualified" applicants. There are tons that want to join but the majority do not meet the standards. You will soon realize just how unhealthy most of our youth are or how a large portion lack a lot in the morals category. When you find the qualified ones you will put forth every effort to take care of them just like they are your own kids if you want to be successful.

    The hours vary depending on others schedules. You have to meet your applicants or their families schedules to succeed. I have worked many days from 0500-2300 hours (5:00 AM to 11:00 PM) to make this happen. On average when I recruited enlisted I worked a 70 hour work week. There were times when it was less but that was not counted on. You will drive countless miles to perform your job.

    The majority of the public seems to think all recruiters are bad due to a few bad apples. Be prepared to prove yourself at all times. You will also have applicants who make accusations against you at times due to their own lack of honor. Document everything and keep copies as long as you are a recruiter.

    Typically the northern tier states are harder to recruit (been there done that) but regardless of where you go it will be a challenge 24-7.

    If you can honestly say you will do the right thing and work hard without supervision directly over your shoulder, you will succeed. If you can handle enormous amounts of stress, then you will succeed. If not, then think of another specialty.

Civilian Recruiters?

That's right. If you're joining the Army, your recruiter may be a civilian, not a soldier.

As part of the FY 2001 Defense Appropriations act, Congress mandated that the Department of Defense (DOD) test the concept of using civilians, instead of military members, to recruit people to join the military. DOD decided that the Army will be the service that conducts this multi-year test.

In February 2002, the Army awarded two civilian companies contracts totaling $172.4 million to hire and manage recruiters for 10 different areas across the nation. The civilians will recruit for the active Army and reserve components in Jackson, Miss.; Oklahoma City; Dayton, Ohio; the Delmarva Peninsula or Eastern Shore of Delaware; Tacoma, Wash.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Wilmington, N.C.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Granite City and Homewood, Ill.

For more details, see Civilian Recruiters.

Getting Down to Basics

Sooner or later, you're going to have to stop shopping, and decide on which military service you want to join. During your "shopping trips," you may have met a recruiter who really impressed you, and/or you may have met a recruiter that left you cold. It's important that you not choose your military service based upon your perception of the recruiter's quality. Each of the services have outstanding recruiters, and each of the services have recruiters who shouldn't be recruiting. Don't judge the military service based upon whether or not the recruiter impressed you. Choose your service based upon your interests, not whether or not the recruiter was kind enough to buy you lunch at McDonalds.

Once you make your decision, make an appointment with the recruiter for the service you want to join. The first thing the recruiter is going to do is to "pre-qualify" you. The recruiter will ask you a bunch of questions to see if you qualify for military service. These will be questions about age, citizenship or immigration status, education level, criminal history, drug abuse history, and medical conditions. The recruiter may weigh you, and ask to see personal paperwork (birth certificate, high school diploma, social security card, etc.).

It's important that you be truthful with the recruiter. It's also very important that you not allow the recruiter to encourage, advise, or even hint that you lie about any of this important information. It is a felony to give false information or withhold required information on any military recruiting paperwork. (See I Cannot Tell a Lie for detailed information about possible consequences).

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