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Tips for Recruiters
It's interesting that this should pop up now. I spend my retirement days now in a high school classroom teaching ROTC - not that it has anything to do with this except... Last week I had a DoD week. That's where all the services plus the Coast Guard come in to my classroom - one each day. The idea is for them to teach high school kids about their branch of the service and what it might have to offer. I don't mean to start a debate about which service has the best training or "deals", but here are my observations. I thought you might find them interesting.
The Coast Guard - two Petty Officers. Showed up late for the first class both wearing class B uniforms. Their pitch consisted of about 10 minutes of showing pictures of boats and helicopters and a few minutes of a canned recruiting video - students slept. After that came this is how much money we can give you - bonuses - college, etc. They struggled to keep the attention of the students.
The Army - One SSG recruiter in class B accompanied by two soldiers from the 101st Avn in Class A. I thought this would be better. The recruiter showed his canned "Be all you can be" video - students slept - and then got into this is how much money I can give you spiel. The two 101st soldiers then had their opportunity to sell the Army. The first thing out of the PFC's mouth was how great it was that the Army was paying off his loans, how much more education he was getting, and how he would retire from the Army almost a millionaire because he had been taught about investing his money early - all good things of course. The SGT had much the same speech. The recruiter did add that basic training was tough 18 years ago when he went through, but it's easy now.
The Navy - one Petty Officer class B. Ditto. Watch the video - student's slept - here's the money deal.
The Air Force - stood us up.
The Marine Corps - One Sgt in Marine Corps Dress Blue. His pitch - I know all the other recruiters have told you about the money they can offer. Every service can give you the same college money deal, and we all get paid from the same bank. An E-5 makes the same money in every branch of the service. That's all I have to say about that. We want you in the Marine Corps because you want to be one of us not because you're looking for college money. He talked about Marine Corps Values and how proud he was to be a Marine. He then showed a "no holds barred" video of Marine Corps Boot Camp. It showed Marine Corps Drill Instructors chasing people off the bus (you could see the sweat on the faces of the recruits while they stood on those little yellow feet), in their face - yelling, running the crap out of them, dogging them out on confidence courses and in PT. It showed them the "Crucible" - recruits literally ran into the ground for 50 some hours straight. He then showed the ceremony at the end of the crucible where each marine that completed received his or her anchor and globe. These kids were proud and the looks on their faces couldn't be faked - the students stayed awake. The students kept this recruiter busy talking about what it meant to be a Marine - not about the college fund.
The last time I checked the Marine Corps was the only service that met its accession goals - maybe we need to think about what it is we're trying to sell...
© 1999 J. D. Pendry