Take this job and.....

How's this for life as a recruiter:

Searing back pains, nervous breakdowns, high turnover, suicide.

Gee is life that tough for us in the executive search business? Well not quite. We do have the stress and turnover but the US Army recruiters are really having it tough right now.


People are less likely to sign up now that there is an acutal war going on. Recruiters are facing hostility on campuses and their quotas have been increased.


The Army is seeking 101,200 new active-duty Army and Reserve soldiers this year alone to replenish the ranks in Iraq and Afghanistan, elsewhere around the world and at home.

That means each of the Army's 7,500 recruiters faces the grind of an unyielding human math, a quota of two new recruits a month, at a time of extended war without a draft.

For the first time in nearly five years, the Army missed its active-duty recruiting goal in February.

The Reserve has missed its monthly quota since October. Army officials said the goals would most likely be missed the next two months as well.

Of course part of the problem could be that the army isn't selecting good recruiters properly:

Some soldiers are better suited to the task than others. Staff Sgt. Jose E. Zayas, 42, is outgoing, bilingual and embraces his mission. Recently, canvassing in the Bronx, he had little trouble persuading a couple from Massachusetts to accept a few pamphlets.

But for every Sergeant Zayas, there is a recruiter like Sgt. Joshua Harris, 29, a former personnel administrator in a New Jersey recruiting station, who struggles when talking to strangers. Seven weeks of instruction in approaching prospects helped him, he said. But many recruiters said few soldiers possess the skills they need.

See there's the problem. Recruiting is at its essence selling. If you don't have even a modicum of selling skills you will not be successful. Being a recruiter of any sort means you have to be willing to talk to strangers and to talk to lots of them before you make a "sale".

But there's more:

Recruiters are paid about $30,000 a year, plus housing and other allowances, including $450 a month in special-duty pay for recruiting. They live where they recruit, often hundreds of miles from a base.

Anyone see a problem here?

Low paying job combined with people who aren't suited for it. That spells trouble. The Army and any company faced with turnover and recruitment issues has to face reality: if you are having retention problems you have something that needs fixing internally. If you are having recruiting problems you are not selling your company well.

Many clients I deal with have trouble recruiting people and yet refuse to accept the fact that their company has a poor image in the market place. Even if the public image is incorrect you have to take that into account when you are recruiting.

You have to be willing to sell to the negative and not avoid it.

Example: The Army used to recruit on things like travel and college education. Things have changed now and they are fighting a war. Used to be young men actually volunteered BECAUSE they wanted to fight not because they wanted a diploma.

Ya' think you might want to try to focus on finding those types?

And perhaps you need to be bringing in some real headhunters to help train and coach you recruiters.

Oh and a little pay raise or linking comp to performance wouldn't hurt either.

It's not rocket science guys.

Source: New York Times (sub required but it's free so sign up already).

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