Attrition: Amateur Recruiters Outperform the Pros


April 12, 2007: The U.S. Army National Guard appears to have found a solution to its recruiting problems. It's all about the $2,000 recruiting bonus paid to Guard members for each new recruit they bring in. Last year, one Guard member made $94,000 in bonuses by bringing in new recruits. This was better than most professional recruiters, and this guy, Sergeant Dana Kline, had several other part-time recruiters close behind him in terms of results. So far, 135,000 Guard members have signed up to be "Recruiting Assistants," who then undergo two hours of on-line training to familiarize themselves with the administrative details of recruiting. The Recruiting Assistants are assigned to a full-time recruiting sergeant, who will help with the paper work once a new recruit is ready to sign up.

So far, the Army National Guard is on track to get the 70,000 new recruits it needs this year, and so far nearly 30 percent of those have been brought in via the Recruiting Assistant program. The army has known, for a long time, that the best recruiter is a soldier, or a veteran. The Recruiting Assistant program takes advantage of this because the Recruiting Assistants tend to stay in touch with the men and women they have recruited, which is a big plus for the new recruit, trying to navigate army life for the first time.

The Recruiting Assistant program has also been successful with the active duty army, but not is so dramatic a fashion as in the National Guard and reserves. The spectacular success of some of the Recruiting Assistants is causing the army to rethink some of its recruiting methods. While the most successful Recruiting Assistants tend to be very good with meeting and connecting with strangers, they have also developed some useful new techniques for getting potential recruits interested. For example, while full time recruiters deal with about ten prospects, for each recruit they sign up, Recruiting Assistants average only three prospects for each sign up. There is obviously some new thinking at work, and its getting results.


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