Attrition: Recruiting For Life


November 17, 2007: The U.S. Air Force, following the example of the navy and marines, are establishing a career job for recruiters. Although the air force gets more applicants than it can handle, and is actually laying off people, it wants to get the best people. And that's a job that requires experience. For a long time, American military recruiters did the job on a temporary basis. They left their regular job for a few years of recruiting duty, and then went back. What the navy and marines realized is that you lose a lot of valuable experience that way. However, if you make a portion of your recruiters "career recruiters", they are able to catch the useful knowledge, and pass it on to the majority of recruiters, who are still doing it on a temporary basis.

The air force program will eventually have about 30 percent of its 1,400 recruiters working as career (for the rest of the time they are in uniform) recruiters. Since senior NCOs are selected for recruiting duty, the career recruiters will tend to be older (with ten or more years of service), and have a demonstrated knack for recruiting. As a career recruiter, they would have access to promotions and a clear career path.

Many in the army have also called for a similar program of career recruiters. But the army has the hardest time making its numbers, always has, and recruiting is a high pressure job. It's felt that career army recruiters would burn out before they reached twenty years of service. But the idea is not completely dead in the army, and many officers and NCOs are trying to come up with a plan that would work.


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