Army Recruiting’s Special Challenges

“How much would I have to pay you if I told you tomorrow you were going to die?” asks U.S. Army Col. Donald Bartholomew, director for marketing and strategic outreach for recruiting command.

With a question like that, it really puts the “typical” recruiting challenges in perspective. That’s the takeaway message after listening to how recruiters in the U.S. Army are working to recruit soldiers.

Col. Bartholomew spoke at the ERE Expo 2007 in San Diego, noting that Army recruiting has plenty of its own special challenges. For starters, about 70% of people are ineligible because of medical, “moral,” weight, or other issues such as asthma, flat feet, eye or hearing loss, and color-blindness.

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Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.


3 Comments on “Army Recruiting’s Special Challenges

  1. ?How much would I have to pay you if I told you tomorrow you were going to die??

    Even being a “lunatic” Former Marine, I have to say that this is the craziest sales pitch I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s not saying that dying is a possibility, it’s saying it’s going to happen. If this pitch is, in fact, being used, then this is a huge problem. Seriously, this Colonel would have some tough questions to answer if this statement is truly being made to military recruitees.

    This is the first time I’ve heard that up to 70% of applicants can’t make it in. What I do know is that the Army’s relaxing of recruiting standards has been highly publicized since the beginning of the Iraq war. Here are some facts:

    1) The Army raised its max age limit from 34 to 42 (yes, 42).

    2) The Army now has an allowance of up to 19% of its force being high school dropouts (it used to be 10%). (By the way, yes, that means that up to 1 in 5 can have dropped out of H.S.)

    3) The Army has raised its max quota of “Category IV” applicants from 2% to 4%. (These are applicants that score in the lowest 30% of the entrance IQ component, the AFQT).

    4) The Army raised its maximum bodyfat % for a 20-yr old male from 24% to 30% (yes, 30%).

    5) The Army increased its waivers for medical conditions by 13% from 2004 to 2005.

    6) The Army increased its waivers for ‘serious’ criminal records by 57% from 2004 to 2005. (‘Serious’ is a relative term, but it doesn’t sound good.)

    7) The Army allows non-citizens to be able to apply for citizenship after just 1 day of service now (it used to be 3 years).

    8) The Army raised its max enlistment bonus from $20k to $40k (a 100% increase).

    9) The Army allows individuals that have failed a drug test for Marijuana to retake the test after 45 days (it used to be 6 months).

    Here’s a chart with the above data:

    I haven’t seen any other information on relaxed recruiting standards in the Navy, Air Force, or Marines. If anyone can find that, bounce it my way!

  2. As a former Army Recruiter and vet of the first Gulf War, I don’t understand what you are trying to say. If telling someone who is considering joining the military that there is a possibility they may be killed while in or out of harms way is somehow a problem? Do you expect the recruiters not tell a prospect this very possible fact?

    And the point of listing all your stats shows only that people who have wanted to serve their country now have an opportunity. Is that wrong?

    I don’t know about you, but I received excellent training and would stack it up against any in the world and despite it all we have the most effective fighting force the world has ever seen.

    The Col. was only being honest about the facts about what the Army is facing in recruiting. The Army is the largest force with the greatest need not only in personnel but also in skillsets and frankly it spans every segment of our society.

    This is still a voluntary force and as long as there are those who want to service and can then we should salute them!

    Making changes to some of the standards is just a part of what any organization considers when attracting talent in a tight market and believe me there is not tighter employment climate then when you have a country at war with a voluntary force.

    I saluate anyone who serves our country during this time and applaud those who serve as recruiters!!

  3. Not sure if you were in attendance or if the original article conveys the true context in which the Col. said what he said….however that quote was not his sales pitch. It was an obstacle to closing the sale. His point was that this was the biggest hurdle….kids today aren’t stupid and they know very well the threat they face. If I wanted to take a swipe at ya Josh I’d say you reacted the way any jarhead would upon hearing this as a sales pitch but since I respect and love the devil dogs…disregard 🙂 Kabar 6 out !

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