Milwaukee's top dog named District's top recruiter

1 Nov 2005 | 9th Marine Corps District

Recruiting duty begins long before sun up and lasts long after sun down.  Recruiters struggle with obstacles, such as time management, indifference, and public perception on a daily basis.  For Marine recruiters, making mission is essential. If you don’t, you fail as a recruiter. If you do, you are a hero for a month.  Few recruiters can maintain the pace required to succeed for months.

This year, one recruiter from Recruiting Substation Fond du Lac, Recruiting Station Milwaukee, Staff Sgt. Shawn Corcoran, superbly traversed all obstacles on his way toward making his personal mission, his recruiting substation’s mission, and was directly responsible for RS Milwaukee receiving the Superior Achiever Award for fiscal year 2005.  Corcoran obtained 42 contracts for the year, 29 of which came from the top three ASVAB mental groups.  Amazingly, he only had one Delayed Entry Program discharge for the year.  He says the keys to his success are knowing his community well and spending time with his pool.

Some may ask how he does it.  Corcoran said, “I always keep the cycle going by keeping my inbox full at all times. I never run out possible contracts or people to contact.”  “Always Be Prospecting – or ABP – are the words he lives by.  As a very successful and yet humble recruiter, Corcoran never “counts his chickens before they hatch.”  If a prospect is ready to enlist, he takes every necessary step to educate, clarify and ensure the prospect fully comprehends why he is enlisting. Once the prospect enlists, Corcoran shifts into recruiter overdrive, giving extra personal attention to his group of enlisted applicants.  Daily contact and constant checks on his poolees ensures they complete high school, stay out of trouble and begin their transformation into becoming a Marine.

Corcoran excelled in every recruiting aspect during the year.  He had some of the highest numbers for recruiters in a one-month period. For three months in row, he contracted four people per month. During the last three months of the fiscal year, he contracted five in one month, six the next and eight during the last month. Even with his high numbers late in the year, he is still going strong into the new fiscal year.

There may be no slowing down for this superior performer. “I am not going to slow down now. You have to give 110 percent the first year to prove you’re successful and then go up from there,” he said. 

Corcoran sets people at ease and gets the basic needs of people he interviews, outwardly showing his passion and zeal and that he believes in himself and the Marine Corps.  “Kids can pick up on your lack of belief,” said Corcoran. “You must get them to trust you or they will never believe a word you say. You have to be confident during the interviews and when you explain things or the kid will back out of joining.  If you show them everything in writing, they are going to trust you more. If they can’t put their hands on something and see it for themselves, they are going to be skeptical of false promises.”

“I don’t try to sugarcoat anything,” he said. “I want to be straightforward with the kids when they come in the office so they know I am not going to hide anything from them or lie to them about anything.”

Corcoran attributes his success to several things.  Instead of doing the same old things like cold calling high school lists and waiting for interviews to walk through the door, he changes his techniques so he stands out from the other services.

“I figure out what the other branches are doing and I do the opposite to some extent,” he said. “I get the proverbial wheel turning and figure out what I need to do to prepare for the months to come instead of focusing just on one month at a time.”

His schooling and the time he has spent in the military greatly contribute to what he has done not only on recruiting duty but also in life itself.  After 11 years, Corcoran is a knowledgeable proof source for what the Marine Corps can do for young people interested in applying themselves.  He relates to prospective applicants by sticking to what he learned in school and adding a lot of personality into it.  He said he feels he is not old enough to be a parent figure to the applicants but he is also not young enough to be a friend to them. He is more of a mentor to offer advice and help point them in the right direction. He knows the military is not for everyone, but it is the right move for a lot of people.

Developing and maintaining applicants’ unwavering trust is the key to everything. He talks with applicants on a one-to-one basis and explains the good and bad things in life.

Despite adverse media coverage and concerns about the war on terrorism, Corcoran has managed to outperform his peers.  After being named 9th Marine Corps District’s Recruiter of the Year, he said higher challenges lie ahead.  “After a little more time under my belt in recruiting, I want to be a SNCOIC for a recruiting substation, and from there, the possibilities are endless.”
9th Marine Corps District