The birth of future Marines begins with their first step into a recruiting office. Getting an applicant to come to a recruiting office can be a challenge for recruiters. As recruiters take on the increased Summer mission, does this turn into longer work days, or are there ways to prepare and excel?
“Preparing for the Summer months starts with a good high school program during the school year,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Hanner, Recruiter Instructor, Recruiting Station Kansas City.
Some aspects of the high school program are career talks, high school set-ups, band talks, and awards ceremonies. During the school year, recruiters also collect Recruiter Supplied Names from high schools. These names are on lists from the junior and senior classes. Each list contains students’ names, mailing addresses, and telephone numbers, which allow recruiters to communicate with them throughout the school year and in the Summer.
“(In the Summer) a lot of kids are not in school, Hanner said.
“Some kids are at home during the day and (telephone calls) can be great to help set up appointments,” said Staff Sgt. Travon Taylor, Staff Non-Commissioned Officer-in-Charge, Recruiting Substation Independence.
Recruiters must adjust to the shift in the recruiting market. High school juniors who were once too young to enlist are now seniors and are qualified to enlist.
“During the Summer months, recruiters should interview as many new seniors as possible,” said Hanner. “First to contact is the first to contract.”
“With telephone calls, you are also able to follow-up with grads who once had a plan or are still unsure about their direction in life,” said Gunnery Sgt. Mark Kennedy, a canvassing recruiter for RSS K-Metro.
The high school lists also help generate Priority Prospecting Cards. After the lists are collected, the data is sent to a fulfillment center. Throughout the year, mailings are sent to individuals from the high school lists. If the individual responds to the mailing piece, a PPC is then sent to a local recruiter.
In addition to the high school lists, recruiters can use other avenues to accomplish their mission.
“Because school is out, the Summer is a prime time for area canvassing,” said Kennedy.
“During Summer vacation, our target market spends their time hanging out with friends at community centers, recreation facilities, and EAC (Enhanced Area Canvassing) events,” said Kennedy.
According to Hanner, recruiters should use all of their prospecting activities: area canvassing, telephone calls, and home visits. This way, recruiters will be able to generate contracts and replenish the Delayed Entry Program pool during an increased mission for next year’s mission.
During an increased mission recruiters can also use one of their most important resources: the pool.
“By tapping into their pool program, recruiters can generate referrals,” said Hanner. “Referrals are great 30 days before and after someone enlists.”
Most poolees go to recruit training during the Summer months. By generating referrals before they go, poolees can earn guaranteed Private First Class, dress blue uniforms, and other poolee incentives.
Hanner also recommends recruiters maintain a strong pool. Building relationships with the poolees assists not only the recruiter, but prepares the poolee for boot camp.
Parental involvement can also influence a poolee’s successful completion of boot camp.
“By getting a poolee’s parent involved, they feel part of the team and want to help,” said Hanner. “Parents will also share their experience with others, which can help with recruiting efforts.”
With an increased mission during Summer months, recruiters don’t have to work harder or longer hours. Working smarter and preparing during the school year can assist recruiters with the increased Summer mission.