IntroductionBefore most sailors become recruiters, they have experienced Navy life in other commands,aboard ships or in some other essential capacity. Their experience with public affairs in thoseoperations has often centered on internal news and events -- photos, videos, shipboard news andthe like – with occasional nuggets of news for external dissemination. That’s just what youshould expect from a Navy mass communications initiative.Within this broad-based district, one thing remains constant. YOU ARE THE FACE OF THENAVY TO YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY. You are most often the initial contact source. Youare the source of information to those around you. And you are the people we count on torepresent Navy in the strongest way possible.This guidebook has been assembled to help you do that successfully. It also has been developedto help make your recruiting effort as productive and successful as possible.You will find that regular use of the resources contained in this guide will broaden the Navyknowledge base of the people you are trying to reach, entice more people to contact you aboutNavy opportunities, enhance your relationship with school administrators and guidancecounselors, and shorten the time frame with candidates from the initial discussion to thecommitment to enlist.
STREET-SMART RECRUITINGYou did the training, learned about all the forms and processes, and grew to understandeverything you needed to know about the step-by-step procedures that would take a remotelyinterested young person from almost unaware to a committed enlistee. But the reality is that thisis Navy reality! Nothing goes exactly as planned.In this Fit vs. Fill environment, the pressure is on every day for you to find exactly the rightperson to fill exactly defined jobs in the Navy. The pressure comes from the top and relentlesslypushes down to the CO, XO, OPO, EPO, CR, ACR, LCPO, LPO and then to you. You feel theheat from the time the goal is set until even after your station has met its numbers.That process won’t change, but the way in which you go about achieving goal can and shouldchange. Let’s explain.The top-down pressure you experience is focused on acquiring qualified recruits one at a time –we need one more NUC, one more CT, one more ET, one more doctor, one more dentist, onemore chaplain, etc. The problem is that you need to have way more than one in your source poolin order to work the prospect successfully, and that only adds to the frustration. Besides that, ifyou haven’t had enough conversational sessions with each qualified individual, it still will take along time before you can successfully move the person into the available slot.Our objective here is to 1) broaden the base of interested individuals in the source pool, and 2)shorten or reduce the number of conversational sessions that it takes to move someone fromremote interest in the Navy to keen interest in an available job slot. More simply, the objective isto have you working SMARTER, not harder – freeing time for you.The process is really no different from what takes place in an industrial sales environment.Cahners Publishing Company conducted research that shows that it typically takes 8-11 salescalls from the time an industrial sales person first calls on a purchasing agent until the time thesale is complete. That’s the sales process for key equipment or production supplies, but yourrecruitment process is similar. After all, recruiting is virtually the only place in the Navy wherewe have something to sell – Navy jobs, educational opportunities and experience.In the first few sales calls, the industrial sales person explains his company, his product, and thekey differences between his offering and that of his competitors. He also explains how heoperates as the conduit between the purchaser and the supplier.In the next few sales calls, the sales representative gathers information about the prospectivepurchaser’s company, end products, and how his particular product can fit the prospect’s needs.He also finds out about just-in-time delivery requirements, payment practices and other thingsessential to any transaction.It is only after these initial calls that the two parties really get a chance to rollup their shirtsleevesand get to work on the particulars that can make the sales transaction take place. The same is true
for your recruiting process – general information, followed by trust building, followed by needsanalysis, followed by commitment in the form of a contract.What Cahners Publishing Company also found out is that the organizations that did the best jobof explaining the particulars of their products and services in advertising and publicitycampaigns also enjoyed significantly more prospective-customer responses, and their salespeople needed to make fewer calls with less overall sales call time required to complete thetransactions. Why? Because 1) many more people were aware of the company and its offeringsand 2) the detailed information that prospective customers already had meant that less had to becovered in person.The very same practice applies to productive Navy recruiting. The better job we do via schoolmedia and news media of building Navy awareness, explaining Navy opportunities for jobs andeducational support, identifying Navy personnel needs, focusing attention on the local NavyRecruiting Station, and highlighting YOU as the right contact for your target audience, theMORE PROSPECTS WILL BE COMING TO YOU instead of you to them.There are three important places where we intend to focus this initiative: 1) Where your target market works (school) 2) Where your target market plays (key events) 3) Where your target market and their influencers gather informationThere are important messages: 1) Navy has important skilled jobs to fill – with good benefits. 2) Navy supports advanced education in a variety of ways 3) Navy has qualifications to be met – intelligence, physical conditioning, health, legal, behavioral 4) Navy has people on hand to help them join, and the nearest location is YOUR NRS ADDRESS.STREET-SMART MARKETING MOTTO:“Put your mouth where the Money is.”
SCHOOL ACCESS EDGEThe best single opportunity to access quality candidates is through the schools. However, gettingschools to grant that access is difficult, especially if we are simply ASKING for the opportunityto set up a contact location in the school cafeteria.You all know that you will have much more success if you can OFFER some resources to helpthem enhance their own higher education experience. That’s why we are working to providetools to help in that regard.Please recognize that your position with your school contact will be enhanced just by offeringthis kind of support, regardless of whether or not the school takes you up on the offer. The fourkey areas are: NAVY “HORIZON” BAND – This one-class-hour contemporary show includes pop, rock and rap music and invites students to join in. The band points out the recruiters who set up the show, and also identifies the location of the local station(s). Only nine locations in the country can take advantage of this. This is a special advantage for NRD Chicago, but the windows of available band time are small. SCHOOL NEWS – A number of “canned interviews” are being prepared so that you can offer support to the school newspaper or intranet. Some are included in the following pages. These nuggets of information will help you get a foot in the door, but you can enhance your position even more by producing information about recent graduates who now are seeing the world as U.S. Navy Sailors. Contact the PAO for assistance doing this S.T.E.M. INITIATIVE – Students proficient in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are high on the Navy’s wish list. We are working to assemble elements that you can bring to the schools that will point out how acquired STEM skills can be applied in the Navy and the real world. Those elements are expected to include videos, speakers, and even Great Lakes “A” school tours. In the meantime, please investigate whether the schools you serve have things like First Robotics Teams. If so, offer to help with the development and construction of the team’s robot. WIDE WORLD MENTORING – This is your opportunity to be a guide to others. It begins with a brief 10-15-minute presentation that lets you address HS staff and students to explain the level of character and contribution expected of American employers, including Navy. This is designed as a platform from which you can also a) bring your Navy-taught skills to a classroom and/or b) bring in nugget presentations detailing how skills developed in high school can be applied in real world jobs, especially those available in the Navy.
In addition to these four keys to help access school students, we are trying to also help youmaintain the interest of delayed entry personnel with three other initiatives: NEWS SPOTLIGHT – This is really a warmed over version of Fleet Hometown News, but it accomplishes much more. With this minor-input effort, we can help spotlight the fact that your future sailor has taken the initiative to join the Navy, and thereby enhance their commitment to their future career. SPORTS CONNECTION – As a part of our public affairs effort, NRD Nashvillehas been able to institute some relationships with sports teams in our area. Occasionally these teams offer tickets to service members for actual games. Working with them, we also have been able to identify a few ways in which we can gain entry to practice sessions and other similar events. As we can set these up, we will make those opportunities available for you to bring in delayed entry people as a part of the mix, adding another enhancement to committing to Navy. Sports resources we are working with include: Tennessee Titians, Nashville predators, Memphis Redbirds, Bristol Speedway and a few other small outlets. If you know of any sports teams that the NRD Nashville could benefit from contact the PAO to discuss. OTHER VENUES – other possibilities for boosting future sailor interest and involvement include Navy Week activities, air shows, etc.
SCHOOL NEWSEvery school has a news program – a way of alerting people about things that are going on intheir school community. Most of these are faculty-supervised, student-run newspapers,newsletters, intranet sites or blog spot. Where faculty people are involved, there is a direction tostudents for gathering news and for contributing articles of worth. In every case, there is at leastone student who is most aggressive in supporting the effort, and at least one student who lagswell behind the others, but still has a requirement to fulfill a news obligation.Either of these student categories will ultimately be our link to informing all students in theschool about Navy. But first, we have to make a positive connection with two others at eachschool – your ongoing key contact in the administration or counseling office, and the facultyadvisor responsible for the school news.Those recruiters who work with this in a positive fashion will quickly recognize thatimplementing this on a regular basis, while appearing to be an added obligation, is really just anopportunity to get in front of the right school people every few weeks in a way that impressesthem with the Navy recruiters’ skill, knowledge, professionalism, and most of all –OPPORTUNITIES FOR JOBS AND EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT FOR THE STUDENTS. Youbecome a key to the future of many of the schools’ best and brightest young people.What follows is a series of interview vignettes. They are designed to put you in the limelightwith school administrators and counselors. They present an opportunity for you to make afocused visit to the school. If two copies are delivered on each visit – one for the counselor andone for the news faculty advisor – it can multiply your points of access in each school. They eachimpart a nugget of fairly general but uncommonly known information that can help to elevateyour status as a knowledge source to your contacts. And they will remain in the office of thoseyou visit for a longer period than you do.Review the series of vignettes for yourself and determine which ones will be most appropriatefor your schools. The school year is only eight months long, so there are more than enough ofthese for you to deliver over the course of the school year. If you made it a point to deliver oneevery three weeks, you would only use ten of these in a year’s time. Over the course of twoyears, you can begin to repeat vignettes that you delivered before, and most people will regardthem as fresh information.CAUTION: All new things take time before they become acceptable and useful to others.Persistence is the key here. It could take at least a half year for some administrators to begindelivering the second copy to the school news faculty. It could take almost the entire year beforethe faculty person decides that this is a reliable enough information flow so that he/she can feelcomfortable passing it along to a student for inclusion in the school news media. Nevertheless, itis sure to produce opportunities for access within the school.