Cyber-Recruiting: Instant expert
September 29, 2008
FORT KNOX, Ky. (Army News Service, Sept. 29, 2008) - Before future Soldiers can provide for the Army, the Army provides for its future Soldiers.
When U.S. Army recruiters approach possible future Soldiers they take into consideration what the future Soldier may need such as job experience, tuition pay in the form of the Montgomery G.I. Bill or the Loan Repayment Program, or even cash bonus incentives.
However, concerned and skeptical citizens may find it difficult to approach a recruiter for one reason or another, and that's where cyber-recruiting comes in.
The U.S. Army Recruiting Headquarters, at Fort Knox, Ky., houses more than 40 cyber-recruiters who work between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight to help anyone who may have questions concerning the Army and how it takes care of its Soldiers.
"The concept of cyber-recruiting originated with a chat room," said John J. Dunlosky, Customer Support Communications Center branch manager at U.S. Army Recruiting Headquarters at Fort Knox, Ky. "Internet capability interlinked the voice of the U.S. Army with the American public to give them a forum where the public can ask questions, gain information and receive a professional answer."
With the cyber-recruiting concept, the Army can offer a single answer to every question as opposed to variations of the same answer, he said.
Along with the chat rooms, cyber-recruiters can also offer one-on-one attention to possible recruits through the use of email. With this method, the future Soldier can receive immediate, credible information and a much more private discussion with a recruiter online to discuss jobs available, incentives, individual needs and other matters, Dunlosky explained.
"The representatives in our staff bring 500 years worth of Army experience to the table," he said. "If someone wants to know about aviation in the Army, I've got an ex-aviation guy sitting out there ready to answer questions, or if they want to know about infantry, ex-infantry guys are out there. Chances are we have someone who used to be in that job field out there to help out the future recruit."
Not only are future Soldiers able to access the chat room, but their families and friends are also able to log on and ask questions about their Soldiers. If an individual wishes to remain anonymous, the chat-room will respect his privacy.
"Anybody can log in under whatever name they choose to pose questions they want answered," said Dunlosky. "As long as they maintain 'chat-etiquette,' they're welcome to come in and chat with each other or with the representatives."
In September 1999, the Army decided to reach out through the internet to possible recruits in order to take advantage of a format that appeals to the current generation.
"Our first year, we only had 49,000 chat users," said George Silva, Operations Manager. "Since 9/11, cyber-recruiting has really picked up."
Cyber-recruiters have assisted in bringing in over 27,000 enlisted troops into the Army's ranks, according to the Cyber Recruiting Center, with the largest batch of future Soldiers being more than 7,900 in 2007.
"In time, recruiters began to look forward to the leads that we (cyber-recruiters) began to pick up," said Silva.
"All these employees are prior-service in the military and former recruiters," he said. "They're here to share their experiences, and they know what qualifications a future recruit must have to gain the job they want."
With the war on terrorism approaching its sixth year, recruiters continue working to add numbers to the ranks of today's fast and ready Army, and that means keeping up with today's generation and technology.
"Technology grows and society changes, so we grow and change with it," said Silva. "Everybody is fast paced."
Anyone who may have questions or may be interested in the mentorship program to help new or future Soldiers can access information at http://www.goarmy.com.
(Sgt. Carl N. Hudson serves with the 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)