WASHINGTON -- In October and November, nearly 15,000 Army officers searched for their next duty assignments through the Army Talent Alignment Process (ATAP).
ATAP, enabled by the software Assignment Interactive Module 2.0 (AIM 2), allows officers and units to see one another and interact in the assignment marketplace. The key to ATAP is information -- people provide organizations with more information about their knowledge, skills, behaviors, and preferences, while organizations provide people with information about available assignments. The ATAP marketplace closed at midnight on December 6. Initial feedback from the field suggests organizations that include relevant information about job vacancies and actively seek out qualified officers can hire the right officers for their teams.
The 210th Field Artillery Brigade (FAB) in Korea used this first iteration of the ATAP cycle to select officers with who professed the KSBs they were looking for and expressed a desire to come to their unit. We asked CPT Mike Listopad, 210 FAB's S1, to describe the unit's experience with ATAP:
Talk to us about the 210th Field Artillery Brigade. What makes your talent requirements unique?
Our artillery brigade operates the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System and is the only permanently forward-deployed artillery brigade in Korea. Our staff includes officers from both the US and the Republic of Korea Army. Our brigade has some unique and challenging personnel requirements because we have a high volume of annual transitions, so we had to determine who would PCS during the Summer Assignment Cycle and manage transitions.
ATAP encourages both individuals and organizations to share information about one another. Those who share more relevant information tend to have the best results in ATAP. What information did your brigade make available to prospective applicants?
We focused on advertising our unit and our mission. We generated a flier showcasing our unit and attached it to each available job listing in AIM 2. The flier showed photos of our unit, explained our mission, and let applicants know what it means to be a part of our team. The flier also contained links to our unit's Facebook and Instagram pages.
We explained some of the unique aspects of being assigned to Korea, such as the fact that we have a shorter command queue for captains and key developmental (KD) assignments queue for majors than other organizations. There are also excellent opportunities to work with partners in the Republic of Korea Army as well as travel throughout Asia.
As for the job descriptions themselves, we opted for simple listings. We assumed that job-seeking personnel know what an S-2, S-3, or executive officer does.
How did the hiring process work for your brigade?
We only had a few interested applicants when the ATAP marketplace first opened. We then began advertising the opportunities available within the 210th Field Artillery Brigade to available movers.
One of the key selling points for our brigade was the low wait times for KD assignments and command. We believe that a person who is eager and excited to be part of our organization will be more satisfied with their assignment than someone who is simply sent to our brigade based on the needs of the Army.
We made sure to reach out to applicants who expressed interest early. Much like sponsorship, this communication was an important way to show them what being a part of our organization would be like. While email was an easy way to reach out to them, more personal means of communication allowed for richer dialogue about life in our unit and helping us understand their unique personal situations. Having these conversations early in the process is crucial because it allows individuals to preference a position early. This leads to a more accurate picture of the ATAP marketplace for everyone who uses AIM 2.
Can you describe the challenges your unit encountered with ATAP?
One of the challenges we faced was that there were hundreds of applicants from over 20 different military occupational specialties to screen. That can be a heavy workload for a single person, so we delegated much of this responsibility to our subordinate battalions and special staff to help find qualified candidates.
Another unique challenge for our brigade is the balancing act among talent, interest in the organization, and timing. With the frequent transitions in Korea, every vacancy increases risk as subordinates can't provide as much continuity. As we prioritized personnel against our vacancies, it was important for us to factor in when they planned to arrive.
Our team also held frequent In-Progress Reviews (IPR) regarding ATAP. As we reviewed our assignments, we were able to discuss why we might not be reciprocating interest in an applicant, or why we would be willing to accept a gap. This allowed us to see how we were prioritizing the same candidates over multiple positions and helped us line up as many one-to-one matches as possible for our team. We didn't want to limit ourselves by aligning a candidate to multiple positions.
Marketplace activity heated up as we moved into the final week. We had to come back to the marketplace frequently to ensure we were able to identify personnel who expressed interest late in the game.
Is there anything else you'd like to add about ATAP?
As a team, we were excited to see who was interested in joining our brigade and we were pleased to see candidates choosing to preference our unit. We are looking forward to welcoming new members of the Thunder team this summer and we're also looking forward to participating in the next ATAP cycle.
Visit the Army Talent Management website to learn more about ATAP and more.
210 FAB ATAP Flier [PDF]