AUGUST 13, 2019 – In the modern age, a world’s worth of information is just a few clicks away, and immediate, long-distance communication has become the standard. To find potential Future Sailors in this digital frontier, Navy Recruiting Command (NRC) is using non-traditional methods of connecting with potential applicants.
In Millington, Tennessee, a group of cyberspace recruiters work around the clock, making themselves available seven days a week to communicate online with people interested in joining the U.S. Navy.
Engineman 1st Class Chad Small has spent nearly seven years of his naval career in recruiting, the last three working in the NRC Cyberspace department.
“My job is basically answering chats and getting people the information they’re looking for,” said Small. “If they’re qualified, we send them to the recruiter. From there, it’s up to the recruiter to work with them. If they join, we get credit for that contract. If the recruiters out in the field aren’t succeeding, then we’re not succeeding.”
Small said that part of his role as an online recruiter is informing people of their own eligibility to join. Known as a “lead-generation,” high-quality candidates are identified and advanced to the next step before walking into a recruiting station.
“They’re going to the recruiter knowing they meet the requirements to join, because we ask them beforehand,” said Small. “We can also let the applicant know in advance if they are ineligible and advise what they need to do to be able to join.”
Fire Control Technician 2nd Class James Surface has been working as an online recruiter for a year and a half. He said he didn’t know the position existed until he arrived in Millington.
“When I first joined, I didn’t know you could chat with a recruiter online,” said Surface. “It’s a pretty awesome tool.”
Surface echoed Small’s sentiments that online recruiting helps educate prospective Sailors without them having to physically step into a recruiter’s office.
“I think the biggest advantage is being able to know more coming into it vice going in blind and just talking to the recruiter right away,” said Surface. “When they talk to us first, we give them all the information we can.”
NRC Cyberspace exceeded last fiscal year’s number of contracts, 537 to be exact, in just nine months, and Senior Chief Navy Counselor Rebecca Rein, cyberspace’s departmental leading chief petty officer, said that she is excited about their recent success.
“Surpassing the numbers from last year is extremely significant,” said Rein. “Our focus every year is to surpass last year’s numbers and produce the highest-quality leads for the field so they’re able to work our leads and get good, qualified contracts.”
Rein’s drive to meet the goals is on par with Small’s energy to succeed.
Small said he enjoys his job so much that he volunteered to stay at NRC Cyberspace longer than originally intended.
“It’s actually very of fun,” said Small. “I was able to extend for a year, so I don’t have to leave until next December. I like it, and I feel like I’m doing well, so I’ll keep it going.”
Chief Sonar Technician (Submarine) Logan Leland, cyberspace leading chief petty officer, said that the condition of the U.S. job market has a residual effect on military recruiting.
“There are jobs in the civilian world that are readily available with good wages being paid,” said Leland. “It definitely makes it more challenging for military recruiters in the field. By working together between cyberspace and the field, we’re able to make that job easier for them, and they’re the reason our contracts go up.”
Senior Chief Navy Counselor Justin Noble, the national chief recruiter executive assistant, said that recruiting methods have evolved over time to keep up with the civilian world.
“Ten years ago, you could get a phone list and call from that phone list,” said Noble. “Now, you get a phone list, and no one is going to answer your calls. People don’t work that way anymore, so recruiting is moving in the direction of the cyber world, and they’re tapping into that by reaching those potential applicants through their own networks. We’re moving more and more toward doing everything by computer, by texting and messaging.”
Noble said that despite competition with the civilian world in a strong economy, cyberspace is still accomplishing its mission.
“They’re right on track, they did a phenomenal job, and hopefully they can keep that going,” said Noble. “The year’s not over yet, so their numbers are still going to climb.”
Target demographics for U.S. Navy recruiting increasingly exist in the digital space, so NRC is adapting to meet an ever-increasing recruiting goal. In this evolving recruiting environment, the online recruiters at NRC Cyberspace continue to succeed, and never in history has there been an easier time to learn more about serving in the U.S. Navy.
Navy Recruiting Command consists of a command headquarters, three Navy Recruiting Regions, 18 Navy Recruiting Districts and eight Navy Talent Acquisition Groups that serve more than 1,330 recruiting stations across the world. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.
For more news from Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, go to http://www.cnrc.navy.mil. Follow Navy Recruiting on Facebook (www.facebook.com/NavyRecruiting), Twitter (@USNRecruiter) and Instagram (@USNRecruiter).
Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Preston Jarrett
Navy Recruiting Command