It’s fresh. It’s appealing. It’s different.
The army’s recent recruitment drive, targeting young people who may be overweight, unfit or shy has been an incredible success and I believe is something that many agencies could learn from.
‘Selfie addicts and snowflakes.’
According to recent statistics, the army’s current recruitment drive is its most successful in over 10 years, and with 3 months of the recruiting year left, it has filled over 90 percent of its requirements for regular soldiers to begin basic training. With Colonel Nick Mackenzie, Head of Army Recruiting stating that in January alone, bids are up from a historic average of 5,000 to 16,000. This is despite, raising of the age of participation in education, near full employment and low levels of unemployment.
Firstly, It’s positive and fresh. It’s relevant to the people it’s targeting rather than pretending to understand young people it reaches out to the negative aspects in their lives and gives hope to a positive turn around. As always in armed forces campaigns, it tells people that they can be more, that this role is something that can truly change their lives. The appeal of redemption and opportunity is key.
This method here is particularly effective, when posting job adverts, the idea that it is a positive opportunity and that there’s a fresh start ahead. Never undersell your vacancy. Really push the benefits of the role and how this can best suit the candidates needs or wants.
Secondly, it reaches out to those not connected or unlikely to apply. This is a mistake many recruiters make.
Research has shown that only eight per cent of the army’s target audience has a friend or family member serving in the army today.
So, don’t be afraid to throw a wild card in the works. If the candidate is good in other areas but may lack the qualifications or the experience or vice versa they could shock you. Ex-Army personnel are often great and adaptable employees, and from someone with a large family connection to the army; I’d encourage agencies to take a chance on them.
By reaching out to the other side of the bubble of which you are finding people, it creates brand exposure and whilst they may not be interested in that role, they may be interested in another or, tell others about it. When you are in the business of people and solutions, everyone is a potential chance to push your brand exposure further.
Finally, it sells your company. By having an advert that focuses on the positives and what you can become, it makes people want to be a part of your business. The Army always focuses on its excellence, it compels people to want to be better, encourages them that they can and continually pushes the idea that you are more than you are. People come to them. Why wouldn’t they.
Many have chosen to mock this campaign, stating ‘why would the army want these’. As noted above, these traits can change; the army is effectively volunteer, there is no conscription; not only is coercion to the army necessary, especially in regards to those who wouldn’t usually apply. So is, portraying the view that they optimise excellence and that people can transcend themselves to be better. What better way to find those people who want that but can’t quite realise what they need to do? Reach out to them.
You can break the stereotypes. It’s more open. There’s a chance to change.
On a personal note, it’s highlighting of those who lack confidence and their ability to be able to change this through their actions, because of the army. I not only find encouraging but endearing. Just like a soldier, not everyone is born for the role, but they can change their outcome and they can be trained. Confidence is the same. Especially, in a world of increasing mental health issues, social media and an increase in competition due to population, it is important that institutions show young people there is better, that they have greatness within them and they might not be able to change their look or how they’re perceived. But they can change how they feel and how they perceive themselves.
By James Penn (Recruitment Associate)