JOINT BASE LANGLEY – EUSTIS, Va. – The U.S. Army has accomplished a lot of ‘firsts’ in its storied history, and its most recent virtual recruiting campaign referred to as “Army National Hiring Days” is another shining example of ingenuity and adaption to overcoming modern obstacles. The obstacle this time? A pandemic that stymied traditional recruiting methods, which put the Army behind pace of reaching its end-strength goal for the year of 485,000 Soldiers.
So, within a matter of six weeks the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, in conjunction with U.S. Army Recruiting Command, developed a plan to hire 10,000 men and women during a three-day virtual event that ran June 30 – July 2. The plan was simple: recruit recruiters. All Soldiers down to the squad level would become recruiters spreading the word about the Army and how people could learn more about career opportunities. A campaign-specific web page was created in order to connect those interested in joining with recruiters who could virtually start the enlistment process immediately.
Army senior leaders were also involved; Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy and Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. James C. McConville, shared recruiting messages via social media. Retired Soldiers, former general officers, and even a few celebrities like Chef Robert Irvine lent their voices to the cause on their respective social media accounts.
“The Army has been an all-volunteer force since 1974, and we’ve never ever held one of these,” Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, commanding general, USAREC, told Breitbart News during an interview prior to the event.
Muth pointed out that with those three days, the Army had 10,000 positions that were open, and people had 150 jobs to choose from.
“In a matter of months, our team has adapted to a changing environment and pulled off an incredibly successful virtual recruiting event,” Muth added. “It was really powerful to see the impact we could make in the digital space as the entire Army came together for one singular purpose – to find the Soldiers who will lead our Army into the future.”
The nation-wide event was designed to encourage young people to explore the Army’s 150 different career fields that include cyber, artificial intelligence, healthcare, aviation, and big data analysis. Qualified applicants were able to choose their job and start dates as well as earn additional signing bonuses.
Bonuses up to $40,000, in some cases, were being offered, or up to $65,000 toward student loan repayments, but during the Army National Hiring Days a potential $2,000 extra was available to anyone who started the enlistment process.
During the three-day event approximately 316,000 people visited the goarmy.com/hiringdays website, and approximately 35,000 people expressed interest in joining the Army. The campaign digitally reached approximately 280,000,000 people worldwide.
The numbers for those interested in joining the Army National Guard reached nearly 8,400, and those interested in the Army ROTC program reached more than 2,300.
“Our Army has always been about leading social change,” said Gen. Paul E. Funk II, TRADOC commanding general, during a recent interview with the Redstone Rocket, an installation newspaper located at Redstone Arsenal Army Base, Alabama. “Our intent is to raise awareness of the diversity, and inclusion, and the ability of our Army to take citizens and turn them into Soldiers. That’s our job at TRADOC.”
The event also gave the Army the opportunity to test its virtual recruiting capabilities instead of traditional ‘brick-and-mortar’ recruiting stations and in-person recruiting events as the primary means to reach eligible applicants.
“It’s not just about a number, Funk said. “It’s showing them our Army values and that diversity is truly our strength. It’s about letting them know that once they sign on the dotted line that they know that you will take care of them.
“It’s really an exciting time to be in the Army. Don’t sit on the couch and watch history, come make it with us. The Army is hiring.”