This article by Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Lindahl was originally published by the Navy News Service
CHASKA, Minn. – Navy recruiting across the nation has already undertaken a scheduled overhaul of strategies over the past two years, but the current social distancing guidelines have pushed forward a new strategy – 100% virtual prospecting.
Prospecting is the act of identifying potential future Sailors who may have an interest in serving. In the past, prospecting was mostly done via high school visits and college/career fairs. Now, the recruiters are moving into the realm of social media and word of mouth referrals to find new applicants.
Navy Counselor 1st Class Gerald Provost, a recruiter assigned to Navy Talent Acquisition Group Northern Plains and a native of Pomeroy, Iowa, used the online realm for nearly all of his work these days.
“The precaution and safety that we are currently using is drastically different than we’re used to,” Provost said.
“We’ve switched to virtual meetings, interviews, and even training, which says a lot about both the applicants’ and our organization’s adaptability.”
Provost, who served as a Master-at-Arms for the first 13 of his 14 years in the Navy, finds that the times we are in are also motivating people to join for different reasons.
“I’ve noticed that applicants’ reason, or their ‘why’ has changed due to the pandemic,” he said. “More people are coming in and finding a call to serve to help others right now as opposed to for the benefits, which I personally think is amazing.”
The day-to-day routine for the recruiters is likely similar to what a lot of people are doing in their work-from-home scenarios.
For Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) 1st Class Alejandra Reyes, she is able to take care of her normal work duties from home and has developed her routine for social media prospecting on top of that.
“I wake up at 7:30, make breakfast while listening to a podcast about making today better than yesterday… or something motivational then I’ll start making my posts on all platforms,’ she Reyes said. “And then I’ll go lift weights and keep prospecting via social media.”
The remainder of her daily tasks are accomplished in the same manner as if she were in the office with her government issued laptop computer and portable scanners and printers that are standard issue to recruiters.
Provost is especially confident in the recruiter’s ability to get the job done.
“100%. We have everything in place to do more than just accomplish the mission. I wouldn’t trade our team, or our leadership for anyone else,” Provost said.
NTAG Northern Plains is responsible for enlisted and officer recruiting, covering 393,000 square miles, in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and parts of Illinois and Wisconsin.