There seem to be a lot of whinges but little constructive comment. Since my head is at least 3 feet from my brain, I'll risk putting it above the parapet.
Background - the last 40 years. The historical target market has shrunk to the point that it can no longer sustain the requirements of Reg Services let alone TA. Therefore we must find new markets, because our HISTORICAL market has changed (gone away) - a good comprehensive education that has left them comprehensively unfit. - No personal advisers or role models who have served themselves (WWII ended 60 years ago).
So what are we left with?
A few constructive ideas:
1. There is no such thing as a bad recruiting area. If recruiting is bad it means the unit is out of touch with the changed potential market, set in its ways, and has not identified the changing target market at that time. (Oh, let's do another beer mat campaign, it flopped last time but...).
2. We are an exclusive club. We have standards and an ethos far above that required for normal society. (If you don't believe me look at the MML 1956ish).
3. Empower everybody. They are far better at recruiting than the hierarchy ever could be, such ideas, commitment etc, they just have to believe they are going to be taken seriously, and recognised.
4. Collective wisdom is bollocks. It was created by the stupidest and laziest, who repeated it often enough IOT remember it, that others heard as well.
5. Belief and enthusiasm creates success. Who wants to follow someone who doesn't believe? But if all else fails then bluff! Try and get a success in beforehand though.
6. Recruiting is not a part of what we do. Recruiting is WHAT we do. The measurements by which units are judged do not reflect the real processes we must succeed in because they are not measured. There can be difficulties producing the soldiers for an OP tour. The reason is the recruiting (or lack of 4 to 1 years beforehand - everybody else is time barred, or timeless stalwarts of the re-engagement).
7. KAPE is a measurable activity. However it cannot be used to measure recruiting success. KAPE is a measurable waste of time (except in the very long term, but that is what the cental budgets of £MMM are for?).
Before this gets torn apart too badly, we now have 100% more FFR over 18 months ago, are well over establishment (even deleting non attenders and awaiting discharges).
Last point, I write (black ink handwritten etc) to personally thank my chaps for what they do - top on a course, a good idea, a performance a rank up, attending regularly despite problems. Old fashioned ('I remember when we were in the Sudan..'), BUT when was the last time anybody said thank you to you? These things matter.
I am new to this forum and will not post widely, but if anything I've said (ranted/soap boxed), strikes a chord, I am happy to PM stuff. Unless of couse the reaction isn't too dire, in which case, 'Unaccustomed as I am...'.
I think patriotism (or lack thereof) is an influencing factor. While I doubt that many recruits view patriotism as a reason for joining, it must be tucked away somewhere. It is currently unfashionable to be patriotic, hence the hijacking of the Union Flag by the BNP when everybody should be proud to fly it and defend its use.

Patriotism develops as a result of having to defend home soil. Since WWII this has been limited, with the Falklands (distant though it is) as the only invasion of British territory in recent years. Defending our(?) economic interests in foreign countries doesn't unite the populace but divides it. With a divided population, government funding (and to a large extent, interest) won't get full support.

I can't be constructive. The Armed Services must tick over as well as possible until invasion looms. Then, as in 1914 and 1939, patriotism, funding and government interest will combine to swell the ranks, before dwindling to the immediately-pre-war levels.

I'm still here after 30 years, but that is because of loyalty. Unfortunately, you develop loyalty as a result of being part of a team, it's not something you can issue to potential recruits as an incentive.
gung_hobo said:
I am new to this forum and will not post widely, but if anything I've said (ranted/soap boxed), strikes a chord, I am happy to PM stuff. Unless of couse the reaction isn't too dire, in which case, 'Unaccustomed as I am...'.
And a VERY welcome addition to the forum you are gung_hobo. Fabulous post, and I hope you do post widely if they're all going to be like that.

Any recruiting materials you have to share, I would be very grateful for them and more than happy to pass them on because I'm sure I will be echoed by a fair few others who I'm sure will follow on in this thread. Feel free to pm me if you would like my stuff in return.

A self-imposed Christmas break task for me was to work through the various recruitment threads in Just TA and pull out some of the best stuff. I'll just add them in here now, many thanks.

See the TA? The TA's magic!
An excellent and thoughtful submission but it misses one important issue . People are willing to enlist ,give up their time and serve their country if they can see the purpose in what they are doing. However they are now far more educated and well read , they have access to all the media and see that we have a government which has no interest in the population of our country, witness the latest sell out by Blair.The younger generation are not willing to be pawns used by a Government which has no experience of Military matter , ( just remind me how many of the present cabinet have actually served in the Forces?? )
Use the TA and for that matter the Regular Military for what it was intended , serving the defence and interests of this Country and recruiting will increase.
But to highlight your point OldTimer, some of our ranks are in a role of defending our soil. Take A look at the events of this last year. My unit had 100+ working on the G8, we have had the same numbers working on the Fire Fighters strikes and I'm sure that there were many other units involved with other events such as 7/7 to name but one.

Could this involvement not be used as a recruitment drive instead of the "windsurfing/skiing/abseiling" adverts that are being used at the present?
How many TA soldiers are out and about in places like Bosnia and the 'ghan/Iraq? Thousands of them. Use this and our home defence role to pull in new recruits.

We(at junior rank level) were given a briefing on our role and it was a blessing to see exactly where we stood in the "big picture". I, and others, began to appreciate the job we are expected to do when (and I mean when) the proverbial sh!t hits the fan.

I had been out the regs for 11 years and the major issue that made me join the TA was the events of 9/11. That day I knew that we as a nation were under threat from global terrorism, this is what drives a lot of new recruits to join. My suggestion is to exploit this heartfelt want to serve and protect this country.
Recruiting is cyclic, once in, you have to keep them and that, I do believe, is now a major problem. Essentially, once all the TAFS & GAPS have been done, plus the basic training, plus their trade training, you have probably got a recruit trained to TA standard, but he / she is now in the 2nd or 3rd year. You dont get them on camp for probably 3 years. Then it is class 2 time, detties / Bits / 1st Aid / CBRM etc so soldiers really only get a camp in every few years. You start to lose the cohesion in comradeship.
I know in my unit we lose them as fast as they join, which is a huge waste of time and money. Why do we lose them, is not really my area of expertise but I acknowledge the earlier in-depth observations.
I want to keep retention separate from recruiting - for simplicity and clarity. Yes there is a lot of crossover but it is aimed at a different market. Retention is/should be a separate thread.

A few thoughts:

Principles of Recruiting:

Selection and maintenance of the AIM.
Concentration of effort.
Reinforcement of success - think cerise with orange spots doctrine (My how PC I have become). Whilst this can be seen as part of the previous principle, I think it is important enough to be stated separately.
Administration - The admin staff work hard, and they have to get it right!
Truth - How to explain if it is necessary to? Truth is a variable factor (note politicians), and not always the same everywhere at all times. However there are some common basics.

The above is irrelevant without a Unifying Purpose. I chose:

'To recruit and maintain in a sustainable' (retainable and keeping them coming in the door) 'manner xxx soldiers by xxx IOT support OUR designated Reg Units on operations, to provide a trained body of disciplined soldiers for CCRF Ops, and to assist recruiting for our designated Reg Units'.

Whilst it may not be everyone's cup of tea, it gets rid of a whole load of distractions (can't call up students? So not a target - except for specific future LSNs e.g. PO or specialist yyy).

However the unifying purpose throws out TASKS rather than AIMS or MISSIONS. This I think sorts out a lot of the confusion. There are things that we can do, there are things we could do, things that we really shouldn't do and there are things we can't (no such word) do. If I had a magic wand, everybody would be patriotic (would be a bit dull though).
However, returning to reality (briefly), I believe there are 5 stages to recruiting:
1. Identification of the target market(s).
2. Capturing their info - completed AFCO Form 1 inc. tel no.
3. Reinforcing interest - the bait (give them more), hooks (relevant reasons), and the net (sales).
4. Overcoming objections - there are quite a few I think are legitimate, so we inform and correct misunderstandings, or don't as appropriate.
5. Gaining commitment - The San Grial. If I could do this perfectly I would take parades rather than attend them. However, this is the fence the Potential candidates must hurdle IOT be taken seriously.

There seems to be a lot of confusion generally. But there are some damn good ideas and truisms, thank you! To avoid confusion about the 'people in the (recruiting) system', please find the following:
Target Market - the people in general pools we want to recruit from.
Potential Candidate - Information captured AFCO Form 1 - Who cares how we got the information, but we must have a contact number (remember the 10% checks to ensure people aren't gilding). If I can't track them down they don't exist. 'Rank xxx take a moment to reflect on integrity'.
Candidate - Attended an Intake Evening (NOT an Open Day) AND came back on the next drill night/admin opportunity.
Potential Recruit - From after their first re-appearance to passing TAFS.
Recruit - From Passing TAFS to completion of RT 7.
Soldier - From passing RT 7 and parades with Pl/Det/tea outlet (note CIC/StA booked at completion of RT 5) to completion of CIC/ StA.
Trained Soldier - Passed CIC/StA, (totally incomprehensible and contradictory report eventually received - you came top and have the certificate (and photo) but are graded as an incompetent 'under close supervision in the bottom third of the course'? Won't that certificate look good in your civvie toilet?), to posted to LSN. No doubt it is all very trying for the poor lambs on a cushy posting.
FFR - Passed every ITD annually, though not really a recruiting issue.

If we can't define what and where they are, how is it possible to actually classify people and understand where we stand?

Quite long enough, Happy New Year and down with the enemy, whoever they may be (or we are told they are).

In the next thrilling episodes - What is the target market, and how is it subdivided? How do we recognise them (TI, IR, LION [now that is for perverts])? Are the 7 questions relevant (hint: think laterally), is IPB relevant (see before), could the millions spent be better spent? (you know the answer), and how to make your £2,000/£5,000 go further. If I can cleanse it of too much truth, is a 5 year plan relevant 'ref likely tenure' (so ability to blame someone else?), 'Does it really matter', 'How ORs are brilliant at recruiting!' and 'the difference between KAPE, PR and recruiting'.
Please feel free to ignore or burn if any of the above offends. I do.
gung_hobo said:
Are the 7 questions relevant (hint: think laterally),
Yes but not available to all. Training on 7Qs to TA (And Elms of Reg Army - esp those att to TA Units) can only be described as happenstance at best. Most people have now heard the name but there remains a dearth of training and an even greater dearth of understanding. (Although we must remember that they are still comparatively new and the situation is improving as is likely with time and - out of exam conditions - the old estimate tended to become a 7Qs-lite anyway)

Aiming my response at those who have been taught the 7Qs Combat Estimate:

"If" (hahahaha - imagine me trying to keep persec going) I was to use the 7Qs as a recruitment planning tool, I would split it up amongst relevant parties.

Q1 being the primary IPB element has to go to the newest intake - I have no idea what the yoof of today do when they should be in the TAC instead, but I bet my 17, 18 and 19 year old soldiers do.

Q2 needs to be the Comd Gp - If you don't carry the senior Elms of the Coy/Sqn/Bty with you, it's not going to happen - and you need to burst the negativity boil in private.

Q3 give to your best recruiters (and by best I mean the ones that turn up to recruit, not just the ones that turn up for meetings about recruitment) - Find out how they want to recruit, after all it's them that will be doing it and - no matter how clever your plan - if you send soldiers out to recruit on their own, unsupervised by an absolutely focused SNCO then they WILL default to their personal comfort zones. And if you do send them out completely gripped by an absolutely focussed SNCO chances are they will be a one-shot weapon because they won't turn up next time if they didn't enjoy it. This bit is making a virtue out of necessity and that's where we're at until we get the overall numbers back up.

Q4 pull it all together with a key representative from each Group.

Q5 CSM/SSM/BSM. Remember the TA Factor - you MUST be prepared to allocate Tps to Task based on who turns up on a Fri night/Sat morn - unless you've got crystal where I've got hairy ;) And any kit or Eqpt you need: get the PSAO onside early, he can make your life very difficult if you forget he's a key part of TA Comd (despite what RHQs may think). Note I deliberately said PSAO rather than C/S/B QMS - the permanent staff work for PSAO - if you leave him out of the loop they won't work as well as they otherwise would for you.

Q6 PSAO for processing the Recruit (it is a ludicrously lengthy, repetitive and STUPIDLY OFF-LINE process. [/mini rant]) and PSI for dove-tailing intake with training courses &/or (apologies for shouting) MAKING SURE THERE IS RELEVANT EXCITING TRAINING DURING A WAITING PERIOD - never, never, never make a recruit wait at home for months before you are ready to attest him/her otherwise on the day when you expect them to start you are liable to be there on your own.

Q7 OC. And for it to be successful he needs to set his stall out. How many new recruits, by when. These are most likely to be statistical and time-based controls. I refuse to acknowledge geographical or institutional based boundaries and so should all of you - competition is healthy in this instance - make the new recruit choose between units rather than choose between TA or not.

To be continued....

7Qs, absolutely, I'll plagiarise that. Do it a bit differently 'Vive la difference', but the effects are the same.

Personally I keep Q3 for me having consulted the key players, then conference Q4 having planned a basic potential outline with PSAO.

PSAO comments spot on. If they are not enthusiastic let alone on side little can actually happen.

Q7, Yep, though I want very clear sub-unit boundaries IOT focus everybody and prevent squabbling.

Loved the flow chart, very clear. A v useful tool.
This has NOT been fully achieved - perhaps only 50%, and loads of tweaks need to be made to what has actually happened, but as a discussion idea:


1. The recruits and the soldiers are by far the most effective recruiters. However pressure (whether real or perceived) on the former must be avoided to avoid giving the wrong impression.
2. It is believed that the move towards centralising recruiting effort should be halted and reconsidered. The centralisation restricts flexibility, ability to react to opportunity targets, ability to adapt to and overcome local conditions, and to provide an excuse for failure to achieve by those historically responsible. e.g. Pl/Tp/outstation commander - 'Only 3 bods Sir, I'm disappointed in the Regt/Bn/whatever recruiting department.'


To produce a sustainable recruiting plan over the medium term that will overcome the current shortfall in FFR, Retain them, increase the standards of those FFR AND provide a sustainable group from which to support the designated Reg Units on Ops.


Rec Offr/WO - Produce a medium term plan IOT identify what will be recruited, and how retention is planned for a. Those you have already. b. Those that will be recruited.

PSAO - Plan how to administrate the increased numbers, how to communicate with them at each stage, and how to get the bar open more frequently.


General Outline

3. A medium term plan - 5 years is a good ideal. 5 phases (not annually):
a. Phase 1 - Initial 'getting them in', Get the message out, get as many as possible in and (within the basics) don't worry too much about standards. Most will self deselect anyway. AIM - 100% of establishment (including recruits but not non-attenders/awaiting discharge). Critical Mass rather than a folorn few. Probably 18 months.
b. Phase 2 - Continue with 'getting them in' but additionally specific intiatives to recruit specialists. (The people who actually make the whole thing happen e.g. Chefs, REME, RAMC, drivers (now a free HGV II is quite a draw), AGC (do these early to help administrate the recruits - the Admin Officer does pay, let's not disturb him - he has to deal with FORGE after all - up from a few hours a month to several days), future mess barman (okay so black economy, but it needs to be done from time to time), future Arms Kote Storeman, C/S/whateverQMS's driver/assistant (helps with getting something that fits and resupply). AIM - 120% of establishment (as above) but well overborne on specialists. Probably from 12 months to 30.
c. Phase 3 - Posting RT trg NCOs (internally first) they need a break and some personal getting muddy time. Start to slow (?!?!) recruiting, but aiming at higher standards. New NCOs in the RT world see the last lot move on (WITH TIME HAVING BEEN MADE FOR CAREER COURSES, so 1 rank up) - now RT is proved to be the career route. New recruits have a better system - more TA administrators (a Coy/Sqn Clerk is a novelty, posted to RT), and instructors have the motivation to 'do better than the last lot' because they can see career progression within a timescale longer than the sub unit's bosses posting. AIM - Raising of standards, and proof of the personal bebefits to NCOs. Success - FFR numbers have doubled. RFCA = pretty good and on the cheap. The probable alternatives = expensive.
d. Phase 4 - x years have now shown the best recruiting routes - people being attracted does not equal people staying so numerous ideas have to be tried. Recruiting now focused on quality. Senior Ptes (now there is an out of date term) pushed towards PJNCO - a lot are needed, NCOs should be drawn to RT. SNCOs from the system now externally posted e.g. Bde Trg Team, other places etc. Why? It enables us to overbear, provide different routes for people who may be temporarily moving out of AOR, and enables them to come back with weird qualifications (competition in the heart of any unit is good). AIM - FFR specialists (and in this POs count) are now to establishment, standards are rising, competition now sets in even to be able to join.
e. Phase 5 - The First ones posted away start to return full of ideas, those following see it happen, and by now the soldiers are self recruiting. 'This mob are ACE' etc. AIM is quality. Success is hardly having to do recruiting. (But after a reality pill - it will still be a high necessary priority).

Exit pathetic attempt at SD.

Okay, so sounds wonderful (or not), so what? Where do we start?

Every area is different.

4. Identification of Target Markets (Please see previous posts to avoid duplication).

a. Statutory militaty stuff - age, sex (in certain fields), etc. This gives a basic target arena.
b. What is the ideal age/sex/etc? Do you really want to have to show 17 year olds how to tie shoelaces? So already we come away from 17 (Yes I do know 17.5). Do you want to deal with parents? YES, they will influence the recruit whether he is 17.4 or 18.6. Get them in. We don't do drugs, no further warnings, no second chances, NO MERCY. The parents are 'right on' from now on, in fact they LOVE us, we will be the 'nasty person' not them, and reinforces everything they have said making them look good.
c. What on earth possible relevance do we have to the 'youff of t'dy?' They cry out for leadership and to be an accepted part of a group. WE are a group, and we do leadership.
d. CV. CV. CV. Is there anybody (who has children) who does not say 'Get experience' (except the 's' word). WE do experience in spades. e.g. A soldier who is a teacher. 'Pte ... would you like a Coach driver's course?' 'No, why?' 'Your school needs people to drive the school bus' 'Oh, all right.' Make it relevant to them. And since we are talking recruiting, what about - Don't drive? Here is a Provisional licence. At return from CIC/StA - here is a driving cadre (be a little selective - it is The Queen's money after all), After a little while - what about an HGV, Minibus (NOT cab driver), Coach Driver etc, etc. The point is think what explicit benefits can we offer and target markets will open to us.

Okay, enough rambling, so: We all have 'general' areas to fill. These are NOT the 'core' areas, rather they are 'the product'. Note some points on ACF/OTC threads, if you cannot get kit etc, what is the point? Potential Reg Unit supportees sharing weapons so shooting doesn't develop beyond G+Z was fine with 'Brown Bess', but no use for supporting Reg units on Ops today.

Recruit the specialists (these need to be specific initiatives early. These people assist with admining the existing soldiers and the recruits in the system, as well as using this time to learn, so are useful when we are fully recruited.

Where do we find them and how do we keep them?

Well, firstly we go back to how on earth we are going to administrate the recruits. I refer above as to how we define them, and can therefore track them more accurately.

Step one - We are an elite organisation with values far above those expected in civilian areas. WE ARE AN ELITE CLUB. We do NOT jump when you turn up, YOU wait your turn. As a sales point it does work. So we bundle them up, avoid our management chasing after possible recruits all the time, instead of being able to do their jobs, and we hold Intake Events (NOT Open days - these are something different). So now we have decided to bundle people.

Step two - Recruit the specialists (specific initiatives). Now instead of 1 bod who turns up wanting to wash dishes or rearrange piles of blankets, with luck there are 3-6 of these vitally important chaps. They will socialise with eachother, form a group, and won't leave, unlike the poor unfortunate who turns up and spends his recruit training being 'misunderstood'. 'Don't like unstacking shells? Go and stack some kettles!' 'But that's what I wanted to do in the first place'. Note: this is a potentially valuable food handler, and one day a chef - gold dust. Does it matter that he/she couldn't tell one end of an AS90 from the other? Just because WE think it might be relevant doesn't make it so.

Step 3 - Come up with a recruiting plan (the easy bit). On the basis that all areas are different, but there are some unifying points: The people who could just walk though the door aren't going to. Some will, but few from the target market. So divide the AOR up into areas of responsibility, where possible/appropriate New Soldiers should not be tasked beyond their understanding i.e. don't make them responsible. BUT the soldiers are great at recruiting. So we now have an NCO or Senior Pte IC an area where they live. Now they are tasked to alert the Bat Cave as to when anything of local interest is happening (visit of The Queen, Celebrity, village fete), and we can now decide where and when to allocate assets, whilst remembering to ensure that the person who alerted us to the fantastic opportunity is duly photographed (think KAPE), and lauded locally to the skies (think ego and retention). Even see if there is a set of 2's that will fit him/her (think photos, showing off). Perhaps he will stay, if for no other reason than next year...

Why On Earth Would Anybody Join Us?

Good point, a very good point if they have seen the adverts. The Army chooses to use as a recruiting image a camouflaged bloke wearing cam cream. But such an image should hardly stand out, should it?

So, show a link to what they are doing. e.g. A Freshers' Fair:

1. Politics or military history - Int Cell, analytical, broad brush.
2. Sports Science - PTI. Qualifications, experience (esp if you have a gym).
3. PGCE - PO (they are being taught to train), Int, Sigs (they should have a brain).
4. Media studies/Science of surfboarding - Grunt (well they need to return to reality).
5. Engineering/pseudo engineering - REME, MT, ICE, anything you can think of.
6. Food/Social Science - CHEF. Budget plan, make do with basics, field kitchen etc.
7. Vaguely Sciency - Anything vaguely technical.
8. Unidentifed Arts - Grunt - they will enjoy the camouflage lessons.
9. Politics or Media Science - Int, Sigs.

For hooks etc see next post, but remember:

The Target Market Basics

1. Choose the desired age group. Then work out where you will find them. A good (map recce) will show the locations of Youth Centres (Yellow Pages?Council Website), ACF units (if you don't know where they are...), Scout and Guide Troops, Benefit Offices (a bit historical), Hospitals (with A&E), 'Half way houses' etc and will therefore show where the target age group lives. A talk to a local policeman or magistrate will achieve the same.
2. Office of National Statistics, and District Council Websites will give a good idea of age/ethnic/whatever breakdown of areas in AOR.
3. KAPE is a measurable waste of time. Do you read page 43 of the rfngy Argos? And, frankly is it worthwhile to be 'advertised' between an advertisement for stair lifts/garden manure and an article extolling the exciting drudgery of a hod carrier?
4. Do NOT advertise MONEY, this is a bonus.


I have not got 'it' right, nor is what is above possible without the enthusiasm of your permanent staff and your soldiers. How you do that is up to you. But it is a mostly tried model (some bits of the above are tweaks due to me 'getting it wrong'.
Identifying The Target Market

1. Define the general target market (the rules we live by).
2. Determine the optimum target market (e.g. 19 so a little more mature and probably in first or second job, to 26 so still enough time for career progression, should be relatively fit, less likely to be tied down by children, or whatever).
3, Identify the specific targets (specialists and key LSNs).
4. Determine the attributes desired for general and specific targets.
5. Identify 'good' serving personnel from each target and determine trends (job type, age, education, age on joining, motivation etc). We don't have the funding for proper market research.
6. Construct a sales matrix for each target group (using the info from 4 and 5 above). What makes them tick, what do they respond to? etc.
7. Identify where you can find each group or clusters of groups.
8. Identify how you can 'reach' each group (advertising, visits to a specific place, specific types of event, offering assistance in some way, specific charity events, engaging with Civil organisations (e.g. magistrates, Police, youth groups, interest groups [e.g. The Bucks Butterfly Watchers Club]) etc.
9. Determine how to capture each groups' imagination/attention, how to demonstrate the personal benefits to them of joining, and how to enthuse them enough to gain their commitment to progress to the next stage. Choose the pond, Hooks, Bait, Net.

The General Target Market

This is specifically defined by (not exclusively):

1. Location - ease of getting to you e.g. 3 miles might be considered the ME in London suburbs due to congestion etc, but 40(?) in deep countryside. There may be areas that are a complete pain quite close by because the roads and/or rail do not link up.
2. Age - We can engage parents (and should for all [but the oldest/experienced] recruits), but the need for consent is another admin task. Unless someone at the fringes (old or young) can show some specific benefit (e.g. previous service and qualifications, or ACF service and is keen as mustard, or a desire to go Reg and so should be nurtured), I believe we should define the ME (Main Effort) age wise more tightly.
3. The Law - e.g. Equal opportunities etc. But exemptions e.g. Teeth arms. 'isms' - are not relevant, all we want are good soldiers. Bullies - get rid as fast as possible, no mercy.
4. Health - ability to pass medical. And allied to this, Fitness - ability to pass the laid down tests.
5. Nationality - British or Commonwealth citizens (If anybody knows of any others please let me know).
6. Security - Not being a paid up member of a terrorist org or agent for an unfriendly (or other) power.
7. Personal Discipline - convictions etc., so recruiting outside a Magistrate's Court may not achieve much. Spent for many convictions - no probs. Non-disclosure - terminal.

In reality there are more, but each of the above factors reduces the possible target market, HOWEVER, given that the relatively large historical market has shrunk and we need new ones, the above throws up some possibilities e.g. Subjects of Referral Orders (minor young villains - naughty boys for the most part). Can show relevance to civic authorities (otherwise we are just another 'boring' engagement for them 'well done you' and exit). 200 years ago (and frankly far more recently than that), this was exactly our target market, and we show benefit to the community as well (a useful KAPE thread - 'I used to be bad, but since I joined the TA....').

It is accepted that the possible market is defined far more stringently for some units e.g. RAMC, REME, Int etc by being pre-qualified and/or ability to pass more stringent security checks.

Specific Target Markets

The LSNs on the Unit establishment (not just sub-unit) will show - not exhaustively:

1. RLC Chef
2. Signallers (vital)
3. AGC
4. PTI
5. Int (cell at least)
6. REME (they get everywhere)
7. Storeman/person

Some of the above will require specific qualifications/it is a lot easier and more useful if they are pre-qualified. All however are likely to have differing desired attributes from those desired generally for the unit/sub-unit. Personally I don't like chefs who are pharmacists (revenge is too easy and plausibly passed off). But if we take the example of an Inf or Tank unit, do we prefer a clerk to be a steely eyed dealer of death or a competent clerk?

By listing the perceived beneficial attributes of each specialist (include POs, future SNCOs etc), target sub-groups are identified. Some of this will be subjective, but it helps define what we are looking for, NOT what happens to walk in the door. If we know what we are looking for we can plan how to find it.

By tying this into the 'pictures' of 'good' soldiers already serving or whom we have met over the years, we can start to identify what motivates the different target groups, how to sell the concept to them and how to retain them. And remember times change and so do they (and us).


We have noted the statutory boundaries and narrowed them further e.g. by age. We have analysed attributes required by the sub-unit to produce a pen picture (including actual or desired pre-training) for each role we require to be filled.

We have looked at the existing pool of trained soldiers (and ones we remember from elsewhere), as objectively as possible to determine which are 'good' soldiers, and then analysed where they came/come from, how and why they joined AND why they stay. Inevitably this is fairly subjective.

In short we have worked out what we need, what we want, have some evidence (imperfect) for where to find some of them, and an idea of what makes them tick.


Obviously we should be able to do all of the aforementioned without any problem (GH it is leadership don't you know), but the old methods are not producing the numbers required. Today (an IPod is more interesting than we are), we have to find new markets.

We don't have the budget to make ourselves interesting, and many of our core beliefs are rubbished in (many) schools and generally (patriotism, integrity, service etc).

Budget is the core reason we cannot 'blanket' the general target market. We haven't got (thank God) a 'Do or die war'. We have to target very specifically beacuse otherwise we are left with what rocks up.

Unless (begged/threatened) the next installment will cover sales hooks - why should they join?
Yur plan will not work.

Why ??

It is too simple, too 'right', too logical. You need rethink the whole thing by wasting valuable resources, encourage your best soldiers at all ranks) to leave or become disallusioned, and put the whole thing into the lap of an officer to run in her / her unit, who has absolutely no idea how to recruit. Then they can all blame each other.

I think your Q's are almost spot-on. However, my only addition not necessarily to look for recruits, but to try and keep those you have, and those in the process of being lost to the system.

Otherwise 10 /10
For specialist posts, I really think we should be looking at the individual who is either growing bored with their current role, or is unlikely to gain higher rank.

In an Infantry Company, your Signaller/Chef/Storeman/Clerk could easily be the private soldier who isn't going to make Sergeant - no fault of their own, but it's a pyramid and we can't all get to be CSM. Or he's the private soldier who is muttering about moving on to do something else, because he's fed up with doing weekends where all he does is dig a hole and defend it.

I doubt I'd have stayed in the TA as long as I have done, if I'd not become a Clerk. I get all the jollies that go along with being in my unit, and Drill Nights are a little more interesting. In my unit, chefs get to be chefs as well as join a section for the infantry stuff. Just because you have a trade doesn't stop you from doing the Soldier First stuff, although I'm aware that many do slip into the specialist roles so that they can avoid all that!

You have to sell it though - don't force an individual to move, but show them a career path that could interest them, as well as highlighting the additional skills that come from it.
Mr_Relaxed said:
For specialist posts, I really think we should be looking at the individual who is either growing bored with their current role, or is unlikely to gain higher rank.
Wow - I'd forgotten about that one and the solution we applied produced dozens of recruits over the next few years as well as helping out our ACF Det.

Got a long-in-the-tooth Sgt approaching normal retirement age (well, constant applications for one-year extensions age if truth be told).

Or got someone whose employer is kicking off about TA or Job (or Wife but that's a much easier decision :lol: it was a joke - my wife is on ARRSE 8O)

Or got someone who - for whatever reason - wants to stay in uniform but doesn't or can't remain in Independent TA.

Enlist them to the ACF as an AI

Net result - an enthusiastic new AI in the ACF telling all the kids what a great place the TA is. ANd someone who is keen to maintain the links with old unit almost always produces the goods.

Please note though - if you just use the ACF as a dumping ground for people you have no other way of getting rid of you will have the opposite effect. Same deal with dumping your wastes of space on UOTCs and RTCs. Get your very best people out into the wider world of Reserve Service and watch the recruit intake grow in both number and quality.
How does this all fit into OAR?

Surely, once RG get their head 'round all of this, we'll all have to do it the same way? - individual perceptions and local expertise are all very well but the key points are (surely) consistency and best practice. In turn, this will need to be monitored to create trends and success/failure analysis, and thus will have to be based on a single process.

I can't help but be impressed by all the above but it's the TA - not regular - and thus the process needs to be simple, effective, and quick as I'm not sure I could find the time to do all of that suggested it me?

It's a Wingletang thang
Wingletang said:
H it's the TA - not regular - and thus the process needs to be simple, effective, and quick as I'm not sure I could find the time to do all of that suggested it me?
Perhaps GH could tell us how many people are in his recruiting team?

msr said:
Wingletang said:
H it's the TA - not regular - and thus the process needs to be simple, effective, and quick as I'm not sure I could find the time to do all of that suggested it me?
Perhaps GH could tell us how many people are in his recruiting team?

...potentially half the unit? :wink:
But potentially we're all recruiters - think it was abacus who made the point that if just one in ten people in a unit brought in a friend, we'd no longer have a manning crisis.

That's where I think the TA advertising budget should be going. Offer an incentive to recruit, and people will. Many years ago, a colleague asked what I got out of the TA. She liked the answer enough that she tried it herself.

We get KAPE benefits from the Regular Army, and feed off of their advertising. Perhaps we could have a five second slot at the end of the Regular Army advert - "If you don't want to do this full time, or you're already in a career - try the TA!"

(And another thread perhaps but how many other organisations have to go public to recruit? Don't recall British Gas or any telecoms companies running national advertising...)
MSR asked - How many in the recruiting team? None! Everybody does recruiting to spread the load and ensure recruiting is right up there in everybody's minds.

The wider plan is broken down into local areas, and we are now being told of events, we previously didn't know happened (most sub unit hierarchy live out of AOR). Junior Officers, SNCOs and JNCOs are tasked with specific events or activities. HOW they do it is up to them (with a backbrief), and attempts to make it all more fun are passed without demur, as long as verifiable AFCO 1 info is captured in sufficient quantity.

Why do they WANT to do it? Well before was poor, nobody in the same det working with their oppo, numbers tight. HUGE effort went into producing a fully manned low level Ex (invited other units etc). Everybody saw the benefits of being fully manned. Additionally a few events (nominally recruiting) were authorised to ensure everybody could see that change was happening (and to have fun).

The short answer to the question is none or everybody whichever way you want to look at it.

Sales Hooks

These are self evident - being relevant to the target markets and of personal benefit to them e.g. entries for CVs, training that is difficult or impossible to get from employers, as well as the more traditional ones excitement, fun, a sense of pride and/or purpose and cameraderie. Ops is a concept that whilst successful in terms of generating interest is sensitive in the wider arena. An acceptable way of promoting this in a widespread manner is not readily apparent.

My aim has been to provoke thought in others passionate about recruiting, and to learn from them. Some excellent ideas thank you. It is believed that a medium term plan with thought out targets (on the basis of need and likely success), and with back ups will achieve more than unstructured and/or isolated efforts. So perhaps centralization is the way ahead and if it is we have to understand why it is.

KAPE has been questioned IOT highlight immediacy. We are short NOW and there is a long lag time to produce a trained soldier. It is suggested that focusing on the aim requires KAPE to take a back seat for the present. To contradict this however it does seem to benefit some people. However as a long term tool KAPE is still required to engender general awareness of The TA in the general target market and those that influence them, and we MUST do this.

A few edits have been made to previous posts to aid clarity or to correct inaccuracies, and to ensure that the exchange of ideas is not sidetracked by any perceived negative comment about any group, organisation or other entity.

There is no intention to post on this again, either some or all of the concept may assist, or it won't. The concept has not been tested as a whole (change takes time and it has evolved), but the constituent parts have. It is a lot less complicated than it might appear since most of the work is in the preparation phase. But if there was a single answer somebody would have found it long ago.

The success rates (AFCO Form 1 to trained soldier) have been better than those associalted with cold and warmed calling, and the actual cost per TS very low (recruiting budget) though caution must be used since there are many factors, there were central campaigns, and some general factors were paid for from other budgets. The increase in recruiting was down to upping the tempo by inroducing efficiencies, targeting, making it more fun, and having a plan that showed where we were trying to get to and by when (and a way of getting there). As vital however were the ideas and work put in by all the permanent and admin staff, and the ideas and commitment of all the soldiers who did something well that they didn't join to do.

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