Recruiting Red Flags

When it comes to this area, I can get too lengthy. Generally, I am not a “puppies and meadows” communicator either. I will, as a preamble state, I am a retired Navy Senior Chief with 25 years of service. Loyalty to the branch of service I voluntarily spent a significant portion of my life to, a given. This does not prevent me from being pessimistic about the recruiting work habits or misinformation that is recklessly provided though. I will challenge anyone that states otherwise since I have one of the longest resumes and histories of anyone involved in this field. As I have stated on the landing page, I worked at the Navy’s sole Boot Camp while leading the Dive Motivator Office prior to becoming a Mentor. From that job experience I gained an abundance of background in dealing with defective contracts and worked in conjunction with the RQAT office. What is RQAT? The Navy Recuiting Command Quality Asurance Team. That day to day part of my job as a Dive Motivator, unequivocally, shaped my outlook on what occurs in the recruiting fieldwork. It is a sales force. It is numbers based. It is influenced by a network of people that will never serve on a ship or deploy ever again. And it is influenced by volume.

A mission of the mentor program was to deconflict the problems created when the wrong cadre of individuals claimed ownership of the screening process. It is a constant work in progress. Are there good actors out there? Certainly. 

The upshot is this…did I on a WEEKLY(!) basis for 15 YEARS(!) need to correct misinformation/dispel mythology. You have no idea. I took the approach I was a firewall to ensure the NSW community managers had accurate PSTs, administrative facts on personal history and practiced transparency. Yep, I made people uncomfortable. Nation-wide recruiting offices are their own ecosystems. The influencers that dwell inside are not uniformly well acquainted with fact-based knowledge of the screening process, the NSW community mission, the NSW ethos, or the task specific physical training required to be prepared for a successful attempt at the NSW training pipeline. That debate is not in question from my standpoint having lived it. 

I had to deal with this situation and did so gladly. The underlying secret (that is not so secret) is that the Navy benefits from NSW candidates for a patentedly obvious reason. Attrition is high at SEAL and SWCC schoolhouses (BUD/S or BCT specifically) so most trainees will in great numbers serve in an occupation other than those in NSW. Fact! So, my fervent and genuine aspiration is this, I want the system in place used to allocate NSW contracts to be fair and square, set people up with a fact-based knowledge of what they should be ready for and allow the system to find the common person with uncommon traits in the training pipeline. Simple right? Leave it to NSW Prep and the NSWC training departments therein to determine that person with traits they seek and need for their mission. Forecasting graduation is folly and inappropriate. Recruiting Offices blur this concept all too frequently.

In keeping with the BLUF precept…the most important pro tip from me, to any aspiring NSW candidate, is this, get the contact info for the NTAG Warrior Challenge (WC) Coordinator. As a backup get the WC Lead Scout for the NTAG you are located in. When you go into a recruiting office “job locked” on becoming a SEAL or SWCC and if the staff there fail to provide this contact info on DAY ONE do this, politely say "thank you for your time," turn around, and walk out the door. Then email me. I will get you that info. Let the hatred go if you dont like that message and you work in the recruiting field. But the truth is what it is. Failure to communicate Warrior Challenge processing at the beginning from the Coordinator is why I had an official CNRC position when the program was at its the height. We creating the process at the outset since there was none. It was never a popular role but the NSW community managers relied on this process when it was a priority to invent a method to remedy attrition a Boot Camp. Budgets and more affect the program now. That is a fact too. But recruiting remains the same. It is a peculiar situation and that is the most sanitized way I can put it and be better than the situation and just fix it.

But before you go into the recruiting office you must be ready to pass the PST. I will not state this kindly. If you cannot pass the PST and consider that making a good impression I think you are having issues with reality. A PST is an evaluation tool and in some ways like a job evaluation. If you need to get in shape then get in shape. If you seek personalized attention via coaching that is great. Bite off on that and use time management to be ready to pass and be injury free when you are ready to begin the screening process in earnest. My personal axiom is this “On your worst day you should be able to pass the PST.”

If you need to get on active duty to have a livable wage/paycheck and resources like a gym or pool to attempt entry into the NSW community that is an option. Not a grim prospect, but assuredly, a more steep process than the information/state of affairs a recruiter is willing to share in its entirety. Is it feasible? Yes. But it is still a competive process, not open to all naval occupations, contingent upon deployment schedules, etc. and more. 

© Mark Negele 2021