Online Unit Chats up Potential Recruits

In 2002, the Army's Internet recruiting operation was three recruiters in a small cubicle. Now the staff has grown to 75, working in a center that displays chat room coversations with prospective recruits on the Web site.

November 2, 2005
In addition to the 1,600 Army recruiting stations in towns and cities across the nation, former Army Recruiting Command leader Maj. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle focused on building the Army’s presence on the Web.

    When he took over the command in 2002, the Internet operation consisted of three recruiters in a small cubicle. Today, the staff has grown to more than 75 civilian contract employees. They’re housed in a $500,000 addition to command headquarters at Fort Knox, Kentucky, that includes more than 50 computer stations and four wide-screen monitors displaying chat room conversations with prospective recruits on the Web site.

    The staff conducts about 100 hours’ worth of chat room sessions per week, including more than 40 hours in Spanish.

    Rochelle, who was able to check on chat room traffic from his office computer, puts a high priority on the cyberspace recruiting station, and not just because he’s fascinated with technology. Like private-sector companies, the Army has found online recruiting to be an extremely effective and cost-efficient tool.

    In the first year of its operation in 2002, for example, the cyber station generated 14,000 leads, which led to about 1,400 enlistments. That 1-in-10 ratio is the best of any station in the Recruiting Command, says Recruiting Command spokesman S. Douglas Smith.

Workforce Management, October 24, 2005, p. 31 -- Subscribe Now!