Recruitment process.

Discussion in 'Royal Naval Reserve (RNR)' started by trehorn, Feb 13, 2009.

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  1. No, get back in your box and leave the important decisions to the adults!

  2. Sounds too much like common sense to ever be attempted?

    0 vote(s)
  1. Being a very active member of the unit recruitment team I'd like peoples thoughts on the recruitment process.

    I am aware of new recruits who have had to wait up to 12 months before they've actually completed the medical, fitness test, aptitude test and interview. Granted i know that some people have also prolonged this process on purpose for one reason or another.

    Surely its in our best interest to get new applicants processed as quickly as possible?

    One thought i had is a recruitment day/weekend. Potential new recruits attend a weekend and are given the full mashings all in one go. Surley this would be much quicker and quite easy to organise. I see no reason why this could not be the same for the RN applicants too?

    Obviously the security clearance will still take time but form most people i would suggest that this is a formality. You know if you've been a bad boy/girl in your lifetime.

    Has this been tried before? For some reason i have the idea that the TA do something along these lines but i may be mistaken.

    Standing by to be corrected.
  2. In principle it makes sense, although there would be a challenge running them often enough to be sensible and gaining enough potential recruits at each session to make it worthwhile.

    It's right for the RMR and TA as their training is much more structured and they train recruits as a package much more than the RNR need to.

    I guess the suitability depends on unit, some would get more value than others.

    I'd suggest that far more important is command having an interest in the mechanics of the process, and keeping a close eye on which recruits are at which stage in the process, whether there are any hold ups that need unblocking or any care issues that will avoid a potential recruit walking away from the process disillusioned by an inability to get through the door.
  3. My step daughter is hoping to join the RMP. She handed in her application this week, her time frame she has been told to join up is between 6 weeks and 6 months. No wonder potential RNR lose interest!
  4. Anothe plus to bear in mind would be attendance at HMS RALEIGH.

    I know that a few RNR RALEIGH courses have been cancelled due to insufficient numbers. If we have the recruits being processed collectively as opposed to individually then surely this would lead to more structured attendances on the basic training courses.

    The recruitment weekends could be organised regionally but planned nationally so that the whole of the RNR is working to the same program with a view to getting the successful applicants on the same basic training courses. I know that there are only 30 or so places available on each course but you will always have people who are not able to attend on a particular date.

    Run three or four of these a year and you've cracked it. It has to be better than people turning up on one's an two's as they do at the minute?
  5. I have to say though Rosie 12 months are the exeption rather than the norm. If it takes that long there's either been a problem during the process or the person is purposely trying to delay things. Medical, fitness reasons would be the most common. If they know they have a problem they may hope that things will get better or they may just be trying to prolong the inevitable.
  6. Purple_twiglet

    Purple_twiglet War Hero Moderator

    You've got some good ideas Trehorn, but ultimately we are bound to the RN Careers service for most of our recruitment now. If you can persuade them to work weekends (heaven forbid!) then we're onto something. Sadly until this happens, we probably couldnt do it. The AFCO see the RNR as very much third order business, and I've heard reports of them trying to poach RNR recruits into the RN instead - not a great way to keep peoples interest!
  7. That's not entirely fair, they do already support RMR selection weekends.

    I wouldn't disagree with that, hence the need for Command interest in the process.
  8. Again in principle this makes sense, although one issue that we do have is retention during the pre-Raleigh stage. How much of that is the frustration of getting onto a course at Raleigh I don't know.

    That said I think there would be benefits in having a cohort spread around a region, as it could also make weekend scheduling a little easier, and mitigation for personal circumstances.

    I wouldn't go that far, but it could be aligned with regionalisation.

    I think you'd need to be running at least six, to avoid a long gap between expressing interest and then attending, bearing in mind that attending is then followed by a couple of months standstill waiting for the SC to come through.

    the time consuming element remains the SC, and the target for units is now to get people through the door in three months. Bringing actual achievement down to that will be a challenge for some units, but I would suggest that in the scheme you suggest those same units would still struggle to support their new entrants.

    I think there is quite a lot of potential merit in the suggestion, but it needs worked through to sort out the implications and the potential stumbling blocks.
  9. Totally agree Karma, I'm thinking out loud with much of this so obviously improvements are there to be made in the initial suggestion.

    PT; You will notice that i suggested that the RN would beneift from these weekends too. There's no reason at all why RN recruits couldn't attend these weekends too.

    In my view it would end the months of waiting while the process goes through and would also bring the, sometimes painful outcome to an end sooner.

    At present there is a delay between the paperwork being submitted and recieving a date for the aptitude test. You're going to get this regadless. But after the test there is sometimes a wait of weeks before the interview is done, although i do believe that these can sometimes be done immediatley after the aptitude test. After a successful interview there is a wait, again sometimes of weeks, before the medical and then again another wait before the fitness test.

    The order in which the above is undertaken may be incorrect but the idea that there is sometimes a period of weeks between each stage is something that could be irradicated.

    Submit the paperwork. Get a selection date and a few weeks to prepare (if required) and then the process is pretty much completed in a single day. You're either in or out. Recruits are not left wondering for weeks if they'll fall at the next hurdle.

    Just a point, this is in no way intended as critisism of any individual or AFCO etc its just something that i feel could be improved across the board for the benefit of all concerned.
  10. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    The simple fact is that Reservist Recruiting is no different to regular service recruiting, and there is no preferential treatment afforded to either & nor should there be.

    Many reservists will often polarise their viewpoint and claim that they have a day job (as do most regular applicants), and should be given priority to minimise AFCO visits & suggest that AFCOs should be open 7 days a week with late evening opening. Inane rambling observations from unqualified individuals suggesting that: "If this were a civilian company, it would be bankrupt", hardly help the issue, nor the case in point.

    Having spent several years processing both regular & reserve applicants, it may help to understand that the increased admin burden processing Officers, RFA candidates, RNR & RMR has had to be achieved with the same manpower - not helped by the fact regular service applicants have tripled since September.

    Whilst trying to appease all sides I've attended RNR/RMR units to conduct tests during drill nights, tried conducting Recruiting Tests in the evening at an AFCO on the first thursday of each month, booked AFCO Medical Appointments & Selection Interviews on the same day & suggested qualified PTIs conduct PJFTs at reserve units, attended RMR Selection Weekends, conducted selection interviews at weekends & the list goes on.

    The problems arising are thus:

    1. Often the monthly scheduled Recruiting Tests in the reserve units or late night in the AFCO had no takers or conversely there would be only two or three attending & those attending had not submitted application forms or had basic checks & eligibility checks conducted beforehand. Normally we test up to 20 in one sitting, so it's rather time consuming conducting bespoke tests. Not once has a regular service applicant been unable to attend the test during the working day.

    2. Booking an Interview & Medical on the same day costs an inordinate waste of resources (and money) when the individual fails to attend & again gives preferential treatment to reservists over regulars.

    3. Many candidates start attending the reserve unit before they have passed selection. To date, to my knowledge, there have been convicted sex-offenders/paedophiles, criminals with unspent convictions, former service people discharged on disciplinary grounds (drugs), undischarged bankrupts, people with hospital orders, Recruiting Test failures, Selection Interview failures, individuals serving operationally without security clearance, ineligible foreign nationals, and permanently medically unsuitable candidates being lead to believe they can still attend reserve units despite the advice of the AFCO. And no, I'm not joking about any of the aforementioned.

    4. Once candidates start attending the local reserve units they think "they're in" and some instantly neglect to complete the administration aspects, in particular resolving medical issues, completing fitness tests & submitting completed security questionnaires. When the AFCO writes to remind these individuals, the applicant then often stalls in the hope we'll forget & the problem will go away. We don't - if they don't respond, invariably there is a significant reason for them not completing all aspects & we then have to reject.

    5. On average only 25% of RMR applicants who pass all aspects of selection actually complete training, so we basically end up processing 4 times the amount required to achieve the target.

    Truth is, there's no reason why reservists cannot be processed within 2 months- the same as everybody else- if they conduct the process as requested.

    Some units have sent Leading Rates/Corporals on the two week assistant careers advisers' course to enable testing within the units as & when required.
  11. I have completed all aspects of the recruitment process, and just waiting on my SC. So far it's taken about 3 months. I could have achieved this in a shorter period, but I took my time in organising my PJFT.

    Regarding what Ninja said about candidates thinking "they're in", I have to agree. Within my NE class, I would say half of them have been attending for much longer than I have, but have yet to complete the medical or PJFT. Why is this? My honest opinion, because they would fail. They're purposely delaying this aspect until they are fitter and/or lose weight. I don't see a problem with this, but if they were made to do it in one weekend...

    In the RNR brochure it does state that they will endeavour to complete some aspects on the same day, such as interview and medical. None of mine did, but I just made sure I was prompt and accurate with any paperwork.

    While there are some individuals who would quite happily turn up for a recruitment weekend, and be completely processed bar SC, there are also some that would need time to raise their fitness levels and settle any medical conditions. Being able to attend NE evenings during the recruitment process keeps them attracted and motivated. But then it could be argued that they're wasting valuable resources as they might be in a position where they're never going to pass one of the stages.
  12. I bow to your insider knowledge Ninja. You are obviously more in the know than most on this subject.

    A couple of points I would pick up on though. It hasn’t been suggested that the RNR should be any different from the RN. I think it would be in everyone’s best interest if all recruits followed the same recruitment path.

    I understand your point about RNR wanting evenings/weekends due to work commitments and like you say, this applies to RN applicants also? Most applicants will either be in education or employment making it difficult to attend during the day. I know when I applied to join the RN I had to take three days off work just to complete the application process!

    The whole intention of this debate is to stimulate discussion on how the AFCO manpower could be better employed, thus making the application process smoother and in some cases less painfull than the long drawn out process we currently have. To take a few hard earned days off work over several weeks only to fail at the final hurdle must be soul destroying to some people. Would running a selection weekend once a month or every two months really be that difficult?

    If recruits were given a selection date say 2 months in advance you’d would have the opportunity to test much more people medically, mentally and physically all in one day? If they can’t make that date then there’s another date two months later, etc etc.

    A doctor (or two?), PTI and adjudicators for one day a month as opposed several evenings/afternoons? Less excuses for missing an appointment. Even if someone is late or fails to turn up then there should be sufficient people there to test in the mean time thus reducing time wastage?

    Might I suggest that the reason the uptake to attend evenings/weekends previously was not always very good could be down to the fact that the recruits were given the option of either/or as opposed to being told this is your selection date, miss it and you have to wait another two months?

    I don’t know how many days/evenings are devoted to the medical/fitness test/aptitude test but I expect it to be quite a few.

    I would not in any way try to tell you how to do your job Ninja. These are just genuine ideas which, if they havent been looked into already, possibly should be.
    The selection weekend works for the army and Marines. Why couldn’t t work for the RN?

    Why not trial this method in a region for six months.

    I also agree with the comments about people who attend the unit putting off certain parts of the process because they are in fear of failing. Surely selection weekend would put an end to that.
  13. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    There is little doubt that there is room for improvement & whilst not trying to scotch positive suggestions, the transient elements of management seldom appreciate the wheel is simply being re-invented & the current process has evolved for good reason. The difference between the RMR & the RNR is that the RMR only have one or two intakes per year whereas the RNR want a rolling/ongoing induction programme.

    The disappointment faced by a regular applicant facing possible rejection from their intended fulltime job are probably greater than a part-time applicant facing rejection, but it does not deter regular applicants from applying.-It also measures their level of motivation. If a potential Reservist cannot attend an AFCO a couple of times, or take a simple fitness test, what's the chance of them meeting their drills, NCT & CT committment for bounty?

    The gyms contracted for the PJFT are open evenings & weekends already & still applicants have to be chased to complete it in 28 days, so there is little outward indication that providing a bespoke recruiting service unique to the RNR would improve recruiting figures.

    The AFCO staff get paid a flat rate of income, so if we work weekends or evenings we accrue TOIL, & take Time Off In Lieu during the week. We would then face the problem of keeping AFCOs open on weekdays. The odds of getting a medical officer available during a weekend once a month are at best minimal.
  14. Surely we are missing the most important part here!!

    The biggest problem the RNR has at the moment is getting the right amount of people to apply. The number of people applying to join the RNR is down and they never get near the figures they want each year. The best people to get "Joe Public" to join the RNR are current serving RNR personnel. You need to raise your profile in the publics eye and actually tell them what you do. If the number of people applying went up, then we in the careers service might have to rethink how we process the increased numbers.

    As Ninja says in his post, it doesn't seem to matter how easy we make it for the RNR candidates they always seem to miss/cancel appointments. They always seem to feel like they are being treated differently to the full time candidates, when none of this is true. A candidate coming through my door will get treated the same whatever job he/she is intending to go for. I have now worked in 3 careers office's in different areas of the country and RNR recruiting always seems to be a bit of a bug bear wherever you go.

    Yes weekend selections can work and have been tried by certain units in the past, but you need to get the number of potential RNR candidates up before it is really going to be worth while to us all.

    It is also true what Ninja says that once a candidate gets into a unit and starts to get his/her money they become very difficult to contact and do not appear to be very motivated in completing all of the selection process. Surely if you really want to do something you will move heaven and earth to get there.

    My two peneth worth


  15. FlagWagger

    FlagWagger Book Reviewer

    Few observations from a super-annuated (ex-)RNR dinosaur.

    When I joined (1984 - I told you I was a dinosaur) the RT was administered by the unit's PSI assisted by an RNR CWTR (as a CTC we only had one PSI) with groups of applicants being invited to attend the unit on Saturdays which covered all aspects of the selection process including test, interview and medical. My application commenced around April/May and I commenced New Entry training in October. My NE intake in October numbered 24: on 1st July 1985 there were 12 ratings who actually engaged.


    1: The points NS and SM both make about committment are valid - the bulk of the 12 who dropped out in my NE just couldn't be bothered to attend on a regular basis - making joining easier for these people will cost the RNR in the long run with decreased retention and wasted training costs.

    2. Why not have some of the RT devolved to the PSIs at the RNR units could be beneficial in giving prospective RNR NEs earlier involvement with their future units. From my perspective, meeting unit personnel early was good and far more relavant than the sterile AFCO in the Bull-Ring.

    3. My own belief is that what you get out of something is dependent upon how much you put into it in the first thing - as SM says, if applicants cannot be bothered to put themselves out during the recruitment process, then what is the likelihood that they'll stay the course and become useful deployable members of the RNR.
  16. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    All good points & it's rather refreshing to see an intelligent approach rather than an "us & them" stand-off from all concerned - particularly a positive contribution from those with RNR experience of recruiting from both perspectives- Recruiting & being recruited.

    The other thing is that many people often mistakenly think that permanent AFCO staff just go to the office each day & go home at 5 pm, with weekends off.

    To put things into perspective: my AFCO is one of the larger ones & has billets for 4 careers advisers- one currently gapped. We have 210 secondary schools & 12 Sea Cadet & Sea Scout units in our catchment area which we try to visit once a year at least. We attend School Careers Conventions, conduct team-building (PLT) exercises, give lessons on how to prepare for a job interview, give mock interviews, give careers presentations. We accompany/attend the Royal Marine Commando Display Team events, Royal Navy Student Presentations, Royal Marines Band Service events, helicopter visits to schools, Ship visits, Chef Displays, PTI Displays, Local shows & public events etc.

    Last night, for example, I attended a school careers convention after work until 20:00, tonight (yes, blummin' Friday!) I gave a presentation after work until 20:30 at a local Sea Scouts unit.

    When you add this to the concept of manning the AFCO at weekends in addition to the current workload, it's perhaps not surprising that many Careers Advisers get a bit miffed that the Treasury actually has the audacity to abate the service pension (from those who qualify for pension) to make sure the income of a Careers Adviser never exceeds that earned on the individuals' last day of frontline service.
  17. Supermario, i agree with you that the motivation people had when they apply can disapate somewhat when they actually get into a unit. I would disagree that its when they get the money. As i understand it it is impossible to get paid until you have a service number. You cannot get a service number until you have been security cleared and you are not security cleared until you have successfully completed the AFCO process?

    I know of people who've had to wait months AFTER being security cleared before getting paid. Some have attended RALEIGH before being paid a penny.

    Effectively, they may be attending the unit but they are doing it for free until they have a service number. In fact, it is actually costing them money to attend with their travel costs.

    Despite the above its no excuse to miss appointments. I think better co-operation/communcation between the AFCO is required. Any new entry who is deemed to be dragging their heels with the recruitment process should be told to stop attending the unit until they have compeleted the process. In many cases the RTC aren't aware that the recruit has missed appointments. I know that i would certainly take action if i was made aware of anyone swinging the lead.
  18. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    It is indeed correct that you cannot be paid without a service number & for this reason the reserves demand SC waivers to enable individuals to be paid.

    Problem is, as previously indicated there is the possibility of ineligible individuals being paid a wage before they get off their backsides & complete the admin aspects of recruitment.

    In my experience liaison with the units has always been quite good - the problem is with some, but not all, of the applicants. Spookily it's the minority element that cause the most fuss & are the most vocal as they seek to blame anyone but themselves for a protracted selection procedure.
  19. The pay issue is entirely within the unit and down to unit staff pulling the finger out and getting the information processed.

    Your latter point comes down to the command showing an interest in the process
  20. I like the recruitment process as it is.

    Pop into the local RTC, decide whether you like it or not and carry on attending to complete pre-Raleigh NE training. While I'm doing that I spend two different days at the AFCO - one for interview (about half-hour) and one for psychometric tests and medical (about an hour) and just wait for security clearance. By the time the security clearance arrived I had just completed all the pre-Raleigh NE stuff, so on to Raleigh to complete NGT.

    The only quibble I might raise is the recruitment of officers into the RNR. I don't know if its better to have DE's like the regulars or go back to the old scheme where an officer candidate would have to serve before the mast before going upper yardman; although this has probably been discussed before in another thread.

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