What could make it easier?

Discussion in 'Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting' started by trehorn, Nov 28, 2012.

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  1. This is a general question to anyone who is involved with recruitment either as an applicant, a careers adviser or an in unit recruitment type person.

    I am personally the latter and from my point of view the system is in dire need of an overhaul with holes all over the place but I would like other peoples opinions of what is broken and how can it be fixed.

    Please keep it constructive and try not to turn it into a bitchfest.

    My point to start us off would be to make the AFCO's more accessible. Applicants are expected to attend RT tests, PJFT's, interviews and medicals during the working day. Most applicants have jobs or are in full time education which makes attending these very difficult.

    I know that many will think "if they want to join up then they'll live with it" but is that really the answer?
     
  2. Edited to add: That's a very extreme response. I don't really think anyone is suggesting 24/7 but whats wrong with opening between 11am and 7pm instead of 9am - 5pm? Even just a couple of days a week.

    Medicals are not generally undertaken at the AFCO office.
    PJFT's are not undertaken at AFCO offices.
    Interviews and RT tests could be conducted a couple of evenings per week.

    Open later, close later. Close on a Monday and open on a Saturday.

    I believe that the RN have a contract with Fitness First for the PJFT's? Tell me why an applicant has to travel from their home town (which has a fitness first) to a pre-designated one which may be 20 or 30 miles away?

    AFCO is there to serve the recruitment requirements of the RN and associated services. It's not there to be a 9 - 5 role for those who work there.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  3. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    Why not do what certain Government departments (and some Military regiments) are doing already and outsource their recruiting to agencies that are best suited for the job? For example, Capita Resourcing are already used by the Home Office (including the UKBA) to recruit applicants; the MPGS are also about to do the same, to prevent the 'bottleneck' created by Kentigern House. The projected turn around for applicants is 2-4 weeks, at 40-80 applicants per month, all using the online application facility (the only 'one-to-one' activity would be the medical and attestation).

    This method would allow AFCO personnel to conduct proactive PR/recruiting activities rather than get involved in the application process. Radical, I know, but certainly feasible.
     
  4. I like the idea - so long as it works better than the dataforce application they use at the minute. I know people who waited six months for their initial expression of interest to be forwarded to the correct body for processing!
     
  5. Does anyone know if the AFCO is set recruitment targets? I assume they are?

    If so what are those targets based on? EOI's submitted or successful recruits coming out of the other side?

    Obviously there's only so much the AFCO can do to get people through the process as there will always be natural wastage through medical, RT failures etc.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  6. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    There's plenty of ideas floating around but for anyone in employment most people will have noticed there's a shift to online applications in order to minimise AFCO visits.

    In the "ideal" world for the candidate:


    • An enquirer should be able to go online at home/anywhere & stream a short, sharp video relevant to the job they are interested in without calling into an AFCO for a presentation.

    • A candidate should be able to fill-in an online application, typing-in all the detail themselves to minimise errors and save administrative actions/postage costs. At the same time this would filter-out ineligible applicants on grounds of residency, nationality, age, qualifications, weight, tattoos, criminal record etc.
    • A candidate should then be able to arrange an AFCO appointment, indicating availability, early doors, having already had their eyes tested and completed an online medical questionnaire. In one day they could undertake a computer-based recruiting test - no errors, no manual marking, no double-checking - after which a list of available jobs would appear - together with a video description of each branch (Like the Army have done for 17 years).
    • The same day as the test, successful applicants could undergo a medical examination at the same location, followed by a PJFT in the same location and if successful, a selection interview. If passed in all respects, the online security questionnaire can be completed & submitted together with a bid for an allocated entry date (or additional courses requested - Nurses Board, Musician audition, PRMC, PDA, POC, AIB)

    The only snag is, that old chestnut - cost. We're reducing manpower by about 25% nationally in recruiting and whilst the shift to online recruiting should reduce admin & AFCO visits, it'll still be extremely labour intensive to process individuals in a single visit.

    In my AFCO, at present, initial applicants walk into a separate AFCO "shopfront" or ring the enquiries line to get initial info and then get booked onto a presentation in a different location about a mile and a half away, followed by a test a month after submitting the initial application forms by post. They then get sent a letter to undertake an eyetest, complete a formal application and medical questionnaire. Once that's returned, they attend a medical examination 20 miles North of the AFCO about a month later and if that's passed, take a PJFT 12 miles South of the AFCO within another calendar month. This is followed by a selection interview where they could realistically have had the initial visit followed-up by a presentation, test, medical, PJFT, interview and submitted a security clearance application in a single location in a couple of visits, if not a single visit (if we had the manpower available).

    It could be argued if the individual is adequately motivated they'll make themselves available, but I doubt it'll wash for many more years.
     
  7. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Yep, recruiting targets are announced nationally, determined by individual branch requirements managers who will be aware how many courses are available given their training budget to train the numbers required.

    Targets are then given to individual AFCOs by branch based on historical recruiting figures - so a "busy" AFCO will naturally get a higher target than a "quiet" AFCO with smaller throughput and less manpower to process.

    "Targets" are something Officers worry about as it makes little difference to an AFCO in the way it operates day to day, as we can only process what comes through the door - But it can affect manning within an AFCO - if you consistently underachieve then you can't justify the number employed. We don't get paid bonuses if we reach or exceed targets - contrary to popular belief. If they want more - they spend more on advertising. If numbers "tail-off" we have to go out and attend more careers conventions in schools, colleges, unis and also give more careers presentations in the region but it's a fine balance - if we're busy, we can't get out and about to raise the profile and stimulate interest. Visiting the local community may well raise the profile but the effect on recruiting could well bear fruition several years later.
     
  8. I hear what you're saying ninja. I'm a little reluctant to put too much into to automated system. Joining the armed forces, be that regular or reserve, it a big decision and I'm sure that losing some of the face to face element would be a negative thing but I agree with much of what you're saying.
     


    • Some government departments do a form of this. If you stroll along to the MI5/6 site and look under jobs. Part one of the application is done on line. If you pass part one and they are interested they will then invite you to take part in the next process.

      So maybe a chat with the HR department of them and see if it can be translated into something suitable for the armed forces!
     
  9. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    My guess, in the fullness of time, is there will be a single "HR" recruiting organisation and processing system for all government departments including Civil Service, Police, Fire Service, Navy, Army, Air Force etc., and many may well think the transition has already started with the Army.
     
  10. I'm not serving & have never been in the forces. I'm currently applying for the Navy. I've done my RT & am awaiting the AFCO to come back to me with a timeframe to get my medical done.
    I have applied to the Army previously (7 years ago) and there's things that they did differently that might be better.
    Also I worked as a recruitment consultant which may or may not be relevant... (Probably not!)


    My main bug bare about the AFCO was the hours it's open. I think even a skeleton staff on a Saturday should at least be considered. The presentation I went to which had to be on a wednesday for some reason was a DVD presentation and Q&A with one of the Careers Advisors. With the only resources needed being a room, some chairs, a tv, a dvd player and a serving member of the Navy or Marines I think it's achievable more than once a week.

    The RT I was fine with being on a weekday, but it would've been more convenient to have a weekend day to do it, but I imagine it takes 4/5 people to make the whole thing work so it would be difficult.

    Also at no point have I had a one on one chat about the roles available. The only resources I've been given are the RN website, the careers DVD they send out and some booklets on Navy Life and the Submarine Service. Personally I'm sure the role I've applied for is right for me but if I was just interested in joining the Navy but wasn't sure where I best fit then a meeting with a CA would really help.
    My CA has said he's available to talk about anything that I'd wish too so that's not a massive issue but when applying for the Army I had a one on one chat with a careers advisor about my options before I applied. Which too be honest seems more professional. This may have changed since I applied to the Army though.

    The process seems to be really bitty and drawn out as well. Each step seems to have a 3-6 week gap before I do the next bit. It's not something I personally am having much of an issue with but again with the Army after I applied they checked I was good to go then a few weeks later I was on a train to Edinburgh to do a medical, psychometric test, interview & fitness test all in a weekend.

    To be honest I think getting it all done in one weekend seems better, the PRNC could have the RT and interview done that weekend and you could eleviate the need to go to a local gym for the 1.5 mile run and see a Navy doctor while you're there. I know that things like this cost more than the £80 train ticket it cost the Army to send me up to Scotland and with the RT dictating whether you can actually join it would be difficult to justify the cost of a PRNC for a applicant before they've passed an RT so it looks like it'll be unavoidable. Maybe a computerised system might be more efficient, if you can set up something up that's not going to be easy to abuse and that an applicant could do without the need for a room to be booked and test conditions to be observed.

    Having read this back it seems like I'm complaining but I'm genuinely not, OP asks how it could be improved and from what I've seen so far I think those are the main points that could be improved. On a positive note The guys down at the AFCO are all really nice and accommodating and no question is too silly or too stupid for them to answer. From a service point of view I'm impressed but as Ninja eluded to some of the processes could be readdressed.

    On a side note outsourcing the recruitment to an agency I would avoid at all costs! I don't think anyone should be influencing someone to join the forces to make a profit. A recruitment agency/consultant gets paid by getting people into a new job, so they'd try and sell people into the forces and I don't think people should ever be sent to war because some recruiter lied (exaggerated) to them to get them to sign up so they could get paid...

    Hope that helps
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Well, having read this thread, I now feel a shred (but only a shred!) of sympathy for some of the seemingly bone questions we get asked on here.

    Although it was a while ago, when I joined up it all seemed to go by swiftly and was a piece of piss. No AFCO, but a proper RN recruiting office. Wham, bam, yer in - get a 'aircut!

    BZ to Matty for the above post IMVHO.
     
  12. Cheers Sonar Bender (I think).

    Might be a stupid question but what does BZ mean? Tried to be clever and put it into google but all I get are:

    [TABLE="class: AcrFinder"]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Business[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Busy[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Benzodiazepine (class of sedative drugs)[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Bolzano - Bozen (Trentino Alto Adige, Italy)[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Buffer Zone[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Braunschweiger Zeitung (German newspaper)[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]3-Quinuclidinyl Benzilate[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Battle Zone[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Bronx Zoo (New York)[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Bacitracin Zinc (antibiotic)[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Branch on Zero (IBM)[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Bundesamt für Zulassungen in der Telekommunikation[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Bionicle Zone[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Bleedzao (discussion forum)[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Buckled Zones[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Blutzucker (German: Blood Sugar)[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Brillouin Zone[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Belize[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Berliner Zeitung (German: Berlin Times)[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Below Zone[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Belousov-Zhabotinsky (reaction; thermodynamics)[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Below Zero[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Bravo Zulu (term for Good Job/Well Done)[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Breathing Zone[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Bronze[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Benzilic Acid[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Blizzard[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Bone Zone[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Benzene[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Bautzen (german auto license plate)[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Boyzone[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: acr, align: center"]BZ[/TD]
    [TD]Beach Zone[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]

    Any of them right?
     
  13. -------NO-------
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Oh, S'pose I'd better expand.

    BZ - Naval way of saying 'well done'.
     
  15. janner

    janner War Hero Book Reviewer

    Yes - Bravo Zulu = Well done

    That was Waspie proving that you can't trust anything that a WAFU tells you

    If you want a good read do a search for Dolphin Codes
     
    • Like Like x 2
  16. Ah, the Dolphin Codes! This could be amusing..........
     
  17. Great post Matty. You've summed up alot of what i'm trying to clear up.

    SJRM_RN, by extreme I was refering to how you were presented with an issue and immediately went to the opposite end of the scale ignoring all the middle ground in between.:pirat:
     
  18. One thing I would strongly agree with Matty would be the use of civillian organisations. The uniform is a draw (and I don't mean in a kinky way - well, not totally kinky) Speaking to someone in uniform gives people more confidence that they're speaking with someone who has the experience to know what they're talking about. Not always the case I know but it give the right impression.

    One thing I am concerned about is using people who have left the MOB to become carees advisors. Are they the best people to use? Why have they left?

    I've seen serving personnel who enjoy their job very much and pass that on to those who may follow in their footsteps. Unfortunately my experience of those who are ex-rn is quite different. Not wanting to put everyone in the same bag because I know that would be inaccurate but to many of them it's a wage. No enthusism and in some cases very negative. I know there's good and bad in every walk of life so i may be out of order with that one.
     
  19. I'm 99.9% certain that you cannot directly go into the ACLO's position. You need experience to be able to pass that on.
    I dont doubt for a moment that there are extremely passionate and capable CA's out there. There has to be but I have also seen people who are the complete opposite.
     

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