How the U.S. Air Force Improved Recruiting 3 Fold Using EQ Assessments

No organization on the planet has more recruiters working for them then the U.S. Department of Defense.  They have over 12,000 recruiters across 5,500 recruiting stations.  However, the enlisting numbers show room for improvement.

Between 1987 and 1996 the U.S. Department Of Defense sent 2.2 million recruits to basic training.  That’s after losing up to 21% of those who were enlisted to start boot camp.  From there they would go on to lose 200,000 or 9% of recruits within 90 days of starting.  Another 700,000 would go on to fail to complete their first service obligation.

It was pretty clear they could find a way to make the program more efficient and improve on the number of recruits staying active throughout their service.

This prompted the government to look more carefully at how they selected recruiters.  Thankfully, there was one branch that seemed to have found a way to get the results the government wanted.

The U.S. Air Force, Teaching the DOD How to Recruit

In order to understand why the Air Force was in any position to teach the other branches how to recruit, you had to see their numbers.

The recruiters from the other branches enlisted between 12 and 16 recruits a year.  The average in the Air Force was 32.

The Air Force had the smallest number of enlistee’s to replace, coming in around 10%.

The Air Force also happened to be the only branch with all of its recruiters serving as volunteers.

Some admit that the reason for the high numbers was because the Air Force was the branch of choice, but the Air Force Recruiting Service attributed a large part of the success to their recruiting practices.

So How Did The Air Force Recruit Differently?

It is easier to see the differences by comparing the similarities.

All military branches;

  • Used experienced field recruiters
  • Recruited from the same locations and populations
  • Had competitive goals and award systems

The secret tool the U.S. Air Force had, that none of the other branches were using were Emotional Quotient Assessments.

How the Emotional Quotient Assessment Gave Them An Edge

Last week I wrote an introduction to Emotional Intelligence and the assessments.  You might want to read that or download an Emotional Quotient sample assessment, so you can visualize what they were using.

The Air Force used an Emotional Intelligence assessment as part of their screening process for recruiters.  They were able to find that successful recruiters scored significantly higher in emotional intelligence competencies of Assertiveness, Empathy, Happiness, and Emotional Self-Awareness.

For less than the cost of putting one recruiter in the field, they were able to buy the assessment.  They went on to save $3 million annually as a result.

How Did the Government Respond?

After seeing the submission of this data from the Government Accounting Officer, the Secretary of Defense issued an order for all branches of the armed forces to adopt this procedure in recruitment and selection.

How Can You Use Emotional Intelligence In Your Workplace?

Whether you are an individual contributor or the owner of a business employing thousands, there are ways to benefit from these tools for each of you.

We have an upcoming webinar March 17th at 9:00am PDT on Emotional Intelligence: Secret Ingredient to Workplace Success.  Those who attend will receive a free Emotional Intelligence Assessment

If you run a business or team and want to learn more I suggest the following resources

  1. Visit our Emotional Intelligence hub site: Here we have a number of resources from case studies, webinars, free sample reports, and more.
  2. Download a Free Sample Emotional Intelligence Report: Look over a sample report to see if these would be a good fit for yourself or the organization
  3. Give us a call or email: If you have specific questions or want to purchase a report you can call us at 1-877-523-0212 ext 110

image courtesy of phxwebguy