Virtual Recruiting was a result of marketing optimization; effectively realigning human and fiscal resources of Navy Recruiting District (NRD) San Antonio in October 2015.


In interviewing Senior Chief Navy Counselor Daniel Christmas, the NRD’s virtual division leading chief petty officer, resources such as recruiters, government vehicles, and brick and mortar facilities were redistributed to better support production and to save the government money.


In the Virtual Division, recruiters have transitioned to an e-recruiting method where they now communicate with prospects and future Sailors through email, telephone, and social media. 


“Two Sailors are assigned to the Virtual Division and are paving the way,” said Christmas, who has been in recruiting for 21 years.  “They truly understand social media and how to maximize it use for Navy Recruiting.” 


NRD has other recruiters at Navy Recruiting Station Midland which will close upon those Sailors’ permanent change of station orders.


Virtual Recruiting is new to our target market and most prospects are accustomed to talking with a recruiter at the recruiting station said Christmas.


“We are in contact with the high school counselors where some of our recruiting stations have closed and informing them about Virtual Recruiting and how a student can contact a Navy Recruiter from the comforts of their home,” said Christmas.  “That student could have their parents with them as they FaceTime with a recruiter through I-Phone, instant message through Facebook or by teleconference.”


According to Christmas, NRS Midland covered territory that was four to five hours away from the station.  Now a potential applicant does not have travel hours to talk with a recruiter nor does a recruiter have to drive for hours to physical talk with that potential applicant.


NRD has a Virtual Recruiting Facebook page: NRD San Antonio; and the virtual recruiters encourage their future Sailors to like the page in addition to those Sailors who were recruited from the NRD, thus building a virtual network in their target market. They are also asking the high school counselors to visit and like the page as well.


There are more than 60 high schools which the NRD’s Virtual Division has within its area of responsibility.


“It’s going to take some time in order for the counselors to understand what Virtual Recruiting is and how to direct a student who is interested in joining the Navy,” said Christmas.  “We are seeing some good generation from our Facebook presence.  Our recruiters have generated appointments and held interviews on Facebook, so it seems to be working.”


NRD’s first Virtual Recruiting contract was generated in March by Engineman 2nd Class Keyth Curnutt.  The future Sailor lives in a rural area approximately four hours from the NRD Headquarters.


“We were able to communicate initially through Facebook and the recruiter processed him totally through virtual means.  He was brought to the MEPS for one day of processing.  His kit was processed smoothly and he received a contract as a nuclear engineer.”


Once in the delayed entry program, the recruiters maintain contact with future Sailors through virtual means to include telephone, FaceTime, Facebook and other means for mentoring, training or Q & A.  It ranges from just simple text message to a phone call or FaceTime.


Although Christmas still favors the face-to-face recruiting method, when it comes to resource management, Virtual Recruiting hits the nail on its head.


“We are utilizing the tools we have at our disposal.  Virtual Recruiter not only benefits the recruiter but that of the prospect and future Sailor as well,” said Christmas.  “It’s all about instant communication and its pays huge dividends by saving the government a lot of time and money.”


“I really think the sky is the limit.  Virtual Recruiting and the optimization plan caters to today’s prospect who doesn’t necessarily want or need to get into a car to come see someone, they are used to communicating via text and Facebook. It seems like second nature to them.”

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Updated March 1, 2017 (kbh)