FORT KNOX, Ky. –
When it comes to recruiting, the commander of U.S. Army Recruiting Command, Maj. Gen. Kevin Vereen, said “it’s all about making the next event better than the last one.”
So, the command didn’t just go bold for its next virtual career fair campaign, it got Brazen.
More specifically, the command’s venue of choice for the campaign is Brazen, a virtual hiring event and online career fair platform. It’s also the chosen platform for well-known corporations like Spectrum, CVS, and KPMG, according to the company’s website.
Brazen emerged from a sea of choices during USAREC’s last fair campaign that ended in December. Recruiters tested various platforms during the last round of fairs and the data gathered allowed the command to measure them for effectiveness in the COVID era.
The increasingly-popular Brazen was already becoming a favorite with recruiters in 2020 because it proved to be more “user-friendly,” said Staff Sgt. Nathan Mueller, a virtual recruiting station commander assigned to USAREC’s Columbus Recruiting Battalion in Ohio.
The 2020 data also told Vereen’s headquarters team not just to get Brazen, he said, it told them to “boost” their efforts. Boosting in social-media slang means to increase exposure with increased funding. It’s a tool USAREC leadership is committed to.
“We have to be able to boost our content,” Vereen said. “Our ability to boost into the virtual realm is going to be critical for us this go-around. Our content is going to be out across the continent.”
USAREC began seriously dipping its toe into the digital pool a few years ago when it started setting up virtual recruiting stations. But it was not until pandemic conditions hit in early 2020 when the command was forced to dive deep into the online recruiting waters. What surfaced is a much better understanding of strengths, weaknesses, and the way forward.
“Recruiting has never done this really,” Vereen said. “We’re taking it to a whole new level this year.”
Finding “America’s best and brightest” for entry into the U.S. Army is something Vereen and other leaders often stress to the noncommissioned officers on the front lines of recruiting every day. An anecdote shared from USAREC’s 1st Recruiting Brigade showed Vereen how important virtual career fairs can be to accomplishing that mission.
Two friends went to a prestigious university in the Northeast as freshman, he said, and their college experience was completely disrupted by COVID. “It wasn’t what they expected,” Vereen said, so the two friends began looking for alternative plans.
An Army virtual career fair advertisement caught their attention. One of them has since enlisted and the other is giving serious consideration. “These are very intelligent kids,” Vereen said. “Now they want to give the Army a try.”
Chris Robinette was flipping through full-time jobs online when he came across an Army virtual fair. Enlisting is something the Elkins, West Virginia, native has thought about since graduating high school four years ago, he said, and the virtual fair ad resulted in him talking to a recruiter.
“I still would like be part of the service,” Robinette said. “I’m 22 years old. I’m young. I still have a lot of energy. I would like to do it before I can’t do it anymore.”
Virtual fairs and the ability to talk with a recruiter online is here to stay, Vereen said. Recruiters will “return to the street” as pandemic conditions improve, but the fairs will stay attached to their tool belts as an “additive to what they are doing on the ground.”
“I am in the business of being an enabler,” Vereen said. “All of our leaders are…We are all enabling the recruiting NCO to be successful. The virtual career fair initiative is an enabling capability that helps the recruiter to put someone that has a keen interest in the Army.”
The command’s next virtual fair campaign is scheduled to begin Feb. 4.