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What The Recruiter Can And Cannot Promise You!

As a recruiter, one of the lines I heard more often than most when trying to get a prospective applicant in for an interview was, " I'll come in tomorrow for an interview, but I won't sign anything." My response to that was always along the lines of "I wish it were that simple to enlist someone." Just as you wouldn't expect to be hired on the spot after your first job interview with a civilian company, the same is even more true with the military. You must get over many hurdles before you can qualify to wear a military uniform.

Don't Talk to a Recruiter Until You Have Read These Facts!

When you spoke to the recruiter to make an appointment for an interview, she probably asked you some preliminary questions concerning your health, your education, and any involvement with law officials. If you passed this initial inquiry, you made it over the first hurdle. When you meet the recruiter for the first time, she will probe even deeper into these areas to determine whether or not you initially qualify for enlistment. Assuming that you agree to enlist after listening to the recruiter's sales presentation, here is a list of the hurdles that you must get over in order to eventually enlist:

  • Questions regarding your medical history to ensure that you do not have (or have had) a medically disqualifying condition
  • Questions regarding any involvement with law officials, including traffic tickets and arrests as an adult or juvenile
  • Questions regarding illegal drug usage
  • The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)
  • A complete (and I do mean COMPLETE) physical examination
  • A background check

A more detailed explanation of these hurdles is presented later in this chapter. However, as you can see from this list, your are in no danger of being whisked off to Basic Training after your initial interview.

So what the recruiter can promise you after all is said and done? The answer is simply this: not much!

The Rest is Up to You!
What the recruiter can promise is that you will be treated fairly throughout the enlistment process. He can ensure that you fully understand the steps to enlistment: that he doesn't lie or misrepresent anything to you; that you are fully prepared for enlistment. The recruiter should be your advocate, not your baby-sitter. Do not expect the recruiter to hold your hand during the process. You are expected to be responsible for your own actions because you will be expected to do so when you are on active duty.

"Excerpt from the book Guide to Joining the Military, by Scott Ostrow (ARCO Press, 2001) used by permission. (Available for sale online and in book stores)"

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