MILLINGTON, Tennessee – Navy recruiters have a tough job. Historically they have been pulled in a many different directions trying to scout out talent, assess interest and eligibly of applicants and then onboard those who meet all of the qualifications. With leads coming in from all directions, it can be hard to engage those leads effectively. That’s where the E-Talent Team comes in.
E-Talent Teams are taking over for what were Leads Production Teams under the old model. These teams existed in each Navy Recruiting District (NRD), and provided administrative support pursuing the leads generated through marketing and advertising. However, this still proved to be daunting for the districts. Now, focused E-Talent Teams in each district thoroughly develop these leads, enabling recruiters to do what they do best: find qualified people in local High Schools, Colleges, and the civilian sector to join the Navy.
One of E-Talent’s main functions has shifted the role from administrative support to production, so now all of the marketing and advertising leads that come from national or local efforts go to the E-Talent teams instead of going to the field recruiters to call or engage. This shift alleviates the burden put on field recruiters, but it also serves another purpose.
“There are a lot of areas that aren’t covered directly by a local recruiter out in the field,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Aaron Wollitz, E-Talent leading petty officer for NTAG Ohio River Valley, Ohio. “They wanted to have the ability to reach the people who are in those areas without having someone physically in that area.”
An E-Talent team resides in each NRD/NTAG and ranges from four to eight recruiting personnel. Each E-Talent scout will work those leads by calling and communicating via different platforms (e.g. texting, emailing, social media) to engage prospects or applicants. E-Talent scouts will blueprint applicants to determine their interest in the Navy, their eligibility, and ultimately get them ready to meet the recruiter face-to-face. By the time they do a face-to-face interaction with a recruiter, they’ve already expressed interest in joining the Navy and have been properly vetted as a potential future Sailor. Then the recruiter can work with that applicant to start the process for enlistment.
“The good thing about having an E-Talent Division is that it allows us to have singular focus on all of the leads that are generated either nationally or locally,” said Wollitz. “Now that we have a dedicated team of people who are working on nothing but leads, the ratios and contribution to goal and everything have skyrocketed.”
Another duty of the E-Talent teams is to increase social media presence at the local level. Each individual NRD/NTAG will have a social media lead, and each E-Talent scout will be responsible for creating a social media platform to communicate with their target audiences in each of their areas of responsibility (AORs). This involves consistent posting and boosting of Navy content to create awareness. Not only do they engage the leads that they receive, but they are also responsible for increasing the number of local leads that are being generated across the Navy recruiting enterprise.
The implementation of the E-Talent Team has been wildly successful and has helped recruiters significantly, but all of this success wasn’t achieved without its challenges.
“One of the challenges definitely was the tracking of all of the leads as they came in and trying to get full dispositions on them and feed all of that information back up the chain of command for tracking purposes,” said Wollitz. “There wasn’t anything specifically in place, so I kind of created my own way of doing it. At this point now, we have 100% tracking on every person that comes into our system.”
Petty Officer 1st Class Paul Burke, E-Talent leading petty officer of NTAG Nashville, believes their success comes down to one thing.
“It comes down to delivering the highest quality experience that you can,” said Burke. “This is an experience. Talking to people in the Navy is an experience. We own this disposition. If we focus on that disposition being as high quality as it possibly can be, the numbers will play out for themselves. This isn’t archery; this is horseshoes.”