Author Topic: What happened to Recruiting Standards?  (Read 2277 times)

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Offline standingdown

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Re: What happened to Recruiting Standards?
« Reply #25 on: November 06, 2018, 23:03:06 »
From my lowly perspective having joined almost 12 years ago (and no, it wasn't "harder" back then)

I feel like the CAF as a whole has pretty much been on a downward spiral since Afghanistan wound down despite valiant efforts of many in operations such as MOBILE, IMPACT, and REASSURANCE.

The CAF and GoC had to get their collective asses together to try to minimize the casualties and get us some proper crap & training. I don't think we will see another Afghanistan in my generation's service. So, I guess the CAF at large figures it can manage with relatively low standards for entry for now.

I still remember an instructor saying "I had 9 years in before anyone tried to kill me, some of you probably have 9 months". He wasn't wrong for some in the platoon, and I just don't think that's the case today in 2018.

 :2c:

Edited to add: I don't think the standards were much higher when I joined honestly. The stakes were though.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 23:13:16 by standingdown »

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: What happened to Recruiting Standards?
« Reply #26 on: November 06, 2018, 23:16:54 »
I need to have been around in the 80's to know that the behavior of a Senior NCO is inappropriate? Interesting.

That is not what I said, and I don't like the 'put words in my mouth game'. 

* for clarity, when you say Snr NCO, that can only be a Sgt or a PO2.  Just an FYI.

Quote
I may not have been around back then, but I am around now and aware that we're currently picking up the pieces of many failures in leadership of past and present senior mbrs. So while this may not be directly related to the shortcomings the OP brings up, it is on topic for how tiresome this belief by past generations how much "better" they were is.

So, based on your logic, if 5 people in Toronto commit murder this year, everyone who lives in Toronto is likely a murderer too.  And if they lived there 'before' but not any longer, well they could very well be murders too.  Like punishing a group for one persons mistakes, I am also not a fan of the wide brush treatment towards those who 'served yesterday' because of perceptions that are out there today that aren't accurate.  ie "the CAF was full of unprofessional shitpumps before OPERATION HONOUR" or similar perceptions that are/may be out there.

News flash - some of the aspects of the CAF, how the CAF recruited and trained people WAS better before you joined.  ::).  Like all of Canadian society, like every university campus in today's society (I could list more examples...) there was some folks in the CAF who didn't perform their duties professionally and WERE a problem.  You'll find the same problem exists today at say, the TD Bank or any other large organization, because all of those organizations recruit from Canadian society, and our society isn't perfect  Not everyone who served in "yesteryear" was a drunken sexual predator who abused their subordinates  .   

Am I making excuses for those who abused their authority, let things slide that should have been dealt with?  Not at all;  I'm pointing out that not 'everyone' was a problem then, just like not everyone is a problem today or going to be a problem tomorrow.  And, because humans are humans, we will continue to have people in the CAF who don't abide by various CAF policies, orders, and regulations.  We have a few systems in place to deal with those people.

To (hopefully!) guide this back towards the intended thread topic, what are we doing today/tomorrow in our recruiting processes and procedures to weed out those people who have indicators of behaviours/beliefs that do not conform to the CAF values, ethics and regulations?  I suggest the answer is...nothing.  So, what result can we expect from doing nothing differently?  Is there actually anything that COULD be done differently?

Perhaps the standards expected very early on in the 80s (CAOS) have been ported to later in the Jnr Officers development, like during their time at CTC or something?  (an actual question, as I have no idea how the Green Machine is running things these days).  Are the things detailed in the CAOS program of the 80s still captured somewhere between CFLRS and young Jnr Officers arriving at their first posting?
+300 « Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 23:32:30 by Eye In The Sky »
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Offline kcdist

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Re: What happened to Recruiting Standards?
« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2018, 03:24:41 »
I'm not sure what partial glimpse into the collective performance of Combat Arms Officers you've had, but it certainly doesn't jive with what I've been exposed to. You're speaking as though the relative few under performers make up the majority, and it's simply untrue.

It's not a matter of fit idiot vs out of shape idiot. The majority still are fit and intelligent, the outliers are not the norm.

Sigh...... To clarify:

Based on the recent experience of my daughter/son, the recruiting process of today is inefficient and lacks many of the steps that existed 30 years ago. It appears, as a result, that the recruit that arrives for basic training is, on average, of weaker quality. Many of the glaring shortcomings/disqualifiers that might have previously excluded a candidate from enrollment are not identified during the process, as evidenced by large percentage of kids that appeared to be wholly unsuited for military service, based on my kid's experience, compared to mine. Further, it appears that, at least initially, those extremely weak individuals are not immediately released from service.

I didn't once state that the final product of a trained Combat Arms Officer isn't as good as it was a generation ago.....indeed I assume and hope that it's better. However, the challenge appears to be greater for the training system of today, as the initial feedstock entering in to the system is not vetted nearly as completely as it was back in the 80s. This is surprising to me, as I assumed recruiting standards would have been tightened and more comprehensive compared to my experience, not the opposite.

What I would like to understand, both as a former Combat Arms Officer and concerned Taxpayer, is why?

Meh parent of an officer in training...could be worse, I guess.

Offline Lumber

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Re: What happened to Recruiting Standards?
« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2018, 07:30:50 »
Sigh...... To clarify:

Based on the recent experience of my daughter/son, the recruiting process of today is inefficient and lacks many of the steps that existed 30 years ago. It appears, as a result, that the recruit that arrives for basic training is, on average, of weaker quality. Many of the glaring shortcomings/disqualifiers that might have previously excluded a candidate from enrollment are not identified during the process, as evidenced by large percentage of kids that appeared to be wholly unsuited for military service, based on my kid's experience, compared to mine. Further, it appears that, at least initially, those extremely weak individuals are not immediately released from service.

I didn't once state that the final product of a trained Combat Arms Officer isn't as good as it was a generation ago.....indeed I assume and hope that it's better. However, the challenge appears to be greater for the training system of today, as the initial feedstock entering in to the system is not vetted nearly as completely as it was back in the 80s. This is surprising to me, as I assumed recruiting standards would have been tightened and more comprehensive compared to my experience, not the opposite.

What I would like to understand, both as a former Combat Arms Officer and concerned Taxpayer, is why?

Why? Because that's all that Canadian society is giving us. If we weeded them out the way you're describing, we would have hardly any combat arms officers. We're stuck turning snowflakes into depleted uranium.
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Offline BeyondTheNow

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Re: What happened to Recruiting Standards?
« Reply #29 on: November 07, 2018, 08:18:55 »
Quote
...What I would like to understand, both as a former Combat Arms Officer and concerned Taxpayer, is why?

I’m in no way saying this to be condescending or flippant, but I’m surprised you weren’t aware of this issue before your child enrolled, either through various media outlets, former military friends expressing their thoughts about the current state of things, etc. Lack of appropriate physical fitness abilities, combined with lack of mental fortitude (in several areas, not just in being able to handle a military environment) among the ‘millennial’ generation are common discussions practically everywhere. Not just public service, but professions across the board are suffering in many ways.

CAF (as well as other public service positions) is fighting to meet the needs of personnel requirements in many trades and they’re trying to work with what they have to work with. There simply isn’t the volume needed of applicants who possess the level of fitness required (which yes, I agree, is pathetic and very troublesome. Even in my worst shape I’ve never been unable to pass the FORCE), as well as passing the aptitude, medical, etc. The why’s of why this is happening has been discussed at length many times here too. Unfortunately, it’s simply not a new concern/issue.

This all being said, I spent a significant amount of time at CFLRS and there’s no shortage of fit, healthy recruits who get through training just fine—sustaining both the physical elements and the psychological ones. But yes, there are absolutely those who, in my mind, never should’ve been allowed to pass, whether it be for performance, behaviour, etc. Re-courses happen a lot, there’s discipline and such, people do get removed/kicked out permanently, but the latter, percentage-wise, isn’t common.

I wasn’t in 15 or 20 or 30yrs ago, but I have several friends/acquaintances who were 20yrs+. They’ve all shared their stories of how they feel things were better in their days, both as staff and as a recruit. One of the main scentiments common among all of their experiences, however, is that the recruit experience was harder then, but for different reasons. There’s no more throwing kit and contents of one’s living space out windows, no more physical aggressiveness of any kind, no more name-calling, no more yelling at nose-length range, no more swearing, no more ‘punishment PT’ etc, etc. So, the tactics once readily available to swing a recruit into shape aren’t there anymore. (Which is good AND bad, depending on perspective.) Instead, there’s a high-level of passive-aggressive/mind games—but not the same type of overt mind games of prior decades—being employed at different times by some staff (the severity differs by the individual) , there’s ‘swipes’ (your child can explain this to you if they hadn’t mentioned it before) for whatever infraction that’s been committed...not that any of that has any bearing on a candidate being fit and ready to complete basic, it doesn’t. The point I’m making is that the onus doesn’t, can’t and shouldn’t fall on CAF to get qualified people through the door. Recruiters have a job to do, and their job isn’t easy from what I can tell/have been told—I’m not in Recruiting. The problem lies with what’s happening with kids before they even step foot in a recruiting centre.

I personally feel that RegF should stay like Pres and have applicants pass the FORCE before enrolment. But reality is, as said above, there’d then be even more problems with successful numbers needed than there already are. I don’t agree with constantly lowering our baseline standard to cater to the unmotivated—I really don’t. It angers me. But from what I can tell, CAFs hands are tied in many areas. Get them in the door and then try to mold them to the necessary standard (sometimes successfully, sometimes not), vice not get them in the door at all.
"Stop worrying about getting back to who you were before it all went wrong. To heal is to understand that the person you've since become is the one who's most capable of doing whatever it is you were put here to do."~SR

Offline kcdist

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Re: What happened to Recruiting Standards?
« Reply #30 on: November 07, 2018, 09:16:48 »
I’m in no way saying this to be condescending or flippant, but I’m surprised you weren’t aware of this issue before your child enrolled, either through various media outlets, former military friends expressing their thoughts about the current state of things, etc.

Thanks for taking the time for a detailed response.

No....I have to admit I was gobsmacked.

I assumed that with recent combat operations and with the formation of the Special Operations Regiment that, perhaps, there was a cultural shift towards 'elitism'. Back in the 80's/90's, I believe the military wasn't nearly at the forefront of public consciousness as it is today. Post Cold War and Pre 9/11, a desire for a career in the CF might have been harder to explain than today (the lifelong urge to clean snow in Toronto streets?!?).

Couple that with the frequent articles about suicides both among recent veterans and at RMC, then my logical assumption was that the recruiting system would be focused on vetting for higher quality candidates than ever before, both physically and mentally.

The occasional article by Christie Blatchford led me to believe how hard and time consuming it was to get through the system.....logically pointing to incredibly high standards. Especially with high unemployment in the oilpatch, I assumed they were beating back potential candidates with broomsticks.

Oh well...... So long as the Phase Training (or whatever it's called today) is as hardcore and competent as it was it the past....

It is, right?


Meh parent of an officer in training...could be worse, I guess.

Offline ACE_Engineer

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Re: What happened to Recruiting Standards?
« Reply #31 on: November 07, 2018, 09:45:32 »
Based on the recent experience of my daughter/son, the recruiting process of today is inefficient and lacks many of the steps that existed 30 years ago. It appears, as a result, that the recruit that arrives for basic training is, on average, of weaker quality. Many of the glaring shortcomings/disqualifiers that might have previously excluded a candidate from enrollment are not identified during the process, as evidenced by large percentage of kids that appeared to be wholly unsuited for military service, based on my kid's experience, compared to mine. Further, it appears that, at least initially, those extremely weak individuals are not immediately released from service.

Quote
Lack of appropriate physical fitness abilities, combined with lack of mental fortitude (in several areas, not just in being able to handle a military environment) among the ‘millennial’ generation are common discussions practically everywhere. Not just public service, but professions across the board are suffering in many ways.

Quote
The problem lies with what’s happening with kids before they even step foot in a recruiting centre.

I'm getting notes of:
- "Back in my day" we had it much harder
- Things were better "back in my day"
- These damn millenials have it too easy
- These damn millenial are whiney entitled cry babies (except my kid, of course)
- Get off my lawn you damn millenials!

What did I miss...
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Offline BeyondTheNow

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Re: What happened to Recruiting Standards?
« Reply #32 on: November 07, 2018, 11:25:21 »
I'm getting notes of:
- "Back in my day" we had it much harder
- Things were better "back in my day"
- These damn millenials have it too easy
- These damn millenial are whiney entitled cry babies (except my kid, of course)
- Get off my lawn you damn millenials!

What did I miss...

Nope. That's what you're singularly pulling from the totality of this thread.

That being said, there's anecdotal proof across many disciplines and from several professional sources in the sociology and psychology fields addressing the fact that millennials are consistently experiencing detrimental levels of anxiety and depression like never before, on average (as compared to the levels pre mid-to-late-80s) their physical capabilities are weak and their coping mechanisms are under-developed.  Are these concerns meant to apply to every single person born after 1980-whatever? No. Of course not. But just like other generations, where stereotypical behaviours have been applied, the 'millennial' generation is no different. Theirs, however, is a particular set of circumstances never before seen or documented to the extent it is now. (AND, for the record, before anyone thinks the millennials just get dumped on unjustly and everything's made out to be their fault, the same professionals have also stated that it's the responsibility of how they've been raised. So really, while it's important for them to be aware of how they need to improve, there's responsibility to be had on the prior generation in trying to bring the pendulum back to where it should be. But that's another discussion...)
"Stop worrying about getting back to who you were before it all went wrong. To heal is to understand that the person you've since become is the one who's most capable of doing whatever it is you were put here to do."~SR

Offline Lumber

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Re: What happened to Recruiting Standards?
« Reply #33 on: November 07, 2018, 11:56:44 »
Nope. That's what you're singularly pulling from the totality of this thread.

That being said, there's anecdotal proof across many disciplines and from several professional sources in the sociology and psychology fields addressing the fact that millennials are consistently experiencing detrimental levels of anxiety and depression like never before, on average (as compared to the levels pre mid-to-late-80s) their physical capabilities are weak and their coping mechanisms are under-developed.

Hard times make hard men.
Hard men make good times.
Good times make weak men.
Weak men make hard times.
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Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: What happened to Recruiting Standards?
« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2018, 13:25:58 »
In the 80's & 90's being gay was illegal (with pers tormented) in the CAF and sexual assault seemed to be a big joke and cases brushed under the rug/ victims harassed out of the CAF.

So the 80s weren't all that super.

That said I largely agree with the premise of the OP. Recruiting standards suck.

We're getting physically (and perhaps mentally) weaker recruits who have all sorts of problems. Why? Because it's a reflection of society (as some said). Can't disconnect from the internet and have grown up being told (read lied to) that they can do anything if they just stay positive and really want it. When they fail or things don't go their way they want to run away or quit. Teachers often can't even fail kids, it's ridiculous.

We need to lower standards (and expectations) otherwise we wouldn't be able to sustain ourselves so that's why.

On that note kids these days are a lot smarter and not as apt to be treated like crap and just accept it.  The CAF can be a super shitty employer ripe with favoritism, harassment  and toxic leaders and kids being smarter and more perceptive then ever can recognize that. Why would they want to work in that environment? So that hurts our numbers too.

There are some amazing recruits out there, probably lots. Troops and officer cadets.
There's lots that collectively bring us down too, but without them we'd be worse off, sad as that is to say.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2018, 22:18:08 by Jarnhamar »
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Offline Remius

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Re: What happened to Recruiting Standards?
« Reply #35 on: November 07, 2018, 14:02:10 »

We need to lower standards (and expectations) otherwise we wouldn't be able to sustain ourselves so that's why.


Agreed.

Recruiting should not be where the standard is.  We should recruit and then train them to get to where we want them at.  Not expect them to be there already.  it's much easier to find a doctor and get him up to speed than it is to find a 17 year old fit as hell troop and make him/her into a doctor.  We can do that but it takes way more time than we can afford.
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Offline dapaterson

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Re: What happened to Recruiting Standards?
« Reply #36 on: November 07, 2018, 22:02:29 »
You're confusing recruiting and selection.
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Offline Eaglelord17

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Re: What happened to Recruiting Standards?
« Reply #37 on: November 08, 2018, 06:03:05 »
A couple points, first off the earlier recruiting standards failed in many cases to weed out some terrible excuses for human beings. I will give the easy example of the embarrassment that was the Airborne Regiment in the 90s and how far they strayed from the CAFs values and ethics. This was under the tougher standards, so clearly they didn't have that much of a effect.

Secondly, you have to recruit from the population that is out there. Right now the population (in general not just Millenials) is out of shape, entitled, and addicted to technology. The CAF has to do what it has always been expected to do and mold the population into what it needs to perform its duties. Its just more difficult now as before as the gap between what the CAF needs and what it is given to work with is wider. There is however benefits, such as many people possessing much more education than they did in the past, or the capability to adapt to technology much easier than previous generations. As a military it needs to adapt and overcome, as this is the new reality for it, and is unlikely to change. This is also not unique to Canada, many Western nations are having a tough time recruiting as well so that is always a consideration.

+150

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: What happened to Recruiting Standards?
« Reply #38 on: November 08, 2018, 07:47:21 »
I'm getting notes of:
- "Back in my day" we had it much harder
- Things were better "back in my day"
- These damn millenials have it too easy
- These damn millenial are whiney entitled cry babies (except my kid, of course)
- Get off my lawn you damn millenials!

What did I miss...

I think you missed considering the fact that (according to a recent post of yours), you're currently applying to the Reserves and don't actually have a schmick how things ARE let alone how things WERE.    :not-again:

Some of the points being raised are valid and worthy of further consideration;  I was an Instructor at CFLRS in early 2007 when the first OCdt showed up and failed the initial PT test, which was a watered down version of the EXPRES test (very easy IMO).  He/she was significantly out of shape and would not have passed a PT test during the recruiting process, had it not of been removed.  In this specific example I personally witnessed, that individual should not have made it thru the Green Doors at the Mega in such a state.  I'm of opinion that if you want to be an Officer, you put some effort into it including before you show up for training.  In this case, this individual clearly did not.

Times have changed, but not always for the better.

« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 08:06:28 by Eye In The Sky »
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Offline kcdist

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Re: What happened to Recruiting Standards?
« Reply #39 on: November 08, 2018, 09:28:04 »
A couple points, first off the earlier recruiting standards failed in many cases to weed out some terrible excuses for human beings. I will give the easy example of the embarrassment that was the Airborne Regiment in the 90s and how far they strayed from the CAFs values and ethics. This was under the tougher standards, so clearly they didn't have that much of a effect.

A couple of points in response to your couple of points.

There will never be a perfect, flawless recruiting process. Look at the news today about a prominent former cabinet minister. Think he wasn't vetted numerous times over his career? The typical large city Police Services have much more comprehensive processes compared to the CF, and yet they still hire the odd sociopath. The legal profession? The medical profession? All have had their share of terrible excuses for human beings. Heck, even the NASA astronaut program has had its share of scandals, and I couldn't imagine a more rigorous selection process on the planet. 

My point is the response to recruiting failures in the past shouldn't be to remove all standards and obstacles towards enrollment today, if that was indeed the reason. The recruiting process should exist to identify those that possess the characteristics and attributes that will most likely lead to success. It appears right now that the only characteristic that are focused on, at least for the Officer track, is academics. As we all know, being book smart alone does not make a quality officer.

In specific regards to the ROTP selection process, is there a single Junior Executive recruitment process in the civilian world that doesn't require character references? Back in the 80's, I had to provide three non-family references. Meaning, I had to have made a positive enough impact on three people in my life that they would take the time to write a letter on my behalf, vouching for my good character and, in some cases, leadership potential. Why does this requirement no longer exist? It couldn't be cost savings, as the only investment by the CF would be the few minutes required to read each letter. However, if a weak, introverted, ultimately unsuitable candidate was unable to procure such references, it might save the CF thousands in wasted time and effort by closing the file before enrollment rather than enroll and ultimately fail.

Other examples exist of Then vs. Now, such as an extensive interview. Now, a stressful three-on-one interview wouldn't catch all those that aren't overall suitable, but it might catch a few. And.....what's cheaper? A three person, hour long interview, or hiring, transporting, outfitting, paying and starting to train a candidate that has zero abilities and potential, other than being really book smart?

Virtually all aspirational institutions that I can think of have minimum standards to ensure applicants possess the basic qualities or building blocks that can be trained and formed into the final product. Why doesn't the CF? If my goal is to lead soldiers in the field, shouldn't the CF, prior to committing finite resources to my hiring and education, first make sure, for example, that I have the ability to organize a small 3 person work party in a small unit task without breaking down into tears.

Read the headlines. RMC has had numerous issues with the mental health of its students. Our country expects these kids to potentially lead its soldier on the battlefield, and yet, an (apparently) significant percentage are having mental issues whilst attending school? Perhaps physiological screening before they joined might save the taxpayer from investing tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars on someone that was wholly unsuited for the position they were applying for.

As far as physical testing, there's a big difference between hiring someone who's not in the best of shape, but could get better with a few months of effort, and hiring someone who could star in the reality show "My 350 Pound Life - RMC edition". Spare the taxpayer and don't hire the real big kids until they have shown effort and commitment to lose weight and get in some semblance of shape. Without exaggeration, the CF is hiring Officer recruits that cannot complete ONE SINGLE PUSHUP!. Their lack of commitment towards a basic tenet of the CF should have been immediate grounds for exclusion of their file from further consideration.

I could go on with other examples, but hopefully you get the point.

One final thought. Is the publicized difficulty towards meeting diversity goals, especially the massive requirement for women, a factor in the reduced steps/vetting/obstacles compared to previous generations? Does the CF get political points for simply hiring as opposed to producing the trained, final product?

One thing I do know. Based on my first hand observations, (and in the absence of any mitigating information I'm unaware of) if the folks in charge of CF recruiting worked for my company, they'd be looking for a new job. ......

Meh parent of an officer in training...could be worse, I guess.