You are bound to be nervous when meeting with a military recruiter for the first time. It is inevitable. But you can ease your worrisome feeling if you know what to expect, what to wear, and what not to say.
While we cannot teach you exactly how to talk to a military recruiter, we will give you a detailed idea of what military recruiters ask you and what questions you can ask.
Now, let’s not waste any more time skimming the surface and delve right into it!
Table of Contents
- Things to Keep in Mind When Meeting a Military Recruiter for the First Time
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Things to Keep in Mind When Meeting a Military Recruiter for the First Time
Part 1: What To Expect
Recruiters Will Expect You To Ask Questions
Asking questions during your first meeting shows recruiters you are not only interested but also serious about joining the military. This is a good impression to make.
It is also a reasonable thing to do to be informed. Any question you have about the military will be best answered by the recruiters. No blog post or Youtube video can top them!
There is no cap on what to ask and there are no “golden questions,” but if you have no clue on where to start, consider asking about the requirements, the commitment, and the benefits. These are all basic but important aspects that you should have a solid grasp of.
Here are some questions that Indeed.com recommends asking:
- What would disqualify me from being able to serve?
- Are diplomas or degrees necessary to join the military?
- What is the minimum score I need on the ASVAB?
- What’s the recruiting process like from start to finish?
- How many years do I have to sign up for?
- What are my job options within the military?
- Can I change jobs if I want?
- What are the assignments like?
- Do I get to choose where I’m assigned?
- What’s the pay like?
- Will I receive time off?
- Do I have to pay for healthcare?
Other specific areas of questions you should ask are preparation and basic training.
Examples of questions to ask are:
- What documents do I need to start the recruiting process?
- How can I prepare for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)?
- Where can I learn more?
- How long is basic training?
- Where is basic training?
- Once I sign up, how long do I have before going to basic training?
- Is it all physical training?
- How many people make it through basic training?
If you are meeting with a recruiter from a specific branch, consider:
- Questions to Ask an Army Recruiter:
- What is Army boot camp like?
- How does the Delayed Entry Program for the Army work?
- Questions to Ask a Marine Recruiter:
- What are the physical fitness requirements for Marine basic training?
- What are the job options for a Marine?
- Questions to Ask a Navy Recruiter:
- What is Navy basic training like?
- Are there any fleet week events I can attend to learn more?
- Questions to Ask an Air Force Recruiter:
- What are my chances of becoming a pilot?
- What is the funding for education like in the Air Force?
- Questions to Ask a National Guard Recruiter?
- How is serving in the National Guard different from the active duty force?
- What are my commitments if I join the National Guard?
If you are meeting up with recruiters from several branches, you will want to ask these questions to chart up information for future comparison:
- What are the qualifications to enlist?
- Are there bonuses for enlisting now?
- How soon will I leave for basic training?
- How long will basic training last?
- How many people pass basic training?
- When will I get my job assigned?
Recruiters Will Expect You to Answer Questions
To get an idea of your candidacy and provide detailed information to help you determine whether you are a fit, recruiters will ask you questions.
There is no standard list of questions as it is generally up to the recruiter. But common questions that come up in first-time meetings are to see if you qualify for service. You will probably be asked about your age, citizenship, education level, physical fitness and medical conditions, drug use history, and criminal history.
Military recruiters look for fit individuals who demonstrate diligence, courage, and selflessness. So, they might ask questions to assess whether you have these character traits.
Part 2: What To Wear
What you wear will play a role in the impression you leave on your recruiter. It is important to not be underdressed or overdressed. We recommend business casual or smart casual clothes. You should dress cleanly and comfortably while appearing well-presented.
You Must Skip:
- Torn clothes
- Too revealing clothes
(So, no ripped shorts, crop tops, droopy sleeveless tanks, etc.)
- Offensive clothes
(Essentially, clothes with offensive graphics and details)
- Flip flops
You Should Avoid:
- Neons, sequins, fluffy feathers
You Should Consider:
- Neutral tone or tones that are easy on the eyes
- A blouse, polo, or button-down shirt
- A blazer
- A long skirt or long pants
- A backpack or tote bag (For personal items)
You can find more detailed guidance in our article:
Part 3: What Not To Say
- Do not say anything disrespectful or offensive.
- Out of respect for the recruiter, do not go on a long rant about another service branch.
- Do not base your discussion around stereotypical perspectives of the military or of the specific service branch.
- Do not use too informal language like “dude,” “bruh,” or “girl.”
- Also, do not use profanity. Keep it clean and professional.
- Be punctual
- Be respectful
- Listen attentively
- Keep good eye contact
- Take copious notes
- Do not lie (They WILL find out!)
- Verify the information you have researched
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do you need an appointment to talk to a military recruiter?
Yes. Military recruiters are busy and have packed schedules. If you just drop by their office, there is a low chance you will be able to see them. It can also imply that you are not very respectful of their time.
How do I set up a meeting with a military recruiter?
For the Army, arrange an appointment by:
- Checking the Army’s website or GoArmy.com to get the contact information
- Using the live chat function to connect to a recruiter and ask questions
- Calling (800) US-ARMY (872-2769)
For the Marines, arrange an appointment by:
- Visiting the Marine Corps’ website and getting the contact information
- Filling out an online form to request more information
- Calling (800) MARINES (627-4637)
For the Navy, arrange an appointment by:
- Visiting the Navy’s website to find the contact information of a local recruiting center
- Chatting online with a recruiter
- Calling (800) US-NAVY (872-6289)
For the Air Force, arrange an appointment by:
- Going to the Air Force’s website to do a search for the nearest recruitment center and its contact information
- Chatting online with an advisor
- Filling out a form to request information
- Calling (800) 423-USAF (423-8723
For the Coast Guard, arrange an appointment by:
- Visiting the Coast Guard website to get the contact information of a local recruiter
- Calling the Coast Guard at (800) 438-USCG
What do I need to bring when meeting a military recruiter for the first time?
The military recruiter might ask to see your personal paperwork like your birth certificate, social security card, or high school diploma. So, it is good to prepare these to bring along.
As mentioned above, you should also have a list of questions ready.
What is the military looking for?
The military seeks someone who is:
- a U.S citizen or permanent resident with a green card,
- at least 17 years old,
- medically and physically fit,
- in good moral standing,
- have a high school diploma or an equivalent education qualification, and
- have passed the ASVAB
Can a military recruiter blacklist me?
If you lie, they can make a note, which other military recruiters can see. Remember: Lying is a big no-no in the military.
Can military recruiters lie?
Theoretically, they cannot. But some might try to stretch the details a bit to get you to join. Common military recruiter lies are:
- There is no signing bonus for X (They might do this to get you to commit to a different job)
- You can become a Navy SEAL if you are in the Marines (You need to be in the Navy to become a Navy SEAL)
- You can quit anytime you want (You can but there will be legal consequences. When you enlist, you sign a contract, so if you opt out of it before fulfilling your commitment, there will be some sort of legal recourse)
- You can sign up for this MOS, train, and switch later (This can happen, but it is rare and not as seamless as the recruiter suggests)
- You do not have to deploy (This is a sweet lie that we want to fall for. Unfortunately, when you sign the contract upon enlisting, you can be and will very likely be deployed)
Now, you know all the essentials to confidently head to your meeting with a military recruiter for the first time. As long as you follow what you have read thoroughly, you will not have to worry about leaving a bad impression on your military recruiter. You will also be able to make the most out of the meeting to make an informed decision about whether you should join the military and which service branch to commit to. It can be a bit nerve-wracking, but this is the necessary first step to becoming someone who serves the country.
Feel free to bookmark this article for future reference. If you are about to have your first meeting with a military recruiter, we wish you the best of luck. If you have already had your meeting and have other tips and advice to share, leave a comment. Also, help us share this with other readers looking for this guide.
Related: Army Recruiter Salary
I am Everett Bledsoe, taking on the responsibility of content producer for The Soldiers Project. My purpose in this project is to give honest reviews on the gear utilized and tested over time. Of course, you cannot go wrong when checking out our package of information and guide, too, as they come from reliable sources and years of experience.