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What Not to Say to a Military Recruiter & Other Tips?

Written by Everett Bledsoe / Fact checked by Brain Bartell

what not to say to a military recruiter

In a meeting with a military recruiter, you will spend more time speaking and asking questions than actually listening, as it is a conversation for you to learn about military prospects and whether you are a fit. However, at the same time, it is also a chance for you to leave a good impression.

So, it is essential to know what not to say to a military recruiter. Our guide below will give you detailed tips. Read on!

What You SHOULDN’T Say to a Military Recruiter

#1 – Basic Information That Can Be Easily Researched

The typical saying is there are no dumb questions. But this is not the case with military recruiter meetings. An example is, “How many service branches are there?” Basically, it is something that can be quickly answered with research.

Asking such questions tells the recruiter that you are not very initiative and interested and you would rather be handed everything on a silver spoon.

#2 – Things That Aren’t True

Lying is never a good idea. But it is especially a no-no in the military. So, make sure you do not stray from the truth when speaking with a military recruiter.

The military runs various checks on its recruits, so if you lie, they will eventually find out. Getting caught lying will be a red flag, which can affect your chances of qualifying for the force. In some cases, it can be a dealbreaker.

#3 – Unnecessary, Stereotypical Remarks

As with any other organization, the military has its share of stereotypes. Most military recruiters are sick of hearing the same assumptions over and over. Therefore, you should definitely avoid making off-hand remarks or asking questions based on stereotypes.

This also includes unnecessary jokes, such as referencing the please recruit me into the military meme. Such uncalled-for humor will likely sour the recruiter’s opinion of you rather than make them laugh and like you more.

Tips to Keep in Mind When Meeting a Military Recruiter


  • Make sure you arrive on time if you have made a specific appointment.
  • Maintain eye contact while speaking with your recruiter.
  • Ensure that you are respectful throughout the meeting.
  • Take notes of the information you are getting. You will need to refer to them again.
  • Ask for resources like brochures, pamphlets, handbooks to learn more at home.
  • Get in contact with a military recruiter and schedule the next appointment in person if you intend to see them again for follow-ups.
  • Talk to recruiters from many branches to get the most branch-specific accurate details.

What Military Recruiters Are Looking for

The military seeks candidates who satisfy the essential entrance requirements and are interested and willing to join the service.

If you are a fit and moral US citizen or permanent resident holding a green card and 17 years old or older with a high school diploma or equivalent, you are on the radar.

Aside from the minimum requirements mentioned above, an Army recruiter will expect you to have the following:

  • Mental and physical health – this is one of the most important criteria, if you can’t pass their health check, you’re likely to fail from the get-go.
  • Excellent communication skills – this is another critical trait that Marine recruiter and Navy recruiter expect in their candidates, as effective communication is key in combat zones.
  • Confidence – military work often requires making difficult decisions, so confidence and self-esteem are absolutely necessary.
  • Intellect – this can include showing the recruiter your grades. While it’s not a strict requirement to be academically accomplished to join the military, having a degree can help you leave a better impression on recruiters, especially those who need candidates with technical abilities.

What to Know Before Meeting a Military Recruiter?


Preparing what to say and what not to say is only half of the story. You should also know what to expect when talking to a military recruiter as well. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind when having a conversation with an army recruiter:

1. They will ask you questions too.

When you meet up with a military recruiter, you will be expected to ask questions. However, the recruiter will also ask you questions. So, be ready to answer!

They will most likely start with basic questions about your age, citizenship, or immigration status, as these will determine whether you are eligible for enlistment. In addition, they will probe into your educational background and health profile to see if you are fit for service.

Note: The questions might be more and more detailed and personal as you progress.

2. They will not ask you to lie.

“Recruiters tell you to lie” is a popular topic on forums like Quora and Reddit, and many people are convinced that this is common. In reality, it is not! There will be serious consequences if you lie during the recruitment process and get caught. So, even if you are one of the rare cases where recruiters tell you to stray from the truth, don’t.

3. They cannot officially blacklist you.

Similar to the civilian world, there is a chance you are blacklisted by the military. But this is not an official blacklist. When a military recruiter blacklists you, it is more of a “don’t sign this person up, they have backed out X times” note on a shared system for recruiters. But a different recruiter can still choose to go through with your recruitment after reading the note.

4. They cannot threaten you to join.

It is against military conduct for recruiters to coerce candidates into joining. So, do not give in if a recruiter is trying to intimidate you into enlisting. If the situation spirals out of hand, consider reporting the recruiter. You can do this through the Military Recruiter Abuse Hotline.

5. They cannot force you to sign obligatory documents.

There is no rule about signing documents during sit-ins with military recruiters. You are entitled to ask questions about different aspects of military life until you are ready to make your ultimate decision.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What are some military recruiter lies?

Military recruiters are not supposed to lie. But sometimes, they do bend this rule a bit to get you to join the service. For example, they might say:

  • “This does not have a signing bonus,”—So you will pick a different branch, job, or specialty.
  • “You can call it quits whenever”—So you can count on the comfort of no-strings-attached.
  • “You can sign up for X, then change it later”—So you will pick a certain job or specialty.
  • “You probably will not have to deploy”—So you will not have to worry about moving away.

What are some common things a military recruiter never told you?

  • You will not necessarily receive your signing bonus after basic training.
  • You are entitled to a bonus of $10,000 if you commit to 6 years of service.
  • You can be sent back during basic training if you screw up.

How to deal with military recruiters haggling you to enlist?

Meeting with military recruiters and asking questions to consider enlistment will not bind you to sign up for service. So, don’t feel like you have to join. If you meet a persistent military recruiter and cannot say no to him or her, you can report it as abuse. To do so:

  • Fill out the form on this page or
  • Call 202 – 483 – 5370.

What to wear when meeting a military recruiter?

You should wear casual but smart clothes. Make sure you look well put together. Do not under- or overdress. Besides your top and bottoms, think about your accessories and shoes as well. You should leave your recruiter with a good impression. To learn more about the details, please take a look at this post!

What are some questions to ask Air Force recruiter?

Talking to an Air Force recruiter should not be too different from talking to recruiters from other branches, such as a Navy SEALs recruiter. Basic questions to consider include:

  • What are the qualifications to join?
  • Will there be signing bonuses?
  • What jobs or specialties are there?
  • Do I get to pick my job or specialty?

More specific ones might be:

  • Do I have to know how to fly an aircraft?
  • What are my chances of becoming a pilot?
  • Is there funding for education? If yes, what is it like?


Now that you know what not to say to a military recruiter, you should have no problems in your first meeting. Check out our other article, “70+ Questions To Ask Military Recruiters,” to fully prepare!

If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us. Simply leave a comment below

Read more: Meeting With a Military Recruiter for the First Time –  What to Prepare?

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