To avoid dragging the language thread further off topic, what’s everybody’s views of the RAF Recruitment teams?

I think it’s fair we give them a range of reviews on here…

Recruitment is akin to sales - you sell the idea and the benefits, not the product.

That said, I’ve generally had positive interactions with recruiters from all over the country - be it personally, for Op X, RAFMOT teamwork sessions, and others.

I’ve found them honest about requirements and open about the limitations of their knowledge and experience. Sure they show passion for the RAF and push the lifestyle, but I haven’t seen much reason to consider them “dumped”, dishonest, or “not doing their job properly”.


To put my thoughts on the AFCO teams simply:

Booked them on 5 seperate occasions to come for a presentation etc… never turned up.


Possibly - but if they have targets to make - RAF needs XX techies, YY Regt, & ZZ ATC Admin (whatever), then the sales pitch might be slightly biased?


Nah, I reckon the main pitch is the RAF. However, I’ll admit that they might look to steer people a certain direction. On the other hand, you can’t steer someone towards a closed trade or one they aren’t suitable for.

It’s going to depend if someone walks in wanting to join the RAF, or wanting to join the RAF in a certain role which they have researched. Personally, I’ve not known them to not operate that way in the recruitment part of their job. I know an ex cadet that was told that the role they were enquiring about wasn’t what they thought it was (it was definitely open at the time) and they were advised to research other roles and come back if they were still interested.

@Intruder that sucks. Was that for Sqn visits?

This is exactly why i asked for more points of view :slight_smile:



The ones I’ve seen have been more into getting people a job, rather than getting them the job.

I consider myself fortunate that I was able to bypass the AFCO for my application.


In our area they are actually really good out at least once a year or more on request.
They also run a general knowledge quiz for the wing.


The team in my area are fantastic. Always do their best to find an opening if we want to book them and actively approach squadrons to tell us what they can offer.


First two times i contacted them and booked them. The 3rd 4th and 5th time they approached me to come down. The 5th time i emailed the week before to check he was still coming to be told No he wasnt he had booked an appointment that night. No apology or asking us to rebook.

A month later he lands down and gives us some pamphlets and heads off before even speaking to us. Charming


We struggle to get hold of them and arrange a date - we have had the RN in to do a presentation and that was relatively simple to arrange.

A few years ago we were getting emails from the local CIO insisting that they come round (2 evenings close together) - apparently they were being pressured from above. Eventually we conceded and arranged a date with them, only for them to fail to show with no warning or apology. It was some time before we tried to invite them back and we only try now to add a little variety into the programme.


I would never suggest that anyone goes to the armed forces saying I just want to join, that is a recipe for disaster. You apply for a certain job like you do in the real world. Even the biggest companies don’t work like that and some have much stiffer entry requirements and selection / retention processes.

The problem is like all employers the Forces are now not the ‘open book’ they once were, ie turn and say I want to be and invariably that job was open so in you go.
However the Forces recruiters have targets and quotas and they will coerce people into signing up as long as they hit the qualification spec and pass the aptitude test and then see what happens on the a prepared to take on more to get a few manner. This was the what you got reading between the lines when we got the recruiter chat on the OSC and something I will make cadets and parents aware of if they say anything about enlisting. Frankly I wouldn’t trust the recruiters in the Forces and when we used to get the annual visit, I’d invite parents and the bod doing the chat couldn’t answer basic questions, There was an assumption that because they were Air Cadets they were going to hang around, waiting for the RAF to be ready for them and then no guarantees.

I always say to a cadet thinking of joining have the thing you really want to do and two others, no more, as you keep your focus and you can keep them focussed. Ensure that they are things that you are interested in as well, as you will be doing it day in and day out for many years and if there is no underlying interest you won’t enjoy it. I used to say to cadets go on annual camp and see if you can see or do the job and just get a general feel of the life, but that’s not an option anymore.

I remember a CIO bloke telling me I should reapply and being told not a chance; as I was in a job, I enjoyed it as much as you enjoy a job I suppose, it was well paid and very nearly married, so I wasn’t prepared to jeopardise it for something that might come to nothing. He got it. As it was it was about 5/6 years later Options for Change happened followed by regular defence reviews and I have mates who have come out due to these feeling quite aggrieved.


My personal experience of AFCO

Go back 15 years ago we’d see them once a year at Squadron, they would do there “this is the RAF – come join us” talk “who wants to be a pilot?” = 90% of the hands go up, they then offered an entertaining talk on what else was available.

Must be ~10 years ago now we were told not to expect are AFCO to attend single Squadron visits – they were too stretched to do that and would only consider “larger audiences” with multiple Squadrons – the unit I was with at the time saw high 40s on the books and a regular mid-30s attendance – no one ever told us what the threshold was for minimum audience size but suffice to say as we were bursting at the seams and other neighbouring units weren’t in a position to host!

Playing devil’s advocate perhaps they wanted 30 genuine interested and eligible candidates not just 30 kids off the street who had a no idea what they were doing next month let alone in 2 years time when they turn 16 and could consider joining up.

From a recruitment point of view – I haven’t seen AFCOs steer people towards roles or jobs. A fellow Cadet friend was determined to be RAF Regiment, there was nothing to believe he wouldn’t do it. He wasn’t an exceptional candidate but he’d suit the role. He was pushed back time after time, trade wasn’t open, but expecting to be soon, given a start date which was then delayed, then delayed again – he was so frustrated being kicked back every 4 months he asked them based on his application/aptitude what is open that he could do – MT Driver.

He did it and saw the world. He even worked alongside the Red Arrows at one point, and picked up plenty of licences along the way setting him up for a career when he leaves.


In the 90s we had a cadet who wanted to go into catering, he worked in local pubs and restaurants and was at college doing catering, but he wanted to join, but catering wasn’t open. A year later the CIO (as it was then) said catering would be opening soon, but he could join as a fireman and swap. Joined as a fireman, couldn’t swap, despite trying several times and left after the period needed to avoid having to pay and after several cheffing jobs, has run his own pub/restaurant for 4 years. Which does a stunning Sunday lunch.

You would have thought the CIO bods would have known what can or couldn’t be done. They should do more guidance and properly getting people into the jobs they want or let them walk away.

You have to wonder if it’s like the recruiters of yesteryear who got a bung for every name they got.


Of “service” but not of topic I suppose, the Army are pretty good at this. They turn up at a unit on a cold Tuesday night after a simple email, even if only 5 cadets attend, they bring all their latest kit (L85A3 rifles etc) new helmets and face guards and body armour etc, cadets get dressed and “play” about with new kit, they also have a big selection of command tasks and use these to get cadets working together without rank etc and chat to the cadets, no hard sell etc just troops not much older than the cadets who give honest info…last week a cadet I trained 2 years ago turned up with the team, cadets could relate…I know that someone somewhere looks at this and it’s a good ploy/recruitment technique to use younger soldiers etc, so the Army are still getting out and about


The cynics would say that’s because the Army are more desperate!


I would not disagree :wink:


To be fair, its only some units in the army that are good at this. Our local ones are not good at this at all.

Our local reserve unit said they’d only attend we could guarantee 15-20 18+ cadets attended! So, our entire sectors worth of Staff Cadets - half of which itll be a non-parade night!!!

1 month later there was a press release saying they are under establishment by 40%!!! Yet are entirely afraid of advertising themselves to younger age brackets and giving them something to aspire to!!!