Meeting the Recruiters
The First Meetings
Depending on whether your loved one is considering an Officer or Enlisted career, their recruiting experience will be different. Regardless of which path they choose, the first couple meetings with a recruiter will remain very much the same.
In the first meetings the recruiter will try to understand who is sitting before them. Is it someone looking for a challenge, a transformation, or something else? What are they best suited for in the Marine Corps?
A good recruiter will spend a lot of time getting to understand your loved one's reasons for wanting to join. They should develop a relationship with you and your child/partner/sibling, communicating constantly about what contract options are available and best suited for the individual.
Recruiters work a challenging job. They have to find qualified individuals who want to serve in the Marines. They also have to screen out people that want, but don't deserve, to be Marines.
There are plenty of times where this isn't an issue, but there are also times where recruiters are under tremendous pressure to find qualified applicants.
Marine Corps Recruiting Command (MCRC for short) sets a recruiting "mission" telling each recruiting station how many applicants they must recruit and sign each year. MCRC also sets deadlines throughout the year known as "phase lines." As a phase line approaches, recruiters are pressured to make their "quota" and get their assigned number of contracts signed.
The relationship between you and the recruiter should be one of mutual respect. They are your loved one's way of joining the Marines, while the recruiter needs your child/partner/sibling to make quota. There should be very open lines of communication regarding the process, the requirements, and the timeline.
This is a lifechanging decision and extremely important. Take your time to understand everything. Do not let pressure or urgency cloud your family's judgment. Ask questions of your recruiter (or us) whenever you have them. Do not hesitate to pump the brakes if you feel rushed or not kept in the loop on the process.
What to Ask Recruiters
We have seen a lot of lists of what questions to ask a recruiter on the internet, and most of them are pretty awful. If you read the content on this website, you'll understand the process in way more detail and won't waste your time asking questions about what the Marines do. You want to ask about the process so you make sure your family is in the best position.
1) What is the sequence for the process?
You'll want to know when your future Marine will take fitness tests, written exams, provide records, sign contracts, get medical exams, and anything else.
2) What is the rush?
If you ever feel like the recruiter is rushing you to sign something, ask what the rush is for. Unless you're literally about to ship, there should never be pressure to sign a contract.
3) When will I ship/what is the target?
Whether it is OCS or Boot Camp, you will want to know when you are set to start your journey so you can plan accordingly. This will drive all your other requirements.
4) What are my contract options?
Unless signing a Musician or Legal contract, most contracts guarantee an occupational field, never one MOS. Read the fine print and see what you qualify for before signing. Search this website to learn more about each career.
5) Which contracts are offering bonuses?
Throughout the year, some contracts will come with bonuses. Make sure you ask this up front!
The recruiters will handle everything else imaginable, but these questions you need to ask for yourself. Recruiters will take care of your waiver requests, education and fitness requirements, etc.
After the Contract
Once your loved one has signed the contract, they are officially on the way to start earning the title.
The recruiter will manage the dates that your future Marine will ship to training. When it's time, they will coordinate the transportation and everything else.
Make sure you have a great relationship with your recruiter before the contract is signed. You will rely heavily on them after the fact.
They may occasionally ask to switch contracts in order to change ship dates. As always, ensure you read everything they put before you so you are fully aware. Never take anything at face value.