Defence recruitment process

Every organisation aims to have people with the right mix of skills and experience to help achieve its goals. This review examines in detail the Defence Force recruitment process to understand challenges and opportunities for applicants, in particular women and different ethnic groups.

With demographic changes and increased pressures on recruitment to meet diversity goals, a previous study (More military women) suggested that the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) should recruit from a broader candidate pool. However, the same study also found that efforts to attract more women had achieved lower success than expected because women did not complete the recruitment process in the same rates as men (i.e. attested at comparatively lower rates).

This review of the recruitment process, Recruitment: Barriers and opportunities for military candidates, was the drive from this finding.

How the review was done

The project reviewed data collected as part of the recruitment process for a group of candidates who applied to join the Defence Force between June 2014 to January 2015, and also collected survey data from a group of these candidates. A detailed explanation of the methodology employed in this review is outlined in the full report.

Findings and recommendations

During the review period, 2597 people who applied to join the Defence Force opted into the study. Of this initial group of applicants, 885 passed initial screening, and after aptitude assessments, fitness testing and a structured interview, 190 were offered a position within the NZDF.

The study found that the recruitment process is complex and difficult to navigate. Results also found that women withdrew and were stood-down at greater rates than men, and important steps in the process took longer for women than men. Furthermore, ethnic minorities were declined, withdrawn and stood-down at greater rates than New Zealand Europeans.

Following on from these broad findings, the study made 10 recommendations that centred around two themes: the recruitment process, and the management of candidates.

Recommendations about the recruitment process included:

  • making the system more efficient
  • collecting and reviewing data on the process and candidates
  • setting targets (e.g. number of days to complete each stage of the process) and standards (e.g. level of candidate satisfaction with the process)
  • communicating more consistently with candidates.

Recommendations about managing candidates included:

  • implementing consistent follow-up for candidates who are stood-down or withdraw
  • reducing differences in the length of time it takes men and women to complete the process
  • supporting candidates to be well prepared for testing or re-testing.

Due to a lack of consistent data, reasons for decline, stand-down and withdrawal were not able to be assessed, so the report also recommended looking into the reasons for differences in these areas for women, Maori and other ethnicity candidates.

The figure below illustrates the outcomes for candidates at each stage of the process. Only those who completed the previous stage were included in subsequent stages. As such, at screening, 2597 individuals are included, 885 at testing, 552 at the interview, 350 at selection, and 190 at the offer of service. Percentages reported in the figure are of those candidates included in the specific stage.

Outcomes across all stages of recruitment

  • Recruitment: Barriers and opportunities for military candidates
    4 MB
    1 Jul 2016