Defence Forces struggle to fill posts

The Defence Forces has no choice but to accept all applicants who’ve passed basic entry requirements because the numbers are so limited.

A report compiled by senior military officers stated that only about one in 10 of all applicants passed the five basic entry requirements, which include medical, fitness and intelligence tests.

Last year, there were 8,164 initial applicants, but many dropped out at different stages, even if they didn’t fail previous tests.

At the end of the day, the Defence Forces was left with barely enough to fill the 850 places on offer.

Even then the Naval Service was only capable of inducting 26 recruits for its most recent intake when they required up to 48 to keep pace with retirements and replacing personnel who had chosen to leave early.

Senior military officers said unlike the Defence Forces, ‘most public and private sector organisations have a large panel of suitably qualified applicants from which to select the very best to join their organisation.’

Their report, which has been seen by the Irish Examiner, showed that interest in joining the Defence Forces is dropping, despite a major recruitment drive by the Department of Defence.

This is being primarily blamed on the rising economy and better pay and conditions in other sectors.

By comparison, in 2012, there were 10,155 applicants for Defence Forces recruitment.

Around 60% of applicants who are invited to take the psychometric (intelligence) test don’t do so.

The suspicion is that they are applying to tick a box for Social Welfare and have no intention of joining up.

Meanwhile, the report said it is estimated that approximately 13% of all applicants use an alternative email address when taking the intelligence test, ‘thereby allowing the applicant to have a trial run, designed to improve their chances of success’ when they do it on their real email.

As the online test is unsupervised, it also can’t be proved if it was the actual applicant who answered the questions.

The Department of Defence acknowledged that the tests are completed unsupervised online.

However, it said that at interview stage, the ‘Defence Forces facilitate each candidate with sample questions broadly similar to the psychometric test which is set.’

In a statement, it said ‘all aspects of the recruitment process are reviewed on an ongoing basis and lessons learned are implemented.’

Some concerns have been raised by senior officers that the department might dilute the intelligence tests in the future, which they say could be potentially dangerous.


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