Projecting a temperament and work ethic unmatched by his peers, Sgt. Le’mon Eluett wants to win. You wouldn’t know it by speaking with him though.
As a canvasing recruiter with Marine Corps Recruiting Substation Margate, Eluett had a rocky start according to his staff noncommissioned officer in charge, Master Sgt. Elvis John-Baptiste. His growth and resulting success quickly smoothed his path to earning the title of Recruiter of the Year for Recruiting Station Fort Lauderdale.
Eluett has recently been put in charge of his own substation, making him the only sergeant in Recruiting Station Fort Lauderdale in charge of a substation. He recently sat down with The Pacesetter to offer some insight to his achievements:
The Pacesetter: Was being recruiter of the year a goal you set for yourself or was it a surprise?
Sgt. Eluett: It was a complete surprise! I’ve never been an award chaser; I’m just a team player. Good things come to people who don’t focus on personal gain. I’m a firm believer in one team, one fight. I just did whatever was needed from me to accomplish our mission, even if it meant more time and effort on my part.
How does it feel being the recruiter of the year for your RS?
It has been an eye opening experience. If I were told that I would achieve that pinnacle of success on this duty back in Basic Recon Course (BRC), I wouldn’t have believed it. I struggled in recruiter school. But my time has now passed, my new focus is pushing my team to achieve even more than I’ve accomplished as a recruiter.
How where you selected for recruiting duty?
Like most recruiters, I was drafted in the 1st round! I was flagged by the HQMC Special duty assignment screening team (HSST) list.
Did you want to be a recruiter? Why or why not?
I actually had it in my mind to volunteer, but not as early as I was selected. I wanted to have a few more experiences in the fleet before I went on recruiting duty. The reason I even considered recruiting duty was because I was told it’s one of the most challenging things you can do.
Any Marine can be a DI, any Marine can do MSG, but not every Marine has the ability to convince a complete stranger to dedicate their lives to an organization for four years. As any other Marine, I’m eager to find the next challenge.
Historically, during times of recession, recruitment picks up. Does this mean recruiting is easy today?
In my opinion it doesn’t. In today’s recruiting environment we are finding quality verses quantity. The bar has been raised and our standards are higher than ever before, which means most of the office traffic is disqualified. We’re searching for the diamond in the rough.
How did you make sure standards remained high among your future Marines as a recruiter?
I treated my Poolees as if they were already Marines, teaching them the standards we believe in, also making sure I wasn’t chasing just anybody to join.
I felt like I was the gate keeper, and I would only allow the best to join this gun club. In my mind, I was hunting for my potential replacement… looking for the next sergeant major of the Marine Corps, or the next commandant of the Marine Corps.
How do you keep your recruiter’s standards high as a SNCOIC?
I simply ask my recruiters a genuine question. Can you see yourself leading this individual back in the fleet? Is that who you want to be your lance corporal? If they can’t give me a straight answer, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board and find the needle in the haystack we’re really looking for.
What has been your biggest challenge as a recruiter?
Humbling myself… Every NCO, and SNCO comes to this duty as a leader, and having to adjust to this new environment isn’t the easiest thing to do. It’s easy telling a corporal and below what to do, but it’s a new challenge when your finding yourself leading your peers.
What are some of your tricks to recruiting?
The only trick I had up my sleeve was honesty. No need falling into the stereotype that all recruiters are liars. I used facts, using our historical data to out sell any competition we face as recruiters.
Who have been your influential mentors on your tour as a recruiter?
Hands down, the four best career recruiters in the business… Gunery Sgt. Reyes, Master Sgt. Baca, retired Master Gunnery Sgt Gomez and my #1 mentor who pushed me to the level I’m at now hands down goes to Master Sgt John-Baptiste.
In your opinion, what makes or breaks a recruiter’s ability to be successful?
Honestly, I would say their desire to succeed. Marines don’t lose; we don’t know how to lose. When you lay down in your bed every night after a long day at the office, do you feel you left everything on the field? Do you feel like you put fourth your absolute best? If any of the answers end up being no, then it’s time to make a change.
What are your words of wisdom?
Stay true to who you are and what you represent. If you love this organization, then you will do exactly what is expected of you as a person and most of all as a Marine.
We sell everyday that we are the best in the world, that we are the tip of the spear. If this is true, and we are the gold medal winners, we need to show it 100 percent of the time.
In the words of Vince Lombardi… “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit.”
Story by Sgt. Scott Schmidt
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