U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Recruiting with Emotion and Market Positioning

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 79 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2010 Pages: 20-23
Chris Skinner
Date Published
July 2010
4 pages
This article describes a recruiting technique for law enforcement agencies that focuses on a marketing strategy which distinguishes law enforcement work as a distinctive "brand" that connects with prospective applicants' emotional needs and aspirations.
Law enforcement recruitment efforts must target two groups: entry-level recruits with little or no related experience and experienced police officers interested in a lateral move. In a competitive marketplace, law enforcement agencies must establish a recruiting strategy that differentiates themselves from other occupations and appeals to their target groups' emotions. Research conducted by the author of this article involved a series of interviews with criminal justice students attending Portland State University and Western Oregon University. Among the questions asked of the students was why they wanted to become a police officer. They were pressed to give their answers in terms of motivation at the emotional level. The outcome of the research was that the students were drawn to those agencies that provide them the best chance for acceptance and happiness. The second part of the research focused on lateral police officers who sought to move from one agency to another. When asked to express their motivation at the emotional level, the terms selected were contentment, confidence, inspiration, pride, respect, and hope. This suggests that recruitment efforts for the two targeted groups focus on appealing to potential applicants at the emotional level. The distinctive aspects of law enforcement work provide it with a "brand" that appeals to emotional motivations related to problem solving to benefit others, reassurance regarding how they will be treated by the agency, prestige related to law enforcement service, being part of an organization with status in the community, and bonding with others committed to serving community safety. 3 notes