military recruiter lies
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12 Military Recruiter Lies

Recruiters are usually the first interaction you receive when joining a branch of the Armed Services.

They are the ultimate salesperson and have all the influence to steer you in the direction that fits them best.

Everyone has heard a, “but my recruiter told me this” story.

Most recruiters are not bad, but they have quotas to meet, and that pressure can lead to bending the truth or outright lying.

Bottom line — do your research, read your contract, and don’t fall for the 12 military recruiter lies below.

Related ArticleDo Army Recruiters Get A Commission To Sign You Up?

Military Recruiter Lies
Air Force Recruiter talking about potential Air Force opportunities. Image:

1. You can’t choose your MOS

This is one of the biggest lies told by military recruiters in all branches, and it’s complete B.S.

You can 100% choose your rate, MOS, or AFSC, but of course, you need the ASVAB and other test scores to qualify.

Don’t let them talk you into something you might regret down the road!

2. There’s no signing bonus for that.

This is a lie that recruiters might tell you to get you to sign up for a different job.

Do your own research!

There are signing bonuses for specific jobs, shipping timelines, and more.

Most branches list bonuses right on their website, so you can look into it yourself.

3. Yeah, you will definitely learn skills for a great career in the civilian world! 

This is a lie that recruiters tell you to get you to sign up for an open or high-demand field.

While there are some jobs that provide you with the skills you need to have a great civilian career, some jobs do not have an equivalent at all.

This is something to consider when you do not plan to spend 20 years in the military.

Related Article3 Steps For Visiting An Army Recruiter Near You

4. Yeah, you can become a Navy SEAL if you’re in the Marines. 

This lie is pretty popular and is almost the same as saying you can become an Air Force pilot if you’re an Army driver.

First, you need to be in the Navy to be a Navy SEAL.

While it is possible to become a Navy SEAL after being in the Marines, it is not easy to complete the process to join the Navy after the Marines and even then, you may not qualify to become a Navy SEAL.

5. You can quit anytime you want to, with no legal repercussions.

This is a complete lie, but thankfully, one not told very often.

You cannot quit the military at any point without legal recourse.

When you make a commitment to join the military you sign a contract.

Once you attend Basic Training your contract begins.

Even prior to going to Basic Training, you make a commitment.

It is easier to leave prior to shipping to Basic Training, but you can still be held accountable (although it rarely happens).

There are ways to leave the military before your contract is up, but some may come with negative ramifications, such as receiving a Dishonorable Discharge.

This is not something you want following you down the road.

Related Article What Happens After Army Boot Camp?

6. Just sign up for this MOS/Rate/AFSC and you can train for a similar job or switch later. 

This is a lie that recruiters tell you to sign you up for a different job other than the one you’re requesting.

They may tell you that signing up for a certain specialty in the same field that you would like to work in will allow you to cross-train.

While some job functions may overlap, don’t depend on it!

They may also tell you that you can just switch later.

It is possible to switch, but it is not as easy as it sounds, and it does not happen often.

There are many stipulations, required signatures, and position availability requirements.

If the job you have your heart set on is not open, come back later.

7. You do not need to get Airborne in your contract

Don’t let a recruiter promise you something later that you might not be able to do.

You can sign up for Airborne later, but it is not easy to get into.

If you would like to sign up for Airborne, do it during recruitment and make sure it is in your contract.

8. Don’t worry about getting that in writing.

This lie is along the same lines as the one above.

If a recruiter promises you something and it is not in your contract (in writing), do not be surprised when it doesn’t happen.

For anything that is promised to you during the recruiting process, make sure it is in writing.

Military Recruiter
A Navy Recruiter on social media. As technology advances, recruiting tactics have changed to include showing a social media presence. Image:

9. You do not have to deploy.

This is a lie — everyone is eligible to deploy.

Some recruiters might tell you that if you sign up for a certain job or certain branch (Air Force is common), you will not have to deploy.

Regardless of your job or branch, you are still eligible to deploy.

Some branches or positions may deploy more often than others, or have a higher chance of seeing combat, but everyone is still eligible.

If you are unwilling to deploy, the military may not be for you.

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10. If that medical issue doesn’t bother you anymore then don’t put it down.

This lie might not hurt the recruiter in the long run, but it could hurt you.

The recruiter might tell you not to put a potentially disqualifying medical issue down to assist with meeting their quota.

Medical screening is there for a reason.

All military branches have high-impact physical requirements, and that old injury could become a larger issue.

Don’t risk it.

11. Go open contract, and you can choose any job you want later

Not exactly true.

Yes, going open contract, such as Navy Fireman, will allow you to “strike” for a few different ratings such as Engineman (EN), Machinist Mate (MM), or Damage Controlman (DC), but it does not guarantee you will get the rating you want.

There must be availability for that rating when it comes time to strike.

You can attempt to get a rating in a different unit, but it can be very difficult.

You also might not meet the qualifications for the specific rating you want.

Do your research and go in with the idea that it may not work out exactly how you intend it to.

12. You’ll Get Free Housing, Healthcare, and Food

Sure, some might get free housing, healthcare, and food, but not everyone and it is not as glorious as it may seem.

If you are single, your “free” housing is likely in the barracks.

Some higher-ranking or married members will get Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), but that is calculated based on several variables such as rank, marital status, number of dependents, and location.

Tricare insurance is great, but it comes with stipulations.

It may be free for some, but your marital status and dependent information will affect this.

Not only that, it comes with stipulations such as costs being covered in on-base facilities.

These facilities are often very busy, and appointment availability is limited, so if your need is immediate, you will be visiting a facility off-base.

Yes, you will receive free meals for yourself but they may not be the meals of your choice. And they won’t always be available when you want to eat them.

You will be allowed to go to the chow hall and eat whatever meal items are being served. As long as it’s open. If you missed the scheduled serving hours, you’re out of luck.

Housing, Healthcare, and Food are great perks, but they are not completely free, or as advantageous as they may seem.


While the lies military recruiters tell might seem harmless, they can have a serious detriment to your overall experience of serving.

You want to serve your country, but at the same time, want to set yourself up for future skill sets that can translate to the real world.

As mentioned previously (over and over because it’s that important), do your research!

It can save you a ton of headaches, and potentially even keep you from scrubbing toilets for the next four years of your life.

Related Article41 Questions To Ask A Military Recruiter

Rob V.
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Lies Recruiters Tell

Lies Recruiters Tell

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See the most common lies military recruiters tell to get you to sign up. Includes switching your MOS later, signing bonuses, and more.

Originally posted on 01/27/20

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2 Replies to “12 Military Recruiter Lies

  1. My recruiter lied to me from the get go. Got me to sign up for 11B infantry. When i wanted to be a mechanic which i was already doing in civilian world. I figured id vet some more training in the field. That would aide me later down the road. Held the enlistment bonus for infantry overmy head and i bit like a hungry fish. Well infantry wasn’t bad. I enjoyed it emensely and i did get my bonus but it was somewhat of a hassle to get it when i was supposed to. But i had everything i writing in my contract if they can hold you to it you surely can hold them to it. But make sure its in writing in that contract. Resd it over several times before you put your john Hancock on it. Ask questions at the MEPS station don’t be afraid toget clarification on things in it. Thats what they’re there for. To make sure everything is correct ask questions and read your contract make notes do you don’t forget to ask will save you major headaches down the road. Because once you sign it. Its to late you are now legally bound to fulfill your responsibility to ssid contract. Once you hit the reception station its to late to fix or change it. That time passed the 2 days you spent at the MEPS station.

  2. True, I was an Army recruiter/retention NCO for over fifteen years. Yeah, we get a bad rep, but I can say that most of the recruiters I worked with were honest and cared about their recruits. Don’t lump us all into the same bag.

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