247. Memorandum From Robert Drexler of the Office of Recruitment, Examination, and Employment in the Bureau of Personnel to the Under Secretary of State for Management (Read)1


  • FY–81 FSO Recruitment Plans

Enclosed is a copy of our report to the Director General on our recently completed FSO Recruitment “Blitz”. You will note that in general the recruiters encountered a very positive response to our efforts to seek out women and minority group members to take the [Page 980] 1980 written examination or to apply under one of our affirmative action programs. Based on both oral and written reports from the recruiters we believe that more women and minority group members were reached than in past years.

As a result of the Habib Committee recommendations, we now have a new branch of REE committed to year-round FSO recruitment activities with emphasis on the recruitment of women and minority group members. You will recall that on September 3, Secretary Muskie approved your recommended goals of 40 Affirmative Action Junior Officer appointees and 33 Affirmative Action Mid-Level appointees for FY–81.2

To meet these goals and to encourage additional numbers of women and minority group members to enter as Foreign Service Officer candidates via the written examination process, our FSO Recruitment Branch has targeted the following goals and activities for this fiscal year:

1. To establish a list of key contacts at universities, colleges and organizations throughout the U.S., to maintain year-round liaison with them, and to utilize these contacts as volunteer recruiters in their areas.

2. To contact all retired FSOs and FSOs on university and Pearson assignments to enlist their aid as year-round recruiters in the areas where they are located.

3. To ensure that all officers in the Department and overseas are aware of our recruitment needs and include recruitment pitches in every public speaking engagement.

4. To work closely with EEO and with minority and women’s organizations to ensure our participation in all gatherings where we can best reach women and minorities who are potential FSO candidates.

5. To revise and develop new informational material such as statistical reports and highlights on women and minorities currently in the Foreign Service for distribution to all contacts who could help us with our recruiting efforts.

6. To develop a yearly seminar in Washington for key contacts if funding is available.

7. To develop additional audio and visual materials for use in the recruitment of women and minorities. This might include a taping of a round table discussion with the Director General and others, designed for use by schools and organizations either with or without personal appearances by our recruiters.

8. To ensure effective screening of all Affirmative Action Mid-Level and Junior Officer applications and effective follow-up in all cases.

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9. To organize and program the 1981 recruitment drive well before the December 1981 written examination, better utilizing information and recommendations derived from the 1980 “Blitz” and the contacts obtained therefrom and ensuring that the best possible recruiters are used where their talents and background are most effective.


Memorandum From Margaret Barnhart of the Recruitment Division, Office of Recruitment, Examination, and Employment in the Bureau of Personnel to the Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Personnel (Barnes)3


  • The 1980 Fall Recruitment Campaign—“Blitz”

As in past years, the Department sent Foreign Service Officers to colleges and universities throughout the country in order to stimulate interest in the 1980 written examination, to ensure awareness and knowledge of our continuing Affirmative Action Programs, and to counsel potential future exam passers, particularly women and minority group members, as to Foreign Service careers and how best to prepare themselves for success in entry. This year for the first time recruiters contacted women’s and minority organizations in the areas visited to promote Foreign Service career opportunities for women and minority group members.

A total of 49 officers visited some 285 colleges and universities in all 50 States and in Puerto Rico. The recruiters included 22 white males, 8 white females, 12 Blacks, 3 Asians and 4 Hispanics. Of the schools visited, about 50 were predominantly black institutions, others were selected because they were in areas with large numbers of minority group members and women. The estimated total cost of the operation was $50,900.

Based on comments made at a de-briefing session and received in written trip reports, the overall response was extremely positive. The new junior officer salary levels were found to be generally competitive with those offered by private industry. Only a small number commented on the possible hazards of a Foreign Service career; a large [Page 982] number were enthusiastic about the public service aspects of such a career; recruiters who had served in similar capacities in previous years felt that increased numbers were reached, particularly among women and minority groups members; a large number of recruiters found particularly rewarding the opportunity to enlighten professors, placement and development officers and organization leaders as to what the Foreign Service is about and as to the Department’s sincere interest in increasing the number of women and minorities in the FSO and FSIO ranks and to achieve a truly representative Foreign Service. Many of the recruiters believe they discovered valuable contacts for on-going recruitment efforts and have expressed interest in continuing personal contact on our behalf. Most all believe this year’s recruitment campaign will be successful in that additional numbers of women and minority group members will seek entry via the exam process or via one of the Affirmative Action Programs.

In the following paragraphs I have attempted to summarize the principal observations and recommendations which were made at the de-briefing session or in trip reports. I have not included those points which pertain only to one institution or organization but wish to note that these comments will be given great weight in planning next year’s campaign and in our year-round recruitment activities.

We look forward to discussing the campaign in further detail with you and answering any questions you may have, on November 10, at 4:00 pm.4


1. Most recruiters felt that more lead-time is necessary for preparation and contact and to permit schools to organize better programs. Many found college and university placement officers of limited assistance and, often only upon arrival at the campus, discovered that Department heads and faculty members in areas of our interest were the best sources for group organizations. It was recommended that future recruiters seek out these contacts and ensure sufficient advance notification of any recruitment visits.

2. In addition to identifying the best possible college and university contacts, most recruiters stressed the need for year-round contact with these “resident recruiters”, to keep them supplied with all available recruitment materials, send them statistics on women and minorities in the Foreign Service, statistics on numbers of exam takers, exam passers and FSO/FSIO entrants from their schools, provide them with current information on other job opportunities in State and ICA, etc. [Page 983] Several suggested the possibility of a yearly conference in D.C. with a group of the most effective “resident recruiters”.

3. A number of recruiters noted the need to further stress “role-models” in the selection of recruiters, i.e. graduates to alma maters, Hispanics to schools with large Hispanic populations, the successful, personable, enthusiastic “best possible representative of the Foreign Service”, the return of the same recruiter with already established contacts and know-how to the schools visited previously, etc. Those recruiters who fit these categories found their visits extremely worthwhile and profitable vis-a-vis our recruitment goals.

4. Additional and better organized advance publicity was suggested. Many recommended provision of more audio and visual materials since schools now have modern equipment and devote considerable space and attention to all manner of recruitment efforts. In this connection it was suggested that a 30 minute to 1 hour tape professionally done and perhaps chaired by the Director General and including a round-table discussion on FSO careers with participants being representative FSOs and students from local schools would be valuable for on-going recruitment as well as for special recruitment campaigns.

5. Many recruiters suggested that next year’s recruiters need additional information on summer intern programs and on other professional job opportunities in State and ICA.

6. Many recommended increased use of retired FSO/FSIOs, FSO/FSIOs on university student or faculty assignments, Pearson fellows, etc. both in special recruitment campaigns and for on-going recruitment contacts.

7. Most recruiters found interest in the Foreign Service considerably higher than anticipated and audiences with up to 50 percent women and 5–15 percent minority group members. Most felt that our efforts to reach minorities and women were highly successful this year.

8. A number of recruiters commented on difficulties in timing—timing of the visits, timing of the application deadlines and timing of the written exam. Schools on the West Coast and in Hawaii were just opening at the time of the visit; elsewhere schools were deluged with other recruiters who concentrate their efforts in early October; minority counselors were not yet selected or newly selected and not yet organized; students complained of the limited time between recruitment discussions and exam application deadlines; students said that this year’s exam falls on the same date as the LSAT exam.

9. Recruiters covering schools at considerable distances apart felt that more time should have been allowed to permit adequate visitations and plus travel and rest time and time to consult organization leaders in the areas visited.

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10. Most all recruiters seemed to feel that group meetings were the best and most worthwhile means of getting across our recruitment pitch. It was recommended that future recruiters make even more efforts to ensure that preliminary contacts are aware of our needs for group meetings.

11. With specific reference to our efforts to increase the number of minorities and women in the Foreign Service, suggestions were made to (1) reach these categories at the better high schools to call attention to FS careers and counsel on study plans; (2) zero in on those colleges and universities which have positive affirmative action programs, numbers of minorities and women and academic programs designed to ensure exam passers; (3) set up a chain of “resident recruiters” among minority counselors and selected minority organizations and maintain year-round contact. Among the organizations reached during this year’s campaign, special interest and assistance was found among the Urban League Chapters.

12. A number of recruiters recommended a return to a single booklet rather than the two used this year (Foreign Service Careers and the Foreign Service Examination Supplement). Many also recommended separate examination application forms with accompanying instructions on completion.

13. One recruiter called attention to the regional (seven) annual meetings of the College Placement Council, Inc. and suggested we make every effort to participate in these meetings, thereby reaching large numbers of placement officers at one time.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Under Secretary for Management (M), 1980, Box 7, Chron November 3–8, 1980. No classification marking. Sent through Barnes.
  2. See Document 245.
  3. No classification marking. Sent through Robert Drexler. Copies were sent to Read, Lauderdale, and Palmer. Printed from an unsigned copy.
  4. No minutes of this meeting were found.