By: Megan Jantos
Over the last couple years, the Army has rolled out a new system that allows it to better manage talent while involving active-duty officers in the assignment process. This system, called the Assignment Interactive Module (AIM) 2.0 is basically the Army’s version of Tinder except instead of connecting daters, AIM 2.0 couples talented officers with available Army jobs. According to Tinder’s website, the application allows users to “Match. Chat. Date.” AIM 2.0 follows a similar logic.
Unlike Tinder, AIM 2.0 provides an awkward–albeit well-intentioned–chaperone to escort officers and units throughout their courtship. Before, during and after your matching process your branch manager, now more like a coach, will assist by providing Army assignment priorities, and possible matches based on your experience and place along the career path.
Tinder isn’t perfect and neither is AIM 2.0, but that shouldn’t keep officers from getting excited about this new opportunity. Officers identified by Human Resource Command as a mover are considered “in the market.” If this applies to you, try it and provide your feedback. The Army adopted this system two years ago and seeks feedback to improve it via the site. Here’s how AIM 2.0 works:
Step 1 “Swipe.” Like Tinder, AIM 2.0 features two key components before there’s a match made in heaven. First, commanders and HRC identify officers available to move, which translates into assignments. Units must describe these billets well to attract the right officers. Second, users must write descriptive profile narratives that show their worth and potential. While the Army system doesn’t involve actual swiping, it does match up parties that show a mutual interest.
Officers entice potential units with their “profiles” that take the form of a resume-type format controlled by the officer. Units hoping to seduce talented officers must paint an intriguing picture of assignments beyond the typical duty description. AIM 2.0 makes these unit descriptions available to officers who want to peruse their options. Come assignment time, officers rank these options based on preference. Once an officer finalizes their assignment preferences, units get a chance to “swipe right” on officers they deem appropriate for their mission needs.
Step 2 Match. Tinder created the double opt-in so that two people will only match when there’s a mutual interest. Additionally, Tinder users may match with multiple love interests simultaneously. While AIM 2.0 allows for multiple matches, it requires the career coach to bless off on matches based on needs of the Army while also considering career progression for the officer. Once this is complete, the system notifies both parties of the successful match. Interestingly, officers can see which assignments attracted the most attention from other candidates based on “thumbs up” signs. It’s similar to Tinder in that attractive people match more frequently.
Step 3 Chat. Each notification includes either an officer or unit point of contact. At this juncture, prospects and unit reps begin a detailed dialogue about their respective interests, concerns, and goals. As in the digital dating world, just because an officer matches with a unit doesn’t mean they end up going on a date.
Although the communication between the two parties remains transparent to the chaperone, the chaperone ultimately makes the final decision if the officer and unit meet. However, not all is lost, chatting with reps at various locations presents a networking opportunity that may lead to further mentorship or relationship building. This opportunity varies widely unit to unit.
Step 4 “Date.” Finally, the long awaited day comes when perhaps the officer receives a message from their career coach indicating where the chaperone has assigned them. It’s also possible the officer simply receives a digital notification announcing a published Request For Orders (RFO) in their name. While an RFO strongly indicates a date is inevitable. The most important indicator involves the receipt of orders. Seasoned officers know anything can change and like a real world date the official connection only occurs once you arrive at the unit.
AIM 2.0 represents the largest change in our personnel officer system in more than 60 years, so it isn’t perfect. One adjutant suggested the platform felt “more like match.com: everyone knows which assignments are desirable, and the whole thing feels antiquated. But, still better than speed dating.” That said, various dating platforms have changed the way entire societies behave. Likewise, AIM 2.0 has the potential to revolutionize the way the Army manages talent. For now, it increases direct communication between branch, units, and the officer.
Megan Jantos is a communication advisor to military leaders and working women. She believes effective communication–a firm handshake or well-aimed bullet–can solve any problem. You can find her on Twitter @MeganJantos, crushing weights at the gym, or helping the nearest person unleash their potential.
This article represents her own opinions, which are not necessarily those of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the federal government.