By Evan Bleier / March 5, 2019

With Applicants Lacking, the FBI Is Doubling Its Advertising Budget

The government agency will also ease some requirements to expand the pool of potential agents.

SUNSET VALLEY, TX - MARCH 20:  FBI agents collect evidence at a FedEx Office facility following an explosion at a nearby sorting center on March 20, 2018 in Sunset Valley, Texas. A package, reported to have been shipped from this store, exploded while being transported on a conveyor shortly after midnight this morning at the sorting facility in Schertz, Texas causing minor injuries to one person. The explosion is believed to be related to several recent package bombs that have been detonated in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
SUNSET VALLEY, TX - MARCH 20: FBI agents collect evidence at a FedEx Office facility following an explosion at a nearby sorting center on March 20, 2018 in Sunset Valley, Texas. A package, reported to have been shipped from this store, exploded while being transported on a conveyor shortly after midnight this morning at the sorting facility in Schertz, Texas causing minor injuries to one person. The explosion is believed to be related to several recent package bombs that have been detonated in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Being an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation is no longer one of America’s most-wanted jobs as applicants have dropped from a peak of 68,500 in 2009 to just 11,500 last year.

In order to attract new recruits, the FBI will also loosen some requirements to expand the pool of potential agents as well as nearly double its advertising budget from $600,000 to about $1.2 million.

In doing that, the agency hopes to get the roughly 16,000 applicants it needs to net 900 new agents, a ratio that FBI has not met for “several” years.

Part of the reason for the decline in applications is the FBI’s strict standards for recruits (college degree, no defaults on federally guaranteed student loans, no illegal drug use in the past three years), but part of it also likely has to do with President Trump’s presence in the White House and his constant attacks on the bureau.

According to polls from Pew and Gallup, positive impressions of the FBI have dropped among Republicans since 2017.

In addition to spending more, the FBI will also try to reach a new generation of potential agents by launching its first-ever Instagram account this summer and beginning to hold Facebook Live sessions.

“If you weren’t super-motivated, then we didn’t want you,” FBI official Peter Sursi told Quartz. “I just don’t think that that’s how the current labor market works. I don’t know what the future is going to hold, but I would assume that we’re going to continue to have to innovate and develop more resources to keep fighting and scrapping for that talent.”

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