My Favorite Recruiting Technique

Attention chapter members, and especially recruitment and scholarship chairpersons, I’m going to share my favorite recruiting technique of all time. This strategy works best during the first few weeks of classes, and if done correctly, will guarantee improvement in your chapter’s recruitment performance, and academic performance. Sound enticing?

Here’s the strategy.

1. Show up to class. During the first week or two of classes, make sure that you are showing up on time, paying attention, and looking presentable. Maybe even employ some of Phired Up’s 3-7 techniques.

2. Find the smartest students in your class. If you’ve done step 1 correctly, you have most likely already identified the smartest people in class. These are the ones that actively participate in discussion, always seem to have the right answers, and genuinely enjoys the course. Pick one smart person (of the same gender as you) in your class that you think could make a good brother/sister.

3. Start a study group. Walk up to that smart student and say, “Hi, I’m (insert your name). Some of this course material can be a bit tricky, and I’m thinking about starting a study group to review some of the key concepts, and prepare for our tests and quizzes. Want to help me start the group?”

4. Recruit more members. Identify a few other intelligent individuals in your class that could be a good fit in your chapter. Ask them to join your study group, or have your other group members do the work for you. Build your group up to a manageable size of four to six members.

5. Meet as a group. If you’ve done it right, you now have a small group of some of the best minds in your class to tutor you. Try to meet at least once a week, and actually function as a study group. There’s no need to talk about your fraternity or sorority; you’re there to improve your performance in class.

6. Make friends. If you’ve seen Community, then you know it’s fairly inevitable that your study group will become friends. After a few weeks of meeting as a study group, you’ll naturally transition your study group acquaintances to a casual friendships.

7. Recruit if necessary. Only recruit members of your study group if it’s appropriate. Ideally, you’ve gained a few new friends, and if you’re making decent connections your study group will know that you’re in a fraternity/sorority. Additionally, you already know that these people are committed to academic excellence, a core principle of your fraternity or sorority. If you feel that it’s appropriate to recruit anyone from the study group, then do it! If you don’t feel that the person is right for your organization, or vice-versa, then…

8. Improve your academic performance. The absolute worst thing that can happen with this technique is that you form a study group, improve your grades, and don’t recruit a single person into your chapter. If you were able to form a group of some of the smartest students in your class, and you benefit academically as a result, then you still win.

 

Imagine the possibilities of this recruitment and academic improvement strategy. What if you started a study group in each of your classes? What if all of your chapter members were required to start at least one study group outside of the chapter? How would your chapter’s recruitment strategy change if your members were meeting with some of the smartest students on campus on a regular basis? How would your chapter’s academic performance be affected by recruiting highly-achieving students? How would your chapter’s academic performance be affected if every chapter member surrounded themselves with intelligent peer tutors?

This strategy is no fail. If you start a group, and are able to recruit at least one person; win/win. If you start a group and don’t recruit anyone; win.

Think this strategy can work for your chapter? Have a recruitment strategy you want to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

 

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Preparing Your Facebook for Panhellenic Recruitment – A Guide for Recruitment Counselors

The use of social media in Panhellenic recruitment seems to be a hot topic of conversation every year prior to the start of the formal Panhellenic recruitment process, specifically as it relates to our disaffiliated Recruitment Counselors. Despite the inescapable social influence of Facebook, many Panhellenic communities are leery of this tool in fear that it can be used to reveal the affiliation of these women. I find it unfortunate that rather than trying to come up with a viable solution to allow for recruitment counselors to use Facebook to connect with potential new members, many communities simply ban the use of Facebook by requiring all disaffiliated women to deactivate their account during the process.

Through Facebook communication, Recruitment Counselors have the ability to communicate with potential new members prior to the semester in which recruitment begins. They can communicate, answer questions, or even create a Facebook group just for their recruitment group, and start to form friendships and relationships both with and between members of their recruitment group. I hypothesize that this connectedness, which should foster greater relationship development, will make the formal recruitment process much easier for our potential new members, thus increasing retention through the process.

I have created this resource, intended as a guide for Recruitment Counselors to utilize the privacy options within Facebook to keep their affiliation private, while still utilizing the power of Facebook to enhance the Panhellenic recruitment experience. The ultimate goal is to create a Facebook account that does not reveal a recruitment counselors affiliation to potential new members, yet still allows them to communicate with the friends they already have on Facebook.

I am making this step-by-step guide, Preparing Your Facebook for Panhellenic Recruitment, a Guide for Panhellenic Recruitment Counselors, available to download free of cost.

Download this guide here. Or find it in my new resources section.

Did I forget to add anything? Will this guide help your community? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

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Become a Booster

“OMG, has he really not written a new post since August? What a slacker!”

Let me start off this post by saying that I am a terrible human being, and I apologize for leaving you waiting lo these many fortnights for my next digital transpondence. As it turns out, getting acclimated to a new job pushed this little blog to the back burner. However, now that Thanksgiving has rolled around, and things have slowed down a bit… I’m back!

_____________________

So is your chapter looking for a brotherhood or sisterhood event that goes beyond hanging out and watching a movie, or going to the bowling alley? Well, I have an idea for a brotherhood/sisterhood program that is fun, long-term, benefits your host institution, and also serves as a recruitment event for your chapter. My idea?

Become a booster for one of your school’s athletic teams. Here’s the rules:

  1. Pick a team that doesn’t get a lot of love.
    Have you ever been to a tennis match, golf outing, field hockey game, or water polo match? Unless you play the sport, I’m guessing your answer is “no”. Hardly anybody outside of family members attends these events; you and fifteen of your brothers and sisters will certainly get noticed.
  2. Try to start at the beginning of the season.
    If you show up midway through the season, the players will wonder why all of a sudden you care. Starting at the beginning of the season will let you get a good feel of the team. Which is why…
  3. This isn’t a one time commitment.
    If you show up to one game, and never return, the players will say to themselves, “What the heck was up with those weirdos who showed up to that one game?” Show up consistently, and they’ll notice that you truly have a vested interest in the team and it’s players. Which brings me to my next point…
  4. You actually have to care.
    Don’t fake it. Try and find a sport that you’ll enjoy watching. Get to know the players so you can cheer for them during the competition, and talk to them the next day on campus. Perhaps you choose the team who despite their continued success, get’s overshadowed by the likes of football and basketball. This will allow you to celebrate this teams triumphs. Or maybe you pick the underdogs, that team that just doesn’t seem to win. Maybe you can be the spark to get them their first win.

    These guys are definitely crazy. Also, my chapter brothers.

  5. Go crazy.
    Face paint, pom-poms, cowbells, vuvuzelas, whatever you got, bring it out. This is all about having fun with your brothers and sisters. Show up by yourself decked out in your team colors, holding a sign, and screaming at the top of your lungs, and people start to question your sanity. Do it with 15 of your brothers and sisters, and not only do you have fun, but everyone around you will instantly get in the mood to cheer.
  6. If you gotta boost, then boost.
    A lot of club sports teams and lower funded athletics teams are often forced to fund-raise for equipment, travel, facility rental, etc. Fraternity and Sorority members are some of the best fund-raisers around. Imagine the impact you could have on the team and the players if you spent an afternoon with them fund-raising to help the team.
  7. If you want to recruit them, they should probably be the same gender as you.
    Too obvious?

If you can get a core group of your members behind this idea, and emotionally invested in a team, I imagine that you could have a lot of fun, positively impact that athletic team, and make a whole bunch of new friends from that team. Remember, friendship is the first step to membership.

Am I crazy? Do you think this idea would actually work? Let me know what you think in the comments.

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Recruitment in Chicago (the bad)

In my last post, I discussed how recruitment is everywhere around you. In my recent trip to Chicago, I experienced some great recruitment efforts utilizing persistence and positive absurdity.

Unfortunately, not all recruitment efforts are successful in the Windy City. As fraternity and sorority members, a lot can be learned by observing these misfortunes, and implementing strategies to ensure they do not befall our chapters. Allow me to describe some of the recruitment failures I witnessed in Chicago.

Big Huge Party Guy:
I was enjoying a night out in The City of Broad Shoulders, when my friends and I decided to stop into a local watering hole. The place was empty – like PNC Park empty. The one unique thing that immediately caught my attention was the guy in the corner wearing a tuxedo and conversing solemnly with his friends. Not wanting to be bothered, our group decided to take a seat in the entirely empty back room; and that’s where we saw it…

An obnoxiously placed poster was hanging from the TV with a picture of who else, but Mr. Tuxedo. The poster was advertising Mr. Tuxedo’s big huge retirement party (he was 35, tops), and invited the entire city of Chicago out for the festivities. So why was there nobody there?

As fraternities and sororities, we are constantly trying to get people out to our events (recruitment, philanthropy, educational, etc.). We plan for a big huge crowd, get posters printed up, reserve the space, then when it comes time for the event, nobody shows up. It’s not enough to put up fliers promoting how wicked-sweet your event is going to be, you actually need to put in the time to talk to people about exactly what it is that you’re doing. Facebook events only go so far, and are way too easy to ignore. Word of mouth will forever be the best public relations tool that your organization can use.

Mr. Tuxedo wanted a big huge party for himself, except nobody showed up. Perhaps instead of inviting the world, he could have personally asked his true friends to join him. In my book, a night spent with a few close friends is far more beneficial than a night surrounded by superficial acquaintances. Do your big huge recruitment events often end up with you all dressed up with nobody to talk to? Might things have been different if instead of inviting the entire campus to your house, a healthy portion of your membership spent the night in small groups with potential new members having meaningful conversations and actually getting to know them?

The Saleswoman:
My two female friends, with whom I was staying with for the weekend, decided that a rainy day would be a perfect opportunity for us to walk around the city and do some touristy things. It wasn’t until an hour and a half later, when I found myself surrounded by handmade soaps and creams, that I realized that the entire excursion was a ruse for my friends to visit LUSH at the Macy’s Store.

While trying my hardest to look manly, I noticed a strange phenomenon; the women working at LUSH were really just trying to recruit my friends into buying their product. One saleswoman’s methods, in particular, caught my eye.

As my friends were shopping, the saleswoman walked up to one of them and declared, “I really like those shorts, they’re SO CUTE!”. My friend turned, thanked the saleswoman, then awkwardness ensued. I stood and watched for what felt like minutes as the saleswoman had no follow up, she just stood there, forcing a smile as she stared at my friend.

I couldn’t help but think of Panhellenic recruitment parties, and how this saleswoman obviously had never been trained on how to develop a meaningful conversation. Had she been, she would have known some great follow up questions to ask in order to keep the conversation going. Instead, she muttered, “Let me know if you need help with anything,” then walked away.

As social organizations, we pride ourselves on building deep relationships and lifelong friendships, all of which start with a simple conversation. Social excellence is a key to success in recruitment, and in life. If we could learn to initiate honest, meaningful conversations with complete strangers, just imagine how far we could go with our potential new members.

This Place:
I’m pretty sure that every city has one of these establishments. The nightclub where women dance in the windows as a way to entice patrons into the place. My guess is that the majority of the people reading this post have either never stepped foot into a place like this, or are ashamed to say that they have.

For the few people out there who are reading this, thinking to themselves, “That girl is my lighthouse beacon, calling me to the party”, I’m assuming you’re either a cast member on the Jersey Shore, or you are currently wearing more than one popped collar.

This lesson is mainly for the guys, but women should take heed as well. When you try to recruit using nothing but the temptation of alcohol and sex, you will find it incredibly difficult to find the quality of member you are looking for. No self respecting person would be lured in by a dancer in the window, and likewise your future chapter president isn’t going to be joining your organization because of that sweet party your house threw during recruitment.

Your best members join because they fully understand the values of your organization, it’s history, and the benefits of joining. I’m sure most of us know a brother or sister who joined for all the wrong reasons, and like me, you kick yourself every day for allowing your organization to be portrayed in such a false manner. In your recruitment strategy, ensure that you are placing the highest emphasis on the history, values, and benefits of your organization.

That pretty much wraps up my weekend of recruitment experiences in Chicago. Seeing these varied styles and tactics being utilized serves as not only great blog fodder, but superb reflection on how we as fraternity and sorority members are approaching recruitment.

Have a comment? Leave it here.

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Recruitment in Chicago (the good)

Everywhere I go, I see recruitment. Through my years as a fraternity member and advisor, I’ve developed this perceptive ability to recognize various recruitment tactics and spot the success and failures of such efforts.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of going to Chicago. While I was enjoying the cities sites, sounds, and smells, I couldn’t help but notice the recruitment being directed towards me, and going on around me. Some businesses and individuals were doing it right, while others fell flat on their face.

The Good:
Positive Absurdity: If you have read some of my previous posts, then you already know that I am a big proponent of what Phired Up Productions is doing. One thing that Phired Up likes to talk about is the use of Positive Absurdity; doing something unique to break up the monotony of the day, get yourself recognized, and start conversations. While at a “fun-time adults-only” food and beverage establishment, I saw some definite positive absurdity in the form of Mega-Jenga. Yes, that’s right, Mega-Jenga:

There was really nothing special about this establishment, wooden booths, high-top tables, decorative sconces… oh yeah, and a 5 foot tall game of Jenga going on at the front of the place. As soon as I walked in the door, I was hit with the positive absurdity of the thing. I pretended like I wasn’t impressed with it, but secretly I was already envisioning the schematics in my head so I could build my own version.

Mega-Jenga not only brought patrons in the door, but it made them stick around. Strangers were conversing over intense games of Mega-Jenga, subconsciously connecting to the simpler times in their lives.

Imagine your chapter putting Mega-Jenga in the middle of your quad or student union. You could challenge passers-by to pull out a piece or two; if they can do it without knocking the whole thing over they get a piece of candy. If the whole thing comes crashing to the ground, they have to let you bend their ear for a minute. This is just one example of positive absurdity your chapter can use; there are a multitude of ways for your chapter to do something unique like this on your campus.

Persistence:
The primary reason for my visit was to see my friend (a Gamma Phi Beta, yay interfraternalism!) that I’ve known since my days as an undergrad. Although she’s been in Chicago for well over a year, and despite the fact that I lived just a couple hours away, this weekend was the first time I went out to visit her.

Between the hours I was working, the financial impairments I was faced with, and other interfering factors, I did not feel that I had the time or money to make such a commitment. If that sounds familiar it’s probably because you’ve heard it dozens of times from potential new members.

To her credit, my friend did a great job of recruiting me out to Chicago. Every so often I would get a text, facebook message or tweet from her inviting me out. She would let me know when the best festivals were in town, and when our mutual friends were coming to visit. As enticing as this was, I still couldn’t make it out. Despite the slew of “I’m working that weekend”, “I’ll be at a conference”, and “I’m broke!”, my friend kept inviting me.

Then, a month after I settled into my new city, and new position at Bradley University, I was finally in the right place time-wise and financially to make the trip. I called her Tuesday afternoon and let her know I was coming for the weekend. Needless to say, I had a blast in Chicago and will definitely be going back.

In your chapter’s recruitment process, you’re going to hear some legitimate reasons for why students can’t join your organization. Instead of writing these individuals off as a lost cause, do exactly like my friend did. Stay friends, keep inviting them to events, let them see the fun times their friends are having, and wait for that person to get to a place in their life where joining your organization will not be an overburdening experience.

These examples were the two best positive recruitment efforts I saw over the past weekend in Chicago. In my next post, I’ll talk about some of the poor recruitment efforts I saw, and how to fix them!

Have a comment? Leave it here.

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Master the Move-In

At most colleges and universities across the country, an important date looms on the horizon. It’s your opportunity to personally meet dozens of new students at your school, display yourself and your chapter in a remarkably positive light, and begin the process of recruiting new students towards membership in your fraternity or sorority.

Of course, I am referring to freshman move-in; an extremely stressful time for new students and family members alike. This is your time to shine as an ambassador for your chapter and your institution. Many fraternity and sorority communities have embraced this opportunity, creating a move-in program that helps to carry the freshman’s belongings from the curb to their room. If your school doesn’t have such a program set up, contact your Student Life Office and/or Residence Life Office immediately and ask them why they are so far behind.

Why is this so important?
Move-in is an opportunity for fraternity and sorority members to outwardly display their values to new students as well as the ever-important family members. You will become their first impression of fraternity or sorority members on your campus. If you do it right, you can leave the student and their family with an understanding that fraternities and sororities on your campus truly care about the campus community. If you master the move-in, you can walk away with much more than that.

What to do on-site:

  • Coordinate with your fellow fraternity and sorority members. As you see a car pulling up, identify if the new student is a man or woman. For the most part, sorority women should be helping women, fraternity men should be helping men.
  • Walk up to their car, greet each person with a smile and a handshake (if you’re sweaty and gross, forgo physical contact).
  • Introduce yourself, “Hi, I’m Taylor from Alpha Beta Gamma Fraternity/Sorority. I’m here to help you move in. What can I do to help?”
  • Remember the student’s name, and if you’re really good, the parent’s names, too.
  • Help them carry their stuff to their rooms (Make sure you’re taking it to the right room. We’ve all made that mistake).
  • Stick with that student for the entire time they are moving in, don’t jump to another car.
  • Strike up simple conversation with the student and family. Start building a friendly relationship. It’s easy to get caught up in the physicality of the day; try to make sure you are building a relationship with those you are helping and not just grunting up the stairs as you carry boxes.
  • Provide them with a service of value. Ask them if there is anything you can help them with such as finding the bookstore, a good place to eat lunch, or directions to the parking lot. Make yourself a knowledge resource by giving some helpful hints for successfully navigating their first couple days on campus.
  • Don’t talk about your fraternity or sorority unless asked, try to focus the conversation on the new student.

What to wear:

  • If your school doesn’t require you to wear a standard move-in volunteer shirt, find your own way to look professional and easily identified. A collared shirt with letters stitched on the chest, or simply a t-shirt with letters are ideal. There’s no need to create an entire shirt only for move-in (Panhellenic chapters, I’m looking at you here).
  • Everyone should have a name tag of some sort. Whether it’s engraved, or a “Hi, My Name Is…” you’ll want people to be able to identify who you are, and remember your name.
  • I wish I didn’t need to say this last one, but after being around move-in crews for 5 years, it needs to be said. Guys, wear some deodorant. Ladies, wear comfy shoes; no flippy-floppies!. Do your best to look presentable as to make a good impression.

Close the deal:

  • Have an event to invite this person to. It could be an all-campus event later that night, or an event put on by your chapter. This will give you a reason too…
  • Get their number! Don’t leave the room without it!  Use your Phired Up Social Excellence Skills. “Hey, are you going to big huge event later? I’m definitely gonna be there! Tell you what, give me your number, I’ll call you and we’ll meet up beforehand.” Or even better, “My friends and I are going to be grabbing dinner at the cafeteria later, why don’t you come with us? We can give you the low down on what food to avoid over there. What’s your number? I can pick you up on my way.”

If you follow these suggestions, you should meet somewhere between 15-30 potential new members throughout the day. Not everyone you move in will be right for your organization, some may even be of a different gender. Regardless, freshman move-in day is an incredible opportunity for your organization. Make the most of it!

Were you recruited during freshman move-in, have a move-in recruitment success story, or your own tips on how to make move-in day successful? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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