Too often when it comes to fraternity and sorority recruitment we get caught up in so many other details that we forget one of the most important things: we hold the future of people’s lives in our hands. I don’t say this to be dramatic, it is the honest truth. Unfortunately, we often neglect to put ourselves in the shoes of potential members, truly understand what they are going through during the recruitment process and make it our RESPONSIBILITY to make them as comfortable as possible. As Greeks we must hold ourselves to a high standard and part of that is treating EVERYONE who goes through our recruitment process with respect and kindness so that regardless of the outcome they can say they had a fair and positive experience.
Psychologists’ tell us that our greatest need is acceptance and our greatest fear is rejection.
I am sharing this with you so you can keep it in mind as you recruit new members to your chapter/community. You literally hold the future of people’s lives in your hands as they REALLY want to be accepted and they REALLY do not want to be rejected. You should have high standards and not compromise them when evaluating PNM’s, not every person is the right fit for your chapter, but you should be kind/accepting/respectful of everyone.
Here are 3 easy ways we can do better:
1) Be genuinely nice to everyone, regardless of whether they fit your chapter or not, because it is a scary process and you should make them as comfortable as possible. It takes your members the same amount of effort to be welcoming/friendly but will make a huge difference for PNM’s throughout the process – do not underestimate the impact that kindness can have on someone.
2) Be more transparent on what characteristics/qualifications we are looking for out of PNM’s to help them understand if they fit in well with your chapter or perhaps other organizations might be a better fit. You are more likely to apply for internships that look for someone with your skills and qualifications because you know it is a better fit for you, our chapters should act the same way.
3) When someone doesn’t fit your chapter, suggest another chapter for them to join as it is UNACCEPTABLE for your community to have a high percentage of people not placed in any chapter, especially as many chapters struggle with membership. It isn’t difficult for chapter/council leaders to point PNM’s in a certain direction if you believe they are a high-quality person – you making this simple effort can dramatically change the trajectory of someone’s life because they end up joining a chapter versus never getting to experience Greek Life.
Bottom Line: Make people feel accepted, do your best to find a chapter for all qualified members and remember that we all want to be accepted and fear rejection. With a few simple tweaks you can significantly enhance the experience that PNM’s have and also have more qualified members in your community.