Prepare for Takeoff
In this series you will be introduced to your role and suggested ways to achieve success as your chapter’s recruitment officer.
Congratulations on your role as your chapter’s recruitment officer. It is an honor and privilege to oversee the growth and development of your organization and the continued legacy of your fraternity. It is imperative that you keep your members motivated in order to grow your chapter full of quality AND quantity men.
As recruitment is not simply one or two weeks out of the year, it is your responsibility to create and foster a culture that urges your membership to make recruiting part of their everyday lives and fraternity operations. In order to be truly successful in your recruiting efforts, you’ll need to be organized, prepared, and knowledgeable about national and local policies and procedures. We recognize that taking on this role can be overwhelming, so we put together some tips to get you started on your leadership journey and prepare you for the year ahead!
- Organize and Plan Ahead: It is easy to let time slip by if you are only focused on the primary recruitment process that could be six months away, but don’t wait! In order to be truly successful and to avoid being overwhelmed later, begin planning right away. Use your calendar to determine recruitment committee meetings, chapter training sessions, important deadlines, and recruitment related events. The more organized and prepared you are from the start, the easier your job will be in the long run.
- Rules and Resources: There are so many people that are looking to help you achieve success! Work with your IFC officers, Fraternity/Sorority Advisor, Chapter Advisor, headquarters representatives and volunteers, and your recruitment committee to determine the best direction for your role, get answers to your questions, brainstorm new ideas, and ensure that you are following the rules and guidelines of your IFC.
- Branding and Marketing: Recruiting isn’t just extending bids; it’s also about developing your brand identity that will in turn help with your recruiting efforts. Our organizations are so much more than photos from a formal or date function. Share your message, your purpose, and your story for your audience to understand who you are as an organization. If branding and marketing is done correctly it can change the way that fraternity men are perceived.
- Educate and Empower: You will learn and develop so many life skills through this role. It is important to also educate your men so they, too, can grow personally and professionally through their recruitment efforts. Educate your men on the WHY behind this process, empower them to step out of their comfort zone, make new connections, and develop their communication skills to be better leaders in their campus community.
- Trust and Delegate: You likely have a committee of men who are looking to develop their leadership skills along with you, so delegate tasks to them to make your job easier and give them ownership of various aspects of the chapter’s recruiting efforts.
This is an exciting time for you as you begin this new role and look to grow your chapter full of incredible men who you will call brothers. Our goal at LaunchPoint is to provide you with the resources and education on how to not only recruit those incredible men, but to develop your organization so that recruitment isn’t something you plan for, but rather is something that comes natural and easy to you and your chapter members. Best of luck to you during this exciting leadership experience!
Key Takeaway: Recruitment is the lifeblood of your organization and your performance will determine the trajectory of your chapter – follow our advice and we’ll set you up for success!
How to organize and manage ongoing recruitment.
There are a few key things you can do to more effectively manage and organize your recruitment efforts. Before we dive into the specifics, let’s redefine recruitment.
Recruitment ≠ RUSH.
Recruitment ≠ a specific time period during the fall or spring.
In order to consistently recruit the best men we need to think of recruitment as something we do every time we walk out the door. Recruitment should be an ongoing process of forging, maintaining, and furthering authentic friendships with men who may benefit from joining your organization.
With this in mind, it is essential to track the progress of these ongoing interactions between active members and potential members. It is also important to have clear expectations for all members in the chapter. Here are the basic elements of a well-organized and managed recruitment process:
- Maintain a wish list of potential members that is 2-3 times the current size of your chapter.
- Require members to spend quality time with at least one potential member once a week.
- Talk about specific potential members at each chapter meeting.
- Recruitment chair should spend time facilitating the process by reaching out to chapter members and helping them recruit more effectively.
The wish list should be a Google spreadsheet that is shared with the entire chapter and updated as members spend time with potential members. It should be made up of names of men whom active members are already friends with and think would be good members. The fact that they are friends already makes it easier to expect members to spend quality time with them each week (list item #2) and should make recruitment less daunting. Call on members to share how they spent time with potential members during the recruitment chair’s report at chapter meetings each week (#3). Instead of expecting your recruitment chair to be your best recruiter, elect the most organized member and have him track your progress and make sure that everyone is recruiting.
Key Takeaway: A little bit of organization and strategic management upfront will go along way toward the success of your recruitment process.
- Check out this Gallup study of the positive impacts of fraternity.
Empower Your Brothers!
Get more members involved by making recruitment easier.
For many members recruitment is a daunting part of what fraternities do. Most fraternity men have bad memories of big recruitment events they attended and awkward conversations they were forced to have with strangers. They remember how frustrating it is to stand at a table at an involvement fair and have people walk by without even acknowledging their existence. Very few people are comfortable in those situations, especially potential members who don’t know anyone in the fraternity. If your members attend enough of these frustrating events or make enough awkward phone calls to strangers, eventually they will get burned-out. This is a low-percentage approach to recruitment. The idea is that if we talk to enough guys we are sure to find some good members. It also frequently results in the recruitment chair doing most of the work himself. Wouldn’t it be better if we made recruitment easier and more enjoyable for active members? Here are some best practices for getting more of your members involved in the recruitment process:
- Make recruitment as simple as possible.
- Frequently communicate expectations.
- Implement positive and negative incentives.
- Provide basic skills training
One of the best ways to get more people to recruit is by telling them that they can and should be recruiting people they already know. What you are really selling is an opportunity to be part of something that you care deeply about. Who better to see the value in that than someone you are already friends with. This is a more targeted approach to recruitment than trying to convince strangers to hang out with you. Make it clear to members it is not the recruitment chair’s job to do all the recruiting for the chapter. Get more members involved by systematically discussing recruitment with them during meetings. Reiterating that each member should be spending time with a potential member each week will eventually make it part of the chapter culture.
Once it is made clear that members need to be spending time with potential members each week, provide negative incentives to make sure they meet the expectation and positive incentives so that they may strive to go above it. A good example of a negative incentive is a week-by-week social probation for anyone who does not spend time with a potential member the previous week. A good positive incentive could be left up to the chapter. Popular ideas are gift cards or a discount on dues for bringing in a certain number of new members. These are almost always worth it because they are bringing in additional sources of income with every new member they recruit. Spending time with friends should be easy, but for the few weeks of the year when it is important to actively recruit people you have not met before (formal recruitment) it can be helpful to do some skills training. Most chapters have alumni with sales experience they can call on to help with this, otherwise you could reach out to your career services office or fraternity and sorority life office to see what resources they have. It is important to have a strategy for how to talk to potential members you have not met before. It can make or break your recruitment process.
Key Takeaway: Make recruitment as easy as possible and structure it so your members want to recruit for your chapter.
- How to empower and engage your chapter members.
- A big component of stellar recruitment is asking the right questions.
Always Be Recruiting
Recruitment should never stop.
The biggest mistake chapters make is only recruiting a few months out of the year. Waiting until formal recruitment to recruit is like not studying for a class until right before the final exam. Just as in your classes, if you prepare throughout the semester to bring in a new member class you will have no doubts about your success going into formal recruitment. Conversely, if you do the bare minimum throughout the semester you should not expect to have great results. This preparation takes many different forms, but the key focus should be on including recruitment in things you already do. If your chapter is known for throwing elaborate events during formal recruitment, that is great, but I am not asking you to do that throughout the year. Instead, make use of some of these tips:
- Meet potential members where they are (literally and figuratively).
- Invite potential members to things you already have on the calendar.
- Rely on authentic relationships for recruitment rather than the hard sell.
Something I see often is that even successful fraternities will focus on getting potential members to a weekly recruitment event. This is usually a get-together at the fraternity’s facility or a place the fraternity members are comfortable and familiar with. The recruitment chair stands up at every chapter meeting and says “make sure you are getting guys to the event this week”. While getting people to come over and meet the members is great if they are willing to do it, this ignores the fact that a fraternity house is one of the least comfortable settings for potential members. If we limit our recruitment efforts to getting guys to come by the house, we are likely missing out on a significant number of men who do not feel comfortable coming over because they only know one or two people. Alternatively, chapter members should go out and spend time with potential members in a neutral space. As the relationship develops, he should be introduced to other members and will eventually feel comfortable coming to larger events. This is the ongoing process that will bring great men into the fold.
What are things you like to do as a chapter? Do you call them “brotherhood events”? This could be anything from a weekly standing lunch to intramurals competitions. The things that you like to do as a group define your chapter. Invite potential members to these things. If they like them as much as you do, you will have a clear indicator that they might be a good fit. Note: avoid using social events to recruit. As you spend time with these men – your friends – spend less time talking and more time listening. Ask them good open ended questions and listen intently to how they respond. This will make them feel valued and will tell you if they have what you are looking for in a member.
Key Takeaway: People join people, so focus less on showing them your trophies and composites and focus more on making authentic and profound connections.
- Here’s what we can learn from the recruitment of Kevin Durant.
- Read this post about delivering on what you are selling.
Learn the importance of authentic communication.
During the primary recruitment process on your college campus, you and your chapter members have an opportunity to give potential new members a glimpse into your brotherhood. This is your chance to provide information about the benefits of joining your fraternity, and express how membership has provided you opportunities that you wouldn’t have had without joining. However, too often our men get distracted during the process, and fail to have true, meaningful conversations with men who, in just a few days, could be their brothers. Here are a few tips to focus more on the authentic conversations.
- Be Yourself: Knowing that the primary recruitment process can be overwhelming for potential members, by being yourself you allow him to see the real you which allows him then to relax, and be the authentic version of himself. When you are authentic with potential members, you break down the walls of discomfort and open up the conversation to really get to know each other.
- Ask Good Questions: By asking good questions to potential members, you are indicating interest in them and what they value. Challenge yourself to dive deeper than surface level and ask good questions about what your potential member values, what his vision and goals are, and what he hopes to get out of a fraternity experience. Not only will you demonstrate your interest in him, but you will also know if he is a good fit for your organization.
- Listen: Listening is a developed skill that allows the other person to know if you are interested in what they have to say. In recruitment, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement and fail to listen to potential members. Following your good questions, be sure to listen to her answers for future conversations.
- Be Honest: Don’t make up stories or embellish the truth to persuade a potential member to join your organization. Be honest with him, even if the answer isn’t what he was hoping to hear. By remaining honest you are demonstrating authenticity and that goes a long way when building your credibility.
In an era when it is easy to hide behind a filter, now is the time to be your authentic self. Challenge your brothers to be the real version of themselves, especially when recruiting. If you want to build a legacy that is long lasting, it begins with owning who you are as a chapter and being authentic in your connections. The LaunchPoint team believes in this and we want you to believe it, too. Join us in the effort to create relationships built on authenticity.
Key Takeaway: More than ever, people want authenticity as opposed to fakeness and the appearance you aren’t being genuine. It takes less effort to simply be yourself and will produce far greater results in recruitment!