Prepare for Takeoff
In this series you will be introduced to your new 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 sorority. It is imperative that you keep your members motivated in order to grow your chapter full of quality AND quantity women. 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 sorority 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 Panhellenic Council 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 College Panhellenic.
- Branding and Marketing: Recruiting isn’t just extending bids; it’s also about developing your brand identity that will inturn 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 sorority women are perceived.
- Educate and Empower: You will learn and develop so many life skills through this role. It is important to also educate your women so they, too, can grow personally and professionally through their recruitment efforts. Educate your women 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 women 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 women who you will call sisters. Our goal at LaunchPoint is to provide you with the resources and education on how to not only recruit those incredible women, 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: The best leaders stay organized, plan ahead, know what is expected of them, and empower others to help complete tasks.
- Learn how leading can help you after college in this article.
- Watch this video to learn more about how to be a successful leader.
Learn some tips and tricks to stay organized, manage the process, and kick butt in recruitment!
During recruitment planning and training, it can begin to feel like you are herding cats as you try to get all of your members on board with your vision and goals. Fear not! We know that this is a huge role that takes a special person to be able to manage the details and your members, along with remaining calm, organized, all while following the rules and guidelines of your College Panhellenic. In an effort to help you prepare for the management and organization that is needed to be successful in your role, here are some tips that we think will be useful:
- Develop a Shared Vision: If you don’t have a vision for your chapter’s recruiting efforts, how do you know when you reach success? Discuss your vision and allow your chapter members to be a part of the vision planning process with you. When your chapter members feel as though they are an integral part of your chapter’s future, they are more likely to show up with positive attitudes, feel motivated to lead, and inspired to help with recruiting efforts.
- Basic Expectations: Everyone in your chapter should have some type of involvement in recruitment, however, not everyone may have the exact same role. You can delegate different responsibilities to women based on their year in school or their strengths as an individual, but make sure everyone has some a role. By engaging and empowering every woman with a small role in your recruiting efforts, they will feel as though they are a part of that vision you set as a chapter, participation will be higher, and it spreads out the responsibilities instead of you and your committee doing everything.
- Set & Share Goals: It is important to set goals for your recruitment efforts as it holds you and your committee accountable for achieving those goals. Goal setting also allows you to benchmark how you are progressing and where you may need some extra help to reach a specific goal. If your goal is to host a communication skills training workshop by October, you’ll need to create action items that ensure you are reaching that goal successfully.
- Remain Organized: In the first edition of __series name__ we discussed the importance of staying organized in this role. If you feel as though chaos has crept up on you, do what you need to do to step back, check in with your dedicated support and resources, and refer back to your vision. Remaining organized is key; you’ve got this!
By remaining focused on your vision, setting basic expectations for members’ involvement, setting and sharing goals with your sisters, and remaining organized you are exponentially more likely to feel less like you are herding cats and more like recruitment Superwoman. We at LaunchPoint want to empower you to achieve your goals and provide you resources so you can knock it out of the park as you recruit the newest members into your organization.
Key Takeaway: Staying organized by remaining focused on your chapter’s shared vision and goals and holding your chapter members accountable for meeting basic expectations can make your role significantly easier in the long term.
- Develop your chapter’s shared vision with this HBR resource.
- Watch this video to learn more about setting short and long term goals.
Put Your Members in The Driver’s Seat
Increase member participation in recruitment by engaging them in the ways that they prefer.
The number one complaint we receive from Vice Presidents of Recruitment is their frustration in getting their members to eagerly and willingly participate in recruitment activities- especially year-round recruitment activities. It so often feels like herding cats, and is exhausting and aggravating, and ultimately leads to our leaders of recruitment burning out and giving up on their goals. Instead of forcing your members to do things they don’t want to do, find ways to give them the autonomy to create their own ways to recruit; put them in the driver’s seat!
- Let your members select who they are recruiting. People don’t generally enjoy talking to strangers. But we all know outstanding women have the potential to be a great member. Your sisters can select whom they’d like to focus on, rather than talking to strangers at another awkward event.
- Speaking of events, stop scheduling them! Wouldn’t your members enjoy it more if they could recruit doing the things they enjoy with the people they enjoy? Recruitment isn’t about events, it’s about building real relationships. What better way to do that than to allow our members to interact with PNMs through normal, day-to-day activities?
- Give your members expectations, but allow them fluidity within those expectations. Your sisters have busy lives, and trying to get a chapter together on the same schedule for recruitment doesn’t always work. Asking members to attend a percentage of recruitment activities and recruiting in small groups allows for a greater amount of flexibility for your women.
By creating realistic, and flexible expectations for your women, it will be easier to engage them in a year-round recruitment system. You then can focus your energy on planning, organizing and tracking your recruitment goals. Along with your reasonable expectations for members, think of how best to hold them accountable. Though your expectations should be simple enough for even the least-engaged member to fulfill, you still need to be prepared to address someone who doesn’t complete her tasks. Holding our sisters accountable sends a message to the entire chapter about what is important and treated seriously. It may initially be a culture change to do this, but after a year, your members will think this is a normal expectation of membership.
Key Takeaway: Give your members clear instructions, but allow them room to make recruitment their own, by fitting into their comfort zones and busy lives.
- Here’s a great blog post from our team member Brandon about engaging your entire team. http://launchpointsolutions.org/2016/07/a-call-to-chapter-leaders-bring-your-team-with-you/
Opening Up the Curtain
Formal recruitment isn’t reality; show your PNMs the reality of membership by including them in things you already do.
One of the major reasons outstanding women on your campus aren’t joining sororities is because they dislike Panhellenic recruitment. It is a hassle and feels so fake and forced. Even your informal recruitment or COB events often feel artificial, because it isn’t a normal activity for your members or the PNMs. Instead, give PNMs a glimpse behind the Broadway curtain that is formal recruitment and let them see the reality backstage. You will find they appreciate the authenticity they see in your chapter.
- Identify 2-5 activities each month that your chapter would already be doing and invite some PNMs to attend with your sisters. Think about more than just social events, but also select developmental, educational, or even service activities to show the holistic sorority experience.
- Encourage your women to spend time with PNMs doing normal day-to-day activities. What do your sisters do in their free time? Grab coffee? Study? Go to the gym? Watch a movie? Great, bring an unaffiliated friend along and have a blast!
- We know what you’re thinking- this is clearly dirty rushing, right? Actually, no! NPC encourages Positive Panhellenic Contact. So go and build great relationships with women on campus. What you can’t do is spend time with PNMs when there is alcohol or men involved, you can’t buy them things, and you cannot create bias for or against any Panhellenic organization. Your aim is to build relationships and allow the PNM to get to know you and your chapter with the hope that she will participate in some form of sorority recruitment in the future.
You may be wondering how this applies to your primary, or formal recruitment. Even if you are a chapter that achieves total through formal recruitment, you can still use this way of recruiting to better get to know PNMs before recruitment begins so that bid discussions and decisions are easier and you’ll be better prepared to know which women truly align with the chapter’s personality and values.
Key Takeaway: Don’t add more events to your calendar; add recruitment to the events you already have!
- Here’s a great piece on authenticity from the Huffington Post. The more authentic we can be in our recruitment efforts, the better our PNMs will understand us. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-robbins/authenticity_b_3366207.html
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 sisterhood. This is your chance to provide information about the benefits to joining your sorority, and express that membership has provided you opportunities that you wouldn’t have had without joining. However, so often I see women get caught up in the frills of the process, and fail to have true, meaningful conversations with women who, in just a few days, could be their sisters. Here are a few tips to focus more on the authentic conversations, and less on the frivolous details and drama.
- Be Yourself: Knowing that the primary recruitment process can be overwhelming for potential members, by being yourself you allow her to see the real you which allows her then to relax, and be the authentic version of herself. 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 her vision and goals are, and what she hopes to get out of a sorority experience. Not only will you demonstrate your interest in her, but you will also know if she 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 her, even if the answer isn’t what she 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 sisters 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!