Prepare for Takeoff
In this series you will be introduced to your new role and suggested ways to achieve success as your council’s recruitment officer.
Congratulations on your role as your council’s recruitment officer. It is an honor and privilege to oversee the growth and development of your fraternity community. It is imperative that you provide your chapters resources and support in order to grow your community 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 chapters to make recruiting part of their everyday lives and fraternity operations. In order to be truly successful in your role, 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, important deadlines, and community-wide recruitment 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 chapter officers, Fraternity/Sorority Advisor 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 council.
- Branding and Marketing: Recruiting isn’t just extending bids; it’s also about developing a brand identity that will inturn help with marketing of your fraternity community. Our organizations are so much more than photos from a formal or date function. Share chapters’ messages, purposes, and stories for your audience to have a better understanding of the various chapters on campus. 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 chapter recruitment officers so they, too, can grow personally and professionally through their recruitment efforts. Educate chapter 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: We suggest you build 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 council’s recruitment strategy.
This is an exciting time for you as you begin this new role and look to grow your community full of incredible men. Our goal at LaunchPoint is to provide you with the resources and education on how to not only recruit those incredible men to participate in the process, but to develop your council so that recruitment isn’t something you only plan for, but is also something that comes natural and easy to you and your community. Best of luck to you during this exciting leadership experience!
Key Takeaway: Recruitment is the lifeblood of your community and the performance of your chapters will determine the trajectory of your community – follow our advice and we’ll set your community up for success!
Assessment & Key Metrics
Managing the council-wide recruitment process requires knowing where you have been and where you are going.
There are some key benchmarks that councils can track to add value to the recruitment process for member chapters. One of the biggest challenges for many IFCs is getting chapters to see the value that councils provide. I find this is most often the case when councils fail to manage expectations. As I tell the chapters I coach, I do not know any man who joined a fraternity because of a kick-ass IFC. It is not the job of an IFC to recruit for chapters, but by tracking the progress of the community and making resources available to chapters, councils are in a unique position to provide value to the fraternity community. Here is what you should be tracking:
- Demographics of new members.
- Recruitment by the numbers – semester by semester tracking of number of bids signed and number of men initiated by each chapter.
- A sampling of each fraternity’s new member class sharing how they found out about the fraternity, which fraternities they checked out, why they joined the fraternity they did and not one of the others.
Learning where the majority of your members come from will help you and your member chapters identify who your target market is. If you have many students coming from specific high schools, you should focus efforts on getting to students in those high schools before they come to campus. Tracking the number of bids signed by each chapter and each chapter’s true retention rate will give you the information you need to figure out which organizations have issues with retention and which ones could use help with their recruitment process. Polling each new member class to discover why they joined one organization over another is a great way to provide value to chapters. Most of them would be happy to share their new members’ responses in return for why they missed out on other members.
Key Takeaway: By doing some legwork upfront, your council can provide valuable recruitment-specific insights to member chapters.
- Tom Healy’s perspective on the value of your leadership experience.
- Check out this Gallup study of the positive impacts of fraternity.
Never Stop Recruiting
Does your council recruitment chair only have a job a few weeks out of the year? If so, you are doing it wrong.
While it is important to uphold recruitment rules during the formal recruitment period, it is equally important that the council recruitment chair work with chapters to make sure recruitment is an ongoing process. One of the biggest mistakes 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. As a council recruitment chair, you should focus on getting chapter recruitment chairs to follow 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.
Collectively, these three tips could be turned into a workshop series where you meet with the recruitment chairs of each chapter and discuss how to implement these things in the recruitment process.
Here is some of what I share on these points with chapters I coach to get you started:
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 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 work with your chapters to 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.
Collaborate as a Community
Every IFC Officer should offer support and education to his namesake officers of each chapter.
One of your major roles as VP of Recruitment is to provide guidance, training and opportunities for interactions with those in charge of recruitment for their individual chapters. Each chapter has unique needs, however it is imperative that you create a collaborative and cooperative environment so that each chapter can thrive. It is cliche but true; your chapters are stronger working together than they are individually. Here are some specific ways to collaborate as a community:
- Host regularly scheduled meetings with Recruitment Chair for each chapter. These can be done as frequently as every week only once per month – you should determine what will work best for your community. Create a meeting format where everyone has the opportunity to share their ideas on specific issues that are most important to the community and make sure that at the end of each meeting specific actions will be taken to improve the recruitment efforts of chapters. These meetings create a sense of community, provide an opportunity for collaboration and ultimately should produce great ideas because everyone is working towards a common goal.
- Meet individually with each Recruitment Chair at least once per semester to discuss his specific goals, how you can best support his efforts, gather his feedback on fraternity recruitment and continue to build the relationships you have with each officer.
- Constantly be asking everyone what resources, programs and changes you can provide to make fraternity recruitment better on your campus – by continually asking this question and genuinely taking the feedback to heart you will be able to provide targeted items to chapters, as opposed to just guessing what they may want. Also by doing this you are showing chapters that you are an advocate for them and here to help!
Building relationships with the Recruitment Chairs will make your life easier and make you more effective in your role. They want their voice to be heard, and by doing so, it will help you take specific actions that will help them be more successful. So much of the distrust and challenges that occur amongst fraternities when it comes to recruitment are because there simply is a lack of communication between chapters – this is an easy fix and now you have specific ways to do it.
Key Takeaway: You will have a tremendous impact on your communities recruitment efforts by bringing all Recruitment Chairs together regularly, meeting with them individually and creating a collaborative environment.
The Rules & Process
At its best, an IFC recruitment process functions to present a level playing field and does little more.
One of the tell-tale signs of the vast majority of IFC chapters is a healthy level of capitalistic mentality. Most fraternity men want to be allowed to compete for new members and count on the IFC only to hold the chapters accountable to fair-play. This means no “quotas” or limits on how many men a group can have. It also means that the rules should be equitable and easy to understand. Institution-mandated policies like deferred recruitment may seem like an imposition, but for many chapters it can be a boon as long as it is not used as an excuse for poor performance. As you transition into your role as council recruitment chair, here are some things you can do to make sure you are setting your chapters up for success.
- Carefully review the recruitment process and rules and make sure you understand them fully.
- Hold a forum with recruitment chairs, chapter presidents and advisors from each chapter to discuss the process and rules and make sure everyone is on the same page.
- Evaluate feedback and respond accordingly.
Reviewing the process and rules should be done as soon as possible. Read and re-read making note of any items that may be unclear. Consult with advisors and former council officers to make sure you understand the intent of each rule and policy. Take note of any policies/rules you think should be reworded or omitted. Also take note of anything you think might help make the process more equitable. Once this is done, open a dialogue in the form of a well-structured and tightly run forum to facilitate a civil and productive discourse. Follow a strict parliamentary procedure so everyone feels like their time is valued and respected. Make sure the focus is on first, getting everyone on the same page and second, gathering constructive feedback about how to make the process equitable without tying anyone’s hands. Take this feedback and discuss it with council officers and advisors. Then start to meet with stakeholders to flesh out the details and determine if changes should be made.
Getting fraternity men to respect IFC and the policies it puts in place starts with helping them see that you all share a common purpose.
- Do you feel like your chapters are all fighting for the same pool of men? Check out Laurel’s great blog post on: the danger of comparison.
- A big component of stellar recruitment is asking the right questions.