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 Panhellenic community. It is imperative that you provide your College Panhellenic chapters resources and support in order to grow your community 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 chapters to make recruiting part of their everyday lives and sorority 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, Recruitment Counselor training sessions, 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 other Panhellenic Council officers, Fraternity/Sorority Advisor, National Panhellenic Conference Area Advisor, Recruitment Specialist, 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 a brand identity that will inturn help with marketing of your Panhellenic 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 Panhellenic chapters on campus. 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 chapter recruitment officers so they, too, can grow personally and professionally through their recruitment efforts. Educate chapter 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 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 women. Our goal at LaunchPoint is to provide you with the resources and education on how to not only recruit those incredible women 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: 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.
The Power of Asking Questions
Learn about the importance of assessment and data collecting to improve your council’s recruitment process.
Assessment is not always a term that we associate with the Panhellenic primary recruitment process. But it should be! Assessing the recruitment process is essential to the development and success of future processes. By gathering feedback from potential members, Recruitment Counselors, chapter members, recruitment advisors, and even non-members on campus, you can learn a lot about how to improve the process to aim for higher retention rates, happier potential and active members, and the development of women as leaders and community members. Here are a few suggestions for you when implementing assessment into your recruitment strategy:
- Know the demographics: Who is joining your community? Who is NOT joining your community? What age/race/major/hometown/religion/etc are those who are choosing to join or not to join? Knowing this information is imperative so you have a better understanding of the pockets of students that are not being actively recruited into your community. If your data shows that very few women in the business school are participating in recruitment, you should actively seek out women who identify as having a major in the business school. This will help pull more women into the recruitment process as well as diversify the potential member pool.
- Are they satisfied?: Following the primary recruitment process, or even round by round, allow potential members to complete a satisfaction survey to better understand their experience. This information is useful when your council is looking to make changes to the process. If the majority of your data indicates that women are having a miserable experience in the third round, you and council will know to take a better look at that round and adjust accordingly based off of the feedback gathered.
- Qualitative vs. Quantitative: There are two different types of data: Qualitative is information gathered that can’t actually be measured, and Quantitative is information that can be measured and written down with numbers. Examples of qualitative data might include the level of conversation that a potential member has with a chapter member, or the comfort level she has when entering the chapter facility. Examples of quantitative data is how many potential members withdrew from the third round, or what is the most a potential member would be willing to spend on dues.
- Survey vs. Interview: There are many ways to gather the data on your research questions including online or paper surveys, utilizing social media or text message responses, or hosting one-on-one or group interviews. Utilizing a variety of vehicles to gather data will provide you with both the qualitative and quantitative feedback you are looking for from the process.
LaunchPoint strives to provide resources and education to allow you to enhance the experiences of your Panhellenic community members. We have learned that the more you know, the more you are able to provide those experiences and with that, the more you are able to promote the idea of lifelong membership.
Key Takeaway: The important thing to remember is that if you don’t ask questions in an attempt to gather data, you’ll never know how to improve your processes and make it a better experience for all women involved.
- Have you ever wondered what a Potential New Member is thinking during recruitment? Read more here and start thinking differently!
- Here is a challenge to create a more inclusive environment for all women involved in the recruitment process.
Launching Your Recruitment Counselor Team
“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” Jim Collins
Before you begin planning what your Recruitment Counselors will do during Panhellenic formal recruitment, you have to select the right people. Getting the best women in that role is the difference between a mediocre experience for the PNMs and a phenomenal experience. Your RCs are the face of Panhellenic to hundreds, if not thousands, of women on your campus every year. Be thoughtful and recruit those that you would be proud to represent your community.
- Determine the qualities you are looking for in an RC. Think back to what you liked and didn’t like about the RCs you knew when you were a PNM. From there, build a list of characteristics each RC should have.
- Create an application that not only gains basic information about a candidate, but also asks questions that would give you an understanding of whether or not that woman has the characteristics of an ideal RC. Consider asking an applicant’s chapter advisor or chapter president to sign off on each application. You should also create a scoring rubric for applications.
- Interview the top half or more of your applicants. A panel of Panhellenic women would be best suited to conduct brief interviews. Think about asking a former RC, a chapter recruitment chair, and maybe recent PNM to participate.
- Don’t waste your applicants’ time with unnecessary things like creative projects or quizzing them on all the mascots of the chapters. You can train skills, but cannot teach great traits.
After you’ve selected your Recruitment Counselors, make sure you have constructed a training program that emphasizes the important role they plan during formal recruitment. NPC has a Recruitment Counselor handbook you can reference for ideas, or you can use our interactive online and in-person training system, Recruitment Counselor Training Online!
Key Takeaway: Selecting the right women will make your recruitment smoother and more enjoyable for the PNMs.
- What’s in a name? Think about how language affects PNMs during recruitment.
- Check out the full NPC Recruitment Counselor Guide
- E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about our Recruitment Counselor Training Online program with NPC.
Planning More Than Formal Recruitment
That’s right! There’s more to life than just formal recruitment.
The fatal flaw we see in Panhellenic Vice Presidents of Recruitment is that they focus solely on primary recruitment and forget about the rest of the year. There are at least nine months when your sorority community can be building relationships with and recruiting outstanding women on your campus. But Panhellenic sets the expectation for your community and therefore should demonstrate that recruitment happens everyday.
- Take a look at your rules. Are there policies in place that restrict interaction between chapter members and unaffiliated women on campus? If so, you probably need to reevaluate your system. You want to encourage interaction and Positive Panhellenic Contact.
- Create opportunities for interaction between chapters and unaffiliated women on campus. Think about hosting events for other groups of students. Partnering with student organizations to plan programs. Or just get your chapters out and visible on campus and interacting with others.
- Encouraging your community to embrace Positive Panhellenic Contact, when they have never done so, may be scary for them. Take the time to talk about why we want to encourage interaction between chapter members and unaffiliated women and help them understand the intention behind Positive Panhellenic Contact. It may take some training of chapter members, but will make it possible for your chapters to build great relationships all year.
The more your community is visible and engaged on campus, the more great women can get to know the authentic side of sorority. We know this can be a key ingredient to having a successful recruitment. And getting your community out there all year is the first step to building those relationships!
Key Takeaway: Your job doesn’t stop, just because formal recruitment is over.
Working with Your Recruitment Chairs
Every Panhellenic Officer should offer support and education to her namesake officers of each chapter.
One of your major roles as a Panhellenic Officer is to provide guidance and training to the chapters’ officers. Each chapter is unique and therefore will need different forms of support, so think of ways you can work with your Recruitment Chairs individually and as a team.
- Schedule monthly roundtable meetings so that you can get updates on what each chapter is doing to recruit and engage women year-round and you can also update them on the programs Panhellenic is offering. This should be a collaborative meeting where chapters work together to address issues, provide input on recruitment plans, and come to consensus on proposed changes. Conversation during these roundtables can build trust among the chapter officers, which will a great benefit during formal recruitment.
- Meeting at the beginning and mid-way point of each semester with each Recruitment Chair to help her create and set goals, and also assess her progress toward her goals. You may bring tips or educational resources to her as well so that she may better assist her women in recruiting quality and quantity.
- Ask your Recruitment Chairs what kind of resources you can provide that would help them. Maybe they need a LaunchPoint recruitment speaker to come and educate their chapters on new techniques, maybe they want tips on how to train their awkward members to have conversations, or perhaps they are hoping you’ll create a new program to better prepare PNMs for formal recruitment.
Creating an open dialogue between not just you and the Recruitment Chairs, but also amongst the Recruitment Chairs will make all of your jobs easier. We know that there is sometimes a degree of distrust among chapters when it comes to recruitment. Building relationships on your team allows everyone to voice concern and handle things in a Panhellenic manner rather than resorting to rumor and secret reporting.
Key Takeaway: Great relationships between chapter Recruitment Chairs will result in a better recruitment experience for everyone!
- Here are some tips for student leaders working with other students.
- Here’s a TedTalk from Simon Sinek about how leaders make their team feel safe
Taking the Distractions Out of Recruitment
In this section you will learn how to navigate a “No Frills” recruitment process.
Over the past year, the National Panhellenic Conference released legislation to enhance the Panhellenic primary recruitment process. This purpose of this legislation is to promote the focus of values-based recruiting and less of the extraneous additions that have become part of the norm on many college campuses. While this legislation left many chapters and councils wondering how they would recruit without skits or preference letters, it gave everyone the opportunity to focus on what really matters: values-based and meaningful conversations that lead to potential members finding their fit in a Panhellenic chapter on campus. In an effort to help your council navigate this legislation, here are some additional thoughts and suggestions to get your chapters to buy in to these changes:
- Focus on conversations between chapter members and potential new members about organizational values and member organizations.
- By having meaningful conversations that go deeper than “What’s your name and major?” you have the opportunity to understand if a woman’s values are in alignment with chapter values. Chapter members should practice their conversation skills to ensure that they are asking good questions that allow potential members to provide authentic answers, demonstrating her personal values and what she is looking for in a sorority experience.
- Establish guidelines for membership recruitment budgets and set a cap on membership recruitment expenses, including the value of all donated goods and services.
- When you put a cap on your expenses, it levels the playing field for all organizations. This allows the chapter women to focus less on decorations and distractions and more on conversations with potential members.
- Keep decorations to a minimum and confined to the interior space used for recruitment rounds.
- Focus less on the added items such as food and beverage as well as decorations, and more on the meaningful conversations. Potential members aren’t going to choose your organization over another because of the dozens of roses your alumnae donated or the candy filled apothecary jars filling your foyer.
- Determine recruitment event attire for chapter members that reduces individual financial burden and eliminates costuming.
- Not every woman can afford to purchase brand new clothing to match her chapter members for every round of recruitment. In an effort to make the process more inclusive, remember that there are women from a range of socioeconomic statuses within your chapters and choose attire that is casual, common, and affordable.
- Eliminate gifts, favors, letters and notes for potential new members.
- By the time you get to Preference round, there should be no need for a letter or note as you should be having personable and meaningful conversations without the need for a crutch. Talk to your potential member about what really matters to her and to your chapter. This is your final chance during primary recruitment to know if this woman aligns with your organizational values and purpose.
- Eliminate recruitment skits.
- While skits may be fun and enjoyable, they really detract from the important dialogue that should be taking place during the recruitment process. There are other ways to show your chapter’s personality such as through the events and programs you host throughout the year and that you discuss in primary recruitment.
As you read through this you may find a common theme: focus on meaningful conversations because that is what is important during the primary recruitment process. The NPC didn’t decide to enact this legislation to take the fun out of recruitment; rather they wanted women to refocus on making connections with potential members that allow potential members to find their home away from home and chapters to find the women who most closely align with the values of their organizations. At LaunchPoint we hope to help ease the learning curve by providing education and conversation about what really matters in the sorority recruitment process.
Key Takeaway: Focus less on the aspects of your process that aren’t important, such as decorations and skits, and more on meaningful conversations that help you create relationships with women who may, one day soon, be your sister.
- A message from the NPC Chairman introducing Values Based Recruitment.
- Here is an article I wrote years ago about the topic of leaving frills behind.