Promoting Values-Based Recruiting In Your Chapter :: Part II
In the first installment, I discussed how to program the kind of rush that would appeal to the persons of good character necessary for the continued life and good reputation of a Greek organization. In this essay, I will discuss how to recognize and recruit these people when they’re not at rush, and identify them when they are.
Increase campus visibility in a positive fashion.
On my bid night, our vice president asked me and my 25 pledge brothers, by show of hands, how many knew they were planning to go Greek when they arrived on campus, a question he repeated to the brothers. Six hands went up—pledges and brothers combined. The lesson here is clear: you’re only going to get so many people to come out for rush, and their reasons may not always be pure.
If you want to find good people, you have to be where they are. Encourage every brother to be involved in campus clubs, and take leadership positions if possible (you should be encouraging that anyway, in the quest for well-rounded individuals). Get involved in Freshman Orientation in any way possible, preferably as official volunteers. The first day of freshman move-ins, round up a few members, wear your letters, and offer help to the freshmen with the move. Be searching for quality men or women in your classes and activities. Everywhere a potential recruit looks, let him see an upstanding individual, and see the right letters on his or her shirt.
Don’t be afraid to make a push for big numbers in the recruitment period.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Focus on quality rather than quantity.” When it comes to selecting your membership, there’s no idea in the world which deserves more attention. However, it should be important to recognize that quantity drives quality; if you have a lot of people to choose from, you can be more selective in the people to whom you extend a bid. Then, you’ll be more likely to fulfill any suggested quantity guidelines without bidding subpar men or women. Make sure your rush is well-advertised, and if necessary, go door-to-door in the dorms asking people to come out to rush.
Make each recruit verbally qualify him or herself.
As rush winds down and you’re preparing for bid voting, you should have a good idea of each rushee’s character; of course, with the restraints of time and (hopefully) the high volume of people to consider, it’s hard to know all of them well enough to make a decision. At some point, you’re going to need to stop beating around the bush and ask, point-blank, “Why do you want to be a [your-name-here]?”
This question serves a dual purpose. First, it helps you to figure out which recruits are for real by forcing them to identify their real reasons for joining. Second, it will allow them to figure out what they’re looking for in a fraternity or sorority, which (if it’s the right fit after all) will increase their enthusiasm for your organization.
It’s important to remember, however, that this isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker; you’re putting guys on the spot with this, and some with lesser communications skills may not be able to fully articulate their thoughts. If you get the wrong answer, i.e. “I like hanging out with you guys” or “I really don’t know anyone here and you guys seem pretty popular” from someone who’s proved him or herself in other ways, don’t sweat it.
Recognize that the most enthusiastic rushee does not equal the best person for your organization.
If you’ve set yourself up for success, you’re going to have a lot of people who want in on that. Some of them will be desperate for such success, and will show great enthusiasm for your fraternity or sorority. Unfortunately, that can never be taken to mean that that person is right for your organization. He or she may be willing to do anything to get your attention for the wrong reasons and may lack a sense of the group’s vision. If that’s the case, he doesn’t need to be a part of it, regardless of how painful it may be to tell him no.
Anthony is a sophomore Sigma Chi formerly of Jacksonville University, currently applying to several institutions. He enjoys writing, the arts, and being a Sigma Chi. He is currently majoring in English with a focus on Film and plans to graduate in the Spring or Fall of 2009.