recruitment tips

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Question:

I am my fraternity’s VP of Membership and I basically manage and run our fraternity recruitment and new member education. My problem deals with recruitment.


During recruitment we seem to have a steady group of guys come through. Some come around every day and some stop by once. The problem that we face is potential new members that we are 99% sure will accept a bid go and join another fraternity. I do not know the source of this problem but one thing I do know is that we a have a poor reputation with other fraternities.

Other fraternities view us as the nerds, the gay fraternity, the Jewish fraternity. In all actuality we have few guys that many would consider “nerds”, we have 3 gay men, and 4 Jewish people. With a chapter of 60 brothers this obviously is a small percentage of the Chapter. I don’t know where the trash talking comes from because we do not have any deep problems with any fraternity on campus. I honestly think they view us as a threat because we continue to push out good recruitment numbers and place in almost every sorority philanthropy we participate in.

How do we make sure PNMs don’t change their mind at the last second and how do we better our reputation within the Greek community?

Answer:

I know that you brought up the perception that your chapter is the nerd, gay, or Jewish chapter on your campus. However, I am going to push past those perceptions. I simply don’t have a good answer on how to attack those issues directly. I do see that there is some over-arching problems instead. You are going to be hard pressed to answer the “trash talking” conundrum. Every chapter on every campus has this problem somehow. Let’s focus on some things that can be more directly control.

Recruiting is like a sales pitch. It sounds like to present a great product in the form of your chapter. Your chapter during recruitment is what you are “selling”, but more importantly, chapters have to sell their individual members. I want to outline a few ideas that might help you close the deal on your PNM’s regardless of the aforementioned perceptions.

1) Follow up and stay in touch

–          Too many chapters step away when they feel like that have a guy on the hook. They say to themselves, “this guy is definitely ours. Let’s focus on a guy on the fence.” The issue with that approach is then you ignore that guy, albeit unintentionally, and he doesn’t feel like he is truly wanted in your chapter. This leads to those 11th hour switches that you feel you are plagued by

2) Make sure your individual members sell themselves

–          People join people. This is absolutely true. When you buy a car, you want to trust the person that sold it to you. You as an individual chapter member have to sell yourself to the individual PNM. If your chapter is full of people that cannot make others feel comfortable joining the group, you will struggle. Nerd or gay perceptions aside, sell the person. Don’t underestimate the power of those one on one recruiting moments.

3) Overwhelm the negative perception with the positive message

–          Fraternity Public Relations should not be taken likely. In the modern age, positive and negative public relations are seconds away on Twitter, Facebook, and the like. You are passionate about all of the things that make your chapter stand out on campus. Do you advertise this effectively? Do you use facebook as a chapter or have a chapter twitter account? Online and social media is the fastest growing marketing medium in the business world. Everyone now seems to have a smartphone and has instant access to information about your chapter and your MEMBERS. Your online and social media image and marketing efforts can greatly overcompensate the negative perceptions you have described.

4) Ask questions

–          The PNM’s that chose another chapter will tell you why if you ask in a non-defensive way. Other chapters and sororities will tell you why PNM’s went another direction. Your Greek Life office should conduct a survey or gather some kind of feedback at the end of formal recruitment. You need to know why you lost a PNM in order to figure out how to tweak your approach and make improvements.

5) Recruit year round

–          This is true everywhere and in every situation. Recruiting does not just take place during formal recruitment periods. You recruit every day and in every way. You positively recruit my publicizing your events and your achievements. You negatively recruit when your members do stupid and inappropriate things. You can hype up your chapter to PNM’s 24 hours a day without having an event. We call it Guerilla Marketing in the company I work for. It cost you nothing to talk to a guy you like and you think could benefit the chapter. It cost you nothing to spend time at the rec playing pick-up games with other guys on campus. Why not do it? These are the little things great recruiting chapters do year round.

This answer was written by Joe Russo, an alumni brother from Phi Delta Theta and contributor for the thefraternityadvisor.com. If you are interested in writing for thefraternityadvisor.com – let us know (CLICK HERE)!






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4 thoughts on “5 Fraternity Recruitment Tips for ANY Chapter

  1. Check out our article in response!

    “The Fraternity Advisor recently posted an article highlighting tips for strengthening a chapter’s recruitment process. The article mentioned five main points to focus on, including how to follow-up and build relationships as well as maintaining a chapter’s image. One of the tips, “Recruit Year Round,” specifically caught our attention. At ChapterSpot, we also believe that recruitment is not just a season, a month, or a weekend. Recruitment is a year-round process that is most effective when it involves every member of a chapter.
    So how do you keep track of possible recruits and facilitate chapter member’s involvement?”…

    http://chapterspotblog.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/make-year-round-recruitment-easy-with-chapterspot/

  2. What is wrong with being called the “Jewish” chapter. As a member of AEPi, I don’t know how can that ever be a negative thing.

  3. Learn to close & always be closing.

    As for the perception issues…. people join people, specifically people like them.

    Higher education creates an environment of many diverse perspectives in order to encourage people to explore many possibilities, choose those they agree with, and tolerate those they don’t. That’s fine, but too much of anything is bad. The problem in that process is it is this melting pot that socially engineers people to the least common denominator.

    Fraternities are different. We seek out people of quality who already share our core beliefs and are drawn to us by our shared interests and backgrounds. We peel those individuals off from the masses and put them in a sheltered environment where they can grow within our shared beliefs and reach self-actualization. In other words, we narrow the focus and create an environment where individuals can become the best they’re capable of. That too would be a bad thing if it taken to an extreme. When it happens in counterbalance to what a university is doing, it comes out perfect.

    Point being, top quality guys are not going to be drawn to a group with lots of openly gay members, or pot smokers, or whatever other category you want to mention. They’re drawn to people exactly like them. Who share interests and backgrounds. Who believe in the same things. Who are striving for similar objectives. If there is disconnect between who you are and the recruiting pool, it will always limit your success.

    I don’t mean to sound anti-gay or anti-jewish or anything like that. We’ve had closeted gay members (open secret in a couple cases) in my chapter that accomplished great things. We’ve also had a few jewish members despite being a Christian based fraternity, and they also did great things. I don’t have anything against those guys or their backgrounds. I would have a problem with dude on dude make out sessions in the middle of one of our parties though. I would not join a chapter like that. I can be tolerant of homosexuality without hanging out in gay bars. That’s not the sheltered environment in which I want to decide who I will be for the rest of my life, and that is not the place from which I want to assemble a core group of friends for the rest of my life. I think that’s a natural response & when it’s a meaningful percentage of your chapter then it’s going to hurt you.

  4. I love Joe’s response to this question. Handling the negative perception that others have of you is very difficult without knowing all the circumstances. This especially hurts during recruitment.

    One thing I really like about what Joe says is making sure your brothers monitor their facebook during rush. That is likely the first place a guy is going to go to really check out the brotherhood. You can learn a ton there. If your guys tend to show their ass there, then chances are this is going to negatively impact your recruitment.

    Also note that the first 20 pages of my book are dedicated to fraternity recruitment. I lay out a systematic way of running recruitment and making sure you are improving semester after semester. If you are having recruitment issues I suggest you check it out — The Fraternity Leader

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