Recruitment Rules, They Rule! (What do you think?)

by Matt Mattson (Content within by Blake Bradley, Illinois Wesleyan University)

annoyed-woman-wagging-fingerToward the end of this post, you’ll find the contents of a Facebook Note written by our friend, Blake Bradley.  He writes about recruitment rules regarding Facebook usage, and his opinion on them.  Reading this got me thinking about recruitment rules implemented by fraternity and sorority councils on campuses all around the country.

I remember an experience I had this summer when I visited a northwest university with a sizeable fraternity/sorority community.  I happened to be there for the two days before formal sorority recruitment started.  As I was walking around the Greek side of campus, I noticed sorority women in two separate houses behaving strangely.

At one house, they were all standing outside their house, facing the street, chanting, singing, and screaming to… nobody.  At the other house they were walking out of their front door, in single file lines, with their hands behind their back (and perfect posture), to line up along their front walk to apparently welcome… nobody.  Weird, I thought.

So, I asked the second group what they were doing.  Their initial response was… nothing (they weren’t allowed to talk to boys that day).  After I apologized for breaching their sacred silence, and explained what I do for a living, they quickly, politely, and dismissively explained that they were practicing for formal recruitment week.  When I asked why they had their hands behind their back, they explained that they made their members keep their hands behind their back during recruitment because they weren’t allowed to touch potential new members.  Had their been some incident of inappropriate touching, I asked?  She didn’t answer, and walked away. Hmmm…

I did a fun experiment.  I Googled “fraternity recruitment rules,” and “sorority recruitment rules” to see what I would find. I didn’t actually open a single page, I just copied/pasted the most interesting excerpts that showed up on the Google search page.  I realize all of these are out of context and without explanation, but let me share them and then pose some questions for consideration.

Quotes I found when I Googled “fraternity recruitment rules.” [121,000+ Entries]

“Rules for Silence: 1) No PNM is aloud to go to a Fraternity house during Formal Recruitment. STRICT SILENCE”

“Theta Chi broke recruitment rules for a second time this semester by passing out fliers at the Welcome Back Picnic”

“And there is also the general expectation that no fraternity will use women as a recruitment tool”

“Each fraternity may host a maximum of two summer recruitment events”

“This rule stipulates that each IFC chapter can offer membership bids to a maximum of …”

“Recruitment: A series of parties given by fraternities or sororities by which new members … “

Quotes I found when I Googled, “sorority recruitment rules, contact.” [58,000+ Entries]

“Sorority women may not drive potential new members to recruitment parties or any other recruitment affiliated activities in personal vehicles due to …”

“Sororities who violate of the rules set forth for all slideshows shown throughout Formal Recruitment shall be subject to a fine of fifty dollars for the …”

“Please stick to normal friendly everyday contact but without talking about sororities and sorority recruitment.”

“Potential new members may not under any circumstances be present in any of the sorority houses, with the exception of recruitment parties”

“Rules governing silence during Formal recruitment. 1. SILENCE is defined as being no conversation or contact between potential members and sorority members …”

“No sorority member may buy anything for or contact a Potential New Member”

“Strict and absolute silence (no conversation or contact) will be observed by all”

“No fraternity member may buy anything for a potential member (meal, soft drink, etc.). “

Recruitment rules are interesting to me.  I am always curious 1) Where did those rules come from? 2) Do those rules help attract a higher quantity of higher quality members?  3) Who has the power to change those rules?  4) Are college students intelligent enough to operate during recruitment successfully/honorably without strict, detailed rules?  5) What would happen if you didn’t have those rules?  Are you sure?  6) How do you feel knowing that these rules are meant to limit your behavior?  Are you insulted at all? 7) Are rules empowering? Shouldn’t our fraternity/sorority communities be empowering?  8 ) Do the other HUNDREDS of organizations on your campus have similar rules about recruiting members, or is it just Greeks?  Why?  9) Which is more important, fairness or high performance?  Which of those two things do your rules promote?  10) Do your rules meet the tests of the NIC/NPC/NPHC/NALFO, etc., the U.S. Constitution, and/or common sense?

Check out Blake’s thoughts below about Facebook and recruitment rules… What do you think?

OMG, my life is over! You banned my Facebook.

by Blake Bradley

It seems like every year, the topic of having a presence on social media networking sites such as Facebook during membership recruitment periods come to the forefront. Everyone seems to have an opinion as to why a governing council such as IFC or Panhellenic should have some sort of policy over what types of interaction members have with new students. I think these types of rules are complete BS and completely counterproductive to any type of recruitment style regardless of the council.

Let’s face it, today’s college students…scratch that a vast MAJORITY of society today are so connected to social networking sites that many people actually form a small addition to them. When is the last time you went more than a few hours without checking your Facebook? If you still don’t think people today have a web-based social networking problem, and then explain why just about every new smart phone has a Facebook application standard? Add this with the movement of society to utilize more texting as opposed to actually calling people and hopefully you can see that there has been a shift in society to communicate with each other in means other than in person or speaking.

Furthermore, think about the last time you made a big decision as a consumer. Chances are you utilized the internet to research the potential products, see what the options were, looked at a few pictures, read some customer comments, etc. Just like you, today’s college students typically utilize the internet to help them make important decisions. Chances are they decided to attend (or at least visit) your college or university in some part through visiting the website. Many admissions offices establish a strong presence on social networking sites as well as make them available through instant messengers and such. Utilizing the information out there on the web lets people get the facts they need to support their decisions.

Fraternities and so rorities need to start realizing that this trend to handle more and more interpersonal communication via things such as Facebook isn’t going away anytime soon. If we want to really maximize our recruitment potential we should instead be embracing these sites as “new recruitment” and utilizing them as great initial contacts with prospective members. Don’t get me wrong; I am not suggesting that we completely replace “old recruitment” with some web-based app for our iPhones. What I am suggesting is that people stop trying to create limitations on how someone interacts with others and embrace today’s technologies to make recruitment better.

Imagine how easy it would be to create a names list from your Facebook friend’s list. Tip: Just list all of the non-affiliate students on your list. Trust me; you will probably have more than you think. Then imagine how easy it would be to pre-qualify those individuals on your names list based on your chapter’s established Membership Selection Criteria. Tip: Look at their profiles to determine if they would be someone you want to represent your values-based organization. If you think a profile looks questionable, mark them as more follow up needed. If the profile seems like quality, move them to the top of your in person follow-up list. Don’t just stop there. Use the communication options to outreach to them. Sure it might seem a little stalker-ish, but really which seems more realistic: Sending someone a message about something you may have in common after having looked at their profile or being able to recite their whole history after memorizing it from a recruitment application. The answer is the first one. Most people investigate new people via Facebook profiles. Not many people memorize facts about someone they have met one or two times. I could go on and on but frankly the benefits of how utilizing social networking sites can assist in meeting new people are far more than any negatives. I mean seriously, doesn’t the title “social networking site” imply that these are a place to communicate with people as a way to be more social?

One final comment that is related that really irritates me. As citizens of the US, we have this right to freely associate with others and freedom of speech. Why is it that some fraternity and sorority members feel it is ok to try to take these rights away from each other? If we really want to find great quality members for our organizations, shouldn’t we encourage our members to utilize these rights as opposed to trying to control the who, what, when, where, why and how we meet new people. I am pretty sure that normal people don’t sit around and wait for people to tell them when they can make new friends. Fraternities and sororities go wrong when they start making policies regarding interactions with people that impede on the rights that their members have as individuals. The problem is not being able to communicate; the problem is not working with each other to establish a greater community that respects each other enough to not utilize this communication as an opportunity to disrespect others.

Leading Greek Life to Excellence

by Matt Mattson

leadership“With all of the people, energy, education, and resources in the Greek world, what SHOULD we be achieving?”

I’m working with Brandon Cutler (from K-State) on a workshop for the AFA Annual Meeting this year.  Our concept was to deliver a workshop that would offer an opportunity for leaders to emerge and push the fraternity/sorority world to the level of excellence it deserves.  We wanted to see who would show up, who would be bold enough to suggest outrageous ideas, who are the people in our movement who will lead us to the next level of greatness.

We’re looking for everyone’s input by the way.  Would you be bold enough to share your wildest dreams and ideas for the fraternity sorority world?  Complete this short survey, here.

Are you a leader in the fraternity/sorority movement.  Are you working today to push our industry forward to a new and better place?  Are you dissatisfied with the current state of affairs in our industry and willing to be a revolutionary leader?  Are you taking a stand against mediocrity?

There are some great leaders in our movement right now.  Men and women that I respect deeply and who have paved the way for our potential as an industry to be reached.  We need people now though to step up and go drive us to the next level.   Will it be you?

Professionals, alumni, and undergraduates alike could become that “small group of thougthful, committed citizens” that can change the world” that Margaret Mead talked about.  Will you lead that group?

Audience Awareness (Watch this!)

by Josh Orendi

It’s easy to focus on recruitment for one week. It’s easy to put all our energy into a rush list of probable joiners. It’s easy to spend most of our time on the couple dozen prospects that express interest early on.


Socially excellent chapters do more than call recruitment “365/24/7″ they live it with an acute awareness of their surroundings. Every person in our environment provides us an opportunity to showcase our genuine curiosity and desire to improve the lives of those within our community (in small and large ways). Opportunity walks by us, sits next to us, holds a door, stands in line, and sits alone dozens of times every day.

With headphones blocking our ears, sun glasses over our eyes, fingers typing on our cell phone, and our mind either drifting through time or focused on our next destination … so many opportunities “moon walk” right past us. Choosing to be socially excellent is choosing to be aware.

Energize Recruitment with Positive Absurdity

by Matt Mattson

This time of year your recruitment efforts might need a shot of energy.  Your members are dragging, students are avoiding contact with strangers (with their stocking caps on, their earbuds in, their walking pace increased, and their eyes fixed on their own shoelaces).  It is hard to get people’s attention.  Unfortunately, many organizations try to get people’s attention through poor decisions (giant party, embarrassing antics, offensive t-shirts, etc.).

Some people, however, are creative enough to get the attention of students in positive ways — ways that actually make a person’s day better.  See the video below for an outstanding example.

In most situations, shouting compliments for “free” would be considered absurd… but you have to admit that this is something unique, positive, and kind of funny.  Best of all, it gives these guys a reason to have a conversation with strangers.

How can you get noticed on your campus?  What can you do to brighten a person’s day, break the monotony of mid-fall classes, be remembered positively, and create an opportunity to engage in conversation with other human beings?  This doesn’t have to be an organizational event with a committee, sub-committees, and t-shirts.  It could just be you and some other “horses” in your chapter choosing to be remarkable.

beboldtodayBe bold this week.  Be absurd.  Be remarkable.

Don’t buy pizzas and have a meeting in a meeting room.  Buy pizzas and hand out free slices in exchange for a good conversation.

Don’t hang up fliers on bulletin boards.  Ask people if you can tape fliers to their backpacks for a day.

Don’t write about your organization with chalk on the sidewalk.  Have a “chalk art” competition one day between classes and challenge people to color in the lines.

Don’t say “I’ll meet some people in my classes.”  Give high fives to everyone who walks into your class today.  Do that with a high five buddy.

Don’t have an info meeting about your organization. Quietly arrange a secret meeting by personal invite only… with a secret password to get in.

Make someone’s day today.  I dare you.

Shameless (and Helpful) Post *Plus Recommended Books and Blogs

by Matt Mattson

We thought we’d take an opportunity to shamelessly plug some of the features of our new website, but most of these features can help you right now!

On the new site, you can share some things about you and your organization, and you can also sign up to get some great free resources.  Subscribe to our NewsletterTell Us Your Best Recruitment IdeasShare your Recruitment Success Stories and TestimonialsNominate a Chapter for Dynamic Recruitment, M.D. 

Of course, our famous free recruitment resources will continue to grow and improve.  You can find those here.

Phirebook, our Facebook recruitment application, might be something new for many of you.  You’ll hear more about this in the months to come.

We’re excited that you can connect directly to us (the company, and our staff as individuals) through Facebook and Twitter  right through our website.

You can also follow Phired Up’s staff travels (and see how wildly busy we are) with our new calendar.

Here is something very helpful (and free!).  Have you seen the Phired Up Recommends page?  We’ll be mentioning  companies, organizations, and associations that we believe in, but there are also two lists up there already that are very helpful… Recommended Books, and Recommended Blogs.  I’ll paste those directly below:

RECOMMENDED BLOGS: The team at Phired Up Productions loves staying up to date on the latest trends and innovative ideas.  Some of the best places to do that are by subscribing to or consistently checking blogs that can help you.  Here are some of our favorites!

Phired Up Productions Recruitment Blog (of course):
Fraternal Thoughts from John Shertzer:
The Apathy Myth Blog from TJ Sullivan:
Seth Godin’s Blog (one of our favorite authors):
Keith Ferrazzi’s Blog (another favorite author):
Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values Blog:

RECOMMENDED BOOKS: Phired Up teaches the importance of continually Growing Wiser  (Step 7 of the Eight Steps). We’ve learned much of what we know by reading the great works of some of our favorite authors.  Here is our recommended reading list.

Good Guys and I Heart Recruitment (of course)
How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie)
Never Eat Alone and Who’s Got Your Back (Keith Ferrazzi)
Purple Cow, Tribes, and others (Seth Godin)
7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey)
Fierce Conversations (Susan Scott)
Remember Every Name Every Time (Benjamin Levy)
The Magic of Thinking Big (David Schwartz)
Secrets of Closing the Sale (Zig Ziglar)
Good to Great (Jim Collins)
Rules for Revolutionaries (Guy Kawasaki)
The Sales Bible and others (Jeffrey Gitomer)
Your Ritual Book! (your founders)

We’re excited to continue offering the best recruitment education, resources, and coaching available to membership organizations.  We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, and can’t wait to continue the revolution!  Be socially excellent today…

Preparing for Deferred Recruitment (Webinar Nov. 2, 2009)

by Matt Mattson

On some campuses, first-year-students can only join a fraternity or sorority after they’ve established a minimum college GPA… this is called, by most, deferred recruitment.  If this is the policy on your campus, and you haven’t already been working hard to prepare for your big recruitment class next semester, well you had better get on your horse!


Good news!  Phired Up has partnered with the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values (AFLV) to provide a boost to deferred recruitment campuses preparation.  The information is below. 

If, by chance, you can’t join us for this webinar, then focus now on these three simple things to prepare for deferred Winter/Spring recruitment…

  1. It Starts Now! (Actually, for the smart groups, it started a while ago).  Many chapters wait until January 1 to start thinking about building their Winter/Spring recruitment class.  Dumb.  Sorry to be so blunt, but if you’re not taking advantage of the next 6 weeks of fall classes to build relationships with potential members, then that’s just dumb.  It starts now.
  2. Build a Huge Names List.  Don’t overthink it right now.  You actualy don’t have to recruit right now, you just need to build relationships between you and potential members, and between potential members and your organization.  Just make friends.  Remember, you can’t recruit who you don’t know, so recruitment doesn’t even really begin until you’ve gotten to know the people.  Get to know a LOT of people.  There are about a million ideas for how to do that throughout our website and blog.  Get people’s names and contact information, at the very least… put that info on a names list… that way you have people to call and invite to your recruitment functions come January or February.
  3. Pre-Close.  Right now, with your strongest leads, do this.

Here’s the information on the webinar!

Dynamic Recruitment on a Deferred Recruitment Campus
Monday, November 2, 2009
2:00pm EST/1:00pm CST/12:00pm MST/11:00am PST

Dynamic Recruitment from Phired Up is the system that transforms over 200 campuses and organizations each year.  The system focuses on a friends-first, values-based approach to recruiting members through social excellence, meaningful relationships, and non-S.P.A.M.-like techniques.  Campuses with deferred recruitment can experience particularly dramatic growth in the quantity and quality of fraternity/sorority members when they adopt Dynamic Recruitment.  This AFLV LeaderLink Webinar will provide participants with a basic results-driving recruitment philosophy along with a practical to-do list to prepare for and execute a highly successful Winter/Spring recruitment.

To register for the Dynamic Recruitment LeaderLink Webinar, click here.

What Sorority Women Want (from Fraternity Men)

by Josh Orendi

Recently, I visited with 77 women representing 4 national sororities during a Panhellenic meeting. (Background information is below) I asked the women if they would describe the current fraternity men on campus as "gentlemen." After several women called out in unison "hell no" and a few seconds of laughter followed, the women shared their honest feedback of the men in their fraternity community ‐ I wouldn't call their descriptions flattering. 

I then offered an exercise for us to do together and asked the ladies in the room what characteristics and qualities they wanted most from the fraternity men. I encouraged them to be brutally honest and gave suggestions " "if you want cute guys, write cute. If you want gentlemen, tell me what qualities you are most interested in. If you want tall guys, write tall. Just tell me what's important to you." The women were given note cards and asked to write down 3-5 characteristics. Here are the results:

Intelligent/Smart (51)
Respectful (36)
Dedication/Involved/Leader (20)
Friendly/Good Personality (20)
Handsome/Cute/Attractive (18)
Nice/Kind (14)
Funny (10)
Helping/Service-oriented (10)
Trustworthy (9)
Mature (9)

Not Alcoholics (8)
Honest (8)
Fun (8)
No Jerks/No Tools (7)
Polite (6)
Not Man-whore (6)
Gentleman (6)
Athletic (4)
Good Values (4)

Social (3)
Partiers (3)
Caring (3)
Easy Going/Down to Earth (3)
Responsible (2)
Not partiers (2)
Compassionate (2)
Tall (2)
Reliable (2)
Chivalrous (2)
Well Groomed/Clean (2)
Well Rounded (2)