Not Just Talk — We Actually RECRUIT

logophi-onlyby Matt Mattson

Several members of our team, including me, just read the book Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard.  The author, and founder of the company Patagonia, suggests that companies “Tell the people you care about most the good work that you’re doing.  That’s what this blog is.

I’m proud of our company for a lot of reasons.  High on the list of things I’m proud of though, is this simple fact… we’re not just talk — we actually do what we teach.  I just thought I’d take a second to brag about that (and hopefully pass along the message that what we teach really works).

In many ways, we’ve built the company by using Dynamic Recruitment techniques.  I could go on and on about our “relationship-first, offer true value to customers, exemplify our values, and be remarkable business strategy”… but I’m going to skip right to the meat of what I’m talking about.  This January we’re teaching Dynamic Recruitment at over 20 different venues.  But we’re actually recruiting fraternity/sorority members in Arizona, Montana, Alabama, Ohio, Indiana, and Louisiana.  That’s just January… we’ve got a whole lot more actual recruitment work on the calendar.

Early on, I think a lot of the people who knew of Phired Up assumed we were just speakers or facilitators.  And we are.  We’re pretty good at that stuff, I think.  But we’re a lot more too.  We actually do the stuff we teach.  We know our recruitment system works because WE RECRUIT WITH IT!

Our Dynamic Recruitment, M.D. services allow us the opportunity to work directly with chapters, on-the-ground, out of the classroom, pushing them and helping them to recruit the highest quality students on their campus.  Several inter/national organizations have also partnered with us allowing us the opportunity to recruit with (and sometimes recruit for) them during expansion projects. 

My point with all of this is really simple.  When students hear our message for the first time, sometimes it seems so different than what they’re used to doing that it is hard to believe it can work better than their current system.  But it does.  Chapters around the country have told us so.  And we know it does, because we actually recruit with it.

Thanks for letting me say that I’m proud of the Phired Up team, I’m grateful to our fraternity/sorority partners, and I’m excited for the future of our movement.  Dynamic Recruitment, Social Excellence, and heightened expectations will continue to make fraternities and sororities the premier personal and leadership development opportunities on college campuses around the country.

Follow-Up or Fail

by Matt Mattson

I got an E-mail recently from a member of Delta Chi Fraternity’s expansion staff (professional fraternity recruiter).  There are two great lessons in his E-mail, so I’ll start this blog post by just sharing what he wrote.

From: Justin Sherman {Delta Chi HQ}
Sent: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 11:18 AM
Subject: Greetings!


Hope all is well with you! Just thought I’d share some information with you. Danny and I have been using your cold calling script on our current expansion. So far 100% of the men we have made contact with have set up a meeting with us. This has resulted in 30 meetings in two days. So if people need proof that the script works, here it is!

Thank you for the help at Florida State. It has made a tremendous difference at this expansion. My days are less stressful and far more productive.


Justin Sherman

There are two excellent, practical, replicable recruitment lessons from that E-mail that stick out to me…

First of all, doing follow-up calls as Phired Up has taught them (here and here) can work incredibly well.  I’m not sure I’ve ever even gotten 100% success when using those scripts, so I’m thrilled that it worked so well for these guys.  The big lesson here is simple, call!  Phired Up teaches a series of lessons about how the best recruiters in the world behave, called Behaviors of the Best.  One of these behaviors is FOLLOW UP OR FAIL! 

Once you’ve met someone and gotten their contact information, within 24-72 hours they need a phone call.  Not a mass E-mail, not a Facebook poke, not a text message because you’re too chicken to call…  Call them!  In fact, now is a great time for you to call 5 people off of your chapter’s names list.  Now…

The other big lesson I take from this E-mail is the level of intensity a high performing recruiter should be at.  Thirty meetings in two days is what these 2 guys are doing. How many should your entire chapter (of 25, 50, 100 members?) be doing?  A lot more than 30. 

I talked with a chapter yesterday that said they were going to be satisfied with having 5 meetings with potential members next week.  5? 5?!  Chapters that want quantity to drive quality (if you want to be able to choose better members because you are choosing from among more potential members), chapters that are high performing recruiting chapters… these chapters understand that they should be meeting individually with 5-25 potential members a day at a minimum — especially during peak recruitment periods.  See this example.

This really speaks to recruitment intensity.  See this recent blog post for more on that, and see Phired Up’s new E-book on 365 Days of Dynamic Recruitment for Fraternities that was written by a college fraternity man for college fraternity men for even more.

Thanks to the staff at Delta Chi for letting us post this E-mail.

Eye of the Tiger – Increase Recruitment Intensity

tiger-eyeby Matt Mattson

Your level of recruitment intensity is the difference between an average chapter and a championship chapter.

Do you approach recruitment with the Eye of the Tiger?

There are chapters that are “survivors,” and there are chapters that are “champs.”  Which will you be?  Will you be the one who chooses a level of intensity, a level of work ethic, a level of effort that will get the results of a true champ, or will you settle for surviving?

A lot of chapters we work with a) understand the system that we teach, b) have talented members, and c) have a great organization to share with the world… but they lack one simple thing.  They lack the level of intense focus and effort it takes to be great. 

Here are three ways to bring The Eye of the Tiger to your chapter this Spring.

1. Secret Meetings:  Don’t ask for help with recruitment over E-mail, at your chapter meetings, or in passing.  Quietly whisper about a secret meeting at midnight tonight about something crazy you’re going to do.  At the meeting, in a hushed voice, inspire your members with an intense vision of revolution on campus.  Your chapter is going to flip everything on its head.  You’re going to shake up campus.  And you’re going to do it by finding the best people on campus to help you.  Everything changes tonight.  Play this song in the background.


2.   Make everything in recruitment a competition.

3.   Raise your membership selection standards to an absurd, crazy, elite level.  What if your chapter decided to only accept members with a 3.8 gpa or better?  What if you only gave an invitation of membership to students who were already President of another student organization on campus.  What if members had to have been in the top 5% of their graduating class in high school to even be considered?  What if members had to have 5 letters of recommendation from professors in order to get voted upon?  What if  members had to commit to $10,000 worth of philanthropic fundraising, and a month of international service in order to get a bid?  And what if you made all that information public, and shouted from the rooftops that you were committing to be an organization that changes the world?  That would be intense.

Door Holding Campaign

by Matt Mattson

hold-door-open-t14749During a chapter-specific meeting I had before my program this weekend (we love doing these, by the way), the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter at the University of Wyoming came up with a great idea that I wanted to share.

There are a thousand ways to adapt this idea to your organization.  For further inspiration, read this and this.

So, SAE is about being a “True Gentleman.”  This is something that these guys take very seriously.  For this chapter in particular, recruitment is very important this semester, and they want to make sure that they do everything they can to drive high quality men into the group.  Here was their idea.

Because they know that Quantity Drives Quality, they want to meet as many non-Greek men as possible (and add those names to the chapter’s Names List).  This way they will have more people to choose from and can ensure that they’re only recruiting True Gentlemen.  They realized that one of the most effective and efficient ways to  build that Names List is through referrals — asking others to help them identify the best of the best men on campus.

Picture this.  Every door of the student union, library, food court, dorms, and all other high-traffic buildings on campus have a guy standing outside in the cold, in a shirt and tie, every day for a week, holding the door open for every person that walks through.  As the person walks through and inevitably says, “Thank You,” the door holder hands the person a small index card.  On the front of the card, it just says “TRUE GENTLEMEN” (no fraternity letters).  On the back of the card, it says something like this,

“You thought chivalry was dead?  We’re here to prove that true gentlemen still exist at the University of Wyoming.  Would you help us find more men like us?  We’re giving away an award for the top 100 most gentlmanly, chivalrous, and honorable men at Wyoming.  Nominate the guy(s) you think most represent a True Gentleman.”

I NOMINATE: ______________________ as a True Gentleman

He can be reached at: ______________________ or __________________.

My name is: ______________________.

The guys still have some details to work out, but they talked about having  a table in the Student Union taking nominations, setting up a Facebook Fan page for “Wyoming’s True Gentleman Initiative,” and directly asking for referrals of true gentlemen from every professor, staff member, student leader, sorority woman, administrator, freshman, etc. that they could find.  They also talked about giving away a formal prize, and taking out an ad in the student newspaper listing all the nominees and congratulating them (like the Dean’s List of gentlemen).

I loved this idea because, A) It gave their chapter members something to talk about.  So often members don’t strike up conversations with strangers because they don’t have anything interesting to talk about.  B) The campaign was truly based on the organization’s core values. C) It created buzz, but their letters were nowhere to be seen… it doesn’t look like a recruitment effort, and for that matter, it isn’t.  This is a legitimate service to the campus and after a few weeks they’ll reward someone who represents what they believe to be important — being a gentleman.  Because they were nice to people, they’ll have a larger names list and have a targeted list of nominated gentlemen that would make a great new member class. 

This isn’t about tricky marketing or flashy P.R.  It is about adding value to the campus.  It is about engaging with the community through the exemplifcation of fraternal values.  It is about being socially excellent and celebrating social excellence.  These guys genuinely wanted to do this project… not for recruitment gain, but because it is what their organization is about.  I’m guessing they’ll have some recruitment gains as well.

Be Nice to People (at least for a week)

by Matt Mattson

be_nice_to_people_bumper_sticker-p128996074143006898trl0_400There it is.  That’s my super double secret, world changing, record setting, mind blowing recruitment strategy for 2010.

Be Nice to People.  At least for a week.

Now, we think you should be nice to people all the time.  In fact, that’s a major part of being socially excellent.  But I wanted to write a practical blog with a specific recommendation that I think will drive dramatic recruitment results for your organization.  I wanted to provide a clear, actionable, cost-effective recruitment strategy for your organization to execute right now.  And that’s it.  Be Nice to People.  At least for a week.

In a few of our recent Dynamic Recruitment Workshops we’ve been teaching that “You have to give to get.”  That statement has a double meaning in our workshops, and one of those meanings is that if you want to gain access to new non-members of your organization, the best way to do it is to approach them with something of value to them.  So, in other words, instead of approaching non-members this semester with something of value to you (like “come to our recruitment event” – that’s something you would gain from), approach them with something of value to them (like “would you like a ride to the away basketball game this weekend, we’re putting together a carpool.”)

What if during your “recruitment week” this semester you kept it really simple.  No recruitment events.  No recruitment brochures.  No recruitment fliers or advertising.  You just found a way for your organization and its members to be nice to people each day of the week.  Here’s what it might look like (fraternity example).  I’M DEFINITELY GUESSING YOU CAN COME UP WITH BETTER IDEAS FOR YOUR CAMPUS… DO SO.

MONDAY:  The chapter takes the leaders of the top 10 organizations on campus out to lunch, asks them how your organization can support their efforts this semester (be authentic and willing to help).  During the conversation mention you’re trying to meet the best of the best on campus, and ask for their referrals.  Help them.  That afternoon and evening the chapter goes on a high-five campaign around campus… making as many people’s days as possible through the power of a high five.  Meet those people and talk to them. All day the chapter has been adding new names to the list and bringing their potential members with them.

TUESDAY:  The chapter is helping a campus service organization with their major project today.  Just to help and be nice.  If you happen to meet some people along the process, good for you (if you’re socially excellent, you’ll meet everyone).  That evening the chapter brings gifts to all the sorority houses, and invites them all to dinner at their place the next night.  The chapter invites everyone they see to join them at a local restaurant to watch the big game that night.  All day the chapter has been adding new names to the list and bringing their potential members with them.

WEDNESDAY:  Free hot cocoa day.  The chapter is standing out on the quad all day long (starting at 7 a.m.) handing out hot cocoa to people who pass by and meeting them.  Perhaps they also do the Greek Life Survey while they’re there.  That afternoon, a select group of members take small gifts to faculty and staff members that have helped them over the semester, just to say thanks.  At 4 p.m. the chapter starts up 5 spontaneous touch football games by going into the dorms/food courts and telling everyone that “in 10 minutes there is a massive football tournament happening in the quad, everybody change your shoes and get out there.” Wednesday evening the chapter is cooking dinner for sorority women.  While the ladies are there the guys ask for referrals.  All day the chapter has been adding new names to the list and bringing their potential members with them.

THURSDAY:  The chapter does a variation of the Free Compliments idea on the quad all day long.  Thursday’s campus newspaper runs a full page advertisement in which the fraternity recognizes, by name, the men on campus who have been referred to them over the course of the previous semester as being “the best examples of high performing gentlemen on campus.”  Just to be nice.  That evening the chapter is co-hosting (along with the residence life office, to help them fulfill their programming requirements) a communications professor who is teaching a fun, interactive seminar for freshmen guys to teach them how to improve their interpersonal communication skills and better communicate with potential love interests.  Or this. This is a free seminar and is NOT a rush event.  In fact, the fraternity’s letters aren’t anywhere on the promotional materials. This is just a cool program for freshmen. All day the chapter has been adding new names to the list and bringing their potential members with them.

FRIDAY:  The chapter spends the entire day with clipboards on campus getting people to sign up for free study tables before mid-term exams.  The study tables are free, held at co-sponsoring sorority houses, and there will be free coffee provided.  They are open to everyone.  They also hand out small sheets of paper that list the cool places to hang out this weekend to listen to local bands (especially “Friday Fun Bash”).  The chapter calls everyone on its list that afternoon to invite them to the big Pancake Breakfast planned for Sunday morning, which is raising money for charity.  That evening, the chapter goes to support a large non-alcoholic social being put on by the student government called, “Friday Fun Bash.”  They bring 25 additional people and free party hats for everyone (that they bought at the dollar store).  All day the chapter has been adding new names to the list and bringing their potential members with them.

SATURDAY:  Lunch interview day.  The chapter has been setting up 2-on-1 interviews all week that take place all day Saturday.  The entire chapter spends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in small 2-on-1 meetings with potential members… These meetings are meant to give the potential members an opportunity to interview the members about lifelong membership in the organization.  That evening is the big home basketball game starting at 7 p.m.  Starting at 5:30 p.m., the chapter goes to the dorms and hands out noisemakers and signs that were co-created by the athletics department to get more school spirit (they bring a ton of potential members with them).  The chapter leads a train of a thousand fans from the dorms over to the arena.  That night after the game, the chapter hosts a special invite-only cigar night at a secret location.

SUNDAY: Bid day.  The chapter wakes up early and co-hosts the Pancake Breakfast with the Office of Multicultural Affairs.  During the morning, a handful of members have, by 9 a.m., made a phone call to everyone who has shown interest in the fraternity this week to thank them.  The chapter spends the middle part of the day visiting sororities that gave them referrals, and thanking them (and inviting them to join them for dinner that evening with their new members).  Early afternoon, the chapter quietly offers bids to their chosen new members.  Later in the afternoon the chapter brothers pair up with new members and go around campus exemplifying their values and doing good deeds for strangers to set a positive example for their new members.  That evening the chapter serves as excellent hosts to the sorority women they’ve invited to dinner, and they make their new members feel like kings.

Repeat something similar next week.

Repeat the next week too.

How Members Really Vote

by Josh Orendi

Most people think voting happens with a secret ballot or a show of hands in a chapter meeting.  This may be true for official orders of business, but there’s a much more obvious and more powerful voting process that’s happening every day.

Members – college students in particular – vote with their TIME and MONEY.  Every dollar is a vote.  Every minute is a vote.

Ask your members what they value and you may or may not get an honest response.  But … ask them to pay $10 for that product/service and the true value of your idea is instantly revealed.  Ask them to invest 15 minutes at a non-mandatory meeting and the value of the initiative is revealed.

An unreturned email is a negative vote.  Perhaps against the content of the message, perhaps against the organization, perhaps against you.  A returned email is a positive vote of continuing engagement.

A member that shows up on time is voting with his/her presence.  So is the member that no-shows.

Attending every social function … missing every service project.  That’s a vote.

A member that pays dues in full is voting, the reverse is also true for the member that stiffed you.

Ask the members if they’d be open to having an expert come work with the chapter.  They usually say “YES!”  Ask them to pay a few dollars per person (outside the budget) and see if support continues.  There’s your vote.

What do your members value most based on how they choose to invest their non-mandatory time and dollars?

Dollars and minutes are voting instruments that are cold, pure, honest, and revealing.  Embrace them.  If a member isn’t willing to pay and/or doesn’t want to show up, that’s a pretty clear vote that you’re not providing something that he/she values.

Q:  Are good members telling you that your idea/organization lacks value, or are you offering a good idea/organization to the wrong people?

Let me suggest that if they aren’t excited to attend and/or pay a few dollars, they’ve voted.  You either need to offer your members something they value or get members that value what you’re offering.

A:  When the votes are tallied, if they won’t pay or show up, you either have a leadership problem or a recruitment problem.

This Stuff Applies Well Beyond College…

The Phired Up team is always reading other blogs, following experts in other industries on Twitter, and looking for outside inspiration.  We recently came across a great post from the world of corporate recruiting that really proves that…

1. Social Excellence works.

2. People join people.

3. All the stuff we teach undergraduate college student leaders applies well beyond the college experience. 

Check out this blog post from Michael Spiro at Recruiter Musings.  He gave us permission to repost this blog…  How does his concept of “NUGGETS” apply to your work attracting a high quantity of high quality members for your organization?


Nuggets: A Secret Interviewing Technique

A couple of years ago, I recruited and represented a candidate who was set to interview with a client of mine for an Operations Manager position at a medium-sized manufacturing company. My candidate had a successful history of managing operations for several small to mid-sized companies in the same industry niche as my client’s company. And by coincidence, he only lived a short distance from the client’s plant. After the interview was scheduled, I found out that another recruiter had presented a different candidate whose background included many years working for one of the Top 5 consulting companies in the U.S., with extensive operations experience at several Fortune 500 manufacturing clients. After hearing that (and seeing that other candidate’s impressive resume) I figured my candidate’s chances were pretty slim against such formidable competition.

After both candidates had completed the interview process, to my amazement my candidate was offered the position and immediately accepted! Since I had a close relationship with the hiring manager, I felt comfortable asking him how that hiring decision had been made. I didn’t want to “look a gift horse in the mouth,” but on paper at least, the other candidate seemed so much more qualified. What I learned was quite enlightening. The “Top 5″ candidate came in for his interview and took the tour of the plant. He looked around and nodded and smiled at everyone and everything. He had certainly been in similar, much larger facilities, and had little to say – he’d been there, and done that. When he met with the company executives, he regaled them with tales of his achievements at other companies in their industry, and did a good job of convincing them that he had all the skills they were looking for and more. He was the real deal … he zeroed in on their specific needs – as any good consultative salesperson would – and expressed confidence in his abilities to solve their problems and do what needed to be done. This guy was a real pro!

When my candidate went in, it was quite a different experience for the interviewers. During the tour of the plant, my guy recognized several local associates who worked there, and greeted them warmly with handshakes and quick references to other common friends. When shown the facilities, he commented over and over again at how impressed he was with how clean the place looked, and how fantastic their equipment was. He complimented everyone he met on their company’s high quality products and excellent reputation in their industry. He remarked repeatedly that he’d heard great things about them, and was honored and excited to be considered for a position there. Having done his homework (and received a thorough prep from me!) he connected with several of the executives on a personal level – he had learned things about their backgrounds, and made complimentary comments about the things he knew … schools they had gone to, other companies they had worked at in the past, community groups and charities they were active in, etc. He even had connections with some of their kids through his own children’s sports activities, and complimented their athletic talents. And, of course, he also asked a lot of great questions, listened really well, and gave thoughtful answers – which everyone should do in any interview!

At the end of the interview process, the executives and managers met to compare the candidates, and concluded that while the “Top 5″ candidate was certainly more experienced, and possibly better qualified … the bottom line was that they simply liked my guy better! The comment my friend, the hiring manager, made to me said everything: “We all decided that we’d rather work with, spend time around, and go to lunch every day with your guy!”

The word I use to summarize the technique my candidate used is: “Nuggets.” Put simply, “Nuggets” are all those little things that anyone can pick out from another person’s background or experience, from a person’s resume, from a company, a facility — or really, from almost any situation — that you can make a positive comment about, compliment a person on, and use to connect on a personal level with the person you are talking with. It has to be sincere. (You shouldn’t invent a compliment about something if you don’t really believe it to be true – that can really backfire.) However, when done correctly, using “Nuggets” in an interview or a meeting of any kind, in an email or a phone call, or in almost any interaction with other people can increase your chances of success and cast you in a more favorable light. Making those personal connections will put you miles ahead of the competition.

Using “Nuggets” is such a simple technique, but it takes some thought and effort to implement properly. Consider how many different situations this technique can apply to: job interviews (both in-person and on the phone), emails, voice-mail messages, business meetings, sales calls, networking meetings, personal relationships — the list is almost endless. Finding “Nuggets” that you can hook into and compliment someone on is huge. Everyone loves to hear compliments … and it’s simply human nature for someone to be attracted to someone else who says complimentary things about them, and who seems impressed with them.

This technique of looking for and using “Nuggets” goes hand-in-hand with the projection of a positive attitude. I’ve coached thousands of candidates for interviews during my many years as a recruiter. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the interview process that holds true for almost every industry and every position, it’s this: the number one most important factor that determines who gets hired and who doesn’t is NOT who is best qualified, who has the most experience or skills, or who has the best resume. It’s attitude! People hire other people that they like, and want to be around. Real enthusiasm for a position or a company, true passion for your work, a sense of humor, and a genuine projection of positivism and optimism are the qualities that make a person attractive to others. It’s nearly impossible to fake those qualities. Using the “Nuggets” technique to further enhance that positive attitude is a winning combination that is certain to score you points in any situation.