by Branden Stewart, Phired Up Undergraduate Intern
The other day I went to Target with one thing on my mind: toothpaste. I’ve been out of town and hadn’t been thinking to grab any since I’d been running low. After distractions with sales on DVDs, thoughts of buying a frozen pizza for dinner, storage containers for some files I have in my apartment, and some fun t-shirts…I walked out of Target with a box of cheese balls. Not once did I even go down the toothpaste aisle.
After getting home and realizing that I had failed at my initial purpose of getting my toothpaste, I was frustrated. Here I was sitting in my room, munching on this giant tub of cheese balls, frustrated that I just spent the last hour of my life doing something pointless. Yeah, I got SOMETHING out of my trip. And to be honest, I was happy with what I got. But I didn’t get what I NEEDED.
Think about this in relation to recruitment. You graduate some amazing seniors in May, losing past chapter leaders, compassionate listeners, and the kinds of people that can always make you laugh. There is now a void in your chapter: while those people will always be a part of your fraternity or sorority, they can’t be there for your chapter every day. If you know that you’re down some great soccer players for your intramural team, why not recruit from the soccer team. If you know that your chapter will need to cultivate some new leaders soon, look at recruiting already proven leaders from your student government or RHA.
Consider a typical college student grocery shopping adventure. If you don’t want to waste a lot of money, you go in with a list: cereal, ramen noodles, macaroni and cheese, frozen pizza, and Doritos. Once you get to the store, you make sure to look for the things that are on your list, but you might also pick up some other things that you didn’t know you wanted or needed: gum, a magazine, soda, and ice cream. By the time you head out of the store, you’ve left with what you NEEDED (and you might have even gotten a little EXTRA if you had enough money).
Look at recruitment the same way. If you don’t want to waste your resources on people that won’t move your chapter forward, go into recruitment with a list: athletes, student leaders, honors students, and student employees. Once you get into recruitment, you make it a point to recruit the people that you know you NEED to make your chapter great, but you can also meet and look at everyone else that could someday make a great brother or sister like the guy next to you in your first class or the girl who works out at the same time you do. By the time you’re done with recruitment, you’ll have left with the things you NEEDED (and you might have even gotten a little EXTRA if you were socially excellent).
If you go into recruitment with your “grocery list” and you know what you’re looking for, there is a good chance you’ll spend the time and resources that you have getting the best members to move your chapter forward. You don’t have to be ultra-specific with your list; if you’re looking for all the dark-haired, green-eyed kids, you read this blog wrong. Put your best foot forward to collaborate with your brothers or sisters before school starts to develop what you’re looking for on your “grocery list”, and don’t forget what you came to get in the first place: a high quantity of high quality new members.
[Guest Blogger Keith Collier, an undergraduate from Grand Valley State University's Delta Sigma Phi chapter, was inspired to write this blog for Phired Up to, in his words, "pay it forward."]
ABOUT KEITH COLLIER: I am currently the Recruitment Director for the Epsilon Tau chapter of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity at Grand Valley State University. I have one semester left as an active member and will be graduating in December 2010. I am extremely passionate about recruitment and our Grand Valley Fraternity and Sorority community and am interested in bettering our community in every way possible. I have been learning from Phired Up on a daily basis, especially from their recruitment book, Good Guys and now I want to give back and explain what has worked for me by paying it forward, here, now.
Classes are done, finals have been successfully completed (hopefully), and summer has started shining upon us all.
Time for “Summer vacation”. Right?
Well for some, summer vacation consists of laying out by the pool with friends; for others, it’s working a summer job and might not seem like much of a vacation-however, it’s all about perspective. I am blessed to have one of the best summer jobs imaginable.
Currently I work as a summer orientation assistant for the Grand Valley State University Admissions office. Every weekday during the summer a new group of 100+ incoming freshman are eagerly and nervously awaiting their first taste of college life. While it might be my 40th day on the job going through the same process over and over again, it’s their first day, and a very important one. It’s crucial to make a lasting impression on every student possible-especially those men and women, who show potential in becoming a rock star within Fraternity and Sorority life.
Going into this summer, I knew I was going to meet a lot of new students but I never knew how beneficial it could become for Grand Valley Greek life and more specifically a names list. Men and women alike are very interested in Fraternities and Sororities here at Grand Valley and with this job I am able to put them in touch with the right people, dispel any stereotypes, and “plant the seed” in their minds before they step onto campus in the Fall. This aspect is extremely rewarding.
In addition to Greek life as a whole, summer recruitment and the idea of Social Excellence is alive here at Grand Valley State University. On any given day my two other brothers/co-workers and I meet at least 10-15 quality men and women who are saying to us, “Yes, I am very interested in your Greek community and will be checking it out in the Fall.” If you add it up throughout the summer, it easily totals 700+ quality men and women. Numbers like that would almost double our Greek life here at Grand Valley and bring in new and vibrant members/ideas/enthusiasm.
Having this job exposes you to every incoming freshman, BUT with any job, the job title alone doesn’t mean work is getting done. It’s almost the same thing as wearing your letters around campus and waiting for someone to ask you about Fraternity and Sorority life. Here’s the trick with a job such as this – hard work. Crazy concept, right?
You have to be willing to work, hard, everyday. Yes, it is the summer, but despite popular belief even today, recruitment never ends. Day in and day out, you need to bring your “A” game because with this job, you have one day to genuinely capture their attention and interest in order to follow up in the Fall. You have to strive to be Socially Excellent and be ready to make the extra effort to remember their names, get their contact information, add them on Facebook, and then take the time to follow up with these potential members throughout the summer and into the Fall.
The most important thing to remember with summer orientation is to make every student feel as comfortable as possible with his or her first real college experience. As mentioned earlier, first impressions are everything and incoming students will remember you for years, if not a lifetime and when the formal recruitment process rolls around, get ready, because its just that, very formal (for the most part). Summer, however, is not. I would recommend using the relaxed environment of summer to your advantage and grow the bond through casual meetings, lunch, summer events, really anything you can think of. More than likely you will have more time in the summer, so grow a deeper connection now because it will make the “formal” portion of recruitment that much easier.
Make them your friend, introduce them to your friends, introduce them to your Fraternity and Sorority community, invite them to join and become an actively engaged member. All it takes is hard work (Dynamic Recruitment), being Socially Excellent on a daily basis, and the “right” summer job to boost your names list and your Fraternity and Sorority community.
by Matt Mattson
We deeply respect Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. I know many colleagues in our fraternity/sorority field share that sentiment. We look to Beta as an organization that consistently leads with integrity and continually delivers fraternity with excellence.
Our partners at the NIC just posted a blog on how Beta has adapted the NIC’s proven 5 Step Recruitment Process by adding a sixth step, and I had to immediately look into it. As expected, some great stuff on recruitment can be found if you read what I read.
You should read those.
Below are some highlights from what I read…
There are more highlights throughout… mostly I wanted to give some props to our friends over at Beta Theta Pi. They’re good.
by Josh Orendi
What a cool word. Don’t you think? Well, I’m a little bias because I think I just made it up. ha!
I don’t know where the word Indistractable came from, but it’s been stuck in my mind for two days now. I like that it sounds powerful and intentional. It sends a message of action. When I repeat it in my mind I picture someone with laser focus, singular purpose.
In reviewing the hundreds of blogs on the Phired Up page and thinking about the thousands of recruitment ideas, tips, stories, and testimonials that we love to share … I had a moment of clarity. There is a time for gathering ideas, and there is a time for action. When any of us arrive at the moment of action, that is when it happens. You know what I mean, right? Remember that moment at the free throw line, the second before tearing the seal on the SAT exam, or the part of the evening when you lean in for the first kiss? It’s that moment of being in the zone, being fully present.
It’s a beautiful, euphoric experience to be indistractable. To know exactly what you want and know that you are in hot pursuit. Most of us live for and love those moments. They are the times when we are at our best doing things that we define as most important in our lives. Those are the moments when we are truly brilliant … being not thinking … tuned in 100%.
I mention all of this to draw your attention to the rarely discussed skill that makes all this possible. Not adding new information, but deflecting it entirely. The ability to shut off all the input, silence the inner voice, block out the external noise, live entirely in the moment, and be excellent.
On an everyday level this is the difference between being paralyzed by a long to-do list and being intentional about completing the most important single item on that list. In a room full of strangers indistractable is the difference between feeling overwhelmed or awkward and choosing to give yourself entirely to a conversation with one new friend. During a recruitment speech it’s the difference between speaking from your head and speaking from your heart. Indistractable will be the moment in time this year when you personally place the pin of your organization on your best friend and know that you can call that person your brother/sister for the first time.
Indistractable. What a powerful word with a profound implication.