Are You Playing Checkers or Chess When It Comes to Fraternity Recruitment?

by Taylor Deer

The difference between Checkers and Chess is vast. One of simplest ways to identify the differences is to take a look at who plays the game. Anyone can play a game of checkers, the rules are simple, you don’t have to strain your brain, there is a limited amount of options you can use to win the game. Heck if you lose, just blame it on the opponent not moving their back row.

On the flip side, only smart people play chess. How many times have you heard someone say “Chess is too tough for me!”. Chess pushes you to plan, to think 2-3 moves in advance, to out-think and out-strategize your opponent every step of the game. Every win and every loss can be learned from because you know what strategies you implemented and how to change them next time.

You can teach a gorilla how to play Checkers. Only the smartest, most cunning players play Chess.

When your chapter gets ready for recruitment, which game do you play?

I bet you that every other chapter on your campus is playing Checkers. Clean our house. Get our old trophies. Grab our flag. Find a table at the club fair. Stand in front and Ask “Hey have you ever thought about joining Greek Life?” Right next to the 8 other fraternities who are doing the same thing. Its simple. Its easy. Its safe. Heck, if you don’t get the guys you want, blame it on the IFC right?

What if we started playing Chess when everyone else plays Checkers.


Look three moves ahead:

Move 1: Ask,”Who do we want our next pledge class to be?”Leaders? Academics? Athletes? All three?

Move 2: Ask, “Where could we meet people like this?” Student Government Meeting? Intramural league? Honor society meeting? Library? Religious clubs?

Move 3: Show up to these meetings to be helpful, learn what they do. Make some friends, build some relationships.


Be strategic:

While everyone else is designing rush t-shirt logo’s, organize a pick up football game near the freshmen dorms. Walk around and find freshmen who want to join in, make some friends. While the other houses are cleaning up the party from the night before, set up a community service event with your potential new members. Invite anyone else who wants to come along. While the other chapters are spending thousands of dollars on their complicated rush events, go with some of your brothers to an on-campus activity that the university is already putting on.  Show up, have fun, make some friends, build some relationships.


Learn from your wins and loses:

Your recruitment team should be constantly asking itself “what is working for us right now?” and “What do we need to change in order to be successful?”  The best recruiters are always adapting their strategy to things that give them the greatest advantage.

Be smarter than the rest. Some chapters think recruitment is simple, that all it takes is a table with some trophies and expensive events. They are playing checkers.

If you really want to find the best men on campus, you have to learn to play chess. You have to work smarter than everyone else. Find creative new ways to meet more people and build more relationships and I promise you will find a higher quantity of higher quality men.