by Erin Chatten
What if we knew more about the potential members requesting to gain entry to our organizations? What if we prepared them to think about their intentions and desires before stepping foot into the recruitment or intake process? What if we could make an impression that our organizations are here to be more than just social? What if we could prepare our members for more meaningful and tailored conversations suited for that individual PNM?
I believe that we can accomplish all of this by just changing the questions we ask in recruitment registration or interest forms.
Now I know you may think I’ve gone a little crazy… It’s JUST registration, right? What if it could be more?
For some potential members, the registration step is the first big step an individual takes to joining. They go from that “maybe joiner” to someone who is seriously considering what lifelong membership in a fraternity or sorority will look like. This may even be their very first interaction with fraternity/sorority on your campus. Yet we make registering for a lifelong commitment mundane as if it was just another form you fill out in a doctor’s office. We can do better.
Asking better (and more) questions allows us to understand more about the potential member to figure out where that individual fits best. It also allows us to get beyond the generic questions to find those deep conversations we are seeking. There are five areas that I believe help us truly understand an individual and also reflects upon aspects of the fraternity/sorority experience:
1. Academics- High academic achievement is a goal of most organizations and is something we seek in potential members. Don’t just ask someone their GPA or their major, this rarely helps us understand where their academic priority is. Instead, ask them about how they plan to utilize their time in college to understand where the priority on academics falls. Here is an example you can use in your registration:
- Outside of sleeping and class, you have approximately 100 hours per week as a college student to allocate how you want. How do you plan to use your 100 hours? Please use the comment box to describe the number of hours and activities you would use your time for. The total time should add up to 100 hours. (For example, 25 hours studying, 20 hours with friends, 15 hours napping, 20 hours gaming, 10 hours eating, and 10 hours on the internet)
2. Identity- If you have read up on anything that has to do with Gen Z, you will know that it is important for incoming students to feel like they can maintain their personal identity. As members, we know that fraternity and sorority supports this. Instead of only asking about involvements and activities, we should learn more about how these potential members see themselves. For example, we have utilized superlatives to allow potential members to show us in a creative way who they are:
- Question Which of these options best describes you? OR Which of these options would your friends say best describes you?
- Answer: Future leader, Tech head, Stage guy/gal, Life of the party, Class Clown, Dedicated Athlete, Driven Scholar, Gamer, Couch Potato, Best Dressed, Problem Solver, Everyone’s Buddy, etc.
Feel free to get creative with these, but make sure your options teach you something about that person.
3. Responsibility- Membership in our organizations is a responsibility on its own. We are responsible for the safety of each other on a regular basis and for guarding this experience so that more individuals can benefit from the gift of fraternity and sorority. I think it’s key we ask about their attitude toward safety and responsibility. This could look like a scenario question of what they would do in a risky situation like taking care of a member who drank too much. When our team was thinking of this, we wanted to find ways to identify early behaviors or acceptance of hazing.
- Question: What do you believe someone should have to do to earn their way on to a successful team? Use the following options to select the answer that best describes your opinion.
- They get along with other team members
- They started in a lower position/team and worked their way up with time and experience
- They learned all the rules and history of the team
- They worked hard to develop their skill by themselves
- They worked hard to develop their skill with the help from team members
- They did tasks for older members of the team such as chores and errands
- They are a “good guy”
- They gave the team a good reputation
- They gave money to the team
4. Social Excellence- At the end of the day, fraternities and sororities are social organizations. That doesn’t mean you must be high on the extroversion scale to be successful, but I do believe it is helpful to know where a potential member’s social comforts are. They may hate large groups and flourish in smaller social environments, and we would have written them off as being disinterested. Social Excellence looks different for everyone, and our organizations are accepting of that. However, we rarely give PNMs a place to tell us about their social preferences to create a better environment for them.
- Question: How would you describe how you are socially? Please select up to three options that best match how you tend to socialize.
- I can chat forever with everyone I meet
- I prefer deeper conversations one on one or in small groups
- I love speaking in front of big groups
- I love to learn things about other people
- I tend to make jokes and enjoy making others laugh
- I love being the center of attention
- I enjoy socializing at times but value my alone time just as much
- I would describe myself as soft-spoken or mellow
- I stay on the surface with new people and just ask about the basics
- I have an opinion on a lot of stuff and love to talk about it with others
- I find it easy to find commonalities with others
- I find it difficult to find commonalities with others
- I tend to seek intellectually stimulating conversations
- I sometimes feel like I need to be more social
- I need to prepare myself for big social gathering by being alone
- People often tell me I’m a great listener
5. Drive- One of the best things we can learn about a person to understand who they truly are is to learn about the things that drive them and what they are passionate about. This also shows the PNMs that we care about what is important for them and that it has a place in their membership. This could simply be asking the question, “Tell us what you are passionate about.” Or, using this as an opportunity to understand what is driving them to sign up for membership and what they hope to receive from membership.
- Question: Using the options below, please select the top five reasons that best describe why you are interested in joining a fraternity.
- Meeting new people in college
- Access to parties
- Having fun
- Networking and alumni connections
- Professional/career development
- Living in a Greek house
- Academic support
- Leadership experience
- Emotional support
- Meeting romantic interests
- Participating in community service
- Finding a place to belong
- Family/friends advised me to join
- Making memories in college
- Learning about cultures different than my own
- Contributing to a team
- Being part of “something bigger”
- Becoming more social
- Having a “college experience”
- Making an impact on others
- Fueling my entrepreneurial spirit
- Finding a mentor
These questions and themes are only scratching the surface of the information we can collect to create a better recruitment or intake experience. If you utilize one of our technologies, integrating these questions can easily be done on your CampusDirector registration form, your chapter’s individual ChapterBuilder account, or your council’s ChapterBuilder Dashboard (see below for directions). I can’t wait to see and hear how you integrate better questions to receive better data and find better members.
If you are a council utilizing CampusDirector for your recruitment registration, an admin can go to Site Setup > PNM Extra Fields. Scroll to the bottom of the page where it says “Add New Field” and type in “Create” to select the “Create New Field” option. Select if you want the question to be text based, or select from a list provided*. Make sure you select “Chapter Can Access” so that the information is provided to each chapter.
If you are a chapter utilizing ChapterBuilder, you can ask these questions in a leads generating form by going to Leads Generator > Create New Form and building a form. You can create the questions by going to Setting > Fields > Create Field**.
If you are a council utilizing a ChapterBuilder Dashboard you can ask these questions in a feeder form by going to Feeders > Manage Group Fields > Create Field. Select if you want the question to be text based or select from a list provided*.
* You can only select one option from a list. If you are asking a question that allows multiple responses, you will want to create a second question that says “Option 2” with the same answer responses to allow for multiple responses.
**Note: You will only be able to have text response questions