by Jason Allen
We know that mentor is an overused word in our work. However, the sentiment remains: people need someone to look up to for guidance, to be challenged, and to be supported. Fraternity men, and future fraternity men, especially need that now more than ever.
Insert bRho Gamma idea here.
The first time I heard “bRho Gamma” as a phrase, I laughed. I laughed hard. It’s ironic, because we hear all the time that IFC Exec members are trying to remove the typical “bro mentality” from their community. But, the concept is brilliant and essential for successful fraternity recruitment: a young man to guide other young men through the struggles and triumphs of recruitment is immensely helpful. It is something our Panhellenic sorority friends have been really good at for years, so SHOUT OUT to y’all.
IFC men, don’t read that last sentence as we now have to do something that is anti-Panhellenic, which is what we typically jump to. They have figure out a way to make recruitment guides work for them, and we can do the same.
If done correctly, IFC recruitment guides would directly impact the way we view and run recruitment. With recruitment guides, and a strong recruitment guide program, PNMs could ask questions to an unbiased person, get to see more chapters than the ones they have heard or seen, and building early community with a recruitment group before they officially enter into the IFC community. At Phired Up, we believe a great recruitment guide program has three fundamental parts, and two supplemental sections: Recruit; Select; Train; Running Recruitment; and Post Recruitment.
Recruit great men to be recruitment guides is where the program truly starts. In our recruitment of guides, we need to be sure we are setting expectations early and often for what recruitment guides will do. This way, we hopefully prevent the guys from signing up who are doing it just to say they were doing it, or they were “voluntold”, or the dreaded word- mandatory! If we have an enticing recruitment plan, with tangible outcomes for the guide program, then best of the best from the community will volunteer. Cast your net wide for how you choose to recruit; this will lead to a larger pool of applicants.
Select guides who you know will do a great job. Don’t be afraid to have standards for these guys. Think outside of only GPA, service hours, and leadership positions; even though those are just as important. What do they value? Do they have references? Did they answer the application questions seriously and realistically? Will they have ample time to do this role? Again, I want to be sure you all understand, it is 100% okay to have high selection standards. This again is how we ensure we have the best of the best. Have interviews, have group interviews, watch them interact with each other, see if they are comfortable pulling down their cool guy mask, and if they can just relax and be themselves. We want to be sure we are selecting men who can truly counsel, guide, and lead these PNMs to recruitment success.
Train these guys to be full of resources and compassion. Sure, they should know a few facts about each fraternity, and some base level knowledge. But, they should know the values and vibe of each chapter, some of their interests, and the type of men they are looking for. We should have each chapter come train our recruitment guides on this information; not their colors and founding date alone. Have professionals from your campus and community come in and teach the guides about varying topics. These guides should be able to offer a brotherhood tour, and not just a house/fact tour. Our job is to make sure the guides feel confident in their abilities to lead PNMs to a bid from their a chapter, or explore other activities on campus if IFC is not right for them.
Running recruitment should be fun for our guides. Yes, they are going to have to do some problem solving, and maybe some coaching of our PNMs. However, recruitment should be fun. We need to be sure they feel motivated, continue to be empowered, and know that we appreciate what they are doing. And post recruitment should also feel like an accomplishment; particularly in the early years of a new recruitment guide program.
I think, as men, we often feel uncomfortable sharing our feelings and appreciation for someone. But, people will 100% do more and go above and beyond when they know and feel they are appreciated. We get to model good behaviors here, and share some bromance love.
I know this type of program feels new and weird, but it will work. We have to be willing to try new things, or we will continue to be frustrated with the same results. Maybe we don’t call it “bRho Gammas” (no judgment if you do), but we need these guides to make a better recruitment process for our PNMs.
If you are interested in being a pilot for IFC recruitment guides, email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org.