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.