By Brittany White
When I went through recruitment, I had no idea what the sorority women were going to ask me. I had no idea that I could ask them things. I feel like every conversation surfaced around the same questions: Where are you from? What’s your major? What dorm do you live in? Who do you live with? These were superficial questions that didn’t really matter. We live in a world where so many of our first interactions with people happen over technology. The fact that we are growing up in an age where technology is our vehicle means that we aren’t always trained to be comfortable with in-person conversations. As this becomes more and more evident, I think it has become even more critical that we help our Potential New Member (PNMs) prepare for conversations in recruitment.
As Panhellenic communities across the country implement values-based recruitment practices, I want to take some time and focus on the PNM’s role in values-based conversations during recruitment. Unfortunately, I think my experience in recruitment suffered because I wasn’t prepared for my conversations with sorority women. Formal recruitment is built for extroverts to succeed because for many extroverts it is very easy to jump into a conversation with a stranger. However, for the other women in recruitment that may not be super comfortable, it’s important that we provide some tips and training for all PNMs so that they are able to carry on a conversation. Mostly, I want to help since when I went through recruitment I had no clue what was going on and it was awkward. Ultimately we are doing PNMs a disservice by not training them for conversations. Here are three ways we can do better:
1. Have PNMs ask more questions. We have the opportunity to start encouraging PNMs to ask questions to chapter members. Our process isn’t an interview. However, our chapter members are trained to ask questions and get to know the PNM. We need to provide training for the PNMs about how to ask relevant questions about each chapter so they can better understand the women and the organization.
Remember, recruitment is about creating relationships. Relationships are a two way street.
2. Make Better Use of Recruitment Booklets. So many Panhellenic communities print booklets for PNMs with information about the community and each chapter. We should consider utilizing these as a method of training for the PNMs – particularly in conversations. Our booklets give us a vessel to provide reflection questions for the PNMs to answer that are relevant to our values-based recruitment systems. It’s important for us to give PNMs the tools necessary to prepare for their values-based conversations, and our reflection questions can be a great way to help them. Reflective questions will give them opportunity to think about relevant discussion topics for their conversations.
3. Intentionally explain what Values-Based Recruitment really means. Once PNMs have arrived for recruitment (and hopefully have done their reflection questions), we can provide some tips about values based conversations, what to expect in them, and how these values conversations will benefit our overall recruitment process. The word values can be intimidating for PNMs, so it’s important for us to take the time to explain what it means for them and provide them the tools to be successful in those conversations. Our training can also include some tips about how to stay away from superficial conversations. We train our chapters to have deep meaningful conversations and we want our PNMs to understand that those conversations are encouraged.
Our conversations are vital components throughout our process and to values based recruitment. In order for our PNMs to connect with our chapter members, their conversations are critical. That makes it critical for us as sorority women to take the time to help our PNMs understand the importance and value of their conversations, and give them a little guidance on how to do it.