What Candy Crush Taught Me About Recruitment

by Tina VanSteenbergen

It was one of those mid-afternoon slumps. You know the kind; where the clock strikes 3:30 and you can’t believe it is still only 3:30. So, I do what any normal adult would do at that point; grab my phone and open Candy Crush . If anything is going to wake me up, re-energize me for the rest of this day, or at least give me something else to think about for a moment, it’s Candy Crush.

I start at Level 38, where I’ve been stuck for a while (I know that’s embarrassing, don’t judge me). But this time, this time I’m sure to beat it. I feel good about it. Even though I’ve been stagnant on this level for an extended period of time, today is going to be the day. I’m determined to beat it (no, no that’s not the recruitment lesson).

I play the level, and I lose. Only 4 squares of jelly left to clear… so close! I could give up, get frustrated, close the game or even delete the app. But not me. I’m not going to let a little adversity bring me down. I’m going to beat this thing (nope, still not the recruitment lesson).

Onward I go. I play Level 38 again. Lose. Again. Lose. Not backing down, not giving up. I go again, and again. And then, just when I’m sure I’ve figured out the perfect strategy, ready to play one final time and defeat Level 38, it happens. Suddenly the dreaded, crying heart-shaped sad face is staring up at me, telling me I’ll need to wait 16 more minutes before I have a life to play. Noooooo!

And then I notice, right under that silly heart-shaped emoticon, a button. A button that tells me that I may have Facebook Friends willing to help me—all I have to do is ask. With a simple click of a button, with a simple Facebook request (and only $0.99!) I could carry on with my quest of beating Level 38 (still not the recruitment lesson you are waiting for).

Just as I’m about to hit that button, I look up at the time. It’s now 3:50, and I have spent 20 minutes trying to beat a level of Candy Crush. Persevering, planning, striving, strategizing, even almost reaching out via social media and paying money for help from others. All to beat a level of a game on my phone.

Here’s the lesson. Here’s what in that moment Candy Crush taught me about recruitment: Nothing. Because it’s a game on my cell phone.

Well, that’s probably not fair. Candy Crush did teach me one thing in that moment: Put down your phone, Tina. Put down your phone, and go make a new friend. Seriously, Tina. Candy Crush is a make believe world of candy… being crushed. You won’t find fulfillment here. Go. Put down your phone.

No one recruited anyone playing Candy Crush. No one made a new friend, a new connection, a new brother or sister, wired into their computer or cell phone. No one changed someone’s life by persevering, planning, striving, strategizing, or connecting with virtual friends via social media over a (albeit, addicting) game on our cell phones. No one changed the world without engaging it.

What if we could channel all that energy and determination we sometimes waste on mindless pursuits into recruitment? What if instead of creating a new strategy for clearing all the jelly, we created new strategies for meeting new people? What if instead of asking for lives via Facebook, we reached out to our friends face-to-face and asked them for names of great non-Greek students on campus? What if instead of playing Candy Crush, we literally put down our phones and made a new friend?

I’m clearly not a Candy Crush expert, but it’s safe to say any of those ideas would be more productive AND more fun than continuing to fail to complete Level 38. Put down your phone, and go make a new friend.

Also, if anyone wants to give me some lives… No, nevermind.