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What If Fraternity Recruitment Were More Like ‘Shark Tank’?

by Vince Fabra

I wish potential new members were smarter.

Hear me out. Don’t be offended.

I’m not upset with the academic prowess of our incoming members. I don’t believe that their intelligence leaves something to be desired. I just wish they were a tougher sell.

If you really think about it, every year, potential new members fall for all of the old recruitment tricks. A few cliche phrases like “tight brotherhood” and “best on campus”, a fun party or two, and maybe the attention of a sorority woman or two at said party is all it takes for many potential new members to say “yes” and sign on the dotted line. Man, it is really that easy?! It has to be more complicated than that! Unfortunately, for many chapters across the country, it IS that simple. That’s why I WISH POTENTIAL NEW MEMBERS WERE SMARTER. If they were, we might actually have to do some real recruiting and communicate the real value of our experience.

I wish potential new members were more like the panel on the TV show Shark Tank. You know the show. Where young entrepreneurs stand in front of the “sharks”, where they are peppered with questions about profits, losses, earning potential etc. If you haven’t seen the show, they are fittingly called “sharks”, because if the pitch is weak and they smell blood in the water, they will eat you alive. I WISH POTENTIAL NEW MEMBERS WERE MORE LIKE THE PANEL ON SHARK TANK.

Imagine trying to sell Mark Cuban with “we’ve got tight brotherhood.” How do you think that would play out?

Imagine trying to sell Barbara Corcoran with “we’re the best fraternity on campus.” Do you think she would invest in your fraternity?

Imagine trying to sell Kevin O’Leary with “we hang out with the hottest sororities.” Would that end well?

Now, I’m not naive. I realize that the “reality” of reality TV is stretched and dramatized. However, these “sharks” are wildly successful, and they don’t have time to listen to or invest in companies with weak-ass pitches. I WISH POTENTIAL NEW MEMBERS WERE MORE LIKE THE PANEL ON SHARK TANK.

Our biggest challenge, as a fraternal industry, is with the QUALITY of our members. We have chapters that are consistently making terrible decisions across the country, and in-turn, our fraternities are looking worse and worse. I opened this post with “I wish potential new members were smarter.” That sentence should go on to read “… so that we would have to be better.” Maybe the reverse can also be true. If we are better, potential new members will get smarter. And then everybody wins. That sounds like something I’d invest in.