Monday, August 4, 2014

Recruitment Conversation All-Star Tips

{photo credit: ASU Delta Gamma}

It's the most wonderful time of the year!  Nope, not the holidays... recruitment!  That's right, Bid Day and meeting the new additions to your chapter are right around the corner.  But before that can happen, recruitment needs to happen first.  It's time to get dressed up, sing songs, possibly lose your voice, and spend a few long days & nights with your sisters!  In all seriousness, recruitment really is our favorite time of the school year.  And, we can't forget what's most important here... the potential new members (aka PNMs).  Yes, it can sometimes feel like friendship speed-dating.  But, you're on a mission to make a connection; you're on a mission to find your new sisters.  Keep our key tips in mind, and you'll feel like a recruitment conversation all-star in no time!

#1: Make a Connection
When talking to the PNMs, your goal is to get to know them.  Make a connection!  Find out who she is, beyond just her major and what hometown she's from.  What are her interests?  What's her group of friends like from high school or back home?  What activities or hobbies does she enjoy?  Share a laugh together, break the ice.  Let her feel invited to share more about herself with you.  Tell a personal story, and encourage her to do the same.  Get to know who she is beyond the surface.  Your warm & friendly attitude will help for both of you to feel more comfortable and natural, in a setting that can sometimes feel otherwise.

#2: Ask Thoughtful Questions
Ask open-ended questions.  The PNM's replies should require more than simply a "yes" or "no" answer.  Take that question, and roll with it!  Lead it into a conversation.  Talk to her like a friend, where you each share your thoughts.  Nobody likes to have questions fired at them (which feels more like an interview) so talk about each topic a little before moving on to the next.  If you can tell she's not enthusiastic about the topic at hand, be prepared to lead into something else.  Find common ground.  Don't focus on "selling" your sorority too much; focus more on getting to know her.

#3: Topics, Topics, Topics
Okay, you're meeting a girl you have never met before, and you have to talk to her for anywhere from 5-20 minutes straight.  Piece of cake!  Have an idea of what you want to talk about, and where to take the conversation if it needs some help.  You want to have the best conversation possible with each PNM, to get to know her without the little factors (like feeling nervous) getting in the way.  Since you've been through recruitment before, you be the pro & guide her.  Here are a few favorite topics:

  • Ask her where she's from.  Lead it into a conversation about where she's traveled to, or any other places she has lived over the years.
  • Ask her how recruitment is going, how she's liking it so far.  What made her want to join a sorority?  You can share how you felt going through recruitment (keep it positive & neutral), and why you wanted to join a sorority.
  • What made her want to come to your university?
  • Is she living in a dorm?  An apartment?  Does she have a roommate?  Ask her how she likes it.  If you lived in a similar dorm or apartment, you can share about it too.  If the topic goes well, you can ask her how she decorated it!
  • What are her friends like back home, or from before coming to college?  This can lead into talking about how your organization can provide great friendships.  Make it personal-- mention the friendships you have made, and what they mean to you.  And in general, friends are a safer topic than family.  
  • Did she play any sports or do any activities in high school?  Talk about it.  For example, if she played volleyball & your chapter has an intramural team, she would probably love to know!
  • A sincere compliment on something she's wearing is great when you truly mean it.  Be mindful to not talk about shopping/clothes for too long, and lead into another topic that will help you get to know each other in a more meaningful way.  
  • A good icebreaker: favorite places to eat around campus.  
  • The "what's your major?" question is bound to happen, but try to not rely on it too much (especially after the first day of recruitment, she's been asked many times by then).  Your topics should be a well-rounded balance of school, fun, and friends.  After all, your organization is well-rounded too!
  • Partying, guys, bad words, etc... avoid them, as you probably already know!  Gracefully change the topic if it gets brought up.  There is so much more to friendship & sisterhood other than these topics, and that's what you're trying to get to know about her in a short amount of time.
  • Is the PNM funny & quirky, and you're funny & quirky?  By all means, be yourself!  Keep the conversation appropriate, and you're golden.

#4: Find A Happy Medium
Recruitment conversation is all about balancing happy mediums.  Talk about her, talk about you/your organization, laugh together, get sentimental together.  In other words, don't make it all about you or take yourself too seriously.  Stay away from the negative, focus on the positive.  Yes, complaining that your feet hurt counts as negative; be present in the moment of your conversation, instead of worrying about your feet.  Have fun and be natural, and follow your chapter's guidelines as well.  Find a balance, like the conversational flow between two friends, which brings us to our next tip...

#5: Be Friends
Once you break the ice, treat the conversation as you would with an old friend.  Give the PNM your genuine undivided attention.  Let the topics flow easily.  Be authentic.  Connect with good eye contact.  This will help both of you to be your true selves, and will also help both of you decide if your chapter is her home sweet home.

#6: Be Kind
No matter what, there's one rule of thumb-- be kind.  Be polite, be respectful, be gracious.  Treat each PNM you meet with genuine kindness, and you're already an all-star.  Great conversations make you & your house stand out, and leave a positive lasting impression for everyone!

Sure, recruitment can be stressful at times.  But more than anything, remember how much fun it is too!  It's an honor to recruit the new members that will carry on your chapter's legacy long after your graduation.  Enjoy the little moments, and each conversation.  You'll be celebrating with your new members at Bid Day before you know it!

(p.s. don't forget to check out our Master List of Bid Day Themes!)


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