How do we prepare for the upcoming recruitment season?
Regardless of the class structure for the fall semester, it is important to prepare for the upcoming recruitment season. To answer this question briefly, prepare for all possible scenarios. Chapters should think of all possible outcomes and prepare a recruitment program for each.
In-Person: If classes resume in-person, recruitment may be in-person as well. However, there will certainly be restrictions that chapters will need to work through. These restrictions, following CDC guidelines, may include the number of men that can gather in one place, a requirement to wear a mask and/or face covering, or how often men are able to gather. It is also very possible that while classes may resume in-person, recruitment may not. Chapters should speak with their university to gain a better understanding of how they anticipate structuring recruitment.
Chapters can prepare to host recruitment events in-person, although they may need to be smaller in scale. Chapters may plan to host several more events than they normally would to create more opportunities. Additionally, it will be crucial chapters continue to meet with men outside of their events. It is important to remember building personal relationships and friendships is the foundation of good recruitment. While events may be smaller or less frequent, chapters can still create meaningful friendships with men on campus. Chapter members can still do all the activities with their friends they normally would, but they can turn those activities into recruitment events by simply inviting one or two potential new members. If all chapter members can buy into this idea, the chapter can truly adopt a 24/7/365 recruitment mentality.
To read more about potential recruitment events, see below to discuss recruitment events specifically.
Virtual: There are several concerns that universities will remain closed and classes will be hosted online. If this is the case, it is reasonable to believe recruitment will be hosted online as well. However, this does not mean recruitment should be ignored. This is an opportunity for our chapters to excel.
As mentioned before, it is far more important to build meaningful relationships with men than it is to throw a large recruitment event. The same can be said for virtual recruitment. It all starts with name generation. After a list is built, chapters can contact potential new members and continue to communicate with them throughout the summer via phone, Facetime, Zoom, or any other online platform. We briefly mentioned virtual recruitment events, and this is where chapters can really get creative. Several chapters utilize an interview process because it is efficient, effective, and very easy to transfer to an online platform. Others have decided to stick with an event model and utilize Zoom, House-Party, online poker, and video games to connect with potential new members in a fun environment.
Combination of Both: If your university adopts a model that incorporates in-person and online learning, it is possible the recruitment process will look the same. If that is the case, utilize what we have talked about for both in-person and online recruitment to take advantage of both opportunities. A combination of in-person and virtual recruitment is the winning combination regardless of class structure. If you have a solid foundation in an online platform, as many first interactions will be virtual, in-person recruiting will allow you to create even deeper relationships.
How do we generate names of potential new members and identify men who are interested in PIKE?
Work with the IFC and university to create an interest form to be sent to incoming students: On some campuses, an online interest form is sent to all incoming students through their email to gauge their interest in joining a Greek organization. The form is designed to gather the student’s name and contact information. At a certain date, the master list of names and contact information can be made available to all organizations who are in good standing with the IFC and/or university.
Utilize a referral system to gather names from chapter stakeholders (alumni, current members, on-campus organizations, professors, coaches, etc.): Chapters can build their list of potential new members by actively reaching out to alumni, campus organizations such as sororities, professors, and coaches to ask for referrals. Ideally, these would be done in person. However, a well-drafted email can also be beneficial. The email would ideally explain our organization and our values, which should reflect the type of men we are trying to recruit. With this being the main body of the message, the chapter can ask the individual(s) if they know any men who are currently on campus, or coming to campus next fall, that fit this criterion. In the message, the chapter should also include a referral link, created on Chapter Builder, where names and contact information can be submitted. Additionally, each individual that submits a referral should be sent a follow-up email thanking them for their recommendation and receive an update on where their referral is in the recruitment process (has been contacted, has been interviewed, met with, or extended an invitation, etc.).
An example alumnus referral letter and other name generation resources can be found in the myPIKE resource center under the folder “Digital Recruitment Resources” as well as the PIKE Blog.
Social media and marketing resources:
Social media is a great tool to gather names of potential new members. Especially given the current circumstances, traffic on social media, such as Instagram, has likely increased. Chapters can utilize posts and stories that highlight the chapter in a positive light to spark interest to incoming students. These posts may include previous achievements, brother spotlights, or interesting facts about the chapter and/or International Fraternity. Chapters may also want to create a content calendar to organize their posts and ensure they do not miss a deadline and are staying consistent.
These posts should also include a referral link or prompt to use a link in the account’s bio where viewers can submit their information or someone else’s they know who may be interested. Additionally, potential new members often follow organizations on campus prior to their arrival at an institution. If you notice a new follower on the chapter’s account, do not be afraid to reach out to him.
Further information on social media for recruitment and examples of posts can be found on the PIKE Blog.
Create and distribute a recruitment scholarship: Creating a recruitment scholarship is a great way to engage with incoming freshmen during the summer. The scholarship can be marketed as an academic or leadership scholarship to help pay for an incoming student’s books or other university costs. Typically, $250-$500 is sufficient.
The chapter can create a scholarship application on Google Forms or another platform. The application should be short and only take about 10 minutes to complete. The goal of the scholarship is to receive as many applications as possible to gather names and contact information. Once the applications are gathered, the chapter can conduct interviews with the applicants and eventually award a winner. At the same time, applicants may become interested in the chapter after learning more about our organization. Applicants can be invited to a future recruitment event or simply contacted later to discuss the possibility of membership.
Chapters will want to work with the university, FSL office, or admissions office to assist in distributing the scholarship application. Most often, chapters will not be able to obtain a list of incoming students so the university can assist with distribution.
To learn more about a recruitment scholarship and set up your own, see the Recruitment Scholarship Program Guide available in the myPIKE resource center in the Recruitment Folder, and read about them on the PIKE Blog.
How do we contact potential new members after building a list of names?
Utilize Chapter Builder: ChapterBuilder is a recruitment software the Fraternity adopted in 2014, and over 120 chapters currently utilize the software in their recruitment programs. ChapterBuilder is designed to organize lists of potential new members using a grading scale, contact potential new members, and encourage chapter-wide involvement. The features available make recruitment more efficient, saving undergraduates more time when contacting potential new members and going through the voting process.
ChapterBuilder is free to all PIKE chapters, and any spreadsheet can easily be transferred into Chapter Builder. To learn more about the features and gain access for your chapter, visit the PIKE Blog.
Call them using the cold call script: After receiving referrals, chapters will want to contact the men in a timely manner, and a phone call will be more effective than a text message or email. Text messages and emails can easily be ignored, while phone calls allow for direct dialogue. If they do not answer the first time, do not leave a voicemail. Give it a day or two and try again.
While it may feel awkward calling a stranger, this is easily resolved. An important aspect of a cold call is turning it into a warm call. We do this by telling the referral where we received his contact information. Whether it was an alumnus, a family member, or a woman from a sorority on campus, telling him where you received his contact information will make him feel more comfortable. The call itself should only last a few minutes. The goal of the call is not to sell this man on PIKE. Rather, we want to open the door for further opportunities. Introduce yourself to the man and then invite him to a recruitment event, ask to schedule an interview, or take him out to lunch. Tell him he was highly recommended to the chapter, and you would like to speak with him to hear his perspective on the fraternities on your campus or fraternities in general.
A simple two-minute phone call can lead to a lifelong friendship if done properly. To view the cold call script, visit the myPIKE resource center, or read more about cold calls on the PIKE Blog.
We typically recruit through our recruitment events, but now we cannot hold our traditional events. What should we do?
Conduct an interview process: An interview process is a great way to structure a recruitment program even if you can’t host events. The Fraternity’s two-step interview process is efficient and effective. The process allows chapters to meet with potential new members in a personal setting and have meaningful conversations. These conversations can gather the potential new member’s perceptions of fraternities, his ideal organization, his interests and hobbies, and his goals for his collegiate experience. This information allows chapters to get to know men on a personal level while also gauging their interest in the chapter and possible hesitations.
Utilizing the cold call script is an effective way to invite a man to an interview. From there, the process is broken into two-steps. Interview 1 is meant to ask the potential new member questions about himself and gain his perspective on fraternities. Additionally, this is an opportunity to introduce him to our organization. We are not yet trying to sell him on PIKE, but rather introduce him to our values and the type of men we recruit. At the end of interview 1, the interviewers should know whether or not they want to invite him back for a second interview. Additionally, upon scheduling a second interview, the interviewers can utilize a recommendation sheet to gather more information on the potential new member, such as hometown and GPA, and receive further name recommendations from him.
The second interview provides the opportunity to share more about our organization and all it has to offer. The interviewers can share information about the chapter and the requirements of its members to gain the potential new member’s perspective. Additionally, this is a great time to hear the potential new member’s hesitations for joining a fraternity. These are his no-factors. It is important to discuss these so chapters can address any concerns he may have. Ideally, at the end of interview 2, a bid will be extended if the interviewers feel confident about the potential new member.
To read more about the interview process and no factors, visit the PIKE Blog. Additionally, an interview script can be found in the myPIKE resource center under the Recruitment Supplemental Resources folder.
Host your recruitment events on a smaller scale: While CDC guidelines may not allow for traditional recruitment events, that does not mean they need to disappear altogether. Recruitment events can easily be scaled down in size to allow for 5-10 men to attend or simply transferred to an online format.
Rather than hosting a large recruitment cookout or “meet the brothers” event, try hosting several smaller cookouts in surrounding cities where a majority of students resign. These can be smaller in attendance and allow for personal conversations and relationship building with potential new members. Another idea may be to take a few potential new members golfing, out to lunch, or other cheap and easy activities they may be interested in. Several chapters have also taken to a virtual recruitment format. In addition to online interviews, chapters have utilized Zoom and other online platforms to give presentations to incoming students, introduce some of the brothers, and even play online video games or host an online tournament. Regardless of the structure of events, events do not recruit people, people recruit people.
Whether your chapter decides to host in-person recruitment events or not, the most important aspect of recruitment is the ability to build personal relationships. Now, more than ever, it is important to remember “friend before fraternity”. Utilize your members throughout the state and/or country to build relationships with the incoming freshmen in their cities. This can all be done in small-settings or even online.
How do we extend bids if we are in a virtual setting?
Many of us remember the day we received our PIKE bid. It is the start of a man’s career with PIKE, and it should not be taken lightly. In this new era of digital recruitment, it is easy for interactions to feel monotonous or even forced. Making the extension of the bid a special moment for the potential new member is a great way for the chapter to stand out during recruitment and make the potential new member feel special as well.
Purchasing bid cards from the PIKE Store and stamps to mail the bids can help make this experience feel more formal. Bid cards can be mailed to potential new members at the conclusion of the recruitment process. Additionally, chapters can spend a little extra money to upgrade to certified mail. Certified mail offers delivery notifications to allow the chapter to follow up with individuals in a timely manner and do so meaningfully. This will also require the chapter to receive a valid address at some point during the recruitment process. If chapters are transparent with potential new members and create a meaningful relationship with them, this should not be an issue.