When it comes to recruitment, strategy rules all. A good recruitment strategy is the difference between a top chapter and a mediocre chapter, and the chapters that hone their recruitment programs over time become unstoppable forces on their respective campuses. The most effective way to bolster your recruitment efforts is to set attainable goals. Goal setting in recruitment can bring a chapter together behind a common objective, and that collective motivation drives success.

Target Market

Before you can set goals, it’s important to consider who it is that you want to recruit. Luckily, as a values-based organization we already have guidelines built in describing the type of man we want in our organization. Think about our brand: Scholars, Leaders, Athletes and Gentlemen. From there, break it down:

Scholars

Why should we actively recruit scholars? Simply put, academics are the primary reason to attend college. The best chapters are composed of men who are committed to academic success.

Additionally, one of the most tangible measuring points of a fraternity is its grade point average. The campus and community demand that fraternities succeed in the classroom. Pi Kappa Alpha also demands that our chapters achieve academically.

When strategically determining the quality of a potential member, first look at his academic potential. The reasons are obvious. Why recruit someone who likely will never make grades, and eventually flunk out of school? Why recruit someone who will laugh off failing grades? Why recruit someone who will most surely bring others down with him?

Leaders

Why should we actively recruit leaders? Again, the logic is quite simple. Our best chapters are always among the most visible on campus. Campus leadership provides what is known as perceived power. If a chapter has the student body president, IFC president, and starting quarterback on the varsity football team, there is perceived power. In all likelihood, there is also real power.

At the chapter level, natural leaders will be able to capably fill the positions of chapter president, vice president, treasurer, recruitment chairman, and so on. With qualified men in these positions, the chapter can further establish itself as the best fraternity on campus. Therefore, leadership is essential to the long-term success and growth of any chapter.

From a recruitment perspective, leaders will naturally attract those they lead to the fraternity. The student body president has an already established relationship with the student body vice president, the student senate leader, and many other campus leaders. Once one leader joins, the others are sure to follow if strategically and competitively recruited properly.

Athletes

Athletes are essential to the balanced success of any chapter, whether they are varsity athletes, club athletes or intramural athletes. If a rival is constantly claiming the title of best fraternity, it must be supported by valid evidence. No matter what the assertion, if your chapter has beaten them in intramural football, basketball, volleyball, soccer, and softball, then it has no value.

From a varsity perspective, athletes are essential to the campus image. How can your chapter not enjoy cheering on the starting point guard as he hits a three-pointer? How can your chapter not enjoy the heavyweight wrestler winning the conference tournament and wiping his sweaty brow with a garnet and gold towel? How can everyone in the Fraternity not enjoy seeing a wide out be on the receiving end of the game-winning touchdown? Without question, varsity athletes provide a competitive edge in rush. If your chapter doesn't have them, the other fraternities will.

Furthermore, all athletes possess a competitive nature and are willing to attack challenges head on, accepting nothing but the best. It is that competitive drive and winning attitude that we seek in all of our members.

Gentlemen

Of the four characteristics the ideal Pi Kappa Alpha member has, gentlemanly conduct is the catch-all. Absolutely every member of your chapter should be a gentleman. In the recommendation process, which will be explained shortly, success is guaranteed if the chapter behaves in a gentlemanly fashion.

Chapters are judged on the way they carry themselves. After a hard-fought victory, gentlemen shake the opponents' hands. After a narrow defeat, gentlemen shake the opponents’ hands. Victories are sweeter and losses are learning and growing experiences from a gentleman's point of view.

From a recruitment perspective, gentlemanly conduct is essential. Sorority women, administrators, and campus leaders will not recommend anyone to an “Animal House” chapter. Once the recommendation line starts flowing, only conduct unbecoming of a gentleman can stop it.

In summary, the perfect recruit is a scholar, a leader, an athlete and a gentleman. If your chapter is among the largest on campus and your members carry each of these attributes, rest assured that your chapter is perceived as the best - the ideal fraternity.

Goal Setting

Now that you have targeted your market and decided what type of men you are seeking to recruit, it is time to set concrete goals to guide your efforts the rest of the way. By setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, ambitious, realistic, timely), your chapter can set itself on a course for success in recruitment.

Of course, whenever a chapter starts a discussion about setting goals for recruitment, someone in the chapter will object on the basis that setting a goal will lead to a compromise in quality. This argument is inane because it assumes that instead of working harder to find the best men the chapter will ultimately settle for anybody to meet a quantity goal. Regardless, the issue will likely be raised. Therefore, in addition to setting a quantity goal, the chapter should also set a quality goal. This will emphasize to every member the chapter’s commitment to a large new member class of the highest quality men.

The Quantity Goal

Now that you have determined the qualities you seek in recruits, it’s time to establish a quantity goal to ensure that you get the most, best men.

  • Specific: To have the largest new member class is not specific, as it varies according to the competition. Set the number goal based on your own capabilities and expectations.
  • Measurable: A specific number is measurable; “a bunch of good guys” is not. Also, setting multiple goals, such as a normal goal and a stretch goal, may help better motivate the chapter.
  • Ambitious: It is definitely a good idea to set a quantity goal that stretches the chapter’s normal limits. Again, setting a stretch goal may provide increased motivation.
  • Realistic: A 100-man pledge class is probably not achievable. Be sure your quantity goal is within reach. An unattainable goal will only depress the chapter’s morale when it is not reached.
  • Timely: Setting deadlines for different benchmarks in regard to name generation, bids and signings will help you monitor the recruitment committee’s continual progress.

Goal setting is critical in recruitment. It can mean the difference between recruiting a “bunch of good guys” and 45 of the top scholars, leaders, athletes, and gentlemen the campus has to offer. Remember, you can recruit a large quantity of high quality men. You simply need to develop and then execute a good plan for finding and recruiting those men.

Now that the planning portion of your action plan is complete, it’s time to take action. The next step is to go out and find the young men that will continue the legacy of Pi Kappa Alpha. Finding potential recruits may seem like a daunting task, bit it simply comes down to leaving no stone unturned and exploiting every resource that chapter has at its disposal.

For more recruitment information, check out the recruitment chairman handbook.

Jarrett M. Way

Director of Educational Content & Strategy