Whenever I talk about recruitment with chapters, I refer to it almost as a science. The best practices and resources that the International Fraternity has for the recruitment process are tried and true, and the chapters that adopt these methods consistently excel in recruitment on their campus.
When evaluating and eventually bidding a rushee, it is highly encouraged to use a two-step interview process. This process gives you an opportunity to uncover the recruits’ thoughts and feelings on joining a fraternity, as well as to subtly sell him on why joining PIKE is a good idea. It also gives the recruit a very straightforward and professional impression. Using the interview process can be a valuable part of your chapter’s recruitment program for the purposes of educating rushees, generating names, and eventually closing the deal. For the purpose of keeping the process a bit less formal and making the rushee feel more comfortable, you may want to substitute the word “meeting” for “interview” when speaking to the rushee.
This meeting is primarily meant to uncover the rushee’s concerns, needs, and objections, and to match the Fraternity’s benefits to their situation. You also will introduce the Fraternity and dispel any misconceptions that the rushee may have about joining.
The second meeting is somewhat shorter. The primary purposes are to make sure he understands the commitments of joining, handle any further objections that he may have, and offer him a bid if you decide he deserves one.
A sample script for Interviews I and II can be found under Appendix D at the end of Section I of the recruitment handbook.
You will invariably encounter recruits who have objections to joining the Fraternity, either during the recruitment process, during an interview, or while bidding him. As the recruitment chairman, you must be prepared to handle any objection that is made. The way in which you handle yourself in that situation may determine whether or not you close the deal. Also, preparing the chapter to handle adverse responses is imperative to appearing confident in the eyes of prospective candidates. Anticipating objections is something you can prepare for, and a skill you can take with you wherever you go.
“Feel, Felt, Found”
The most effective way to respond to no factors is by using the “feel, felt, found” technique. Simply put, this is a format for responding to a PNM’s reservation that allows you to build rapport by drawing from your personal experiences. For example, if a potential recruit tells you “I’m interested, but I really don’t think I have the time for a fraternity. I’m taking 18 hours this semester and I just joined student government and club lacrosse”, your response may be:
“Hey man, I completely understand how you feel. I certainly felt the same way when I was a freshman going through recruitment with a full plate, but what I found was that the fraternity only required one hour a week from me for our operational meeting. Outside of that, it’s up to me what I’m able to contribute outside of the time I’ve allocated for my studies and other extracurriculars. The fraternity actually encourages me to be involved in various roles around campus because that brings prestige to our organization.”
In responding to “no” factors, be sure you are following these four steps:
- Listen carefully to the rushee’s concerns and dig deeper if necessary.
- Clarify what his concern is, and prepare your response.
- Side with him. Explain how you had similar concerns (feel, felt, found or similar format), or point out someone else in the chapter who was in the same situation. “I understand. I had the same concerns before I joined the Fraternity.”
- Answer the question.
Below are some examples of some common “no” factors and how you can respond to them:
“I don’t have the time.”
“I understand the feeling. With work, school, and the other activities I’m involved with, things can get pretty hectic. However, I’ve found that the Fraternity has really helped me keep everything in balance. The additional responsibility has helped me stay motivated and involved.”
“The fraternity isn’t intended to detract from your other obligations. It is merely here to enhance your college career. Balancing your time is part of the process. The mandatory obligations with the fraternity are minimal.”
“I don’t have the money.”
*Be straightforward! Don’t lie about money just to get him to sign. If he’s concerned about money to begin with, he probably will be throughout his time in the chapter. Be honest about all of the financial commitments on the front end. Don’t be afraid to cover some of the things the dues cover: athletics, social, formals, etc.
“I can assure you that the experiences you have will be much greater than that of a 3-hour course and a much greater value for your dollar. In addition, all organizations take money to operate, and a fraternity is no different.”
“I think I’m going to wait until next semester.”
“Many guys think about waiting to join. Some who do, wish they wouldn’t have because of the experiences they missed out on that first semester. By the time they joined, over 12 percent of their college career was over. You’re only here for a short amount of time and I’d hate for you to miss out on any opportunities”
A database of common “no” factors can be found under Appendix E at the end of Section I of the recruitment handbook. Remember, the more prepared you are with these concepts on the front end, the better the execution will be.
Jarrett M. Way
Director of Educational Content & Strategy