Friday, August 27, 2010

Guild Recruiting the Right Way

Recently, I have been posting a lot about guild management.  This is because, as of late, fulfilling my Guild Master duties has been sucking up tons of my time.  Holding a guild together during the transition between expansions is tough.  Growing it is even tougher.

As the last breezes of summer stir a wildfire of raid fatigue, I am frequently finding myself short raiders for our guild 25 mans.  As a result, my leadership team and I have sprung into recruiting mode.  We have been at this long enough to learn there is a right way and a wrong way to go about building your raiding guild's roster.  After the bump, I'll offer my lessons learned by providing tips on how to recruit for your guild the right way.

Making Common Recruiting Mistakes

Let me start out by saying that when it comes to recruiting players for your guild, Trade Chat is not your friend.  I am sure that you have seen the posts in /2 advertising for guilds.  Highlighting bank slots, tabard designs, and occasionally raid progress, these macro driven advertisements seem like a great way to draw people into your guild and to be honest, they are a great way to pad your guild's numbers.  Unfortunately, however, you will be stuffing your guild with the wrong players.

Think for a moment about the type of player who would hop into a guild based on a three sentence description posted in Trade Chat.  Right off the bat, you know that they do not view joining a guild as a serious commitment.  If they did, would they accept an invite based on a cursory and often silly advertisement?  Also, it is clear that this player is not interested in doing any sort of research or learning on their own time.  If they did not bother looking up their server's guilds and trying to find a good match, the odds of them watching that Heroic Festergut video are not so good.  Trade chat advertisement responders may be an easy in, but I assure you they are just as easy of an out.

You should also be cautious of players seeking a guild in trade chat.  Sometimes you will come across a great, hardworking player genuinely seeking offers from compatible guilds.  Other times, you may very well be talking to a career guild bank looter who hops into guilds only long enough to snatch everything he can get his grubby little hands on.  Most dedicated raiders know of the existence of guild websites, applications, and officers.  A person advertising their availability in /2 may be above all that rigmarole, but more likely they simply think they are above it.  It again goes to the use of Trade Chat as an indicator of laziness.  Do you really want to fill your guild with players who didn't want to bother visiting your website or contacting an officer?

Being an Active Recruiter

While you don't want to spam trade chat, that doesn't mean you should just sit around waiting for powerful raiders to come knocking at your door.  The best guild recruiters are those who are always on the lookout for talent.  I always make a point of running both the weekly raid dungeon and VoA with random groups.  This gives me a chance to spot top performers who, for some reason or another, do not run these raids with a guild.

I also keep careful track of the PuG raid members I occasionally bring into our guild runs.  If they perform well, I put them on my radar as a potential guild member.  Being an active recruiter and paying attention to the different players you encounter as you move through Azeroth means you do not need to go into the recruiting process with blinders on.  You can actually see players perform without putting your guild's patience or progress on the line.  After you identify potential guild applicants, the next step is starting a conversation.

Getting Applicants on the Hook

Let's assume you have just finished a random VoA where a well geared Rogue dominated the charts.  He is from a guild you have never heard of (Fluffy Alligators), but performs like a top tier raider.  Your guild happens to be low on melee dps and you think he would make a great applicant.  What do you do next?

First and foremost, there are two things you should not do.  Do not sit silently and let the opportunity pass by.  Sure, by random chance that Rogue could contact you on his own later that day, but the odds of that happening are pushing zero.  If you don't make the initial contact, odds are a connection will never be made.  On the flip side of that coin, you also don't want to immediately fire off a "Wanna join my GUILD!?!?" tell as that makes you and your guild seem desperate.  He will immediately be turned off and you will be facing an uphill battle getting him to join.

Instead, open the conversation more subtly, but with a mind towards the goal of recruitment.  I tend to start out with a generic compliment.  People love hearing good things about themselves and a well worded compliment will often put your target in a positive mindset.  One of my favorite tricks is to follow up my compliment with a question about the player's guild.

"Hey, I have never heard of Fluffy Alligators.  Do you guys raid?"

Hopefully, if you have never heard of the guild, the answer will be either no, or yes, but barely.  That is when you swoop in with your pitch.

"Well, if you ever decide to switch over to a guild that does more raiding, let me know.  We are always on the lookout for strong raiders."

At that point your seed is planted and it is time to watch to see if it grows.  Sometimes you will get a quick followup question about your guild's raid times or progression.  Jackpot, the player is interested.  Occasionally, you will even get a request for an invite.  Don't get too hasty though.  There is still another important step in the recruiting process that you would be wise not to over look.

Screening: It's Not Just for Back Doors

Once you have gotten a player interested in your guild, it is time to be sure that you are interested in the player.  This process is called applicant screening and all the best guilds do it rigorously.  Before you extend the invite, screening is needed to make sure that both you and the applicant stand to gain from the relationship (otherwise it's a recipe for parasitic symbiosis).

To assure your guild will benefit from this potential new member, first take some time to gauge their potential performance.  Use the Armory to appraise their gear and experience while chatting with them about their availability.  A player who is unable to make any of your raid times will likely bring nothing to and take nothing from your guild.  Similarly, a player with weak gear or little experience may simply be looking for a meal ticket.  Bringing on a fresh eighty can be a large investment of guild resources.  Be sure to do what you can to minimize the chances of that investment going to waste.  You also want to get a sense of the player's attitude as nothing destroys a guild faster than culture clashes and unnecessary drama.

To figure out if the applicant will benefit from your guild, you will need to have a conversation about hopes and expectations.  Does the applicant just want to raid more often?  Is their a particular raid or encounter the applicant has their eye on?  Why is the applicant dissatisfied with his or her current guild arrangement?  If you know the answers to these questions, it will be much easier to figure out whether or not the applicant will be content in your guild.  As one bad apple spoils the bunch, so can a single unhappy raider sew discontent throughout your guild.  If an applicants expectations are beyond what your guild can provide, be honest about it.  Even if you lose the prospective member, your guild will still be better off in the long run.

Welcoming to the Flock

Let's say your pitch was a success and the screening went brilliantly.  This is a person you want in your guild and the magic moment for the invite has arrived.  Don't just toss out the invite and log off.  Take a moment to welcome the new player and encourage your other guild members to do the same.  A couple days of cold shouldering, whether intentional or not, is easily enough to make a fresh member reconsider his decision to join.

Additionally, make some introductions.  Is there a class officer who could impart some wisdom or guidance to the new recruit?  It there a potential rival who may be battling your newest acquisition on the dps charts?  Light the sparks of these potential relationships to help foster a sense of community in your guild and instantly generate an emotional connection that will lock in your recruits for the long haul.  Also, be sure that your newest member knows all the administrative hoopla surrounding your guild.  Share the guild bank rules, your vent information, website information and the like.  

If you follow these basic guidelines every time you are looking to add a guild member, you will be amazed at the positive impact it has on your guild's atmosphere and performance. 

Do you have any recruiting tips you would like to share?  What's the worst guild advertisement you have ever seen in trade chat?  Has a bad recruit taken your guild for a ride?  Let me know in the comments.

2 comments:

  1. Very helpful guide, gonna put it to good use

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  2. Not one mention here about the screening the person for WHO they are. Value in the person over raiding is what makes members stick. Raiders can be taught how to raid properly with a group, brotherhood, friendship and respect however, cannot.

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