Guild Recruitment and Website Layout
I did a wee bit of recruiting for my guild recently. Let me start by saying that truly effective recruitment is an art form and truly effective recruiters are a dime a dozen. There are a dozen different types of media available to the guild recruiter these days, and my aim today is to talk a bit about what works…and what really doesn’t. I’m also going to delve a bit into website layout and how it can help or hinder any recruiting methods.
The Good, the Bad, and the WTF Stupid
In a sense, guild recruitment is like job recruitment. You put word out that you are seeking an individual to fill a spot on your team, and interested parties respond. If you’ve ever done hiring for a business, you know that the specifics really matter when you are trying to recruit that perfect someone to balance out your team. You wouldn’t start a job search by saying “so we need someone who can work well”. It’s vague and unprofessional and doesn’t lend its self readily to finding excellent people. Yet I see so many recruiting ads that use this very same method, and it’s high time someone told them why it doesn’t work. Sure, it may bring in people, but are those people you actually want in your workplace? Likely not, because those individuals looked for a more qualified position. They made that judgment based on how the job position was presented.
The same principle applies for guild recruitment. Regardless of the caste of player you are looking for, you need to narrow down your search. You need to present the qualities you are looking for in a clear and concise manner that allows people to say to themselves “yeah, I am that person” or “no, this isn’t for me”. Let’s take a look.
Bad: we are looking for a fun and casual players.
Why it’s bad: This tells potential recruits absolutely nothing. Everyone thinks they’re fun! Everyone has a different definition of casual. You can save this by adding more definitive language.
Good: We are searching for generous, easy-going, and mature players who would like to enjoy a casual, low-stress raiding environment.
Why it’s good: This tells a potential recruit a ton about what you’re seeking. They know by the language you use that you are not a hard core raiding group hell-bent on world domination, and they can guess that you value integrity and friendliness over hard numbers and gear.
The kind of language (grammar and spelling, too!) that you use will determine the kind of players you attract with your ad. Using leet speak or short hand may save space, but it is also going to attract immature players. Using a more professional tone will catch the eye of a more mature, responsible and enjoyable person.
Let’s take a look at a few guild recruitment threads I yanked from the official forums. I am going to leave guild names out because the focus here is not to upset or hurt anyone, but to objectively analyze what is being said and how.
The Good: (Name removed) is a newly formed guild on (removed) that is building toward being one of our realm’s top ranked guilds. We believe that adults who live lives outside of this game can come together a few nights a week with a common goal and shared determination to take on this game’s challenges at its peak level: Heroic mode raiding in a 25 man environment.
While we have high expectations for our raider’s performance levels well have even higher expectations for their personal character. We expect our members to be highly motivated, self determined, enthusiastic about not only their personal progression but the guild progression as well, and strive for nothing short of excellence in all aspects of this game.
If you feel that this type of raiding and guild atmosphere may be what you’re looking for, whether it be due to a change of pace or a complete fresh start in a new guild that is being built from the ground up, we encourage you to read on and visit our website for more further, detailed information.
I want to point out that not only is this a very well written ad, it is also descriptive and informative. It doesn’t leave you with many questions, and it details exactly what type of person is wanted for this guild. It uses full sentences, excellent grammatical structure, and correct spelling. It appears professional, it gets the point across without a lot of fluff, and it targets effectively the player type this guild wants in their ranks. Bravo.
The Bad: we are looking for all classes and specs.
We do pug non lvl 60 players who want achieves.
We are looking for members to fill our ranks and raid spots.
Eventually we would like to be able to run content with LITTLE TO NO non >lvl 60 assistance.
You do not have to be lvl 60 to join and you are welcome to join with a toon you are lvling.
It is mandatory that your toon have their exp frozen at 60 to stay in the guild.
We run all classic content and gear restrictions are as follows…ONLY CLASSIC GEAR.
Being this is a Twink guild you may use any enchantments you wish to use.
This ad is fairly poorly written. Its structure does not scream mature or competent (but neither does it give the impression that the poster is a complete idiot, either). It’s fairly brief and leaves a lot to be desired. Really all I got from this ad was that it is for a level 60 twink guild. I know nothing about the community they support or what type of player is being scouted for. Do they accept recruits based on age? Maturity? Random roll of the dice? It’s not a horrendous ad, but I wanted to point out the flaws. Just cleaning up its structure and format would do wonders. Remember that professional ads beget professional responses.
The WTF Stupid: (Name removed) is a new guild we are looking for great people we are always active and very friendly we hope to raid when we get enough people have gbank and tabard!
I didn’t actually copy this from the official forums (thank god!). Rather, it is an amalgamation of recruitment spam I see in trade chat on a daily basis. Let’s start with the basics. Poor grammar. It’s one long run-on sentence that never actually makes a point. It asks for “great people”. Everyone thinks they are a great person. This doesn’t narrow down the search field by any means. It claims to be active and friendly – two traits EVERY guild will tout. This doesn’t set it apart from any other guild in the game; it’s a generic cop-out for putting any real information out there for people to assess. If your guild is new you may still be feeling out who and what you are and what your focus is, but you shouldn’t be actively recruiting until you know that. The guild mentions wanting to raid with enough people. That’s a worthy goal, but it takes more than just 10 warm bodies online to successfully raid. Again, without a clear picture of what you want and who you are as a guild, recruiting worthwhile people is going to be hard. And finally, every guild has a damned bank and a tabard. It’s not a selling point. Don’t even mention it.
Let’s recap. You want to use language that adequately reflects the maturity and professionalism you expect in your guild. You want to give people enough information that they know exactly what you are looking for in an applicant and what is expected of them in the guild. Stay away from vague language and cliched sentences. And finally, give your prospective applicants a place to find more information. Providing the guild website address is preferable.
Communicating with a Prospective Applicant
If someone reads your guild recruitment ad, they will inevitably have questions. You should provide them with contacts both in the game and out that will answer their questions in a timely manner. Do not keep them waiting. Offer them a website address to further their knowledge of your guild. Offer them the names of your guild leader and/or officers so they can get quick answers. Be polite, be professional, and don’t forget to thank them for their interest. If they contacted you, they are interested.
If your guild doesn’t have a website, it’s not the end of the world. But with the plethora of free guild website hosts out there, there really is no excuse for not at least providing a few pages of rules or expectations for your guild – and potential applicants – to easily access.
When you refer an applicant to your web page, they need to be able to see a few things right away: 1) the guild’s rules and 2) the recruitment application. If you don’t use an actual application in that format, that’s fine, but whatever material you require them to submit in order to be considered needs to be listed in a visible location. Do not force your applicants to register with your website in order to see relevant content. While it is probably for the best that only registered users can see the forums, forcing your applicants to register just so they can view a few pages is inconsiderate.
Your website should have a clear layout and an easily navigable outline. If your applicant has to hunt for 20 minutes to find the information they need, they may decide to just look elsewhere. As in, at another guild. Don’t do that! Have important links at the top of the page or at the top of a side bar for ease of access.
You need to clearly state the rules of your guild. This is beneficial for current and long-time guild members as well, but it is crucial in the recruitment process. An applicant can get a decent handle on your guild and how it works by reading these, which may save them time in the decision process down the line. It’s no good if your applicant doesn’t find out about some rule until after they have been accepted (such as a loot system) and then decides they really don’t like it. Having all the information on loot systems, chances for advancement, punishable offenses, etc. up front saves time and keeps the hassle to a minimum.
Applicants should also easily be able to see when your guild raids. Somehow I noticed that a lot of recruitment threads simply dont include this information. That’s alright, but if it isn’t listed on your website either then you have a problem.
Back to the grammar issue: if your guild website is an incomprehensible glut of gibberish and poor English, you’re going to spook any worthwhile applicant. Use proper grammar and spelling and be professional. This is beneficial in so many more ways than just attracting people into your numbers. If English isn’t your strong suit, ask a guild mate to write the information for your website.
There are a thousand ways to advertise your guild. You can post on the official forums, pop up an ad or two in trade or guild recruitment chat, send in a request to WoW Insider, post on a busy fan site…but however you choose to do it, do it right. Keep in mind that if you’re looking for good people, then you need to attract them somehow. Here’s a hint: excellent players do not respond to sub-par, illiterate, or disorganized ads.