So you've decided to go out for Fraternity Recruitment. That's right.
Congratulations! You've got years ahead of you full of friendship, service, and growth. The right fraternity can be a life-changing experience.
Whether this is something you've planned on doing for a long time or a spur of the moment decision, you still have time to do the work needed to make the best possible first impression on a potential fraternity chapter.
You not only want to find the right fit for you, you want the chapter members to get to know you in a short amount of time so that you are the right fit for them, as well.
So how do you make the best first impression possible?
1. Do Your Research.
Take a look at each chapter to figure out which fraternity looks right for you. Check out their website, and have a look at what they post on social media. Don't show up blind—know something about their chapter before you walk in their doors. Prepare a few questions and comments about each chapter for conversation starters. Show that you know something about their chapter and why you think you might be a good fit. Remember: during recruitment, the men you meet are juggling multiple roles and are seeing a lot of faces. Make sure you stand out!
2. Prepare to be Researched.
Just as you can peer into a chapter before recruitment even begins, they, too, are researching Potential New Members. How does your social media appear to an outsider? Are you presenting your best self online? Google yourself—what do you find? Clean up any social media posts that might not portray you in the best light. If there are things online you're not proud of, be prepared to answer questions.
3. Make Connections.
If you are a legacy, show pride in that relationship. You can also highlight friends in common and shared experiences and events. Find ways to connect to each potential brother you speak with. Make eye contact, shake hands firmly, and look for common ground. By your body language alone you can show someone whether you are engaged in your environment. Make connections and make yourself memorable.
4. Know Your Own Story.
Are you ready to talk about your personal accomplishments? For some, talking about their role leading a drive for a local food bank comes naturally. For others, it's a stuttering point or worse, omitted completely. Be prepared to talk about any leadership roles you've undertaken. Spotlight any service work or extracurricular successes. Talk about ways you can be valuable to a fraternity chapter. Above all else, be yourself.
5. Be on Time.
Obviously, this is a given. But keep in mind—especially if you're new to campus—recruitment is a tightly scheduled series of events. Give yourself enough time to get where you need to go. Take into account that parking or public transportation could be an issue, even on a small campus. If you're late, you could potentially be excluded from an event entirely. Tardiness could also be a black mark on your file for a chapter when it comes down to who they extend offers to. Show potential brothers that you are reliable and trustworthy. Being on time—or even being early—shows that you're mature and prepared.
6. Put Your Phone Down.
There is no reason for you to have your phone in your hand, or even on your person, during recruitment events. Remember—you're making a first impression that shows you are engaged, interested in the event you're attending, and that you're totally present. By spending more time with your phone that with the person in front of you, you give the impression that they don't matter.
7. Look Sharp.
Fraternity Recruitment is a time where you are being evaluated at every step. Don't forget that! They way you look is a display of your personality. Present yourself as you want to be seen, and let your personality shine through—within reason. The right chapter will see you as you are and bring you into their fold.
8. Act Sharp.
Even the sharpest dressed man can fail at making a good first impression if their actions are inappropriate. Recruitment is a time where you display your values in your behavior. Even if this goes without saying, we’ll say it anyway: don't drink too much. Be friendly and professional all the time—not just during the formal events. Your behavior is watched at every event. Nobody wants a Dr. Jekyll - Mr. Hyde, so stay consistently on track.
9. Keep Your Language Positive.
There's no need to say anything negative about other universities, fraternity chapters, or people. You can say, "They're not my style," without trashing another chapter. After all—if you say negative things about other chapter members to the person you're talking to, how are they to know you wouldn't say negative things about them, too?
10. Remember Who You're Talking To.
Face it—during fraternity recruitment, you're going to meet a lot of people. Make a point of remembering the names and faces of everyone you come across. Don't prejudge and think anyone's not as important as anyone else. Repeat their name back to them when you meet, and take notes after every event on who you spoke to, every time. When you see a potential brother again, you'll be able to have a conversation with them without having to apologize. They'll appreciate it. Down the road, even if you don't pledge a particular chapter, you will still see these men on campus. Remembering names, if nothing else, shows that you're a good guy.
You won't be perfect during fraternity recruitment. No one will really expect you to. They want to get to know you in a short amount of time. Just make sure you do your best, and bring your best game to the plate.