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Old 09-19-2008, 05:02 PM
APhiAnna APhiAnna is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 318
The importance of conversation/personality during recruitment

I have been lurking on GreekChat for some time now and there is one thing that has always bothered me about the recruitment advice given out. So many women come on here upset because they received heavy cuts and had what they felt were strong GPAs, recs and activities. OK, this is probably true, but given the college admissions processes I’d say it is safe to say that your GPA, activities and recs were probably very similar, if not “identical”, to the majority of women going through recruitment. Those were the vary stats that got you into your college of choice so it only seems normal to assume that most other women in recruitment had stats of similar strength.

Also, so many actives or alumna will say things like, “Make sure your grades and activities are in order!”, which is exellent advice, but often practicing your conversational skills is left out of their advice. I will say that I feel the number one most important thing for recruitment is your conversational ability. Once you meet a certain level for GPA, activities, etc (which varies from chapter to chapter obviously) you are in contention for getting a bid…however it is naïve to assume they are bidding based on who had the highest GPA goes first on the bid list, second highest goes second, etc. I think it is almost all about conversation and personality once you hit that certain level of activities.

The best thing? Even if you are shy you can work on these skills before recruitment. For example, there are plenty of lists on here that describe questions you are likely to be asked in early rounds. Read up on them and plan a way to answer them that will lead you into another topic.

Say you are asked “How are enjoying your dorm?” It’s one thing to say, “Oh, I like it”…but will that stand out in your rusher’s minds? A somewhat better answer would be to elaborate…”I like it a lot, everybody is so nice and the RA seems really fun, I can’t wait for this year.” That is a little bit more conversational but still it is likely that the rusher will have to ask you another basic question to keep the conversation going.

Say your answer was, instead, “Oh, I am really enjoying my dorm! I had so much fun meeting my roommate and decorating our room together…it was so fun picking out the bedding and decorations! It’s going to be a big change because I’m used to living with three older brothers and now I’m on a hall full of girls, but I’m excited to switch things up!” Now the active can go off on tangents…she can ask you how you decorated your room, what the rest of your family is like, etc. No more “basic” questions, you have an increased chance to find commonalities with the sister and you are more likely to stand out in her mind.

Another piece of advice I often see is to ask lots of questions. I agree to an extent, but make sure, once again, that the questions you ask can take you off on tangents that reveal more about yourself. If you are asking question after question, the active may think you seem interested but would not be able to tell any of the sisters a thing about your personality! But if you ask one pointed question, for example, “How does your big sister program work?” Listen to the answer, then twist it into something about yourself…maybe, “That sounds like a lot of fun. I always had a bunch of older friends when I was growing up and I always tend to look at them as mentors for me. I bet that’s how big sisters work.” Then you can steer the conversation into a realm about how her and her big sister bonded. In this case, one simple question may prove far more effective than five questions.

Also don’t be afraid to jump into “goofy” topics. Some of the best conversations that led to me forming my “rush crushes” were about shoes, embarrassing stories, high school cars that were falling apart, celebrity gossip, Disney movies…anything fun like that can reveal so much about a PNMs ability to “go with the flow”. It’s so refreshing to have conversations like that instead of the standard “what’s your major” or the women who rattle off questions. You have a very focused idea of what hanging out with them would be like AND they will stick out that much more in your mind. Then, when she starts asking questions about the chapter, you not only know she’s interested but you are positive she will fit in with the women in the chapter.

In conclusion, look at it this way. Your stats and recs and GPA will get you in the door like in a business when they decide which resumes they want to interview. Once they have their pool of qualified PNMs, however, I feel that conversation and the ability to fit in with the sisters becomes by far the most important part of recruitment. So I guess what I am trying to say is to practice answering questions in your head and practice your conversational skills. GPA and activites are highly important, but at the end of the day if your personality does not shine through the chapter may rather take a woman with a slightly lower GPA who presents herself as fun and outgoing.
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