Recruiting and The Princess Bride
Today I turned down a guild application because they had never watched The Princess Bride. Actually, to be honest they couldn’t even identify The Princess Bride, asking if it was one of those Robin Hood movies. This, more than anything else, sealed the denial from our guild. What I found most interesting was that the reaction from my guildies to that decision was overwhelmingly positive, whereas some of the non-guildies I talked to were taken aback by what seemed like relatively arbitrary recruiting policies.
I’ve talked in the past about how to write recruitment posts and about how to write recruitment applications. One thing I haven’t really touched on is that ephemeral art of recruiting people with your guild community in mind. The Cats are indeed a raiding guild, whatever that means nowadays, and people who want to join the raiding team need to bring a certain level of player skill to fill the role that we need. One thing I’ve had to learn as we made that slow slide from uber casual to more casualcore is that the best personality in the world cannot make up for repeatedly wiping the raid by standing in the void zones, however much I wish it were true. However, personality still counts.
I started my guild with the very egocentric plan of only recruiting people that I suspect I’d like to have a beer with in real life. At this point that desire is stronger about some members than others, but I think over the years I’ve generally stuck to my plan. This means a few things: applicants have to not freak out about being around women, because we have more than most guilds and they will all kick your ass; you have to be on the more clever range of things; swearing and mild raunchiness is okay, but derogatory or racist crap is not. A bunch of us are professionals (engineers, teachers, lawyers, editors, tech gurus), which means that we’re older and trend towards the geeky. Our guild sense of humor celebrates puns and typos and dry wit. Hence, The Princess Bride Test.
So what can you tell about someone based on one carefully selected movie? First, you get a general idea of their age range. I admit to not being hip with the kids anymore, but I doubt your average 15-year old has seen this movie. Next, a hint of their tendency towards or against.. macho rants. At it’s core, Princess Bride is a love story featuring royalty, which might turn some manly men off. And finally, it gives a good idea of someone’s sense of humor. Will it jibe with that of the guild at large?
Raid performance is very important, but completing Sarth 3D would be worthless to me if I didn’t enjoy the company of the people I did it with. I will veto without hesitation anyone I think won’t get along with the rest of the team, no matter what their raid credentials are. A carefully chosen personality question or two on your guild application can help you understand how someone would fit with your guild community, and having happy cohesive guildies improves teamwork, longevity, and plain old fun.