Recruiting is the process of attracting and introducing a new person into a simming organization. Recruiting is one of the most important aspects of managing a simming organization. The steady influx of new players can generate growth, fresh story lines, and new characters. The lack of recruiting can lead to stagnation problems such as inbreeding, the loss of membership as retiring players are not replaced, and eventual death of the organization. You can post Recruiting ads here.
The fundamental purpose of recruiting should be to attract individuals that will fit into your organization, become active within it, and remain for a long period of time. As such, recruiting must be viewed as a comprehensive effort beyond simply posting ads and receiving a lot of applications.
Organizations employ numerous ways to attract recruits, often utilizing multiple approaches. Common approaches include:
Banner exchange. A banner exchange (or button exchange) is a way for sites to share their visitors by displaying (usually rotating) banners for other sims in excahnge for other sims to display their banner. An eye-catching banner and a good website are vital.
Cold calls. Any approach where people are contacted out of the blue - via e-mail, IM, etc - can be considered "cold calling." If such efforts are limited to people who have a known interest in simming or online roleplaying or the genera being portrayed by the organization, some results - limited at best - can be achieved through this method. However, one must be careful to avoid outright spamming. Spamming can lead to actions by your Internet Service Provider including the termination of your account. Contacting the members of another organization could be seen as an attempt to steal members, leading to negative consequences and harming the reputation of your organization.
Individual initative. Even without special effort or encouragement, some individuals, especially hosts will go out on their own to recruit in order to maintain membership levels within their sim or game.
Intersim organizations. Several intersim organizations, including the Simming League have developed to share news, information, and resources among groups. Participation in these organizations is an indirect way to network, raise the visibility of one's organization, and attract recruits.
Open events. One effective recruiting method is to not actively recruit, but to hold open events, such as chats, games, trivias, or open sims/RPGs that any member of the public can watch or take part in. Through such events, individuals are exposed to the organization, can be assessed for their skills and compatibility with the organization, and encouraged to join.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising. Using member donations or personal funds, a sim's webmaster or members can buy PPC ads from a service such as Google Adwords. Ads appear contextually on other related sites or along with searches for terms related to the sim community. This is proven effective but can be costly.
Recruiting drives. Organizations can encourage their members to recruit, offering awards and promotions if they can get a certain number of individuals to join the organization. To ensure recruited individuals become active members, other stipulations are sometimes attached, such as the person must recruit x number of individuals who remain active for at least x months in order to receive the award or promotion.
Recruiting lists and sites. Several sites and e-mail lists dedicated to recruiting exist. Organizations looking for members posts ads there, and people looking to join a sim or game visit the sites to see what offers are available. A list of such sites can be found here. A list of such e-mail lists can be found here.
Recruiting quotas. Some organizations mandate that members, especially hosts or other leaders recruit a set number of individuals every month. Sometimes this is mandated by creating a formalized "Recruiting Department" of dedicated recruiters. However, such an approaches have been found to have limited results.
Social networking sites. Facebook, MySpace, and other social networking sites, including older variations such as listservs, YahooGroups, and GoogleGroups are often used for recruiting purposes. Organizations can create pages in hopes of attracting recruits or contact people with similar interests (such as simming or online roleplaying, an interest in the genera portrayed by the organization, etc).
Websites. Organizations often rely on their website to attract recruits. To increase traffic to their site, organizations take steps to increase their website in search engine ratings, and/or link their sites with other organizations or in areas frequented by simmers and online role-players. Organizations that have open websites - where anyone can view the message boards, download files, provide comprehensive information on the organization and its sims/RPGs - tend to attract more recruits.
Word of mouth. One of the most effective ways to recruit is to encourage members to get their friends to join. This allows an organization to grow organically, reinforcing existing social networks and attracting individuals who are known to others in the organization.
Each simming organization has strengths, and each develops a certain style and approach to simming/online role-playing as it grows. Such must be understood and marketed as part of any recruiting effort.
Organizations must also be mindful of their long term goals - are they seeking to become a large club and as such will take anyone who joins, are they looking to maintain current membership levels and replace a specific individual.
The point of recruiting is to get people who will fit into your organization, as such, it is vital to understand your organization, the type of people who you want to join, and market your recruiting efforts accordingly.
Always be sure to be honest in all recruiting efforts. Do not exaggerate or lie to potential applicants. Some groups like to advertise that they offer 20 sims but when people find out only 4 of these are active they are left with a bad taste in their mouths and leave. They may also be interested in a specific game you list that is not active and if they cannot get that game they will become discouraged. It is also important to ensure honesty in recruiting for if a person is lead to believe one thing, but finds the organization to be different than advertised, they will become discouraged and leave. Better to attract one person who is looking for what you offer than 10 people who are duped into joining and do not stay.
All recruiting material should be edited to ensure proper grammar and spelling. Use active, vivid words in ads. Be short and concise, grabbing a person's attention and directing them where to find more information if they are curious.
It is best to circulate recruiting ads among several members before they are posted - each person will provide insights and edits, making the ad better.
Beyond the simple mechanics of advertising and recruiting, having a high quality club will - on its own - attract new members. One should never loose sight of this fact. Even if you are a master recruiter and can get 50 people a month to join, if the sims/RPGs are of a low quality, no one will remain.
After a person is attracted to an organization, they need a way to join the club. However, because the ultimate point of recruiting is to get people who will become active and remain with the organization, attention must be paid to introducing and training the individual.
Most organizations put an application on their website for prospective members to fill out if they wish to join. Such application should be easily accessible. If it is hard to find, people will be unable to fill it out and join.
Depending on the setup of the organization, the application can be a simple document asking for basic contact info, or it can be a more detailed application asking a person to sign up for a sim/RPG and create a character on the spot.
After the application is submitted, the organization must have in place a way to process, approve, or reject the application, and a way to notify the individual of such.
After a person has applied to a simming organization, it is important to have someone respond to that person in a prompt fashion - no more than 24 hours is a norm - process their application, and introduce them to the organization.
To help orient a new member, many organizations send the person a welcome letter or guidebook. Some organizations assign a mentor to a new member to help guide the person and answer any questions they may have.
Some organizations offer formalized training to new members, requiring them to complete an "academy" where they are tough about the organization, introduced to its rules and style, and guided through a mock sim or RPG. Others simply assign the person to a sim/RPG and leave it to the host to train the individual, or to pick up the game on their own.
- Recruiting: The Lifeblood of Role Playing by Charles Star, October 2015
- 10 places to advertise your PBEM roleplaying game by David Ball, December 2014
- Need new members? – Don’t Forget Your Friends by Josh Hrach, May 2014
- Field of dreams got it wrong. If you build it they won’t come, unless you tell them to by David Ball, December 2012
- 5 ways to advertise your roleplaying game by David Ball, December 2010
- 9 places to advertise your PBEM game by David Ball, October 2010