Anatomy of a guild app

Let me preface this by saying there are LOTS of opinions about guild applications. My opinion is but one of many. However, you've chosen to visit my corner of the intarwebz, so mine is the one you get to hear.

I view an application to be a tool for eliminating people I clearly don't want in my guild, with the least amount of reading possible. Basically when I'm done reading the application I want to be thinking, "Gee I'd like to talk to that person" or "Ewwwww no thanks." With that goal in mind, I'm going to take you through my guild's application. Here is a sneak peak into the pitfalls and what I'm really looking for when I read an application to my guild.

We ask that all applicants read our guild policies before applying.
Please use the following template for your application.
This is your warning, make sure you know what you're signing up for, and fill this stuff out.

Character Name: I do need to know what to call you. Also if your name is Buttfloss or something equally dumb I generally stop reading here.

Class: Yep, this is important too. If you spell your class wrong, I'm not interested.

Armory Link: Sure we could ask for your detailed history OR you could just give me the link. I check this for rep (Don't tell me you've been farming BT for 6 months and have your Deathsworn Ashtongue Rep at Honored.) Did you gem, gear, enchant, or spec in a way that meets our expectations for raiders?

Why did you allocate your talent points where you did?: Defend your choices. If I see the words pvp or solo here I normally stop reading. This is a raiding guild. It's not a pvp guild and it's not a let's go solo guild.

What do you believe your class (and spec) brings to raids?: This is the first question I ask where I'm looking for an insight into the player's class knowledge and play style. "I pew stuff" indicates a different personality and understanding of a class than "I provide CC, biscuits and high AoE damage."

How long have you been playing WoW?: I'm honestly not sure why we have this here. I think one of my officers wanted it. As long as the answer is above 4 months or so I'm normally fine with it.

How long have you been playing this character? I want this answer to be over 4 months also.

Pre-BC raiding experience: What did you do before BC? Honestly at this point Naxx isn't a deciding factor, but it does tell me that you've had experience in our type of raiding environment before. With less experienced players you have to determine both if this type of raiding commitment AND if this guild is for them at the same time.

BC raid experience: What do I have to teach you to get you up to speed with our current progression?

What do you anticipate your raid attendance will be if we were to offer you a raiding position within our guild?: I don't trust 100% I don't want to hear about well my dog or school comes up sometimes. I want a good guesstimate of how often your real life interferes with your raiding plans. If you tell me 95% and it ends up be 60% imma be pissed.

What do you want out of being in a guild?: This is honestly about your expectations meeting our offerings. If you expect a military style raid that's not what we offer. If you want us all to be best friends and not care that you have green gems, this is also not the place for you.

Tell us about your last guild and why you are looking for a new home.: This is my "Plays well with others" section, where I give you a chance to make a jerk of yourself. If you trash your old guild as a bunch of jerks who don't understand, that raises red flags for me. (Especially if I know your old GM.) If you were booted for ninja looting, I'd make up something about not having compatible raid times.

What do you know about The Guild*, and how do you know it?: Have you done your homework about my guild? If you haven't, how flattering can you be?

Who do you know in The Guild*?: Do you have someone in my guild to vouch for you? If you do, do they actually know and like you?

We ask you to prepare yourself for a new boss encounter, how do you go about this?: This is kind of a give me. Tell me you read strats, get consumables, and/or talk to friends that have done the fight. Just remember, I keep this application if I tag you. So I'm going to remind you that you do these things.

Please allow us up to 3 days after acknowledging receipt of your application to review your application and post an update before you contact us and ask for an update.
Don't pester my officers 20 minutes after you apply.

If your contact requests that you get in touch with them and you fail to do so within a week, your application will be considered withdrawn and no longer considered.
Don't make us go looking for you.

Unless otherwise stated, officers are not available to discuss applications during TD's raid hours. We're all an active part of the leadership of raids and it's unfair to our guildmates, our applicants and ourselves to attempt to give both your application and the raid the attention they deserve at the same time.
Don't pester my officers during a raid; they are raiding.

Please delete the instructional portions of this form before submitting your application.
This is my idiot check. I don't need to read my instructions to evaluate your app, however, if you've deleted my instructions, then I know that you have read them. If you don't follow directions on your application, you probably won't follow them in raids either.

*Name changed to confused the truly obtuse.


John said...

"Tell us about your last guild and why you are looking for a new home.: This is my "Plays well with others" section, where I give you a chance to make a jerk of yourself. If you trash your old guild as a bunch of jerks who don't understand, that raises red flags for me."

I'd probably fail your app process based on this section. I have been in 3 guilds prior to my current one (including my pre-expansion raid experience), and each time I left, I left because the guild had degenerated into a group of people being jerks to one another.

Surely there are better ways to say that, such as "The guild's atmosphere made me feel unwelcome," or "I did not feel integrated into the guild," but it all falls under the explanation of "My old guild was/became a bunch of jerks."

Certainly I would want to know why an app would say his old guild is a bunch of jerks, but it's not always an unfounded, unjustified reason to leave a guild. In the age of server transfers, many guilds lose their identities in the name of building the perfect raiding force, and these guilds often fall apart because people have no positive bonds beyond obtaining new loot together.

I'm patient with most guild issues, but a bad guild culture is the quickest way to get me to leave.

Khol Drake said...

Ooh...that last bit is sneaky...I like it.

Doodle said...

I agree that time played has nothing to do with knowledge of the game, I could tell you I have had a WOW account for over a year now but have only in the last month began learning what is necessary to become a "useful" part of a raiding guild.

Rohan said...

Why did you allocate your talent points where you did?: Defend your choices. If I see the words pvp or solo here I normally stop reading. This is a raiding guild. It's not a pvp guild and it's not a let's go solo guild.

This question is a little confusing. If you're not in a guild, wouldn't you run with a solo build? I'm Ret at the moment, but I'd most likely apply as Holy to a guild.

This might be better as "For raiding, what would be your preferred talent build? Why would you allocate the talents in that manner?" Just to cut out any ambiguity.
What do you want out of being in a guild?

I'm not a fan of questions which encourage the applicant to lie. Are they likely to answer this question truthfully, or put down something they think you want to hear, and something that subtly flatters your guild?

Also, if someone answered, "Better gear for my character" would you accept that answer? I think that gear is a large motivator for people, but few people are willing to admit to it.
My favourite application question is something I came up with when I tried making my own guild a long time ago:

In your opinion, what the most underrated talent/spell/ability of your class? Why?

Anonymous said...

I really liked this article. I'm the recruiting officer for Collateral Damage on Vek'nilash, and you've given me some great ideas.

We have a "guild history" question too. If it's a person coming from our server, I'll know the guild they're from and probably a few people in it. From months of recruiting, I've had conversations with a lot of people from a lot of guilds. Usually, I'll know if an applicant is bullshitting or inflating guild drama. Sometimes guilds go through hard times, break up, quit raiding, or have inconvenient raid times for the applicant. I've had a lot of luck with initiates in this situation.

Just think about it this way, commenter John. If someone asked you why you broke up with a significant other, would you bash her publicly and air all your dirty laundry or find something diplomatic to say? It's a manners check as much as anything.


Valthan said...

I like it Auz. But I do have one problem with one aspect of you recruiting: Instance Rep.

Sure the toon I am applying on might not have any (like my new toon, when he gets level capped) I would say farmed Kara to oblivion, same with Gruuls and Mag. I'm gonna tell you I have seen (and downed) the first 3 in MH a few times and that I have seen the first (and downed) the first 4 in BT. But you won't be able to see that as I would have 0-very low rep with those guys.

Other then that I really like your app format

Matticus said...

Rohan: You bring up some great points and reasons why an applicant might want to "color" their application.

I know I include a question like that in my application for one reason: I want to ensure that what THEY want in their guild is in line with what my guild has to OFFER.

If they're looking for a place to PvP and we're a progression Guild, it won't work out.