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The Right Questions: Writing a great guild application

When seeking new members to join your guild, a great application is a key tool to help you find potential new members who will fit into your guild's culture and become wonderful contributing members to your group. Conversely, a poor application will, at the least, do no good whatsoever in helping you weed the good from the bad, and at worse, cause good applicants to turn away at your door. This guide seeks to help you find the right questions to ask to get the answers and applicants that are right for your guild.

Planning your applicationEdit

Choosing a MediumEdit

There are 5 common ways you can present your application to the world:

Forum PostEdit

This is by far the most common type of guild application. Typically it requires the applicant to gain access to post on your guild's public forum, open an application post that you have created, and copy and paste the application form into a new post, where they then complete the application.

This type of application is generally the easiest to create, and does not impose any limits on the applicant (they can be as succinct or verbose as they want). However, it does place a burden of work on the applicant, as they have to be technically savvy enough to copy and paste it (which isn't necessarily a bad thing), and often has the unfortunate side effect of not retaining all of the formatting that you took hours carefully tweaking to make your application look pretty.

Online FormEdit

Most guild web site service providers offer some form of guild application builder. These can range from a simple list of up to ten questions with text boxes provided for answers, to complex forms with combo boxes, check boxes, memo fields and more.

This option will likely be the most work up front, and may be limited by your website service provider. However, it tends to be more professional looking, and you can also generally insure a completely filled in application since you can enforce required fields through the form.

Free-Form (essay)Edit

Some guilds prefer to forego choosing application questions altogether in favor of a free-form application. This type of application is a blank slate that is filled by the applicant themselves. They choose what they want to share with you, and how much. It provides the guild with insight into the person behind the character.

Thanks to the Armory, and other 3rd party WoW related tools, you can get all the basics you need to know about the character from their character and server name. Guild history, reputations, gear, spec choices, and more can easily be gleaned without making the applicant go over all of it on the application.


InterviewEdit

Never underestimate the power of an interview. Interviews may be conducted through whispers, party chat, voice chat/Ventrillo or even face to face in /say. You may forego the written application and simply ask the application questions in the interview, or use the application as a screening process that leads to the interview.

One Interview tactic that I like particularly for potential server transfers is to invite the applicant to sit in Ventrillo while we conduct a raid, and then perform the interview after the raid is ended. This has the benefit of letting the applicant 'see' what our guild culture is like, and we both have smart questions to ask each other when it comes time for the interview.

The only real disadvantage of an interview is that there is no written backup of the conversation. I cannot count the number of times I have gone back to an application to recall some nuance that the guildmate told us before they joined, or to check on the new applicant with the familiar name to see if they have applied (and been denied) in the past.

Trial MembershipEdit

The most informal application type is the trial membership. With a trial membership, the guild invites any player who expresses an interest, and evaluates them over a set period of time. At the end of this period, the recruit is either promoted to a guild member level, or let go.

As a stand-alone application process, this is potentially dangerous to your guild, due to the prolifity of bank ninjas and other e-miscreants. I recommend that if you do choose this method that you create a restricted rank for recruits with extremely limited access to guild resources.

When combined with a written application and/or an interview, a trial membership becomes a much more formal option. In fact, many top raiding guilds with limited raiding spots available will use this method to try out several promising candidates to see how well they fit in with the rest of the raiding group.

To Show or Not to ShowEdit

If you are using any form of web-based application, there is generally an option to provide the application answers in a forum post. The question then becomes, who should be able to see the application? There are pros and cons to each choice, but ultimately it is a matter of preference for your guild.

Officers OnlyEdit

Only allow officers to view and comment on apps. Allows a more open conversation between officers without fear of a future guildmate seeing a negative comment about themselves. However, you may miss out on valuable feedback from the other members of the guild, and any further communication with the applicant must be conducted in game or via email.

Guild OnlyEdit

Only allow guild members to view and comment on applications. This option is nice because it allows the whole guild to have a say in who joins or does not join. This can help weed out a number of bad apples simply by benefitting from the experiences of the whole guild. The applicant is unable to view comments unless they become a guild member, so any further communication with the applicant must be conducted in game or via email.

Members OnlyEdit

Only allow website members to view and comment on applications. This is a semi public option since it allows any future or past applicants to view and comment on applications, in addition to guild members. However, this option does have the benefit of allowing an open conversation with the applicant.

PublicEdit

Anyone with a website browser may view applications. This option does allow the applicant to converse openly with the guild/class leaders/guild leader; however it has been my experience that some applicants are a little less open with their answers on the application when it is public because they are aware that everyone in their current or former guild can easily view anything they say. On the other hand, some guilds have found that open applications help prevent applicants from lying on their apps, as the entire server can see the app and call them on it.

Choosing your QuestionsEdit

Unless your goal is to fill your guild with only the most verbose players on your server, do not use every single sample question listed below - these are simply examples culled from real guild applications to provide you with ideas for your own application. In fact, I recommend you limit your application to between 10 and 20 questions. As in all things, try to apply the KISS rule: Keep It Simple Stupid.

The IntroductionEdit

Presumably, your application is hosted on your guild's web site or forum, and is therefore prefaced by plenty of information about your guild itself. However, you should still write a specialized recruitment message containing a brief synapses of who and what your guild is, and what you are looking for. This introduction can be included at the beginning of the application, or as a seperate landing page prior to directing the applicant to the application. This section also works great as a copy and paste to the guild recruitment forum, and your recruitment message on your realm forum, with only a few tweaks.

The introduction should specify who you are, what your guild is looking for in a new member, what you expect from them, and what you have to offer them. Remember that this is a recruitment tool, so you want the person applying to be excited about the prospect of joining your guild so that they are motivated to fill out the application completely and with enthusiasm.

Please note that the sections below are listed in arbitrary order. Feel free to combine, or mix up the areas, just be sure that you have covered all of the finer points.

Who you are:Edit

This section should contain a brief synapses of your guild. Clearly state your guild name and faction (server too if you plan to use it on the guild recruitment forum), and include a short overview of who you are. This could be anything that you feel identifies your guild, such as your mission statement, your playing style or your backstory.

You want to find like-minded people, so be sure to be truthful about who you are. If you say you are hardcore, but you are really just a buncha guys who like to make yo momma jokes and incidentally happen to be in a raid group at the same time, you are going to be getting the wrong kind of applicants from your 'hardcore' application.

What You are looking forEdit

This should address your guild culture. If your guild is progression focused, srs business, then you need to specify that this is what you are looking for. If you are looking for fun-loving drunken pirates, make that clear.

What You ExpectEdit

This is a quick list of the requirements or expectations you have for new members. It is not the code of conduct, so please do not list a massive wall of text here. It should just be a sentence or two (or a few bullet points) that details any minimum requirements you have. Examples of these include age, maturity level, availability, unguilded, character level, character story(RP), gear level, or enchants/glyphs.

What you have to offerEdit

This section is intended to inform the applicant what they can expect from you. It is basically a list of what your guild brings to the table.

Now, as well as it may have worked for you in your recruitment message on the trade channel, don't list that you have a tabard and 3 bank tabs, unless it is something special and unique to your guild, like every new member gets a free guild tabard or subsidized repairs from the guild bank.

This is however a good place to list things your guild does - raiding (x days a week), guild sponsored events, instance runs, premade battlegrounds, etc. Any assets your guild has to offer members privately such as Ventrillo or Private Forum permissions should also be included. Do not forget that your current guild members are an asset. If they are friendly and helpful, extremely active, high level crafters, or prone to throw down a pony keg at the drop of a hat, be sure to list that among your assets.

The ApplicationEdit

About the Applicant Edit

This category of application questions should identify any information you need to know about the player and the character that is applying. Generally this is the section of the application where you ask for the character name, armory link, and any other basic information you need to know.

Please note that while it is somewhat common to ask an applicant's age, it is generally not considered appropriate to ask personal questions such as real name, location (although time zone is common), sex, race, etc. Even asking a person's age may cause unexpected results due to applicants trying to give you the answer they think you want to hear. You may find a more viable answer by asking questions whose answers can help you judge age/maturity level without directly asking one's age, such as what the applicant does in the time outside of WoW.


Your CharacterEdit

  • What is your Character Name / Level / Class / Realm?
  • Please provide your Armory link.
  • Is this your main character? If not, do you intend to give this character much play time?
  • Are you the original account owner?
  • Does anyone else have access to your character(s) ?


IRLEdit

  • What is your age in real life? (15 or younger) (16 to 18) (19 to 21) (22 to 35) (Over 35)
  • What interests do you have / activities do you like to do outside of WoW?
  • What time zone are you in? (server time is xxx)
  • Are you offended by mature language or off-color jokes?
  • Are you a team player, willing to do what needs to be done?


ScheduleEdit

  • Are you punctual?
  • What is your average hours played per week?
  • What are your general play times? Is there anything that would affect your availability?
  • Do you have any upcoming schedule conflicts: Work/Class schedule, Baby due in 3 months, serving in army etc.?
  • Is there any obligation that would cause you to need to leave early and/or be consistently late for raids?

Connection/HardwareEdit

  • What sort of internet connection do you have, and how stable is it?
  • Do you have problems with lag, low ping, or random disconnects?
  • Do you have any computer issues that affect your ability to play?
  • Give us a detailed description of your computer's specifications - CPU/RAM/GraphicsCard/Monitor, etc.
  • Do you have Ventrilo installed? Do you own a mic? Can you talk without horrible feedback? And will you talk if communication is necessary?

HistoryEdit

The history can tell you a lot about the applicant, not just what guilds they have been in, but what kinds of problems they have had in the past - my general rule of thumb is if the applicant lists the same reason for leaving past guilds more than once, do not accept, because they will be listing that same reason for our guild when they leave us.

  • What is your previous guild history, and why did you leave those guilds?
  • May we contact your prior guild(s) as reference?
  • Would this guild be willing to re-invite you after you left, did you leave on good terms or did you burn a bridge?
  • What about those guilds failed to meet your needs?
  • What is the approximate length of time you've been playing WoW?
  • What is your previous gaming experience, if any?
  • What other classes have you played, and to approximately what level?
  • What are your goals in WoW? Have you reached them?
  • Have you previously grouped with anyone in our guild now who can personally vouch for you?

SpecialtyEdit

There are as many different kinds of guilds in WoW as there are colors in the rainbow, and each kind of guild will have questions that apply to their guild's focus. Therefore, I have broken this section up into loose groupings of some of the most common foci of guilds and what you may want to know for each. Feel free to mix and match if your guild incorporates more than one of these categories.

*****Again, remember that these are a sampling of actual questions from real guild applications and are in no way intended to be used en masse. Pick and choose the few ideas that matter to your guild and leave the rest. Less is more.*****


Raiding/InstancesEdit

SpecEdit
  • What is your spec and why did you choose this particular build?
  • Have you made any unusual choices in your talents outside the standard 'cookie cutter' and if so, why?
  • Are you dual specced, and if so, what is your secondary spec?
  • Explain the purpose for your secondary spec (ex. PVP, Arena, Changing roles in raid to heal/dps/tank, soloing/questing)
  • Would you re-spec for the raid?
  • Do you have a full set of gear for your secondary spec?
  • What other builds have you played with? Why did you switch out of them?
  • What do you think the strengths and weaknesses of your class are?
  • What do you feel should/could be changed to improve your class/spec?
  • Identify what role you played in past raids, either as a leader or raider and whether or not you were part of a group progressing though it or tagging along with group that had it on farm.
  • What makes you enjoy your class and role in a raid?
GearEdit
  • How do you prioritize your gear choices (hit/agi/dmg/etc)?
  • Please explain any problems with your current gear (missing or incorrect gems/enchants, incorrectly itemized gear, etc)
  • Do you use consumables in raids, and if you do, which?
  • All members are expected to pay for their own repairs and make/buy their own consumables. Is this something you can manage while learning a new instance?
  • What resist gear sets do you have? Are you willing to farm the mats for your own resist gear?
ExperienceEdit
  • Why do you want to raid?
  • Please list your previous raiding experience, if any. Please note if you raided the dungeons when they were relevant or if you did them later 'just for the achievement'.
  • What are your raiding goals? (why do you want to raid?)
  • What's your favorite raiding encounter?
  • What's the best wipe you've ever caused?
  • How do you typically prepare for bosses you haven't encountered before?
  • What is your play style? (This may be your shot/spell/heal/special rotation.)
  • Can you handle constructive criticism?
MovementEdit
  • Do you strafe, and in what situations would you strafe?
  • Do you turn with your mouse or keyboard?
  • Are you a clicker?
UI=Edit
  • What add-on modules do you use for raiding?
  • Please include a link to a screen shot of your in-raid UI

(if you cannot then provide a link to your UI while in Alterac Valley).

PVPEdit

  • What is your resilience?
  • Do you have the new pvp trinket?
  • What PVP add-ons could you not live without?
  • How situationally aware are you?
  • What is your highest ever 2v2 rating, during which season?
  • What is your highest ever 3v3 rating, during which season?
  • What is your highest ever 5v5 rating, during which season?
  • What is your favorite BG and why?
  • What twink bracket is your favorite? Which class/spec?
  • Hypothetical situation. You're in a pickup group for a heroic instance. Your group is extremely strong and you're breezing through it. Global defense indicates that a major city is being attacked. What will you do?
  • Rank these in their importance to you. (1 is "most important", and 5 is "least important") Battlegrounds, Arena, World PVP, Heroics, PVE Raiding
  • What would you say your reactiveness is in a pressure situation? (It's ok to be a keyboard turner/clicker, don't feel pressured)
    • I ebayed. I'm still using the click-to-move I was so associated with in Korean games.
    • All thumbs, I can barely muster the courage to spam a single button.
    • Clicker/Keyboard Turner
    • Fairly fast Clicker/Keyboard Turner
    • I'm a clicker but I turn with mouse! Ninja speed! Watch me spin so fast I puke.
    • I use key binds, but I still turn with my keyboard.
    • I am a regular in PVP, and learned to key bind/mouse turn by necessity.
    • I'm the hunter you loathe in WSG 19/29, yeah, the kiter one who jumpspinshots you. Hate me.
    • I play all aspects of the game like a First Person Shooter. I am naked without my HUD's.
    • I have so many key binds on my mouse I can CC, set focuses

Role PlayingEdit

  • What level of experience do you have with RP?
  • What level of RP do you prefer? Heavy, medium, light, or roleplay friendly?
  • Is Role Playing your main priority on this character?
  • What RP mods, if any, do you use? (i.e. ImmersionRP, MyRolePlay, FlagRSP, etc.)
  • Do you understand the difference between IC and OOC actions? Between real life and the game?
  • Does your character in any way contradict Warcraft's lore? (Halfbreed anything, vampire, demon, demigod, furry, from another fictional world, etc.)
  • Please tell us something about your character, roleplay-wise: (e.g. History, reasons, morals etc.)
  • Please outline any prior experience you have with roleplaying (both within and outside of WoW)
  • What are your IC and OOC goals for this character?
  • You are attending a Halloween party hosted by the guild. What are you wearing?


ProfessionsEdit

  • What professions do you have, and what level are they?
  • What rare patterns/recipes/plans do you have for your professions that may be helpful to the guild?
  • Why did you pick these professions?
  • What level are your secondary professions? (First Aid, Fishing, Cooking)

Getting to Know youEdit

Sometimes frivolous questions can help you get inside the applicant's head and provide a common ground on which your guild members and the applicant can connect.

Asking a question that references something obscure that can be found on the Internet shows they have the initiative to use outside resources (search engine) to find out something they don't know. If they didn't need to look up that obscure thing, well, you just found your guild's Lore Nerd. Grats!

  • Who is your Favorite Super Hero or Villain?
  • Favorite Movie Quote, Go!
  • Ninjas or Pirates?
  • How addicted to WoW are you / What would you give up to play?
  • List any WoW related site you regularly visit that is relevant to your WoW playing experience.
  • Indulge us with your greatest accomplishment in WoW or RL that you can think of.
  • List 10 adverbs or adjectives describing you.
  • Where in WoW is Supervisor Fizsprocket?

The WhyEdit

It is important to know why the applicant wants to join your guild. If they only want to raid, and you raid one day a week, or they are in it for the honor and your idea of PVP is getting in ten arena games before the reset, it helps to learn about that before you bring that applicant into the guild. You can also quickly sort out those who haven't bothered to read the website or learn anything about the guild. Chances are if they didn't take the time to do that, they won't be putting forth much effort in the guild either.

  • How did you find our guild?
  • What do you bring to the table? (How can you contribute to help improve our guild?)
  • What are you looking for in a guild?
  • Why do you want to join our guild?

AgreementEdit

Make sure you provide a link to your rules and regulations, looting policies, rank explanations, or any other information that is pertinent to a new guild member. Often, these links (although they are linked on the home page in 24pt font) get overlooked in the applicant's rush to click on the apply to guild button. Asking them to acknowledge these items will probably still not get them to read, but at least now you can hold them to the guild's standards without any cries of 'You never told me!' in the future.

  • Have you read the rules? If not, do you promise to blindly follow authority no matter how ridiculous the demands are?
  • What reaction are you expecting from the guild in response to your applying?
  • Which characters can we contact you on in game when reviewing your application?
  • What is a good time for an officer to contact you?
  • How accurate do you feel this application template was in identifying your ability as a raider/RPer/etc.?
  • Do you have any final questions or comments that you wish the council to consider?

DisclaimersEdit

Any special circumstances that your guild applies to new applicants should be spelled out here. If your guild brings new recruits in as trial members on a temporary contract, be sure to list that. If you only review applications when two moons are showing over Nagrand, let them know that too.

Example ApplicationsEdit

This is a very nice, very detailed raiding guild application: Ad Infinitum

Here is a nice example of an online form application: Nerubian Hunters Guild

This is a nice example of a free-form application: Sleeper Cartel

This is a blog article that not only lists application questions, but goes on to interpret what you can learn of the applicant from the answers given: Anatomy of a Guild App

CreditsEdit

PostscriptEdit

While this guide is specifically about creating an application form for your guild, the natural progression of that topic is how to properly fill out said application to get accepted into the guild you want to join. There are enough things to say about that topic to warrant a full-fledged guide of its own, and luckily for me, several have already been written. Please take the time to read these great guides about getting into your desired guild:

This blog article goes through Chick GM's own guild application and explains what kinds of answers she is looking for, and more, what kinds of answers will put up red flags and result in a likely denial of the applicant.

This guide by Ciderhelm walks you through the entire process of getting into a good guild, from the research to the preparation of your character, to the application itself.

Contributors Edit

  • Written by Lightpelt of Eternal Legacy - Blackwater Raiders Server

Original Post: Guild Relations Forum

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