8 Questions To Ask Potential New Members

Leadership in ActionThere are two times in a term when Members usually hold Initiate Interviews:

  • Prior to Pinning
  • During the Initiation Program

Whatever your Chapter decides, interviews or a different way to get to know Potential New Members/Initiates is key when choosing the right Members who are going to be the perfect fit for your Chapter and Phi Sigma Pi Members for life.

Need help coming up with good, insightful questions? Check out the video above and get the conversation started.

What Chapters Are Doing

BobbyWe talked with Initiate Advisor Bobby Belser from the Gamma Psi Chapter at College of William & Mary to find out the creative way they hold interviews and how it helps their Big/Little program and retention.

The Gamma Psi Chapter has interviews during the Initiation Program. Initiates interview the Eboard Members, Committee Chairs and 10 additional Members all before Initiation. This helps get to know the Members in the Chapter as well as their positions. To find that perfect Big, Initiates hold Big/Little dates. Bobby adds “Each week an Initiate goes on 3-4 adventures/”dates” with a different potential Big. These activities range from getting coffee, to going on a walk, or going rock climbing, but it’s the Initiates’ decision on what to do. This gives both people the chance to get to know each other better. While this is happening, every Sunday after the Initiates’ study hall, we have Initiation events. These include large group activities. These events are optional for all Members and Initiates to come and get to know the Initiates better, but the potential Bigs have to go to at least one to get to interact with the Initiates in a group setting. These are the main methods we use to have the Bigs and Littles interact, which is a huge help in having them pref who they want. We find this to be extremely successful as we rarely have any issues between the new Bigs and Littles and have an extremely high retention rate of our Initiates.”

Delta Alpha ChapterPresident Elizabeth Pattie of the Delta Alpha Chapter at Rochester Institute of Technology shares the interview process the Chapter uses before Pinning:

“The interview consists of the Potential New Member (PNM), the Recruitment Advisor and about 2 to 3 other Members. The interview is the only part of the Recruitment Drive that a PNM is required to attend in order to be considered for a Bid. The questions that we ask are designed to gain a better understanding of how well the PNM’s values align with those of PSP. Some examples include:

  • why are they interested in PSP
  • what skills can they bring to the Chapter
  • what value matters most to them
  • biggest strength
  • greatest weakness.

After we go through our list of usual questions, we then give the Members in the interview a chance to ask any questions. Usually a Member will ask a silly question at this point (would you rather fight a duck sized horse or a horse sized duck?) to help the PNM feel more relaxed. We let the PNM ask any questions they have for us. The Recruitment Advisor (RA) take notes of what the PNM’s responses during the interview. The RA then summarizes the PNM’s responses to the questions as the first Pro (during voting), but only delves into the answers, and not the tone, personality, other non-traditional questions asked, etc. This helps the RA remain impartial while still trying to be essentially the representative for each PNM. The purpose of having 2-3 other Members in the room is so that they can speak to those attributes as they are not expected to remain impartial.

I think it helps the Chapter gain a more accurate/fair understanding of the PNMs. Recruitment events allow us to have small talk with PNM’s, and see how they work in a team dynamic, solve problems, etc. But it doesn’t give us the chance to learn about what the PNMs are passionate about and how they could be a great Member. So the interview fills in those gaps. This gives us better information to discuss during Pro/Con, and helps with retention by improving the quality of those who we invite to become Initiates.”

Beta Chapter

President Christine Conge of the Beta Chapter at Truman State University discussed the way her Chapter holds interviews during the recruitment week.

“We hold an event that encompasses each leg of the tripod Monday-Wednesday and hold interviews on Thursday. Our interviews are invite only. Generally we vote to pass all Potential New Members through to the interview process, but occasionally Members choose not to invite someone back if they are using disrespectful/exclusive language, being rude or unprofessional. Our reasoning behind Thursday as our interview time is it gives the Members a chance to see how each Potential New Member lives our Tripod. We ask more Tripod specific questions on each of these days before deciding who will move to the interview process. The interviews being at the end of the week gives Members times to come up with more interviewee specific questions. It is also great to see how the Potential New Members act in a professional environment as our interviews are formal.

During the interviews we ask questions such as “Why did you choose Phi Sigma Pi specifically?” and “Which leg of the Tripod do you think you are strongest in and why?” We want to be sure that our new Members know the importance of our ideals and are also somebody who wants to work to make our Brotherhood stronger and be a Member for life.”

Take some time to learn more about Leadership in Action! Email lia@phisigmapi.org if you have any questions!

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Leadership in Action is a certification program for Members of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity. Members participate in sessions called Modules to learn new skills they can use right away in their Chapters and in everyday life!

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