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After the demise of the SWTOR forums-based guild application and forums, guild leaders have had to decide how they want to approach onboarding new members. Although many have gone for the “word of mouth” invite system, I am still a big fan  of having a solid application and a well-defined process.

Why I Like Filling Out Guild Applications

Having been in a number of guilds who have accepted all comers, and guilds that had well thought out applications, I am definitely a fan of the latter. A thoughtful selection of questions helps your guild define the attributes that are important to your members and the characteristics a new member will ideally have to fit in well with the personality of your guild.

On the flipside, the application and the process around vetting it can show an applicant a lot about your guild’s leadership structure and its members. I have actually decided against app’ing to a guild based upon its application questions and process. And that’s much better than joining a guild only to realize in a short amount of time its personality and activities are not at all in line with what you are looking for.

Deciding What Your Application Process Looks Like

It’s important that your guild’s officer team as a whole agrees upon how the process works, and what questions are important. If you have a rogue officer who will just invite folks willy-nilly, regardless of their app status, then there’s no point in having one. Likewise, if you have an officer who hazes all new applicants, but the other officers are not onboard with that, it can come across to the applicants and a dysfunctional officer team.

Call together an officer meeting and actually talk through how you want the process to work (i.e. if you even want an app, how long of a waiting period is there, is there public application review and comments, etc.) Then, if you have decided on an application, actually hammer out the questions. Finally, put the application up on your guild forum, with an explanation of the process.

4 Must-have Application Questions

For me, the following questions are the must-haves. If a guild isn’t asking these questions, they’re not getting a good sense of who their applicant is, in my opinion:

  1. What is your main character’s name, class, spec and level?
  2. This one is vital if you are running raids. It avoids the well-geared main being swapped for the brand new 50 after being invited to the guild, or the recruited healer morphing into a PvP spec’d DPS.

  3. Why are you leaving/why did you leave your last guild?
    Yes, I do realize this is often the big fat white lie section of an application. But you will be surprised at how often you do get a thoughtful response. If the reason smells fishy, talk to someone you know in their former guild and ask why they left. And beware the person app’ing to your guild who is currently in a rival guild — that is the smell of drama coming your way.
  4. Who do you know in the Guild?
    Follow-up with those named to see if they personally endorse the applicant. If not, this is not someone you want in your guild.
  5. If you don’t know anyone in the guild, what is prompting your application?
    This is a solid way to see if your forum posts, podcast pleas, and twitter recruitment calls are working. And if their reply is that they saw a guildie standing around the Fleet in their epic lootz and they want some, think about if you want this person in your guild.

Now, with that solid base in place, start thinking about what makes your guild unique, and start crafting some questions around that. If you are a raiding focused guild, you’ll want to ask questions about content completed, raiding availability, etc. If your guild is more casual and focused on alt leveling, ask about their stable of alts and how they like to spend their in-game time and what they are looking for a guild to provide them with socially.

Further reading from other guild management blog posts from my WoW blog:

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