Recruiting: Online Presence

Recruiting is a vital part of your role as leader of your organization as it ensures the continuity and quality of your group. Your first tool for effective recruitment is an active website.

Now that you know how to plan internal and external events, it’s time to move onto one of the most important activities your organization will conduct: recruiting.
Recruiting is a vital part of your role as leader of your organization. Not only is the continuity of your group determined by the people you recruit, but also the quality of your recruits is largely determined by the steps you take to ensure that your process is clear, well-structured, and purposeful.
The first tool in your recruitment tool box is your passive presence. This encompasses any medium that interested parties can review to get more information about your group and your recruiting process. The best way to have a passive presence is through an up to date website.
Assess Requirements
When assessing the requirements for your site, you’ll want to consider your audience and how your site will interact with the other media tools that you’ll use to promote your team. If your team has a dedicated coder, that would be a plus. However, there are many programs currently available that allows you to create a site without coding experience. For my sites, I used to use Webs which is sufficient for basic websites, but as you can see, I’ve now moved onto WordPress which provides much more user friendly and streamlined experience.
Planning/Testing
As you design your site, you’ll want to ensure both consistency of design (think font, formatting, margins, etc.) and natural progression of pages. You’ll want to have these pages at least:
  1. Home Page – Provides general information about your organization and links to pages with important information.
  2. About Page – Answers frequently asked questions and provides more historical information about your group.
  3. Why Join – Provides information about the benefits and activities your group participates in.
  4. Tryouts – Provides information regarding your recruitment timeline, logistics, and requirements.
  5. Contact Us – Provides either an email address or submission box for inquiries.
  6. Calendar of Events – Provides information about your upcoming recruiting and team events. Having a private vs. public calendar is a nice touch so that your members can access members only material like social events, competitive events, etc.
Execution
Build your site so that progressing through the pages is natural and finding your contact information is easy. Your first page should have links to your most attention grabbing materials. For performance and competitive organization, include information about awards you’ve won or recordings of your performances. For professional organizations, include information about where your alumni have been placed for jobs and graduate school. If you’re a event based organization, include news clippings that cover your events. For all organizations, your site should be professional, appealing, and well spaced; adequate white space should be included between paragraphs and pages to allow your reader’s eyes to rest and promote easier understanding of your content.
Anytime you reference another page or site, make sure to include the relevant link. Most web builders will allow you to create links out of specific words (website) as opposed to providing the entire link (https://www.website.com).
As the year progresses, it’s a nice touch to have a section dedicated to important announcements. These should be on your home page, and should cover important information that you need to convey directly to your audience including room changes for tryouts, awards, etc. Your most interested recruits and dedicated members will use your website as a source of truth, so having the most up to date information is a good reward for their vigilance.
  1. This is a great post! Something else to consider in this post is really focusing on UI design elements of a website and thinking about how a user wants to navigate through these webpages. These elements should make the experience easy, like you mentioned, but also engaging. If I’m on the fence about joining the debate team (as in this example), the experience of navigating through this website and gleaning information about the group may push me towards one decision or another.

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  2. I think that’s a great point Sindu! Especially as it relates to side-bars, putting in content that excites potential viewers and makes it easier to navigate to that content (e.g. videos and other multimedia) is an important draw.

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