Guilds and Guild Management 8 Comments

Recruiting and The Princess Bride

Today I turned down a guild application because they had never watched The Princess Bride. Actually, to be honest they couldn’t even identify The Princess Bride, asking if it was one of those Robin Hood movies. This, more than anything else, sealed the denial from our guild. What I found most interesting was that the reaction from my guildies to that decision was overwhelmingly positive, whereas some of the non-guildies I talked to were taken aback by what seemed like relatively arbitrary recruiting policies.

I’ve talked in the past about how to write recruitment posts and about how to write recruitment applications. One thing I haven’t really touched on is that ephemeral art of recruiting people with your guild community in mind. The Cats are indeed a raiding guild, whatever that means nowadays, and people who want to join the raiding team need to bring a certain level of player skill to fill the role that we need. One thing I’ve had to learn as we made that slow slide from uber casual to more casualcore is that the best personality in the world cannot make up for repeatedly wiping the raid by standing in the void zones, however much I wish it were true. However, personality still counts.

I started my guild with the very egocentric plan of only recruiting people that I suspect I’d like to have a beer with in real life. At this point that desire is stronger about some members than others, but I think over the years I’ve generally stuck to my plan. This means a few things: applicants have to not freak out about being around women, because we have more than most guilds and they will all kick your ass; you have to be on the more clever range of things; swearing and mild raunchiness is okay, but derogatory or racist crap is not. A bunch of us are professionals (engineers, teachers, lawyers, editors, tech gurus), which means that we’re older and trend towards the geeky. Our guild sense of humor celebrates puns and typos and dry wit. Hence, The Princess Bride Test.

So what can you tell about someone based on one carefully selected movie? First, you get a general idea of their age range. I admit to not being hip with the kids anymore, but I doubt your average 15-year old has seen this movie. Next, a hint of their tendency towards or against.. macho rants. At it’s core, Princess Bride is a love story featuring royalty, which might turn some manly men off. And finally, it gives a good idea of someone’s sense of humor. Will it jibe with that of the guild at large?

Raid performance is very important, but completing Sarth 3D would be worthless to me if I didn’t enjoy the company of the people I did it with. I will veto without hesitation anyone I think won’t get along with the rest of the team, no matter what their raid credentials are. A carefully chosen personality question or two on your guild application can help you understand how someone would fit with your guild community, and having happy cohesive guildies improves teamwork, longevity, and plain old fun.

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  • Reply
    March 13, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Wow, that makes me very interested in seeing what the rest of your guild app looks like… ::chuckle:: and yes, I know the Princess Bride quite well…

  • Reply
    March 13, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Our guild’s app has a couple non-serious questions and we love the applicants that respond to those with witty and interesting answers. When I conduct interviews, I usually throw in an oddball question like “if there was a fruit class in WoW, what would you be and how would you spec?”

    I once had some tell me they were too new to the game to answer and would need more time to research it.

    I was stuck trying to figure out if that was serious or comic gold.

    Turns out they were serious. >.>

    And I think The Princess Bride is an excellent movie to use, btw!

    Syrana’s last blog post..PSA: When Bad Things Happen To Good People

  • Reply
    March 13, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Wait, do the young folks these days really not watch the Princess Bride? I thought it was a cross-generational kind of thing. This makes me very sad for humanity. I blame the non-watchers for the economic crisis.

  • Reply
    March 15, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    *tries to think of a Princess Bride joke to add to comment*


    Love the selection process.

    BobTurkey’s last blog post..How to Pawn

  • Reply
    March 16, 2009 at 4:57 am

    WoW is pain, highness. Anyone who says otherwise is a gold farmer.

  • Reply
    April 2, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    Coming from a different culture, I watch very few movies as I was growing up and most of the ones I did see where Disney animations. So in fact, I have never seen the Princess Bride, although I’ve surfed the interwebs enough to see people quote it. I read the book out of curiosity, but I didn’t ‘get’ the joke til wiki explained it to me /sadpanda

    I love good wordplay, but that comes from a love of books, not film. Doesn’t judging an applicant based on one movie rather, well, rather limit the range of your applicants? Admittedly, if an applicant can write out correct whole sentences and have every word in their app spelled correctly, I’m sold. ;P

  • Reply
    April 3, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Well, I was exaggerating a bit to make a point, Laere. I’m not going to forbid anyone from joining my guild STRICTLY based on the fact that they haven’t seen The Princess Bride. But I do believe that personality counts for a lot even in a ‘raiding guild’, and encourage other guild leaders to not be afraid to turn someone away because they flunk out on the personality questions on the guild app.

    That was more my point. :)

  • Reply
    April 27, 2012 at 6:41 am

    I’m very late, but I still just have to say I wuv the approach. Twuwwy wuv it. :)

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