How to Avoid Awkward Answers to Recruitment Questions
Recruitment rounds are really a series of mini interviews with lots of different girls. PNMs and sorority sisters will be asked get-to-know-you questions and how you answer is vital to the evaluation process. The goal is to present your very best, most polished self, while answering in a genuine way. You want to answer confidently, answer in a way that puts you in the best light and share information that leads to a follow up question or comment. One word answers are banned!
Below are six examples of typical recruitment questions, two sample answers, one bad and one good and my top tips. Avoid awkward stammering, long pauses and confusing explanations. A successful response is to the point, interesting and filled with enough detail to keep the conversation going. Once your conversation is launched, you should begin speaking naturally and your talk should flow from there.
• For more sorority conversation advice, please download The Recruitment Conversation Guide and The Recruitment Question Guide from the sorority sugar Digital Sweet Shop!
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• Typical Recruitment Questions and How to Ace Your Answers •
Question: Where are you from?
Awkward Answer: Well... Long pause. Um... I was born in Atlanta, but my dad had to move around a lot for his job, so I lived in Oklahoma for awhile, then I um, went to grade school in Idaho, and I also graduated from high school there, but in a different town, so I guess I would say I'm from Idaho. But then there was my parent's divorce... So I never know how to answer that question.
Polished Answer: I'm from Boise Idaho, but I also lived in Georgia and Oklahoma when I was younger. I really enjoy experiencing new places and meeting new people.
Reply: Oh, my mom's family is from Georgia and we visit there every summer. Did you live in Atlanta when you were younger?
sorority sugar Tips: Don't give unnecessarily long answers and rambling explanations. TMI. Pick a place to be from and add in just a little more detail if needed. Uncertainty and confusion is a turn off. Get your own "back story" straight and simplify your personal timeline.
Question: What is your major?
Awkward Answer: Sigh. Depressed look. Oh... I don't know, I just can't decide. My dad wants me to go into finance, but I don't really like numbers, you know what I mean? And like... I really enjoy art history, but I don't think I want to work in a museum. My mom thinks I should major in communications, but I'm not really good at talking, so uh... I guess I'm undeclared at this point. My GPA isn't the greatest either.
Polished Answer: I'm undeclared at this point, but I have a strong interest in art history and writing. I can't wait to start my classes and see what I like the best. I also speak French, so I'm hoping to combine everything into a career curating for an art gallery.
Reply: How exciting. And don't worry about being undeclared, lots of freshman are at this point. Several of my sorority sisters are art history majors and you can talk to them about what it's like. One of our alumnae even works at a gallery in Paris.
sorority sugar Tips: Airing your family conflicts is off limits during recruitment rounds. Pick a major, or an area of study, and create a positive response. It doesn't matter what your major is, as long as you are confident and interested in something. And never mention your deficiencies like a low GPA. Be all about academics, studying and achieving your career goals.
Question: What did you like most about High School?
Awkward Answer: Oh geez. I was such a looser in High School. I didn't have any friends and I couldn't find a date for the prom. I used to wear braces. but I finally got those off my junior year. What else? Uh.... I haven't really thought about High School since I graduated. I tried out for cheerleader one time and I didn't make it. Cheerleaders suck anyway. Does being in the Vegan Club count?
Polished Answer: I really enjoyed High School. I studied hard and made the Honor Roll each semester, I was on the Yearbook committee and I was Vice President of the Vegan Club. I also won the Spanish award my junior year. We had a championship football team and one of my favorite things was attending all the pep rallies and football games.
Reply: Oh my gosh, then you're going to love the tailgating and football games here at XYZ University. We have so much team spirit. And I was on the Yearbook staff too! Wasn't it fun doing layout and design?
sorority sugar Tips: Hit the highlights of your High School days, not the low points. There's no need to mention your personal struggles and failures. Mention two or three things you did really well, activities you participated in, leadership positions you held and any awards you won. It's not bragging to share your past achievements. And never bash any other students. You never know the background of the person you're talking to. She might have been head cheerleader for four years at her own High School.
Question: Why did you choose State U?
Awkward Answer: To tell the truth, I didn't get in anywhere else. I cried my eyes out for a week. I can't believe I'm stuck here. My mom and dad are both alums of Duke, but I wasn't smart enough for that place. Plus they're so nerdy there. Such dweebs. And this campus isn't much better. Ugh. I can't wait to transfer as soon as I can.
Polished Answer: This was one of my top choices and I'm so happy to be here. I fell in love with the beautiful campus, the students are so friendly and I'm thrilled with the top rated Economics department. State U has everything I'm looking for. I feel so lucky to have been admitted.
Reply: I felt the same way when I came here. You are going to love living in the dorms and there's so many cool activities on campus. The Greek community is amazing and there are millions of ways to get involved.
sorority sugar Tips: If your new college was your last choice, and you had an agonizing time with the application process, it's water under the bridge. No point is bringing it up now. A new chapter in your life has started and you should be optimistic about your new school, your fellow students and Greek life. And don't mention your plans to transfer. Sororities want new members who are going to stay in the chapter. You might change your mind anyway.
Question: Why did you decide to try sorority recruitment?
Awkward Answer: Ugh. God only knows. I didn't want to, but my mom was in a sorority way back in the 80's and she really pushed me to do this. She said she'd kill me if I didn't pledge a top tier house. And I've heard how awesome the frat parties are on Greek row, so hey why not? If a sorority can help me hook up, and I get free booze, then I'm in. Does your chapter party with the coolest frats? The sorority house I was at last round were a bunch of losers. I know they don't party with the hottest guys.
Polished Answer: My mom was in a sorority when she was in college and she loved everything about it. It meant so much to her, I knew I wanted to go Greek too. Also, my cousin is in a sorority at College U and my dad was a Sigma Chi fraternity man back in the day. Being Greek sort of runs in the family. I'm so excited to experience sorority life for myself and make lots of new friends.
Reply: That's wonderful. My mom and grandmother were both in sororities and I'm so proud to be a legacy. I wear my mother's badge all the time. Keep an open mind this week and see where your heart leads you.
sorority sugar Tips: Never put down the Panhellenic community or say you don't really want to be there. Don't criticize the process or make fun of sorority life. And never talk about partying, booze, drugs or fraternity guys. All off limits! If you have any Greek connections in your family, it's okay to mention them. The more Greek in your background the better.
Question: What sort of volunteering in the community have you done?
Awkward Answer: Uh.... Uh... I always meant to do that, but I never really had the time. My brother used to collect winter coats for the homeless shelter in our town, but I always went shopping instead. Who doesn't love shopping, right? Life's too short to spend it doing dreary things with poor people. Yuck. Not for me.
Polished Answer: Through my church I helped pack gift boxes for children in Africa each Christmas and through my school I tutored younger students in science. I also sold Girl Scout cookies and walked the dogs at the animal shelter. I really admire your sorority's philanthropy and I'd love to learn more about what you do as a chapter to help people in need.
Reply: I'm so impressed with how you gave back and helped people in your hometown. We're very proud of our sorority's philanthropy and everyone looks forward to the annual paint run that raises funds for our designated charity. It's one of the most popular events on campus.
sorority sugar Tips: Even if you've barely lifted a finger to volunteer, think of one or two charitable projects that you've been involved with. Fundraising and helping someone in your neighborhood also counts. Maybe you assisted an elderly family member with a home improvement project, helped out at church, or raised funds for a good cause. Giving back is a priority to Panhellenic sororities, so having some volunteer experiences to talk about is very beneficial.
Honesty is a terrific thing, but being too blunt is not a good idea during recruitment. This applies to PNMs and sorority sisters. Put a positive spin on your life story and sprinkle your answers with a little pixy dust. Your conversation partners will then see you in the brightest light. Be authentic, but with a polished glow!