Ready Check is a twice-weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, ZA or Sunwell Plateau, everyone can get in on the action and gear up people in T6 who then leave for the next rung up the ladder.
Following on from our column about recruiting, in this Ready Check we're going to talk about applying and trialling with a raiding guild. Anyone looking to change guilds and start raiding different content, or guilds interested in different methods of recruiting and trialling players, read on for more on the subject.
Applying for a new guild can often seem very much like applying for a job, and the interview and trial process also have strong parallels to the real world. Not every raider out there is an experienced job-hunter, so we'll look at a few concepts from the world of work to smooth out your raiding experiences. If this all sounds like too much work for you, bear in mind there are other options out there -- there are more casual raid guilds and alliances who will give you a shot just after a quick chat, for example, so whatever your needs in the raiding world there should be something to fit. Finding it, however, isn't easy -- which brings us to our first point.
Finding the right guild
You might know your current guild isn't where you want to be, but how do you know what you want? More importantly, how do you find a guild that meets those criteria? You can approach this like a job hunt, identifying your must-haves and have-nots. For example, your list might look something like this:
- Guild currently in Sunwell, making steady progress
- Core raiding roster of about 30-35 people, not too big
- Raids four or five nights a week, not Sundays
- Uses voice chat and a DKP system
- Opportunities to take alts to Karazhan etc.
Notes for guild recruiters: If you're looking for new applicants, they won't come unless you call. Put out your recruitment ad and try to answer at least some prospective raiders' questions before they come to you -- saying what classes you're looking for, what level of gear you expect, what you're raiding and when you raid is usually a good start. Your guild website should ideally have any further information applicants might need, and ensure everyone in the guild is ready to answer questions or defer them to an officer.
First impressions count: making the application
Different guilds' application processes can vary quite widely. Ours involves an open application, where we just invite you to email in the app: we find this quite an interesting way of gauging applicants, as it lets people decide for themselves what they think we want to hear, in a nicely twisted mind game that's a great introduction to our guild. However, asking people to email can be offputting, and allowing alternate methods (like a PM on forums) opens up the process.
Many other guilds use application templates, where they ask you a series of questions about yourself. Often these start off with the expected information, like character name, armory link, experience, etc. However, some can be used to gauge applicants' reactions to certain situations, find out about their sense of humour or anything specific to your guild. Sometimes people submit templates obviously taken from other guild's applications as open apps, without even changing the guild name -- our advice on this is "don't".
Filling out a good guild application is much like filling out a good job application. Give them everything they need to know, don't get too waffly with random facts that have no relevance, and be honest. Remember, it's as much about whether you'll enjoy being in the guild as whether you will get a spot in the first place -- and we've had people exaggerate on applications with facts we knew couldn't be true, which got them an instant denial. Sometimes people will want to know why you're leaving your old guild; the answer to this question is especially important for two reasons. Firstly, you presumably want to make sure the issues that press you to move on don't crop up again in your new home. Secondly, your new guild won't want you to simply collect loot and move on.
Follow the guild's required application method, sit tight and wait. Don't annoy your future guild by pestering people about applications while they're raiding, but do get in touch if they don't seem to get back to you and you think your application is top-notch. Sometimes it's hard to give an immediate yes or no, so be patient if you don't hear back the moment you submit your application.
Receiving applications can be a fun job, and it's laced with a kind of black humour at the more unsuitable specimens that arrive in the inbox. However, it's pretty tough deciding from a few paragraphs if this is someone you need in your raid force. Depending on your immediate requirements (help, we can't raid Kalecgos because all our tanks quit) and suitability of the applicants (hello, T6 geared prot warrior!) you might want to simply grab someone immediately. For less immediate needs, you have time to weigh up different applications and pick the one that seems the best; this is never an exact science, but talking to applicants and getting feedback from your guild members helps.
Acceptance and Trial
So you got accepted to the guild - congratulations! Most guilds tend to give recruits a trial period before initiating them as full members. What this exactly means varies from guild to guild, but usually you'll not get the same loot priority as members, and might be expected to give up your raid spot to full members. You might also be put into tough situations quite quickly to assess your reactions and skill. If your experience is behind the guild's current progress, expect to learn a lot very quickly -- isn't this challenge partly why you joined a further-progressed guild?
While on trial try to be yourself -- recruits who suddenly change personality once they're 'accepted' can cause headaches. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions, although you might want to do this in moderation -- for example, ask someone doing your job where you should stand, or ask an officer if it's a DKP question. Not everything needs to be done in public. If you make a mistake, depending on how the guild treats it, face up to it and explain if possible. Nobody's perfect, especially doing things a new way in a new setting, and your new guild won't hold mistakes against you if they get some indication of how you'll handle mistakes in future.
This also depends on the guild, but usually towards the end of your trial you'll get discussed amongst the officers or recruitment team and approached with the offer to become a member. If you're uncomfortable, unhappy or regretting your choice before you get to this point, you don't have to stay in the guild -- usually, nobody will hold it against you if you leave during the trial period. Similarly, if the officers feel you're not a great acquisition, your performance or attendance are questionable and you've done nothing to appease them, or there are other issues around your eventual membership of the guild, you might fail your trial. This isn't the end of the world. Usually you'll get some feedback as to why, and if -- for example -- some RL commitment made your attendance too poor to pass, you could re-apply once that changes. But you chose a server that had other options, didn't you?
To officers trialling a recruit: try to ensure they have someone to go to. Often this might be the person who initially spoke to them and invited them to the guild -- this might also be someone who's very busy and doesn't have time for endless questions, so just make sure the recruit has someone to help them along. Also make sure they know what to do -- everyone might take certain strategies and guildwide convention for granted, but if your recruit's from a different background they might simply keel over in confusion when the boss is pulled and nobody's said a thing. If they're genuinely doing badly, try to help them along rather than launch expletives at them -- if they're truly, absolutely, awful then there might be no hope, but if they're just nervous the extra pressure won't help.
Some people can change quite drastically when they're no longer under scrutiny, and finding out that someone who looked perfect and seemed perfect is suddenly a monster can be quite a shock. Dealing with them can require some harsh words and even a gkick, although these situations are rare. More common is the raider who isn't 100% perfect, who makes the odd mistake but improves every time, who turns up to raids and fits into the guild -- these are your core raid force, value them and make new people welcome so they become them.
Best of luck with your new guild and new recruits!