I feel bad for all of the guild leaders who are looking for rogues right now. As the least-played class in the game, we're already pretty scarce. The fact that we're usually invisible doesn't help the situation, either. Have you seen the frenzy that gets into people during Pilgrim's Bounty? Everyone is roaming the streets with their Turkey Shooters, looking for rogues to snipe. They start by denying that there's a rogue shortage, claiming that they'll find us eventually. After a few days of being unable to find a dwarf rogue, they get angry and start cursing us rogues for staying in Stealth all the time. Shortly after, they start bargaining, offering us large sums of gold to just show ourselves for a moment.
The truth is that regardless of how well we're performing at the moment, rogues are still in demand, due to short supply. Guilds both big and small are looking for assassins and shades to join their rosters. I have personally interviewed several rogue candidates for my own guild, and unfortunately, I am incredibly strict when reviewing their applications. You might be able to trick some hunter into thinking that you're great by swapping to a combat spec and posting your Halfus parse, but that won't convince a vigilant rogue. In order to prove yourself amongst your fellow rogue brethren, you need to compose your curriculum mortem. It's like a curriculum vitae, but with death instead of life. Get it? Rogues kill stuff? Okay, I'll leave the bad puns to Christian Belt.
I want to see damage
While guild and raid leaders have several things to consider when reviewing rogue applicants, damage is usually the first thing that's inspected. If you are working on joining a new guild, you should present a few World of Logs parses with your application. I've seen rogues post stats like "I can do 10k on a target dummy," even though numbers like that are meaningless. I want to see your damage reports from fights that actually matter, especially if they're the same fights that you'd be doing if you got the spot. While taking a screenshot and posting your Recount or Skada window might impress your friends, leaders want to see a full WoL parse of a fight. Damage done is one thing, but we want to be able to review your interrupts, damage taken, and other key stats.
Start parsing every single fight you do. You can parse heroic dungeons, Baradin Hold, and any raid bosses that you can currently kill. If you're looking to join a starting raid guild without much experience, you can even join a PUG and get a few boss kills that way. As I've mentioned before, damage done actually isn't the most important indicator of a rogue's potential. A rogue applicant usually has far less gear than a rogue that's already in the guild. While I'll review your Armory to make sure you're gemming, enchanting, and reforging properly, the quality of the gear is not that important unless it will hold you back completely.
The better way to check a rogue's performance is to look at his damage breakdown and uptime. I want to see that he's using the right rotation, that he's using cooldowns properly, and that he's not standing in fire or ignoring interrupt duties. I can gear out a talented rogue quickly, but it takes far longer to teach a lazy one. If you can't show me a few parses that prove that you're on the right track, I won't waste my time reading the rest of your application. If you can't get any raid experience at all, you can even post a parse of you beating up a target dummy. Emphasize that you're trying to show off your rotation and not your overall damage.
Preparation isn't just a talent
When you're applying to a guild, it's typically because you're looking to move up in the world. Rogues who have conquered heroic dungeons are looking to break into the raiding scene, and rogues who have beat all of the normal raids are looking to try the heroic encounters. Because you can't experience content you haven't done, it's common to underestimate what's required to move to the next level of raiding.
I see so many rogues who join new guilds and then get burned out after a week of wiping. Dungeon-hardened rogues aren't used to spending more than a few attempts on a single boss, while rogues facing heroic bosses are unprepared for the amount of blood that goes into learning the game's most difficult encounters. Whatever level you're at now, realize that the people at the next level spend even more time wiping to bosses than you do.
There are several intangibles that are crucial to your assessment when applying to a new guild. The guild and raid leaders want to make sure that you're willing to stick it out through thick and thin, and they want to be able to rely on you to show up regularly. A raid leader needs to know that you're not going to be the weak link in his battle plan and that you can understand complex assignments. A guild leader is going to ask himself if you can be trusted. In order to ease your raid leader's doubts, you need to prove you're ready for the next level.
When discussing your raiding availability, don't just say "any time." That's incredibly vague and tells me that you didn't take any time considering the question. Spell out every one of your other responsibilities in detail, including any unplanned situations that you've faced before. I once had a rogue applicant show up to every one of my raids 15 minutes early. He would say, "See, I told you I can make every raid on time." After two weeks of this, I knew that this was a dependable assassin, and I recruited him to the raid.
One of the most impressive rogue applications I ever received had a detailed look into the applicant's UI. He showed me all of his keybindings, including his wide variety of Tricks of the Trade macros for every situation. He included images of his bag space, displaying his collection of food, flasks, and potions that were designated specifically for raiding. The application also included examples of his enemy cast bar, which was very large and had a countdown timer to make Kicking easier. With just a few pictures, he was able to completely convince me that he was serious about raiding and doing his job well.
While damage meters and UI screenshots are great tools for any new applicant, I look deeper when I'm reviewing a rogue's application. I want to know that he's more than just some guy who happened to randomly choose a rogue at the character creation screen; I want to know that he's actually invested in the class.
I'll look at your Armory to see how many kills you've scored on the opposing faction and whether or not you completed the Ravenholdt quest line. I'll ask you to link your rare Pickpocketed dice, and I'll want for you to link your Thieves' Tools. If you say you've been playing your rogue for many years, I'm going to need to see your Flash Powder, Blinding Powder, and Thistle Tea. You need to know someone would pre-Vanish and how to skip every boss in a Dire Maul North tribute run with Saps and a few materials.
You need to convince your reviewer that you know every aspect of your class, both inside and outside of a raid environment. You need to prove to them that you're willing to put in the long hours and nights full of wipes to get the job done. You need to show that you're ready for the next level and that taking a chance on you isn't a waste of time. Guild and raid leaders are desperate for talented rogues at every gear and experience level. The world is your oyster, but you need to be able to show that you're a rogue's rogue. Be prepared; be precise.
Check back every Wednesday for the latest rogue strategies, from rogue basics and kicking your interrupts into high gear to how to handle your dual-spec rogue and how to pickpocket top tips from top-performing rogues.