I, as is our guild policy, asked them to visit our website and put in an application. The web service we use has an automated application system that includes a player's armory link and I generally check it before sending a ginvite to get a good feel of where they may fit in to our guild. I clicked on the link expecting greens/blues and maybe some T4/badge gear. Much to my surprise I'm looking at folks with anywhere from a mix of T4/T5 all the way through full T6. I was excited as hell and had to suppress my urge to invite before the requisite interview.
It seems that with the disbandment of so many raiding guilds there are tons of talented raiders just floating about like Ronin. I'd like to bring many of these talented souls into our fold, but our current recruitment process is a little lengthy and I'm afraid we may lose many good potential members due to a lack of quick action on my part. Should I relax recruiting standards and weed out the bad seeds later or stick with our rather stringent recruiting standards and possibly miss out and a few good players?
You've got an interesting dilemma here, AA. Adding experienced players can really help your raiding both now and in the future. They may even make everyone in your raids better at it. They can guide you through encounters that they've already done, and they're likely to learn the new encounters in WotLK very quickly.
So there are many possible advantages to bringing these players on board. Your natural instinct is to scoop them up before they get impatient and look elsewhere for a quicker invite. After all, the expansion is only a few short weeks away now.
However, I think skipping your established application process would be a mistake. For one thing, it would send a message to your membership that well-geared players are above the rules. You might justify it under the circumstances, but this type of thing can come back to haunt you. For instance, those new players may expect special treatment in other areas once they've bypassed the application process. If they get it, your regular members might come to resent it and feel like second-class citizens.
Also, keep in mind that applicants are sizing up the guild they're applying to just as you are evaluating them. If it seems like you aren't very stringent about screening recruits, they may not expect much from your membership.
What I suggest is to warn all these applicants that your process is more involved than they might be used to. The ones who are applying because they value your membership and want to be part of that team will endure it. The ones who might be looking for some quick badges before the expansion will look elsewhere. Either way, I think you come out ahead.
Yes, it's possible that you might lose out on a few impatient but otherwise valuable players. But the guild they join may not work for them, and then they might remember that you stuck to your guns about the application. That can say a lot about the type of guild you run. Maybe they'll realize that and reapply.
I also feel obligated to point out that adding Tier-6 players to a Tier-4 guild can be disruptive. Sometimes those players have their own ideas about how raids should be run, what specs players should be, how people should play their class, or how many wipes on a boss is too many. The more vocal among them won't hesitate to point out everything your guild is doing wrong. They might be right about your shortcomings and they might not. However, getting to know them before offering the invitation can prepare you for what they might say or do. And it also gives them some time to figure out what your guild is all about before they come in and stir things up.
Most problems that occur with new members are the result of your existing members not knowing them well enough or your new members not knowing the guild well enough. A thorough application process can sometimes circumvent these pitfalls.
How are other officers dealing with this? Have any of you changed your standards for an exceptional applicant? How did it all work out?