Revisiting My Guild Seeker’s Interview Questions

In an earlier posting I shared my Guild Seeker’s Interview Questions, but I didn’t go into depth of why I ask them and what I hope to learn from each one. I figured it would be good to revisit them. I also want to expand them from those I ask as a potential guild member to the recruitment team or leadership to include their counterpart that I’d ask as a member of guild leadership to a prospective member. One thing that people might notice is that the list has expanded by two questions. It’s gone from five to seven, but there’s reason for that.

Overall this “suite” of questions is designed to give me detailed insight into what either the potential guild or member is looking for or seeking, or what a guild is about and what they’re wanting. Nothing is more frustrating than finding that the new member or guild just doesn’t work out and these questions are designed to minimize that frustration by helping an individual get the details they need to make an informed choice.

As a potential member: What are your member expectations and guild rules?
As leadership: Here are our guild rules and expectations: [provide URL to guild website or where to find them in the in-game interface]. Do you have any questions or concerns about any of them?

I fully believe in transparency and making sure that I am aware or the person I’m “interviewing” is aware of what the guild expectations and rules are. I think that the number one source of frustration is lack of clarity regarding the rules and expectations of members and this provides that answer. Also, how a person answers can say a lot about the individual or guild: do they dance around issues and is there lack of clarity (they may not know what they want or rules and expectations have never really been defined), is there something that they didn’t initially mention that may be a make-it-or-break-it point (like an expectation that all members will donate a certain amount of gold to the guild “bank” on a weekly basis).

As a potential member: What goals does your guild have? What are the members looking to achieve together?
As leadership: What are your goals as a player?

Asking about goals helps me to understand what a person hopes to achieve in the game via their character, or that a guild has put time and thought into what they want to achieve together, that they have defined a common purpose for existing. Particularly as a person “interviewing” a prospective guild, it says a lot about their ability to put time into creating something of value, and helps me to know if my goals as a player are in line with the goals of the guild or if we have conflicting goals that we’re working toward (ex. are they going for more PvP oriented goals while I’m focused on more PvE oriented goals).

As a potential member: What is your guild membership structure? What criteria is in place to determine when a member moves up or down in that structure ranking (ie. a member “graduates” from one rank and moves to another, such as from recruit to member)?
As leadership: Our guild member structure is as follows: [explain the ranking system]. Any questions on that?

This is another case of seeking transparency or providing transparency, depending which side of the fence I’m on. What I’m checking for here, or making clear, is that there isn’t any kind of rank that’s used to intentionally segregate players from the main body of the guild to form an elite in-guild clique. It also makes it clear what the expectations are in order to move up in rank or what is required to keep a certain rank. Much like the question above it also says a lot about a guild’s ability to put time and effort into creating something of value.

As a potential member: When is your guild the most active? When are most members on doing things?
As leadership: When are you most likely to be on and able to participate with the guild?

This questions covers the other major frustration and that is the lack of people from the guild online at the same time you are. In many ways the games with guilds are more fun when you can enjoy them with friends and your guildmates, and in some cases parts of a game can only be enjoyed as a group (raids or group events come to mind). This questions is designed to help a person sort out when the bulk of the people in the guild are on when looking at a new guild, or if vetting a potential new guild member when they are most commonly on.

As a potential member: Does your guild have or hold any regularly scheduled events or guild runs (thinking dungeons, raids, group events, etc)? What is that schedule or when do those most often occur?
As leadership: Here is our current event schedule: [share current schedule of events]. Are you wanting to participate in any of these?

A follow up to the one just earlier, this one probes a bit deeper to figure out specifics, namely if there is any set schedule for guild events or specific runs. Because a guild often is working on or toward some kind of group objective this helps a person figure out if the guild’s existing schedule will work for them, if some negotiating may be needed to see if some runs can be scheduled at a slightly different time, or if schedules just won’t mesh with that guild. From the perspective of vetting a potential member it’s a question of transparency and making them aware of the existing schedule of events.

As a potential member: And what makes your guild different than the rest? What are you doing to not be a run-of-the-mill guild?
As leadership: Have you belonged to any other guilds? If yes, why did you leave each one?

This set of questions is an interesting set as the two don’t directly relate, or are the flip sides of the same coin. As a potential guild member, nearly (99%) of the guild recruitment messages I see don’t do a lot to share what makes guild A different and unique from guild B. This question is meant to get the recruiter or representative thinking. I want to see how they answer this question, as well as what their answer is. It also give them a chance to really think about what their schtick is and how it relates to the rest of the guild. What are they doing to be different and unique from all the other guilds out there. As a recruiter I often try to put something in my recruiting messages that shows our difference and there really isn’t a need to ask a potential member “what would make you an interesting member?”, but I do want to know what other guild(s) a person has belonged to and why they have left them. If the reason they left was because schedules didn’t work out, it disbanded due to lack of interest, or something benign like that then I have no issue, but if they were kicked out for stealing from a shared resource (like a guild bank) or causing trouble and breaking rules then those are red flags that need to be considered and possibly looked into a bit further.

As a potential member: Do you have any questions for me?
As leadership: Do you have any questions for me?

This last question allows me to open the floor up to them and gives them a chance to ask me any questions they may have or have thought of during our earlier conversation. For me it’s also a matter of being polite and allowing them the chance to grill me in return.

When first considering a guild I try to find out if they have a web presence and dig around their site, if they do, for the answers to any of these questions before I talk to a guild representative. Nothing is more frustrating to a guild recruiter than to have a web site with the details on it, that URL made public, and people don’t take the time to self-educate and see what they can answer on their own from the resources a guild has already provided. This is also why, if I’m a part of the founding leadership of a new guild, I volunteer to get a website up as soon as possible with important details, like these questions cover, as the leadership firms up the rules, expectations, schedule, and any other presentable details.

The answers to these questions, weather from chatting with an individual or from some digging around online, helps me to formulate a comprehensive understanding of the general culture of a particular guild or the kind of culture a particular player is looking for. This is vital to figuring out if a guild is a good fit for me or if a potential member is a good fit for the guild. It leads to less frustration for the new member and the leadership team as they’ve already had a chance to see if there are any significant hang-ups that create an incompatibility (usually based on one of the main frustrations of rules and expectations or when people are most commonly on), and less frustration typically leads to higher retention and less wasted time for both parties.

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