In a prior life, I was my guild's applicant fact checker. My unique qualification for the job? My journalism background and deft use of the Interwebs, of course.
Many guilds don't think they need a formal application process at all -- they invite all interested parties. And if that works for your guild -- more power to ya! But if your guild has had even moderate success in raiding, for instance, you are likely to see a small handful of interested parties each week. At that level of interest, without some sort of weeding out process, your guild health can potentially suffer if you don't have a consistent way to measure and review your applications.
You've Received an Application -- Now What?
Your first stop is to chat with whomever in your guild the applicant has listed as a reference. Things you want to know:
- How do they know the applicant? Does it match what the application said?
- Have they grouped with the applicant? What was the applicant's attitude like when things did not go as planned? What was the applicant's knowledge of/skill at playing their class?
- If they would potentially be raiding next to this person every week, would they invite him/her to join the guild?
If the applicant has never instanced or raided with the reference, if they are being considered for a raid spot, it is highly recommended you make an officers heroic date with the applicant. Good places to choose to get a sense of their play style and handling things gone wrong include Gundrak or Halls of Lightning.
After you've gotten the subjective dirt, you can obtain quite a bit of information on the characters online to see if they have the level of playing experience you expect from your new recruits. NOTE: For all of the sites below be sure to check the "live data" box when available to ensure it pulls the most recent armory profile data for the chracter in question.PUG Checker
This should be your first stop to see if their "Experienced with all raids" statement checks out. It does do a good job of showing you at-a-glance how many regular and heroic instances they've completed, plus their Northrend raiding experience. Note that this only includes WotLK instances however, so if their glory days were all in pre-WotLK instances, they won't show up here. Which is where the next obvious stop comes in.WoW Armory
There is a lot to see and do here. Starting on the character tab, things to look for:
- Is their Dual spec purchased but not filled out?
- Do they have all their glyphs?
- Have they spent all their talent points? (you would be surprised how often folks are missing one or two)
- What are their professions (if any) and what level are they?
Moving over to the reputation tab:
- If they do not have any exalted factions, it is possible they are either a very old toon (pre-BC rep changes) or they are a very new toon
- If neither Aldor or Scryer are past friendly, they probably started this character well into BC --or after WotLK started.
- If they do have factions past revered, are they factions that provide their class' head enchant? Are they working on Hodir for their shoulder enchant?
On the Achievements tab:
- Take a look at their most recent achievements; if they are more than 2 months old, consider if they are actively playing this character?
- Check out the Dungeons and Raids subsection to see when they earned their first tokens.
- If they listed raid experience that this page does not reflect, ask them for the name of the character on whom they were previously raiding and start over with this list.
If an applicant has gotten through the above without raising any concerns, you're ready to check them out here, where you can find out:
- When they rolled the character
- Approximately how long it took them to level to 60, 70, and 80 (and how recently that was)
- How many guilds they have recently been in
Why is any of the above important? It can show you if a character turned up at max level on your server which can mean a benign character transfer, or a purchased character. Ask the applicant about it. If a player has burned through 4 guilds in two months or less, it can also show you they are a flight risk. Find out from them why they left, and if you know an officer in the listed guilds, casually drop them a line to see if they have anything to add about the player. A guild bank ninja dodged is well worth this extra step.
Your final destination for determining if an applicant's raid readiness jives with their perception. I personally prefer to start with a deep dive at BeIMBA which will show me:
- How far off from hit cap the character may be
- Gear lacking enchants or gems (or non optimal choices for each)
- Where most of this character's gear upgrades would come from and where they would be expected to perform well
- You can compare them to a guildie of their same class and role to see how they match up
Moving over to WoW Heroes you can see at-a-glance:
- Where they've sourced their gear (i.e. is it raid gear or crafted or AH'd)
- What the iLevel is of the pieces -- have they missed any obvious upgrades?
- Do they have gear that is not optimal for their spec or armor class?
It should be noted that all of the above websites (other than Warcraft Realms) rely on the Armory to work. So if your server has had armory lag of a few weeks, you won't be seeing your applicant at their best. Likewise, if they are in their off-spec, or in PvP gear there may be some discrepancies there as well.
Once you have gone through this process, you should have a pretty good idea if your applicant was honest in their self-reporting, and realistic in their self-assessment. When combined with the feedback from their reference or your officer run, you should have more than enough information to make the decision to invite them to join your team or to respectfully decline their application.