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Managing Expectations: the Guild Application Process

If I've seen it once I have seen it a few dozen times: person goes through application process, person joins guild, person immediately starts complaining that guild is not meeting all their personal needs. Drama ensues. Person leaves guild with many hard feelings all around.

And it really should never happen if both the applicant and the guild are honest and paying attention in the application process.

What Applicants Should Look for in the Application Process

So you found a guild you like and you are about to app. Before you do, you need to find out answers to the following if you want to be raiding:

  • Are they raiding? If so, what are they raiding? Is this what I want to be raiding?
  • What is the overall average player skill and experience level? Is this a leveling guild or an end game guild? How do I stack up against their top players?
  • Do their raid times coincide with my availability?
  • Do they actually need another player of my class for raids?

If you don't know anyone in the guild well enough to answer these questions for you, you should be able to answer them through a combination of sleuthing on the guild forums and your realm's official forums, plus using Guild Progress. You should also spend some time talking to an officer to ensure your expectations align with theirs.

What Guilds Should Disclose and Ask for in the Application Process

In addition to the applicant having the responsibility for understanding whether or not the guild has the potential to meet their needs, the guild also has some responsibilities in that area. Whenever someone new applies to a guild, the officers (or the recruitment officer) should:

  • Check out the new applicant to see if their application's content matches up with their character's reality. I recently outlined a few of my favorite applicant fact-checking steps and resources.
  • If the applicant states wanting to raid, will they actually be able to do so given their level of experience and gear and your raid roster? Be honest with them up front to avoid hurt feelings later.
  • Review your website and forums on a quarterly basis to ensure you are not sending mixed signals to applicants. If you were visiting for the first time would you be able to tell what the guild's focus is, and what your level of raiding progress and commitment are?
  • Fine tune your application questions to help manage expectations, and follow up publicly on potentially problematic answers.

Despite everyone' best efforts, even with full disclosure on both sides, you can still have a new to 80 player join the guild and start rattling their sabers over wanting guild Naxx runs despite having been told the guild's focus is on Ulduar. But if you have made every effort to be clear and honest during the application process, it does give you a solid place to come from when you remind them that's not going to be a focus for the guild, and politely suggest they might want to work on their reputation and run some heroics and make a good faith effort to start themselves on te gearing up trek.

DISCLAIMER: Guild Progress like all the other fun WoW Web tools relies on armory data that may not be up-to-date. Your mileage may vary.