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Candidate Interview Program Considerations

Updates from Lexington

In an attempt to connect candidates individually with each member of the chapter, many chapters require or incentivize candidates to complete one-on-one interviews with each chapter member, or a certain percentage of the chapter membership. While this can be an effective system to create some relationships within the chapter that may not naturally occur otherwise (talking to you out-of-house member that is rarely seen anymore!), it also creates a power dynamic that can be vulnerable to initiated member abuse.

When the initiated members know that candidates must acquire their interview to be eligible for initiation or a low badge number, for example, the initiated members have assumed leverage, or “power,” over the candidates. Fundamentally, almost all hazing can be attributed to an abuse of power.

There are countless examples, probably some you can maybe think of in your own chapter if you use an interview program, of initiates taking advantage of their leverage over candidates by requiring candidates to do arbitrary, useless tasks (e.g. run errands, clean a member’s room, attend a member’s class, etc.) in exchange for an interview. To be clear, this is hazing and should have absolutely no place in the Sigma Nu new member experience.

Recognizing that the interview program can be beneficial in connecting candidates to initiated members they may not otherwise regularly interact with, what can a chapter do to minimize the possibility of members abusing the leverage the interview program grants each initiate?

  1. Flip the role – Remember who is the one pursuing membership? A job seeker doesn’t interview his/her potential employer. The candidates are seeking admittance into the Legion of Honor. So why are we asking the candidates to interview the initiated? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Have the initiates be responsible for interviewing the candidates to evaluate whether or not they should be admitted as full members of Sigma Nu.
  2. Align questions with purpose – If the intent of the interview program is to get candidates and initiates to know each other, then structure the questions accordingly. Instead of asking what is your badge number (quite honestly, is it really that important to know someone else’s badge number?), ask what is a watershed moment in your life that has played a role in defining the person you are today?
  3. Make the standards clear – The chapter leadership must set and communicate clear expectations and standards for member participation in the interview program. The sole purpose of the interview program is to provide an opportunity for each initiate to get to know each of the current candidates. Nothing should be required of a candidate to be “eligible” for a member interview. This should be clearly communicated to both initiates and candidates
  4. Enforce those standards – Penalties must be communicated and enforced if a member should violate the chapter’s interview program rules and expectations. Candidates should be expected to promptly report any member abuse of the program directly to the Marshal and/or Commander.

 

For additional ideas on how to create a developmentally-based, hazing-free Candidate Education Program, check out the Marshal officer resource page, the Candidate Development portion of the Fraternity’s Best Practices Library, and/or consult your Leadership Consultant and local Fraternity/Sorority Life Advisor. Also, make sure you understand Sigma Nu’s definition of hazing by reviewing the Risk Reduction Policy and Guidelines.

 

© 2015-2018 Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.
9 North Lewis Street, P.O. Box 1869, Lexington, Virginia 24450
Phone: 540.463.1869 | Fax: 540.463.1669 | Email: headquarters@sigmanu.org

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