Wednesday, February 16, 2011

EVE Recruitment: Good and Bad Types of Questionnaires

After chatting on Twitter with a few people about questionnaires, filling a few out in game the last few weeks, and having had to deal with them back when I was a recruiter, I thought I'd dive a little more deeply into this subject.

If you've ever been on the hunt for a new corp, you've probably filled out a few of these questionnaires. Some of them can be grueling, tedious, or ask questions you have no clue how to answer (or dont feel comfortable answering.)

In general, I'm against corps using questionnaires for recruitment, though I do understand the need for some larger corps. I find them to be somewhat impersonal, and they take what is ultimately supposed to be a game and give it a 'job' like quality.

I do believe however, that if you HAVE to do it, there's a right and wrong way to do it. Being on both ends of recruitment, these items could be taken from either perspective. They would be good to consider if you are trying to develop a questionnaire system for your corp, or if you are looking for a corp and are subjected to it.

1. The primary use of a questionnaire should be to find out  non personal information that gets tedious asking/talking about. This would include information about skillpoints, skills in general, ships you fly, ships you own, etc. Facts Facts Facts.
Save personal questions about opinion related matters for a voice interview, or in-game chat.

2. Never make a questionnaire take the place of a good, old-fashioned chat. The members of a corp make or break that corp. You have crappy members, you will get crappy results. If you dont have time to chat with a prospective new member, you dont have time to be a leader, or a recruiter. Many of the important, behavioral things you should probably find out about these people cant be found through a questionnaire (Such as, are they easy to talk with? Can you relate to them or are they a bump on a log? Do they seem enthusiastic about Eve and corp goals? Do they seem unstable?)

3. The shorter the better. I recently filled out an application for a corp, and it was the first time I had ever filled out a questionnaire and not felt like I had just wasted a large amount of time for something stupid. They asked straightforward questions about things that specifically mattered to them: What caps do you fly? What pvp experience do you have? Do you have any supporting alts? etc.

They asked questions that produced objective answers. The 'chat' about other play style...etc..came later, once they knew I met the basic requirements/guidelines they were looking for.

4. The simpler the better. Let's put this in perspective. You are a pvp corp. You want to make sure that your new recruits aren't complete noobs. Instead of looking at their loss mails, overall killboard stats, or chatting with them about the ships they enjoy flying and how they fit them, you ask an additional 15 questions on the application asking complicated questions about how to fit specific ships, what sort of things they would do in specific battle scenarios, etc.
The noob who's been following you around hoping to find a replacement for his daddy is going to eat it up. The guy that sits in station all night playing with EFT is going to eat it up.
The actual pvpers who would rather be shooting things are going to take one look at that, and get the heck out.
Construct your application/questionnaire to meet the needs/expectations of the people you are trying to attract.

5. Dont make one if you dont need one. Honestly, why give yourself the extra work? If you're only planning to recruit a couple, just talk to people. I promise, having a questionnaire does NOT make you look like a better corp. Most pilots would prefer to skip them.

6. Dont make one if you aren't planning to read it. I've been a recruiter before. If you're not reading the questionnaire that are coming in, or you are 'skimming' them, then you either need to cut it altogether, or modify it. Remember...crapy members make crappy corps.

6. Dont make one at all. In general, I think this is the best advice, though I'm partial to small pvp groups who would normally not need to make elaborate recruitment questionnaires. If you are a large corporation...try having multiple recruitment officers, that can chat with new recruits and make a more educated determination if they are right for your corp.

For those of you on the 'recruitee' side of things, a corp's recruitment process can tell you FATHOMS about the corp. Are they serious about their members and what types of members they get? Are you going to be fully integrated into their corp, or just another number to tick off, (and just another recruit they can tax)? Do they know what they want, or do they ask a lot of open ended questions that make you want to shoot yourself?


  1. The best way to handle a questionnaire is to have it be the second stage in the recruitment process. The first stage should be having possible applicants hang out in a public channel, chat with the corp members, and get to know the organization. That way by the time they have to fill stuff out they are already relatively assured that they are applying for an organization they actually want to become a part of.

  2. True. However, you could go the other way on that. If someone has been hanging out with you, and you both know it would be a good fit, why go through the bother of a questionnaire at all?

    Also, if I'm joining a corp where I'm semi friends with people, I find it somewhat irritating when they make me go through the whole questionnaire stuff. Pretty much sends the message that 'you're just another scrub on our list.'

  3. In my corp everyone fills out the questionnaire. Even returning members. We don't take it personally though. That post in the recruitment forum becomes a way to track that person throughout their stay in the corp.
    So for instance if someone applies, then that questionnaire thread is assigned to a recruitment officer through the forums who handles the application process. If the applicant is accepted then that thread is moved to the probationary forum where recruitment officers and internal development officers can post their impressions of the player (kudos for participation, killboard links to poor fits, etc). That way when it comes time for the 3 month review and decision to make the applicant a full member or not the ID team has a wealth of information to base their decision on.

  4. It sounds like the system works for your corporation, which is great! I definitely have a different style of game-play, in which I feel that Eve should not be taken as seriously as all that. I feel corp a should strive to eliminate 'paperwork' and custodial/managerial work.

    It may be a somewhat unconventional approach, but I've seen instances where productivity (especially pvp productivity) improved by taking this approach.

    But I realize there are many exceptions and that with larger corporations, it may be completely necessary to have some sort of system.

    Then again, I tend to avoid large corporations such as that. ;)

  5. Yeh when you have multiple supercaps to protect the recruitment process becomes a much bigger concern. :)