The answer is TODAY.
(Actually, “yesterday” would have been a better answer, but I’m sure you had a good reason to take yesterday off. “Today” is also an acceptable answer if you have a sizable nerd-crush on Ann Curry…not that I do or anything…)
As a raid officer, at some point it will come to you to bolster your ranks. The first step to doing this right is to properly assess what you need and when you need it. Even if you’re accomplishing all your goals currently, you need to plan for the next round.
As I see it, there are two schools of recruiting:
- Gap-Prevention Recruiting
- Roster-Improvement Recruiting
A wise boss of mine once taught me, “If you don’t have a Plan B, you don’t have a Plan.”.
This means, of course, that:
- Things will go wrong, and
- Rarely will they go wrong when it’s convenient to you.
In raiding, this most frequently means a loss, or temporary depletion, of players. I’d wager that we’ve all been there at one night or another.
For me, this used to happen at least once a month during Naxx. I’d log in, and people who had signed up for raid ended up not being online. It was Naxx, we ALL were burned out before Ulduar came out, so I can understand the lack of motivation, but I still had the job of fielding a viable raid for everyone who wanted to get the job done. From those times spent using Trade Chat to fill out a raid, I learned a valuable lesson:
Recruit BEFORE you have a spot you need to fill
Since everyone is already reading Thespius’s Raiding 101 column, I know we don’t have to go over the pros and cons of having back-ups/part-timers. They’re good; keep them around, be honest with them, and keep them satisfied.
But what about scenarios where a back-up/part-timer just won’t do? What about when your main tank has a baby, your invincible priest healer has to start taking night classes, or any of the other myriad reasons people can no longer raid? Fact is, these situations can leave you in the lurch is you’re not prepared for them. THAT is why a smart officer will never close recruiting, and will most certainly always look to improve their roster.
Consider this: A business wouldn’t tolerate an inconsistent supplier, they would immediately find a supplier selling an identical product who can assure them of on-time delivery. I’m pretty sure this is Fed-Ex’s bread-and-butter, actually. The same should be true of your raid. You may love the players you raid with. I know I’m rather fond of a number of the people I’ve played with over the years. That said, if one of them had to take off, stop playing, or just became overall unreliable, I would owe it to myself and the rest of the team to take actions to ensure the raid continued. After all, the show must go on.\
Have a plan in mind for who will take over your vital positions if someone has to depart/goes AWOL.
Don’t turn away potential recruits just because you’re “full” today. See what options you can provide them before you burn that bridge.
Parental Advisory: When I say “Roster-Improvement Recruiting”, I’m talking about doing what it takes (within your own best judgement) to see content and down some end bosses before they become passe. This is the one that’s going to fill my inbox with hate mail, but it has to be said:
Not everyone you raid with today will be ready when your group wants/needs to move to the next level.
I would never call the environment I raid in hard-core, bleeding-edge, or anything like that. What I would say is that we’re a results-driven team. If you can do your job and do it well, and aren’t a complete dick, we’ll be glad to count you among our ranks. Everyone competes for their spot and everyone has that much more faith in their team-mates because they know that every spot has been earned.
A team like this never “stops” recruiting. There will certainly be times when you have a solid group and may not have a lot of NEED to recruit, but you should never flat-out deny someone on the basis that they would have to take a spot from someone you already have.
Example: Let’s say you’re openly recruiting for a healer as gap-prevention recruiting, when along comes a deathknight asking about joining. (Isn’t it always a DK when you don’t need DPS?) Assuming they are some-what as progressed as your current line-up, and understand that it’s a competitive environment they’re looking to join, take a moment to consider the opportunity in front of you. Instead of turning them away, point them towards the logs for your current members and if they can beat that, encourage them to apply.
In an environment like this, a recruit should never be seen as a threat. Your existing members should see recruits as a chance to improve the raid team in one way or another.
True Story: I intentionally recruit other priests to help push me and keep me competitive. I know I can handle my assignments, but competition teaches me I can always do it better. Also, the priest who comes in ready to beat me at my own game is surely a formidable ally to have.
Whether you establish rules that spur further recruitment, or simply keep a high profile for your guild and get applications that way, the key is to always ask yourself “will this player help us get through the next step”.
Crossing the Finish Line
In the end, I say you should think of your raid team as a racecar.
A racecar can’t go anywhere without all four wheels. That’s gap-prevention recruiting.
A racecar will go faster with performance parts. That’s roster-improvement recruiting.
Now go finish the race.