As a disclaimer, I'm not an officer in
Before you put fingers to keys (or pen to paper)
Research the intended guild. I like to accomplish this in the following ways.
- Troll their forums - while you probably won't have access to the good stuff, you can sometimes see previous applications and see the questions asked there. This can help tip you off to potentially unseen land mines. If you see every application getting ripped for using poor grammar or spelling, you'll know that's something to focus on. Even though WoW isn't a spelling bee, your goal is to get into this guild.
- Read the loot rules - make sure you understand raid times, loot system, ranking/structure, etc. Most guilds have a "Read this first" section. Make sure you do that.
- Try and PUG with them - keep an eye out for a PUG run being put together, or take notice if they land in your random. Even if the PUG is something you're not interested (EoE for example), getting in on something simple can give you an idea of how the guild works.
- Talk to existing guild members - I'm not just talking about the officers either. Random guy standing on the bank in Dalaran (especially if you see that the guild is in ICC) is a great place to start. Talking to the rank and file members will generally give you a more honest feel for the guild.
- Look them up on a tracking site - know exactly where they are in progression. Look for recent achievements and gear on their players.
- Watch trade chat and realm forums - idocy will often surface here. Make sure you want to be a part of what you see.
- Most guild applications that I have seen ask for a screenshot of your UI, and some form of WoL/WWS log report. Before you start your app, get a current screenshot (in and out of combat - preferably in a raid) and load it up to a host site like imagecave or photobucket.
- Get a WoL/WWS report. Going to worldoflogs.com will get you started (there's lots of posts on how to create a WoL report), and getting into a raid of any kind is the next step. Even if you have to land yourself in a lower tiered content PUG (ToC is great for this), it will at least give you a place to start.
- Start a Word or notepad type document with wowhead links to things like flasks, spells, glyphs, food, etc. Being able to link these can help show that you know more than just what's on your character page.
- Get your Armory link, as well as a separate link to your talent build. These can be helpful in answering specific questions.
Here's where the rubber meets the proverbial road. Depending on the type of system used by the guild, your application may be publicly scruitinized by the entire guild - or kept private for just officers/class leaders. Personally, I prefer the open system, as it gives everyone a chance to look you over and spot potential issues. Plus, these are the folks that you're going to be raiding with, they're going to be judging you sooner or later.
Now, this is the opportunity for you to really shine, and to stand out from your peers. It is imperative that you answer every question, as each blank space is one more section that they cannot get information about you from. Think of it like a resume - you won't get a call back if they don't like the way it looks. Take your time here, as five minutes spent proofreading can help you out quite a bit.
One giant pointer - never, ever, lie on your application. Don't list kills you didn't get, guilds you haven't been in, or achievements you haven't gotten. Someone will dig them out and make that information public, generally in a way that is unflattering to you. Being up front and honest about your accomplishments is great. Saying you farmed Sunwell when we can see you got the achievement in 2010 doesn't do much for your credibility.
Investigating the application - Guild Side
Now that a new application has hit your site, it's time to don your Deerstalker and start the investigation. Every application (and applicant) is different, but here are some key things to focus on.
- Glaring contradictions - things like saying they've completed all current content, but don't have the requisite achievements or reputation to go with it.
- Gearing/Gemming/Talent choices - these are big ones. If someone is applying to a top end raid guild (even on a low end server) they should be dropping the gold for top of the line gems and enchants. Check and see that their glyphs and talent choices line up with current "BIS" standards.
- Red flags or "trouble bumps". Sometimes reading an application will just give you that 'feeling' about someone. Trust it, and ask the follow up questions to help ease your concerns.
- ASK THE TOUGH QUESTIONS I cannot stress this enough. Simply looking at an application and saying "Yeah, looks good" is probably asking for a first class ticket to trouble/drama. Probing into someone's application isn't being a douche, it's called following through - or due diligence. Probe beyond the surface, and eventually you'll get the real answers (or at least make them think a little).
Following up - The Applicant
If your application gets posted in an open portion of the guild forums, keep an eye on it. Respond to posted questions on the forum (if you can), or directly in game. Being proactive in your application process will help you along. Don't however bug guild officers consistantly about your application. If a week goes by and you don't get any kind of action, then politely follow up. If still nothing, then maybe this guild may not be the best for you.
If you're contacted for a trial run/vent interview - be punctual. Missing something like this is a pretty sure way to guarantee you don't get that ginvite. You're probably only going to get one shot at it, so make sure it's your best one.
Finding the right applicants, and the right guild, can be a tough process. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your new guild, and don't be upset when you're grilled about your talents/gear/experience. Above all, be open and honest - in both directions. There are a lot of guilds out there, it just takes time to find the right one.