Raiding 101: Finding and Trialing Your Ideal Applicant

In this Raiding 101 series, we will discuss tips and tricks for various aspects of running a guild, which can range from guild leadership duties, to raid leading, to growing as a player. Today, we’ll talk about how to evaluate incoming applicants and begin their trials with your team!

After refining your guild recruitment process, it’s time to review your applicants and make some tricky choices about who may be the best fit for your guild. In this article, I’ll suggest some key qualities to pinpoint when searching for your ideal applicants, and will give some helpful tips for establishing an effective trial period for those players!

Table of Contents

Evaluating Your Ideal Applicant

Naturally, your guild’s ideal applicant will probably look very different from another team’s, but it’s easy to make some basic assumptions about the qualities that are most important in a raider.


Firstly, you’ll want someone who took the time to read the application carefully, and/or who sat down to chat with you and answer your questions thoroughly. While it’s important to recognize that neurodivergent, anxious, or typically othered groups of people may struggle with “proper” application etiquette, it’s also quite easy to tell when someone has put an appropriate level of effort and care into an application instead of glossing over it, missing questions, and providing one-word, clearly disinterested answers.


While there are certainly exceptions to this rule, it is almost always safer for the stability of your raid team to avoid recruiting “package deals,” or players who insist upon applying and raiding together. Whether the duo is a couple or close friends, you will typically face drama in the event that one player underperforms and either fails their trial or is benched for a boss. Additionally, if one member of the duo is out for a raid night of their own accord, the other may also choose not to attend raid simply because they will only raid together. You may feel you’ve filled two spots in quick succession, but in all reality, you’ve likely ended up recruiting two people who will both leave if one feels slighted for any reason. Insist that every potential trial applies independently and is accepted solely on their own merits. No matter how dire your recruitment situation feels, or how good these applicants seem on paper, beware the package deal!


If you are particularly invested in your guild’s community (as you should be!) spend just as much time evaluating the applicant’s mindset as you do their gameplay. A growth mindset, rather than a fixed mindset, is one of the most important qualities in a raider at any progression level. A player with a growth mindset is one who recognizes that their relative gameplay and raiding intelligence, abilities, and skills are all changeable and improvable through concentrated effort and practice. They welcome constructive feedback and are inspired, rather than threatened, by their peers’ victories. On the other hand, a player with a fixed mindset may not bother to seek mentorship or improvement in their gameplay, because they feel as if talent is binary: it’s either there, or it’s not. This type of player is typically intimidated by others’ successes, and they refuse to hear feedback.

Raiders with a growth mindset are team players and generally excellent, supportive community members, as well. They look to improve their gameplay and bolster their social relationships within your guild. The avenues a player chooses to follow in pursuit of self-improvement will almost certainly differ from person to person, but a valuable raiding prospect is always working to better themselves.



When interviewing prospective applicants, ask thoughtful questions that account for your desired guild environment, goals, and culture. A good trial is one who can play at the level you’re expecting, but can also fit in well with the team on a sociocultural level, too. Ensure you’ve made your applicants very aware of your guild’s code of conduct and specific values! You may find that, having added explicit mentions of your guild’s values on your recruitment materials, you generally attract players who can vibe with that type of environment, but it’s important to double check nonetheless.


In investigating an applicant’s logs, it’s extremely important that you look at more than just parses, whether overall or item level. Parses can generally help determine if a player is comfortable with the intricacies of their spec, but can also be affected by fight length, or manipulated by external factors like Power Infusion, Augmentation Evoker buffs, and specific, cheesy fight strategies. When looking at a player’s base Warcraft Logs page, be aware of the difference between their best performance and the median; maybe they had one excellent night, but are they consistently performing very poorly on the boss?

The player’s best performance on a given boss is shown in the red box (the column closest to the boss name), while their median performance is shown in the blue box. This raider is relatively consistent, but you can see that while their best performance on Kazzara may have put them in the 92nd percentile, their median percentile is a bit lower, indicating that they typically have not had quite as impressive a performance on that fight.

To truly assess whether a player is capable of evaluating their gameplay and pushing for improvements, click the boss’ name and pull up the graphic showing how the player’s performance has changed with each kill. Here is a graph of the above player’s Kazzara kills:

And the data that provides the points shown above:

This graphic is an extremely important metric in measuring player performance, as it’s a visual demonstration of a player’s personal growth (or lack thereof) as they become comfortable with a boss. A good prospective trial is one who does show significant improvement with each kill; our enhancement shaman friend here would be an excellent trial, as they very clearly improved their performance with each successive Kazzara kill. You want to be recruiting players who can analyze their own gameplay and make adjustments as necessary.

If your applicant is not parsing single digits and clearly understands the basics of their spec, delve even further into the logs and take a more thorough look to truly understand whether they are an ideal fit for your team’s progression goals. First, look at the easy details like gems, enchants, consumables, and uptimes on important buffs. Inspect individual fight logs carefully and look at mechanical strengths, positioning, and deaths through the replays. Deaths can be an especially good metric of a careful, focused raider: did they use a personal CD before they died? Did they have a healthstone or health pot off cooldown when they died? Did they die to an avoidable mechanic or poor positioning?

A good raider is so much more than just their throughput, whether they are a DPS or a healer. Developing a cursory familiarity with logs can help you evaluate your applicants more critically. If you feel you need more direction with Warcraft Logs, take a look at this seminar hosted by Liquid Women in Warcraft.


There’s an unfortunate tendency among raiders, particularly mid-mythic raiders, to focus solely on their parses and throughput performance, with little regard paid to mechanical play or critical gameplay choices during progression fights. However, a raider does not need to top the meters to be crucial to a team’s success! The player who can always reliably perform important mechanics even at the expense of their own DPS, for example, is incredibly valuable in a progression environment. Players who take the time outside of raid to help with WeakAuras, offer (polite) suggestions, vods and clips for a new boss, or sit with the leadership after raid to review logs are also important to a team’s success. Encourage and reward the players who exhibit excellent communication, preparation, problem-solving, and common sense under pressure by emphasizing the importance of these skills and recruiting players who can show more than just the impressive pink parses.

Of course, playing your chosen class correctly is an important part of successful raiding, but there are so many other skills that contribute to a team's progression victories!


If you have gender minorities in leadership positions, you may want to consider having them meet with potential trials solo before you bring in a second, generally male member of the leadership team. This is an unfortunate but necessary step in interviewing applicants. Even if your team does not have an official interview process, consider asking a gender minority officer to speak with the potential trial first. Unfortunately, we can learn a lot from people based on how they treat women, especially when male officers aren’t around. I have experienced far too many uncomfortable or even disturbing interview interactions with players solo, both before and after they meet with myself and my male co-GM, and these situations have made it extremely easy to decline potential trials before they set foot in a raid with us.

The Trial Period


I operated my guild without a formal trial process for many years without repercussions, but miscommunications and poorly-expressed expectations recently led to several difficult situations that I would never wish to repeat. Much of this information may seem like common sense, and in many ways it is, but more clarity and transparency of expectations is always better.

Before you invite any raiders onto your team, set up an uncomplicated, concise trial period with a defined ending date. Some teams trial their applicants for an entire tier, while others set theirs for a few raids, or two weeks. Whatever duration you feel works best for your team, don’t make newcomers guess how long they’ll be trialing with you.

You may encounter specific circumstances that require you to cut a trial short; perhaps your trial raider broke an important guild rule or otherwise behaved inappropriately, for instance. On the other hand, maybe you’d like to see more from a trial before you make a decision. While I would encourage you to follow your set trial durations as much as possible, it’s absolutely okay to adjust a raider’s trial date based on extenuating circumstances. Just be sure you are upfront and honest about why you are adjusting your process!

Alongside trial duration, you’ll want to ensure your expectations are entirely transparent. What are you hoping to see in a trial? For example, if your goal is to recruit mechanically sound players, let trials know that their first few raids with you will be evaluated based on their mechanical play rather than their throughput itself. If you value independent thinking, communication, and autonomy, ensure your trials know that taking the initiative to ask questions and speak up (respectfully) in raid, or bring questions directly to the raid leader, is very welcome behavior in your raid environment. Specify the behaviors and gameplay that you most value in a raider at the time you begin a player’s trial, so they are aware of your expectations before they jump into a raid night with your team.

All the information about your trial process should be publicly accessible, whether you choose to provide a handbook of sorts, a Discord channel, or a pin in your raiding resources. Be sure your post includes:

  • Your raid team rules, including those about loot
  • The contact person for questions or concerns (if not your recruitment officer, who is typically the first point of contact for trials)
  • Your attendance policy and the steps a raider should take to inform officers of an absence (if required)
  • Required add-ons
  • Required Weakauras (particularly if your team uses a specific pack for progression - these can also be provided in individual boss channels instead if you structure your boss information that way)
  • Any additional resources you might use (like an audit sheet, a cooldown planning sheet, etc)
  • Explicit mention of your trial period and the process a player should expect when their trial period is complete

Here is an excellent example of clear and organized trial guidelines pinned in Discord, courtesy of Calm Down:

Vision of Area 52 includes their trial expectations in their guild handbook, instead, with links to the raid expectations applicable to all team members:


On the leadership team’s end, you should plan to do the following:

  • Ensure your lines of communication are open and you're available to trials. I prefer to check in with my trials after their first week, but some guilds would rather encourage further autonomy and will expect trials to come to leadership themselves with any questions or comments.
  • Keep notes about each trial in order to have something definite to refer to when the trial period is over. My leadership team uses threads in Discord. Some teams choose to have threads or forum posts accessible by all raiders, in order to provide a space for everyone to give their thoughts on the player as they proceed through their trial period.
  • Set a definite ending date for all your trials, and plan to meet with them that same week. I have often made the mistake of leaving a trial period to run too long, and this can certainly be uncomfortable or confusing for the player who is trialing. Be considerate of their time and emotional investment into the team. If you need to adjust a player’s expected trial period for any reason, be upfront and honest with them. Never leave a trial hanging with no information!

The details surrounding a trial period will be extremely personal to each guild, and depend on the general guild atmosphere and its raiding goals. As with each aspect of guild leadership that we have discussed thus far, dedicate some time to establishing the rules and guidelines surrounding your trial process. Be sure these guidelines are easily accessible to everyone, especially potential trials!

Key Takeaways

Respect the time and effort you've put into your guild goals and your recruitment materials thus far by recruiting team members who are truly an ideal fit for your guild environment AND your raid team. Properly evaluating prospective raiders is much more involved than simply peeking at the color of their parses, so a working knowledge of Warcraft Logs is a must, but remember that an excellent team player is much more than just their numbers!

Finally, show incoming trials that you respect their time, as well as your team's, by creating a transparent, well-defined trial process. Communication matters a great deal when you're working to build a team-based environment, so remain approachable with your trials, and follow the guidelines you’ve established to help them adjust to and succeed on your team!


About the Author

Gogogadgetkat has been playing WoW since late BC, and has been the GM of her guild Propaganda since its creation in 2014. As a career healer, Kat has a number of CEs and old-school heroic kills under her belt, all on a variety of healing classes and specs—she’s a serial altoholic! In addition to Mythic raiding and a little Mythic+, creating safe, inclusive spaces in gaming is her longtime passion; Kat has been an admin for the Perky Pugs community since late BfA, and is also a founding council member and the community manager for the DEIBAJ initiative Liquid Women in Warcraft. She is excited to bring her wealth of experience and love of writing to the Raider.IO team.