Recruiting for QUEST: The Secret Sauce

By: Jacob Wilkowsky (Cohort 19)

How come the best always make it look so easy? When President Obama recites a speech or Alex Ovechkin scores a goal, it’s difficult to perceive the effort behind the art. However, a closer inspection often reveals the truth that lies just below the surface. Just take a look at Alex Ovechkin’s crooked nose and missing teeth. Great achievements rest upon a heap of practice, composed of successes, failures, and what lies in between. At least that’s what I have to tell myself. Otherwise, those fancy speeches and nasty slap shots make me feel pretty inadequate.  

I feel a similar sensation every year watching the QUEST Recruiting team pump out cohort after cohort of first-rate QUEST students. Contributing to QUESTPress for six years now, I feel the pain pretty acutely of trying to keep a QUEST student organization operating at a high level. However, it always seems as though my friends in QUEST Recruiting are operating in slow motion, seamlessly executing well-defined, delegated tasks, which fuse into a beautifully managed HR function for the QUEST community. QUEST Recruiting staffs tables at fairs, produces information sessions, runs social media campaigns, develops and executes a complex interview process, and evaluates the 250+ number of students that apply every year. They’re infuriatingly good at what they do.

I reached out to two QUEST Recruiting members, Jason Ho (Q24) and Ryan Wong (Q25), about where they are now in the recruiting process and how YOU can participate. I’m also hoping to uncover some suffering or stress that makes these guys human.

Where are we currently in the recruiting process?

As of right now, our application is live! As we enter the spring semester, there are only a couple of weeks before the application deadline (February 4th) and we plan to wrap up the application period with one last push of information and tabling sessions to get the word out about QUEST.

Application Homepage:

What type of participation options are available for students, alumni, and friends of the program?

All of those involved in QUEST from past to present are welcome to participate in events. Whether its partaking as special guests to our information sessions to helping out with application reading/interviews, we believe that the more, the merrier!

All alumni and students interested in reading applications should contact Jessica Macklin ( by January 26th. A call for interviewers will be sent out in mid-February. 

Note– there is a brief training packet and quiz required for participation.

How has the turnout been this year as compared to prior ones?

Turnout has increased every year. With new initiatives and events that we look to attend, we’ve been able to reach more students so that QUEST can be a program that the common UMD student knows about. This year, we anticipate over 250 applicants, so application readers, be ready for the grind!

Do you realize how easy you make it look?

What can we say, QUEST has made us a team of true quality!

What do you attribute QUEST Recruiting’s success to?

Recruiting’s success definitely comes from the fact that our team has the most dedicated and friendly students out there. Each year we take on new recruiting events and missions, and we always are able to successfully complete each one because the people in QUEST Recruiting are passionate about giving back to the program and finding the future QUEST students. In order to get the best students, we have to have the best students and Recruiting is no exception to that.

Tell me the most frustrating experience that you’ve had working on the team?

It can be tough coordinating some events. As we constantly push to get the word out about QUEST to as many students as possible, it can be quite hectic trying to make it to so many different events. We often reach roadblocks given our busy schedules and it can be tough to attend every opportunity we see.

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve all faced this year?

It would definitely be carrying the poster and materials to events! It is incredibly cumbersome and some of our trips are truly marathons! If only we could have QUEST sponsor us a QUESTRecruiting car…

Thanks guys for taking my questions!

My Freshman year, I attended an information session after one of the brighter kids from my high school harangued me about rushing a fraternity, and advised that I instead get involved in this program called QUEST. Even though we just knew each other tangentially he sat me down on the curb of Knox Road and touted the program passionately for quite some time. After attending the information session I was hooked. For students and alumni who know talented freshmen, please reach out to those students because it could change their college experience for the best. QUEST has a dedicated team of students committed to bringing in top students to the program and could use your help. Thanks again QUESTRecruiting for all of your work and making it look so easy!

QUEST Recruiting students at the First Look Fair


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