Updated Mon, Feb 08, 2010 by Space Junkie
5. Does the corporation in question match your activity time and level? If you live in New York and you are joining a primarily Australian corporation, EVE is going to seem like a ghost town to you. Well, unless you have insomnia. If you live in Europe you have some flexibility, but if you live in the western United States you need to be more careful about what time zones your corporation is active in.
Have you not really gotten your feet wet with PVP, but this corporation you are considering demands that you get on at least five killmails a week? Best keep looking, then, or you are going to be out on the curb after a frustrating week or two. Is a potential corporation demanding that you run wormholes with them at least three times a week? It is best to be realistic about whether or not you can handle that activity level, before agreeing to join.
Some corporations are really just tax engines for their CEO or a larger alliance that controls the area. These groups suite dilettantes that don't go in much for member involvement, and likely won't offer much in the way of group PVP opportunities.
6. Is the corporation presently engaged in a conflict and, if so, do you feel comfortable with their chances of succeeding? A sad trend among corporations and alliances that are losing wars in nullsec and lowsec is to bloat. That is, to recruit members in an attempt to bolster dwindling numbers. Usually, this means that the corporation is destined to fail and retreat to empire, which makes it a bad time for you to join them.
Ways to check this include sifting through battle reports on the Scrapheap Challenge forums, wading through the noise on CAOD, checking Dotlan sovereignty maps, and checking their killboard (and their enemies' killboards) to see their efficiency ratio. If they're losing a ton of stations, you probably want to find another corporation.
7. Does the corporation offer significant benefits in exchange for the taxes it charges? If a corporation is going to have a 25% tax, it had damn well better have something to make up for it. Other corps will often charge a flat fee per month in addition to their tax percentage.
You will need to weight the cost-benefit analysis yourself based on the particulars of your situation. Does the corporation control and effectively defend 0.0 space that will allow you to make enough money to offset this? Does the corporation reimburse ship losses in PVP or even PVE? Are there discounts for t2 ships? Will they sell you stacks of t2 modules at cost? Will they pay for your capital hull? Are you allowed to moon mine in their space?
If the pot is sweet enough, a high enough tax can make sense. Especially if you don't rely on ratting or mission-running as your primary income source, since other means of income generation are not subject to corporate taxes. If this is the case, you might not want to tell your recruiter that you are planning on being revenue-neutral for his corporation.
8. Does this corporation offer a reasonable line of progress toward your ambition? If you want to try your hand at leading fleets, and a given corporation forbids players under a year old from doing this, you should take that into account. Do you want to try moon mining, but only the CEO and his buddies are allowed to moon mine? Better find another corporation. Are you training into a dreadnought, but a group under consideration isn't planning on involving itself in nullsec? Better find another corporation.
9. Does your recruiter know what he's doing? If your recruiter is on the ball, he will have all the information you need to get situated with his corp readily available. He should be asking you about the ships you like to fly, your PVP history, your previous corporations of note, whether you can fly battleships, whether you are able to keep yourself solvent in the area of space that the corporation inhabits, and so forth. If he isn't asking these questions, something may be awry.
There are a lot of ways things could be going wrong here. The recruiter could be a scammer looking to take your hard-earned isk or goods. The recruiter could just be looking for warm bodies to generate taxes. Or perhaps the recruiter is just clueless. With joining a corporation, it's generally better to trust your instincts. If it seems like a lemon, it probably is, and there's no sense wasting your time on it.
10. Be patient. Finding the right corporation can take days or weeks, depending on your needs and who is recruiting. It's much better to find a sociopolitical group that meets your needs and will improve your enjoyment and engagement with the game, than to move all your worldly possessions to some boring group's base of operations and find out that things really aren't working a week or two later.
Sifting through the various recruitment options can be a pain, but it will all be worth it when you are settled with a group of people that meets your needs. Good luck finding that corp!