Chris Russell

2 min read

Human Resources

What‘s an Intake Meeting?

Every talent acquisition professional knows that one of the most important steps to a successful recruitment campaign – maybe even the most important – is the intake meeting.

Why? Because intake meetings accelerate the hiring process by aligning the hiring manager and recruiter on the requirements of the job and the type of candidate that will make the best hire. 

Yet 55% of organizations don’t require an intake meeting. Many of these are smaller employers where recruiters may have dozens of jobs to fill and lack the training to understand the importance of an intake meeting. Yet these are the very organizations where intake meetings can have the biggest impact in filling jobs quickly.

What is an intake meeting? It’s the first step in the hiring process. It’s when the recruiter and hiring manager get together to discuss the skills needed to do the job and the background and experience the manager most wants.

Dig Deeper on Intake Meetings

But an intake meeting is more than a review of the job description. At an intake meeting the recruiter will dig deeper to understand what the “must haves” are in a candidate, as well as the “nice to haves.” The recruiter will also seek to discover the type of personality and temperament that will make a hire a good fit with the team, the organizational culture and the manager’s leadership style.

One of the most important parts of an intake meeting is managing expectations. A CareerBuilder survey found that 20% of the time hiring managers have unrealistic expectations and compensation ranges that are out of sync with the market. Without an intake meeting, there might be little chance of even recognizing these disconnects, let alone resolving them. And that almost guarantees a lengthy search time, candidates that disappoint and an unhappy relationship between hiring manager and recruiter.

“It’s important in setting the hiring manager’s expectations for who’s out there and what they’ll require in terms of pay and benefits,” says Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilder’s former chief human resources officer.

Preparing for Intake Meetings

Coming to intake meetings prepared with data showing what competitors are paying for the same job and what the talent pipeline is like will help bring a hiring manager’s expectations in line with market reality. Having this kind of data also demonstrates the recruiter is on top of the talent market, which will make it easier to gain acceptance by the hiring manager of other recommendations.

Intake meetings themselves are more like a question and answer session or an interview than a free-wheeling discussion. To keep these meetings focused and productive recruiters come prepared with a series of questions covering the nature of the job, the specifics of comp, work schedule, responsibilities, skills, both technical and so-called soft skills, start date, the number of candidates and interviews, and so on.

Once these details are covered, the questions should be about fit. There’s no point bringing in candidates who check all the technical and skills boxes, only to find their personality isn’t a good fit with the team. Questions here go to management style, the need for collaboration and teamwork, opportunities and what the manager considers success.

There’s no shortage of guides answering the question of what is an intake meeting and explaining how to conduct one. The questions they offer – and there are intake meeting templates available online – may differ in the specifics, however they all agree on the importance of holding an intake meeting before beginning the search for candidates.

Hiring managers may be reluctant to take the time to meet. Others may be doubtful of their value. But they’ll come to be believers when they see the results: candidates that more precisely meet their requirements and their expectations, resulting in making better hires in less time.

### John Zappe Reporting ###

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