Intake Meeting

Bad hires are expensive. Not only do they take up valuable time and resources for companies, it only gets worse the more senior-level the hire is. That’s why your entire hiring process– from sourcing to the interview– is critically important. However, many hiring teams miss a crucial step: the intake meeting.

After all, your intake meeting is one of the only ways that you can make sure you’re hiring the right talent.

What’s an intake meeting?

Long story short, it’s a meeting where the hiring manager has a chance to describe, in detail, what a qualified candidate for the role should look like. This meeting should happen before the requisition is posted.

Essentially, an intake meeting’s job is to make sure that everyone involved in the interview process understands exactly what qualities they should be looking for. Whether it’s experience level, certain skillsets, or culture adds, it’s critically important that everyone is on the same page and can evaluate fairly.

When done well, a thorough intake meeting makes the interview process run smoothly and gives interviewers the confidence to evaluate candidates well. Everyone is on an equal footing to spot qualified talent!

What happens during the meeting?

An intake meeting is often initiated or moderated by a recruiter or HR professional. During the meeting, the recruiter will answer a series of questions that are designed to really dig into what exactly they’re looking for. This ensures that the candidate that’s eventually hired will not only be successful, but it also makes sure that all members of the hiring team are on the same page when it comes to evaluating candidates.

Clear communication is one of the most important hallmarks of a great intake meeting. It’s important that everyone has an opportunity to ask the recruiter detailed questions to get as much information as possible. Additionally, the recruiter should bring concrete examples (such as LinkedIn profiles) of candidates with the relevant experience and skillsets that they’re looking for.

Here are some examples of questions to ask the recruiter:

  1. What positions do you expect qualified candidates to have?
  2. How many total years of experience in the field would you like?
  3. What are the “must-have” criteria? Would you consider candidates that don’t have this?
  4. What are some examples of “perfect” candidates? (Example LinkedIn profiles would be a great way to easily illustrate this.)
  5. What would the most effective and efficient interview process for this role look like?
    1. Who would run the first interview? Would you prefer that the recruiter does the initial screening phone call? What should be evaluated at this stage?
    2. Who does the second interview? Do you (and potentially other substitute interviewers) plan to conduct the initial hiring manager phone interview? Which criteria should be evaluated at this stage?
    3. Who should be involved in the onsite interview? Which criteria should be evaluated, and by which interviewer?
  6. What needs to be discussed during the debrief meeting after the onsite interview?

What are the next steps?

After a successful intake meeting, the recruiter and the hiring manager must have well-aligned expectations on everything from the interview structure to the hiring timeline….and everything in-between. This is an essential step that will help you avoid making a costly mistake of hiring someone for a position they would not be successful in. 

At the end of the day, it’s important that everyone on the hiring team works together and has strong, clear communication. An intake meeting is one of the ways to ensure this happens!