Mastering the Intake Meeting as A Sourcer

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Nov 15, 2016
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

In the construction of any building – you have to have a firm foundation. The foundation sets the tone for the building that follows, and with it, assurance that your building will most likely survive environmental factors: earthquakes, weather, or any other potential threat. Usually building a foundation requires excavation, review of the area the building is to be set upon, and the materials, bedrock, et al that helps the building remain strong on top of the foundation underneath.

The Intake Meeting Is the Essential Start to the Sourcing Process – The Foundation

I am of the opinion that the intake meeting, which I have seen referred to in a wide variety of terms from partnership meeting, recruiting strategy meeting, requisition huddle, etc. is an essential element of the staffing process. It sets the tone and is the beginning of the search, it enables us as sourcers to drive the process, be consultative, build credibility, and show support to our overworked hiring managers seeking help for their overworked teams. When we ask good questions, gain knowledge of the process, and show our hiring managers that we have done our homework the partnership can flourish. We can then support better our recruiters if sourcing for a partner, or establish credibility with the hiring manager if working directly with them.

10 Tips For the Effective Intake Meeting:

What follows are 10 Tips for the Effective Intake Meeting:

  1. Prepare in Advance: It helps to gain more information about the industry you are sourcing for, look at LinkedIn Company Search, Hoovers, or company financials to learn about competitors. Chances are competitors are going to be a good way to target your sourcing for similar candidates who will have a stronger impact on the position you are recruiting for with less ramp-up time.
  2. Ask Good Questions: It is important for a sourcer to be a good detective, that may mean asking pertinent questions: How? What? When? Where? Why? – etc – get the meat of what the role is doing that you are recruiting for, understand the impacts of the position on the company, find out what technical skills are needed, what parts of the role add value to the organization. Questions such as:
  • How does this position impact the company?
  • Who are the stakeholders this job incumbent works with and why?
  • What major technical tools/software does the candidate need?
  • What kind of soft skills does the candidate need?
  • What sets your top performer apart from your average incumbent? Why?
  • What location will this position be in?
  • What characteristics does the candidate need to be successful?
  • What is absolutely essential to do this job well?
  • What kind of training and education does the candidate need to have?
  • How many years of experience is necessary to do this role?
  1. Come to the Meeting Prepared with Some Sample Resumes: If you come prepared to the meeting with some sample resumes that seem to match the job description, you can ask the hiring manager if those profiles meet their needs. Ask what stands out. Find out why the manager likes or does not like the profiles. If the candidates don’t meet the needs ask what is lacking. If the manager likes the candidates then use those as a benchmark, and see if the manager is interested in interviewing the candidate.
  2. Come to the Meeting with Data: If you have some market data, say from LinkedIn Analytics, Careerbuilder Insights, or CEB  TalentNeuron (formally Wanted Analytics), to name a few tools, share the data with the hiring manager, and help the hiring manager see how different criteria they have will affect their search. Give the hiring manager information that shows them the view of the market-place, and if possible ask which key skills are absolutely vital, and which are nice to have.  Be forthright and up front about how criteria they have shaped the success of the search.
  3. Discuss with Hiring Managers The Diversity Strategy: Many hiring managers may not fully understand the diversity initiatives in your company, share some key metrics about the goals of your hiring team, and how you can source for diverse slates by using out of the box ideas. Discuss the sourcing strategy that affects diverse slates, and help your hiring manager see the value of having a diverse pool of talent to hire from. This may go along with point six, but discuss diversity organizations, professional associations, colleges, alumni groups, etc, and how you can use your sourcing approach to adding value to those initiatives.
  4. Use Professional Associations: When you do research on possible professional associations that could add value to the search, ask your hiring manager about the organizations that you uncovered that might have a ready candidate pool of talent that relates to the discipline/role you are recruiting for. Hiring managers love creative ways of finding talent so share these with them. If you did some research and couldn’t find an obvious professional association, then be sure to ask the hiring manager which organizations might be great to recruit from.
  5. Ask if Any Job-Related Certifications To the Search: Professional associations also give rise to professional certifications. Ask your hiring manager if there are any recognized certifications that would give an advantage to a candidate. These certified candidates are well versed in the core discipline of the role they are in and are more likely to be a match to the job you are looking to fill.
  6. Find Out Which Colleges/Universities Are Common for the Organization To Hire From: This may seem intuitive but generally colleges and universities may have a common pattern in that some companies may have a ready stream of talent that is often hired by the same company. This creates credibility with the alumni group at that academic organization and allows a partnership to naturally emerge. Hiring candidates that attended a similar program as other recent hires who are good performers will enable you to possibly find a ready pool of new talent. Don’t be surprised if these alumni also work at your competitors.
  7. Ask if you Can Shadow a High Performing Incumbent: Another valuable tip is to see if you can gain permission to shadow a high performing role model in the group. Observe the traits that they have, observe the tools they are using, see how they go about the job, and you will find hidden sourcing gems such as search terms/criteria that only the person doing the job would know. Sometimes hiring managers while well versed in their team’s day to day, may not know all tools their team is using.  This can be invaluable in a search.
  8. Set a Follow-Up meeting: Another tip is to set a follow-up meeting so you can recalibrate once the search gets underway. This allows you to change the search and reset priorities. As the search unfolds and the manager sees how the market is looking, this may allow you to re-tool the approach, and uncover new options for your talent search, that may speed the search along, once you have seen what the response to the initial sourcing approach is.

In summary, the intake session is so very important to success in staffing and recruiting/sourcing – because it sets the groundwork and foundation for understanding/comprehending the hiring manager’s needs. It allows us as sourcers/recruiting professionals to be consultative, to uncover the needs, and add value more quickly. By being effective at the intake session you are able to truly show value add, not to mention fill the role faster. And isn’t that our goal?

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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