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Jan 30, 2018
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

In the last article, we discussed on how to source the all mighty referral tree, with this topic we dive into one of the most critical aspects of our jobs, the intake meeting. The intake meeting is a crucial step in becoming a successful sourcer. This article will help you understand what the manager needs and what the “it” factor looks n this article, I hope to lay out the ground works for a successful intake meeting that will allow you to master your sourcing efforts.

Whether you’re in a corporate or agency role, you should always suggest an intake meeting with the person who will be making the decision making regarding an open position, even if you have supported this manager prior with a similar role. Needs may change, but job descriptions don’t always get updated. Managers love the canned descriptions pulled from a library far too often. Setting up this critical meeting will give you the key to unlocking the manager’s needs.

When I approach an intake meeting, I act as if I am the candidate reading the job description for the first time. I think of any and every question a candidate may have, even the basic ones. Job location, client, and division, the opportunity for growth, rate, and duration, is this a new role or business as is, is this a backfill, and all the little nitty gritty questions in between. The best way to prepare for an intake meeting is to eliminate any questions you have from that brainstorming question. As the manager discusses the role answer the questions, you have thought about. This will keep you fully organized throughout the entire meeting. Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions if anything is confusing or needs a further explanation.

I recommend asking the manager more thought-provoking questions. Try to encourage them to answer beyond a simple yes or no. Having the ability to understand what kind of personality the manager is looking for is essential, because a candidate may meet all the requirements, but the manager will pass due to a culture fit. This will also allow you to sell a candidate who may align great with the personality fit but may lack one or two of the skills needed. Building the relationship with the manager is very important to show them you’re genuinely looking out for their best interest in filling the void on their team.

Here are some questions I would highly recommend asking:

  • How will this role contribute toward the overall group/organization’s strategic goals?
  • What does the structure of your team look like, and how will this role fit into that structure?
  • What are three requirements needed for a candidate to set up an initial conversation?
  • What makes this role attractive to a passive candidate?
  • Would you be able to describe the role to me in layman’s terms?
  • What does the team culture look like?
  • What type of personality would fit in with the team?
  • What will the overall interview process look like for this role? What is your timeline?
  • What are some qualities of current team members in a similar role that make them great at what they do?
  • What are some qualities of former team members you had to terminate that weren’t very good at this role? What did they lack to do this job?
  • What kind of management style best describes how you manage your team?
  • What are your expectations for some candidates?

This question comes from Glen Cathy from a 2014 article; I find this fitting for someone outside of the corporate realm in more of an agency type of environment.

  • Why would someone who’s currently employed and doing a good job at another company consider leaving the comfort of their current employer and position to work for 1) you, 2) this role, and 3) this company?

There is no such thing as a silly question during an intake meeting. This is your time to pick the brain of the manager who has a void in their team, and you’re trying to find the absolute best candidate for it. Some questions will be better suited in some situations over some, however, that is where you will need to brainstorm and see which ones best fit the job at hand.

Not only will these questions work during an intake meeting, they will also help you ask candidates similar questions to gather the answers to qualify the talent better as well. See if their current culture is identical to that of the team you’re recruiting. See if they are ok with that or looking for a change. When you have these questions organized and laid out for the manager, you’re able to have a better conversation with a candidate and ultimately position that candidate for success with the hiring manager based off the intake meeting.

Being able to master the intake meeting will allow you to source different and source candidates. This will be able to set you up for success and ultimately impress the hiring manager, which in the next article we will touch base on how to influence the manager.

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