How to Run Better Intake Meetings (For Recruiters)

6 minute read

Posted by Chris Platts on 30 November 2021

What is an Intake Meeting? 

The intake meeting marks the beginning of the hiring process. It’s when the recruiter meets with the hiring manager to discuss the role and the skills needed to do the job. It’s your opportunity to find out what kind of candidate the manager is looking for. An intake meeting is vital to successful recruitment, so it’s essential to carry them out correctly.

Intake meetings are the best practice when hiring for any new job, but they are particularly helpful when: 

  • It’s the first time the recruiter and hiring manager are working together 
  • Hiring for a new position they have not hired for in the past
  • Hiring for any non-standard positions

Why Should You Organise an Intake Meeting? 

An intake meeting helps the recruiter understand what the hiring manager is looking for in a candidate: 

It’s a time to discuss the must-haves vs nice-to-haves, as well as what kind of temperament and personality will fit in the team. 

Intake meetings help prevent unrealistic expectations: 

They set expectations and give the manager a clear idea of what to expect during the hiring process, allowing the hiring manager and recruiter to stay on the same page throughout the process. 

Who Should You Involve in the Meeting? 

It’s vital to include whoever is in charge of recruitment for this position – whether a hiring manager, head of talent acquisition, or an HR Director (in smaller companies). 

If possible, we also recommend including some role experts. These can be employees currently working in the same role or department – they will have valuable information about the position. 

How to Prepare for an Intake Meeting 

Get the job title and the job description

Check if the description and salary are realistic or if you will have to manage expectations at the meeting. If the company or manager has carried out the required steps for job analysis, either recently or in the past. If not then using our job analysis questionnaire is a valuable tool to help ensure your hiring criteria is validated. 

Research the position

When you arrive at the meeting, it will help if you can show what competitors are paying for the same job and what kind of talent is available. Preparing this kind of data in advance shows that the recruiter is knowledgeable and well organised – this will help you build trust with the hiring manager. 

Prepare questions in advance to keep the meeting focused 

Hopefully, you will have already received a job description, potential salary, and a job analysis – if you have any questions about these, the intake meeting will be the perfect time to discuss them. 

You’ll want to make sure you prepare questions about the following: 

  • Nature of the job
  • Specifics of compensation
  • Responsibilities and skills required – both technical and “soft skills” 
  • Number of candidates and interviews to be carried out
  • The start date

Don’t forget to discuss “fit” 

Even if the candidate is a good fit technically, they may not necessarily mesh well with the team. Get an insight into the management style of the organisation, the level of collaboration and teamwork, and company culture

Develop a hiring framework to present

Have a general hiring framework ready to present, but be prepared to update this during the meeting as you learn more about the manager’s requirements. Your framework should include potential sourcing strategies and suggested screening activities or job assessments you can use. You can also give time-to-hire estimates. 

What Questions to Ask in the meeting?

This might be your only opportunity to meet the hiring manager face-to-face, so it’s vital you prepare questions in advance to avoid any misunderstandings later on. 

It’s essential that you:

  • Discuss job requirements – essential skills and experience vs nice-to-haves 
  • Set goals for the recruiting process  
  • Finalise job title and salary 
  • Agree on hiring stages
  • Ask about preferred hiring strategies 
  • Discuss examples of past hires and resumes they liked 

Here are some examples of questions you can ask: 

  • Why are you hiring for this role? 
  • What are the essential skills candidates must have? 
  • Tell me about a past hire you were happy with. What traits did they have? 

What to do After the Intake Meeting

Start by sending a summary email 

Detail everything you discussed during the intake meeting and reiterate your next steps. It’s nice to have everything in an email for both of you to refer back to later (especially if there’s any confusion during the process). 

Build out your sourcing strategy

Decide on the main channels you will use, identify any suitable candidates from your talent pipeline, prepare job ads, and engage in outreach. When creating your job ads, make sure you define the job position objectively to reduce adverse impact. You can also use ​​tech for blind candidate selection. 

Interview strategy 

We recommend a structured interviewing approach as it can help reduce hiring bias and save the interviewer time. Structured interviews are also usually more focused on the job than on general questions, leading to higher quality hires. 

Keep in touch with the hiring manager throughout the process 

Keep up to date with the hiring manager to ensure you both remain on the same page. Don’t forget to add them to your ATS (Applicant Tracking System) and listen to any feedback they have. 

Connect with the hiring manager after any significant interviews 

Discuss the “fit” of interviewees. If the candidates are not meeting the manager’s expectations, you may need to adjust your strategy accordingly.

Check you’re on track to complete the hiring process within the agreed timeline 

Regularly checking your milestones will allow you to stay on track and update your strategy if needed – this will allow you to avoid any last-minute stress.

Final Thoughts on Intake Meetings

It might be challenging to convince the hiring manager of the benefits of an intake meeting. They might be reluctant to take time out of their busy schedule to meet, but they will be glad they did when they see the results of the recruitment process. 

There’s no right or wrong way to run an intake meeting. There are many guides available online that offer many different strategies. One thing they all agree on is the benefit of intake interviews before beginning the search for candidates. 


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