Intake Meeting

Tyler Fisher
Tyler Fisher, PHR

Table of Contents

A manager calls and tells you that they need to fill a position—pronto, of course. Your next step can make for a smooth, successful recruitment and hiring process (or not). Read on to learn the details of conducting a great intake meeting.

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What Is an Intake Meeting?

An intake meeting is an introductory meeting between an HR recruiting/talent acquisition team member and a hiring manager. The intake meeting is an essential first step to developing a successful hiring process.

Why Is an Intake Meeting Important?

The intake meeting provides clarity and direction for both parties. The recruiter learns what the manager is looking for in their new hire in detail, while the hiring manager gets a sense of the process and what their role will be.

  • Expectations. In this meeting, you will set the tone for how the hiring process will go. This is the meeting to establish:
    • What communication will look like between you and the hiring manager
    • Required qualifications for applicants
    • Time-to-fill expectations
    • Time-to-hire expectations
    • What the interview process will look like
    • Recruiter’s expectations
    • Hiring manager’s expectations
  • Brainstorming/calibration. Hiring managers do not have all the answers. They understand the requirements and skill sets essential to fulfill the job duties of a role, but they do not know what the candidate market looks like and the many valuable pieces of information that the recruiting team will bring to the table. In a successful intake meeting, both the hiring manager and the recruiter bring valuable information to create an impactful brainstorming session.
  • Collaboration. An intake meeting becomes an advantageous tool to an organization when it delivers collaborative outcomes between recruiters and hiring managers. Signs of a successful intake meeting include:
    • Hiring managers understand the conditions of the talent market.
    • Recruiters understand the expectations and qualifications of the role they are filling.
    • Recruiters understand the hiring expectations that will meet the needs of the organization.
    • Hiring managers have a clear understanding of how the recruiter will operate and communicate.
    • Recruiters have a clear understanding of the interview process and how the hiring manager will operate within that framework.
    • Open lines of communication have been established.

How to Hold an Intake Meeting

You do not need to adhere to a specific or strict structure to have a successful intake meeting, but you should have a consistent process that works for your team and your organization. Here are a few tips to help you hold a productive intake meeting.

Step 1: Gain Background Information on the Role

This is where you seek to understand the context. You want to understand if this is a backfill role (replacing someone who was previously in this role) or a net-new role (a new position and role to the organization). Make sure to also understand if this is a recurring skill set within the organization that already has a set recruiting process, or if this is a net new role within the organization that does not. Ask who this role will report to and how this role fits within the team and organization. Your questions establish that you are thoughtfully and intentionally partnering with the manager to meet a goal, not just acting as an order-taker.

Step 2: Establish a Target Hire Date

You need to understand the time constraints that the organization needs this role filled by. You also want to establish if you will measure this role in terms of time to fill or time to hire. Time to fill measures the entire process from the time you open a job requisition to the time someone starts in that role. Time to hire measures the length of time a candidate is in process, or how long it takes a candidate to move through your interview and offer process. Neither of these two processes is necessarily a better measure than the other; your team must decide which measurement standard helps your business track success.

Step 3: Agree on a Recruiting and Interview Process

You may or may not already have a set recruiting procedure within your organization. Either way, this is something to clarify as part of an intake meeting. Seeking and obtaining clarity is one of the main functions of the intake meeting.

If this is a net new role within the organization, you may want to spend additional time establishing what the interview process will be.

Based on how quickly the organization needs to fill this role, discuss what flexibility and trade-offs might be necessary or advantageous to meet the timeline constraints of a candidate.

Step 4: Ask the Right Questions

By asking the right questions, you will understand what you need to know to successfully prospect and source potential candidates, what skills, accomplishments, and requirements you want to vet in the interview process, and what will make a new hire successful in this role.

Examples of Intake Meeting Questions

To prepare for a stellar intake meeting, plan questions that will get you additional insight from the hiring manager that you would not be able to glean from the job description alone.

Here are some example questions to help you prepare for an intake meeting.

  • Is this a net new position or a backfill?
  • If this is a backfill for someone who was not performing? How do we need this next person to be different?
  • What contributions do you expect this new hire to make to the team and organization?
  • What are the core requirements of this role?
  • What are the non-negotiable skill sets a candidate needs to have?
  • What are the “would be nice to have” qualifications?
  • What are some things you can tell me about the team that this person will be joining that are not listed on the job description?
  • What is the compensation range for this role?
  • Do we have flexibility outside of that range for negotiation?
  • Who will be required to approve compensation outside of the budget, and what does that process entail?
  • Are we open to relocating the right candidate?
  • Will this role be open to remote opportunities?
  • What will be the day-to-day responsibilities of this role?
  • What is the career path for this position?
  • How will we measure the culture fit for this role?
  • What do we want this person to add to our culture?
  • What is our expected conversion rate on passing applicants in each stage of the interview process?
  • Do we have any internal candidates that could fill this role?

The hiring manager may also have questions for the recruiting team. Be prepared to answer questions like:

  • Do you have a pipeline for this role?
  • How competitive is the market for this position?
  • Do we have any employee referrals for this role?
  • How are you planning on advertising or marketing this position?
  • What is your historical average time to fill or time to hire for this role?
  • How quickly can you fill this position?

Best Practices for a Successful Intake Meeting

An intake meeting is an opportunity for you to present yourself to the hiring manager as a true business partner. Talent acquisition is a supporting function within the organization, but through strategic business partnership, you can provide measurable quantifiable value.

Come Prepared With Data

Before you show up to an intake meeting, get prepared with insight to contribute to the hiring manager. Conduct research to understand:

  • Benchmark regional salary data
  • Historical internal salary data for this role
  • Insight on where you have successfully found talent for this role before, if this is a recurring skillset or a backfill
  • How competitive it is to fill this role within your target hire location.
  • Top competitors you may want to target when prospecting passive talent. There are several prominent analytical tools that you can use to obtain this information, including Indeed and LinkedIn.
  • The total size of the talent pool you are working with.
  • Whether you already have an application or talent pool for this position in your applicant tracking system.

Conduct Background Research on the Role

Nothing makes you lose credibility faster with a hiring manager than showing up to an intake meeting and not knowing what the role you are hiring for does. You do not need to be an expert on the role, and you will come to an intake meeting with the intent to learn more, but you want to show up with at least a general knowledge of the role and the ability to hold a conversation around what a role’s functions are.

Present Information to Help the Hiring Manager

The hiring manager will come with information about the requirements of a role, the experience an applicant needs to have, and how urgent the need to fill the position is. You can provide the hiring manager with context about the labor market and the available talent pool, which can help them set reasonable expectations and how best to plan around the absent team member.

Questions You’ve Asked Us About Intake Meetings

For an entry-level role or a recurring skill set, these meetings may be as short as 15 minutes. For senior-level roles or net new skill sets, it may be as long as an hour. Make sure to establish ahead of time the desired length of the meeting with the hiring manager. If the intake meeting needs to be longer than planned, set a follow-up meeting.
It depends on the size of the organization. If there is only one recruiter and one hiring manager, it may be one-on-one. If there are multiple recruiters, it is a best practice to involve everyone on the recruiting team who will be working on the role, including talent sources and recruiting coordinators. You can also extend the invitation to other leaders within the organization who will be involved in the interview process. The recruiter typically facilitates the intake meeting.
Take good notes in an intake meeting so you can follow up after. It is a best practice to send a debrief out with the notes and/or minutes of the meeting to everyone who will be involved in the interview process and the stakeholders over this role. These notes should include action plans for every team or individual.
Tyler Fisher
Tyler Fisher, PHR

Tyler empowers Talent Acquisition professionals, HR business leaders, and key stake holders to develop and execute talent management strategies. He is igniting the talent acquisition process through: team building, accurate time to fill forecasting, driving creative talent sourcing, and fine-tuning recruiting team effectiveness.

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