From Checkboxes to Catalysts: Unleash The Potential Of New Hire Intake Meetings

Whether it’s called a “Hiring Manager Kick-Off,” “New Req Calibration,” or something else entirely, the New Hire Intake Meeting is often seen as a formality before the “real work” of recruiting begins. But within this oft-mundane exchange lies a potent opportunity to transform your hiring game. By ditching the checkbox mentality and strategically structuring your Intake Meetings, you can build alignment, boost efficiency, and improve your ability to land the best talent.

Here’s how to turn your New Hire Intake Meetings from checkboxes to catalysts for hiring success, equity, efficiency, and alignment.

1. Laying the Groundwork: Pre-Meeting Prep & Illuminating Your Path Through Data

A successful New Hire Intake Meeting thrives on preparation, not improvisation. Everyone involved in the hiring process should be empowered (and expected) to independently complete crucial pre-meeting prep. This individual preparation is required to unlock the true potential of your Intake Meeting. In this section, we’ll delve into the prep secrets that turn a routine meeting into a game-changer. From here you will set the stage for a collaborative, informative, and impactful step toward welcoming your new talent onboard. 

  • Advise your stakeholders: Engage relevant team members before the meeting to ensure you understand your expectations and mindset and vice-versa. Is the Hiring Manager expected to come with a draft of a job post? Is the interview panel already decided, or will it be discussed in the meeting? By setting clear expectations about prep work, the actual Intake Meeting will focus more on creating action.

To be a true strategic partner, it’s your role to transform data into a compelling narrative. This inspiring, and market-backed vision, will cement a shared vision of the ideal candidate and hiring experience. As you complete your pre-meeting prep work, you can do your homework:

  • Job description analysis: A summary of typical key skills, responsibilities, qualifications, and salary and benefits packages for similar jobs in the market. 
  • Calibrate profiles with the market: Identify and review “best in class” similar job posts and candidate profiles to ensure you have accurate in-market benchmarks.  
  • Recent hiring data: Insights on recent recruitment timelines, required pipeline-building activities, process step pass-through, time to fill, and offer acceptance rates for similar roles.
  • Current talent landscape: Market trends, competitor (talent) insights, supply and demand for this role type and candidate profile, and other relevant market data.
  • Hiring process recommendations: Recent experiences with other roles, activities, timelines, and expectations.  

2. Drilling for Diamonds: Questions that Unlock Hiring Manager Insights

Collecting data and completing prep work is crucial but strategic questioning and active listening complete the picture. To truly understand the Hiring Manager’s perspective, ensure you perform strategic questioning during the New Hire Intake Meeting. In this section, we’ll share the secrets of asking powerful questions. These questions will build alignment, reset unrealistic positions and vague skill requirements, and lay the groundwork to allow the hiring team to hire more efficiently and fairly while further establishing shared alignment. 

Understanding the Role and Needs:

  • Ditch generic job description recitation and cookie-cutter questions to dive deep into the role’s purpose: “In your own words, what’s the essence of this role and its impact on the team/company?”
  • Requirements and non-negotiables: “What are the must-haves to perform this job?” “Why are they a requirement?” “What are non-negotiables?” 
  • Reflection on past hires: “What are some past hires that you have deemed successful? Why?” “And what about those who were less successful? Why?”
  • Challenges and growth: “What are the biggest challenges this new hire will face in the first 6 months?” “How will an employee understand how they are performing over their first few months?”
  • Future trajectory: “How do you see this position evolving in the next 2-3 years? What skills are crucial for long-term success?”
  • Clarity of expectations: “Have we eliminated hard-to-quantify soft skills, such as the all-too-common yet vague ‘excellent communication skills’ or ‘can-do attitude?'”
  • Success metrics for the role: “How will you measure the success of this role?” “What are the key performance indicators (KPIs)?”
  • Hiring process success metrics: “What does a successful hiring process feel like to you?”

Building Alignment and Expectations:

  • Candidate pool: “Do you have any expectations or requirements (i.e., diversity, size, etc.) for the candidate pool?” “What companies may have strong candidates to source?” “Are we targeting any specific locations?”
  • Transferable experience: “What alternative work backgrounds/experiences would also make someone a good candidate for this role?” “What, if any, other industries would we consider being a fit?” 
  • Job post: “Is this job post inclusive? Are the requirements and expectations an accurate reflection of this role?” “Have we eliminated hard-to-quantify soft skills such as the all too common yet vague(Excellent communication skills! A can-do attitude!”)?
  • Concerns and red flags: “Are there any specific concerns or immediate disqualifiers you want me to be particularly mindful of during the candidate search?”
  • Decision-making timeline: “What’s the expected timing for interviews and hiring someone?” “Why is that your expectation?”
  • Communication preferences: “How often and by what method would you like me to update you on the search progress?”
  • Concerns and red flags: “Are there any specific concerns or immediate disqualifiers you want me to be particularly mindful of during the candidate search?”

3. Structure Begets Structure: Align On Your Ideal Recruiting Process

It’s all happening! The job post is compelling and inclusive. The hiring team is aligned on what makes an ideal candidate, the hiring process, and where flexibility might be needed. By aligning on critical expectations in this meeting, you will ideally encounter fewer surprises or speed bumps down the road. 

  • Organizational alignment and approval: “Have you checked in with HR, Finance, or other departments on the budget, leveling, and timeline for this role?” 
  • Internal team alignment: “Have you thought about the steps in the interview process and who leads them?” “Have you already briefed other team members about the new hire and their role? Is there anything specific I should communicate to them?”
  • Interview process and expectations: “What is your desired interview process? Who will coordinate calendars? Who is on the interview panel and are they aware of their roles and responsibilities?”
  • Interview planning: “What kind of questions/content can candidates anticipate to cover during each stage of the interview process?” “What tips/resources can we give candidates to best set them up for success for these calls?” 
  • Candidate rating: “How do you want the candidate to be scored?” “Do you have a rubric that interviewers can use to standardize their feedback?” “Would you like to jointly create or review the rubric?”
  • Budget and resources: “Are there any budgetary or resource constraints I should be aware of for this search?” “Are we relying on inbound applicants, or are we doing paid promotion for this role and if so, where?”
  • Hiring process tools: “What is your experience working with our ATS?” “How about identifying candidate profiles you like on LinkedIn?” “Have you worked with an augmented writing platform to craft more compelling market-calibrated job posts?”
  • Onboarding logistics: “What are your expectations for onboarding the new hire? Are there any specific training or resources needed?”

Bonus Tips:

  • Actively listen and ask follow-up questions. Sometimes the most important information is found in the pauses, gaps, and anecdotes. 
  • Share your insights and recommendations based on your recruiting expertise. Harness and communicate your depth of experience and data to execute a more successful hiring process. 
  • Make sure the meeting is a two-way dialogue, allowing the Hiring Manager the space and opportunity to express their concerns and ask questions. This meeting sets the tone for the relationship you wish to build with your Hiring Manager.
  • Take detailed notes and follow up with a summary of key points and action items. Encourage your Hiring Manager to also share their notes and action items to establish a single shared perspective on how to move forward. 

By asking these questions and actively engaging with the Hiring Manager, you can gather valuable information, build trust and collaboration, and set the stage for a successful recruitment process. A process that avoids business letdowns, hiring team frictions, and candidate disappointment. Remember, the Intake Meeting is your chance to align expectations, understand the role and needs in-depth, and ensure a smooth hiring journey for everyone involved.

5. Beyond the Kick-Off: Sustaining Momentum after the New Hire Intake Meeting

After you’ve finished the New Hire Intake Meeting a sense of accomplishment hangs in the air. But don’t celebrate too quickly, the journey has just begun! In this final section, we shift focus to positioning you to keep the momentum rolling.

  • Document, document, document: Capture key takeaways, experiences, candidate and hiring team feedback, and data-driven action items in a shared platform, or document, that establishes a single perspective shared between Talent Acquisition, Hiring Manager, and Hiring Team.
  • Establish a standard schedule: Set a timeline for progress updates while hiring for a role. Scheduled stand-ups or asynchronously over Slack or within your ATS? And then after the hire is made, it’s important to continue periodic syncs with your hiring managers to ensure you can proactively identify and support future hiring needs.  
  • Provide interviewing assistance: Not everyone is experienced with interviewing. Help by providing best practices, training, or pre-interview role-playing to ensure your candidates, and talent brand, experience the best. 
  • Analyze and adapt: During the hiring process, harness data and insights to iterate for success. After hiring, perform a post-hire retro with your hiring team to identify areas for improvement. Continuously refine your process to maximize effectiveness.

From Chore to Catalyst, The Future of the New Hire Intake Meeting

By implementing these best practices, you’ll transform your New Hire Intake Meetings from annoying formalities into strategic catalysts. Catalysts that secure collaboration, propel hiring success, and establish a cornerstone of your hiring process. Your hiring will now begin with a clear roadmap to attract and secure the talent your company needs to thrive.

Ready to more easily put your ideal hiring process into action? Visit our website to see how you to more easily and impactfully deeply market expertise, insights, and collaboration.

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