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Why Intake Calls Are a Crucial Step in Finding Quality Candidates

I recently received a challenge from one of our business partners as they had a difficult role to fill. I was very excited for the opportunity and immediately replied to set up an initial “intake call” with the hiring manager.

Their response: “Sorry, no.”

For clarity, an “intake call” or meeting is when the hiring manager and the recruiter initially discuss the position’s requirements, candidate profile, and job title. Recruiters like myself will take this as an opportunity to get solid face time with hiring managers.

Some context on the partner:

My client contact was in talent acquisition. They were the one who responded because the hiring manager was too busy. “If you have questions about the role,” they said, “Feel free to email us.”

Of course, my heart sank. When an Executive Search Recruiter can’t talk to the hiring manager about the role they’ll be working to fill, the probability of finding a high-quality match can be an extra challenge.

Here is why intake calls – an often skipped step in the hiring process – is so crucial in sourcing and recruiting the very best executives and professionals for your role.

The Value of an Intake Calls for Recruiting Executives

Understand the Company’s Culture: A recruiter can learn about your business’ culture – and what kind of candidate would best fit – by a number of ways:

  • Seeing the building
  • Meeting people involved with the hiring process
  • Meeting the future peers of our candidate
  • Meeting the managers

After I’ve met your team and seen your environment, I have a story to tell your candidate. I can evangelize on your behalf, and work to build trust with candidates. 

Understand the Daily Duties of the Role: When you send a job description to a recruiter, that job description will often list the skills you’d like to see in candidates. In the same way, your candidates are going to want to know things like what they’ll be doing on a daily basis and the projects they’ll be focusing on.

I always like to hear this information straight from the hiring manager. Again, it builds trust with candidates. Also, it can help eliminate candidates who aren’t interested in those duties. Covering that information in an intake can help hiring managers avoid interviewing candidates who would be a poor fit.

Discuss What’s Really Needed from a Quality Candidate: Intakes allow me as a recruiter to ask what is really needed of a candidate. I’ll get a much better sense of the skills the candidate will need to truly excel at the job, versus the skills the hiring manager would like to see as a “nice to have.” 

Get to Know the Hiring Manager’s Style: Getting to know the hiring manager’s style is crucial in helping to find that perfect “fit.” It’s not as much about skills at that point. It’s personality, communication style, etc. Many hiring managers can hire with more confidence if the candidates meet their requirements and they genuinely like the candidate. Without spending the time getting to know a hiring manager’s style, I might know what they’re asking for, but it’s much harder to hone-in on what could be a true quality match

Establish Process, Next Steps, and Expectations: When meeting hiring managers and talking to them either virtually or face-to-face, I can get a real sense of what they’re truly looking for.

As recruiters, having an intake can help us understand what level of urgency the managers have, how closely they’ll be working with us, and if they’ll provide feedback in a timely manner. (Positive or negative feedback – each is valuable.)

Hiring Managers Need Recruiters They Can Trust

I like to use this example when I ask for the intake meeting with prospective clients:

If you were searching for your dream house, and talking to a realtor, would you give them a paragraph, a few bullet points, and tell them to start sending you available listings to review? Probably not. You’d be very detailed in what you wanted, and you’d want to meet the realtor to make sure you were all on the same page. Right? 

Hiring managers: Find recruiters you can trust, spend time getting to know them, their processes and share every detail you can with them. An extra hour invested up front will save you many hours interviewing candidates who aren’t a good fit. 

“I was fortunate to have Kyle help me find placement recently, first as a consultant, then as a staff employee. Kyle took the time to get to know my skills and goals, and helped guide me through the placement process. He responded quickly to my questions and provided solid answers when I asked him for advice. He found a great match for my skills and interests, and he made it all seem so easy! I highly recommend Kyle.”

Joe Shockey
Software Engineer at Envano
March 18, 2021, Joe was a candidate of Kyle’s



“I had the pleasure of working with Kyle Krzmarzick to help fill a Senior role on my Development team. I found Kyle to know the IT industry very well. He was attentive, provided great feedback and follow up, and also showed great ability to think outside the box to make a match a productive experience for both sides of the equation. I looked forward to my conversations with Kyle because they were always insightful and timely. Kyle was also quick to follow up, ask the extra questions, and went the extra mile to check back on issues that showed any signs of being unclear. I don’t think he could have been this effective had he not had an in-depth understanding of everything from the hiring process to specific IT industry trends and realities. I’d gladly work with Kyle again in any capacity.”

Scott Renneke
CIO at Gopher Resource