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Job intake meetings: how to create an elevator pitch while cutting through the 'wish list'
Job intake meetings: how to create an elevator pitch while cutting through the 'wish list'
Brian Thompson avatar
Written by Brian Thompson
Updated over a week ago

The Intake Meeting is a critical part of the recruitment process as its sets the foundation for the entire search. I never rely on job descriptions because they’re often out-dated or inaccurate ‘wish lists’. I prefer not to read the job description until after I complete the Intake Meeting so that I don’t have any pre-conceived ideas or thought-bias about the role. As well as gaining a strong understanding of the role, I’ll also gather information to include in my elevator pitch for passive candidates.

My Intake Meetings usually last 30 minutes and generally follow the flow of questions below:

Q: In a nutshell, could you please describe the role to me in simple terms?

The first question I always ask. Many of the roles that I recruit are highly technical and niche in nature so this question helps me to conceptualize and shape a high-level picture of the role in my mind. Even if I feel that I already I understand the role, I’ll ‘play dumb’ and always as this question because I discover interesting and/or helpful information every time.

Q: What problems are you aiming to solve by hiring this role? What opportunities are you aiming to capitalize on?

I usually ask these questions together as I believe that problems are also opportunities in disguise. This gives me a good understanding of the purpose of the role and why it’s important, and I usually add this information into the role elevator pitch.

Q: How does this role contribute towards the organisation’s strategic goals?

This question will build on the previous question and will add more ‘purpose’ to the role. It will give you additional high-level context of the role which can also be rolled into the elevator pitch.

Q: Describe the structure of your team, and how this position fits into it.

This is a common question that candidates will ask me during the initial phone screen so it’s good to have this information already on hand.

Q: What makes this role sexy/spicy?

You can use your own adjective, but I’m essentially asking the hiring manager to ‘sell’ me the role. This is my favourite question to ask as you get so much valuable information from it. Nowadays most roles require some form of sourcing and headhunting so you need to have a good ‘hook’ to gain interest from passive candidates to initiate conversation.

Q: What does the career path for this role look like?

Another question that candidates commonly ask me during the phone screen, and this can also be rolled into the elevator pitch.

Q: Describe the team culture. What type of personality will fit in?

Broader company culture aside, teams will also have their own ‘micro-culture’ and it’s important to understand this so that you can assess the best long-term personality fit.

Q: What are the minimum technical requirements of this role and why?

Job descriptions will often have a wish-list of requirements and it’s important that you cut through the ‘noise’ to narrow down the actual core requirements. Asking ‘why’ will help you gain more useful context of the role from a technical perspective.

Q: Would you consider a candidate that has potential to grow into this role vs someone that comes with ‘out of the box’ experience?

In today’s candidate-driven job market, finding someone that can immediately ‘hit the ground running’ will often be a lengthy and expensive process so it’s worth exploring if the hiring manager would be open to ‘grooming’ a candidate with potential into the role. Sometimes Hiring Managers haven’t considered this as an option and are thankful that you brought it up.

Q: What are 3 key questions I need to ask candidates during the initial phone screen?

These are questions specific to the role that will help me gauge whether the candidate will be qualified to move to the next round of interviews.

Q: What will the interview process look like for this role?

This gives me understanding of what I need to do to support the interview process, and its also great information to give the candidate to improve candidate experience.

Q: Who do you know?

Surprisingly, this is a question you ALWAYS need to ask. Often hiring managers will know people in their network but haven’t considered approaching them. I’ll offer to reach out to those ‘leads’ on their behalf to initiate the conversation if they prefer.

Q: What other companies/competitors will have talent with the skill set/experience that you’re targeting?

Hiring Managers should know their market and who’s using the same technology etc. This question will give you a list of companies that you can source passive talent from.

Q: Why do you choose to work here?

This question helps you to connect and build relationship with the Hiring Manager on a more personal level by giving you insight into their individual interests and motivations. This information can also be used in the ‘elevator pitch

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