10 Awesome Questions for the Intake Call

Nov 29 / Steve Lowisz
It’s hard to overstate the importance of the intake call. As a recruiter, this call is your opportunity to get all the information you need for a successful search. It’s also your chance to make a great first impression and set the right expectations with the hiring manager.

As a result, it’s crucial that you come prepared to this call. One of the best things you can do is assemble a list of great questions to ask beforehand. While not an exhaustive list, here are ten great questions to help you better understand the hiring managers' needs.

What are the five main responsibilities the new hire will have?

This question is crucial for getting to the heart of the issue with a new hire. Job descriptions can get horribly bloated with lists of responsibilities that have 10, 15 or even 20 items.

By asking this question, you nudge the hiring manager to focus on what’s truly most important in a role.

What do you expect the new hire to accomplish in their first 30, 60, 90 days? 

In addition to responsibilities, you need to have a crystal-clear understanding of what the candidate will need to deliver.

Ask the hiring manager to be as specific as possible in outlining what the candidate will need to accomplish in these time frames.

What business outcomes will the new hire own? 

As a recruiter, you need to understand how every new hire ties into the bigger picture of the business. Sometimes, it’s your job to help the hiring manager clarify how the hire fits in! It’s important to learn what business outcomes they will need to take full responsibility for, versus which responsibilities they will share with others.

As a recruiter, you need to understand how every new hire ties into the bigger picture of the business. Sometimes, it’s your job to help the hiring manager clarify how the hire fits in! It’s important to learn what business outcomes they will need to take full responsibility for, versus which responsibilities they will share with others. 

Describe your best employee. What traits do they have?

Everyone has a different view of an amazing hire or an awesome employee. The intake call isn’t just about learning about the candidates you’re looking for, it’s about learning the perspective of the hiring manager. With this question, you can gain key insight into what the hiring manager is really looking for in their next hire. Everyone has a different view of an amazing hire or an awesome employee.

The intake call isn’t just about learning about the candidates you’re looking for, it’s about learning the perspective of the hiring manager. With this question, you can gain key insight into what the hiring manager is really looking for in their next hire.

What are the non-negotiables? Why? What are the non-negotiables? Why? 

As a recruiter, you know better than anyone that finding qualified talent can be tough. That’s why it’s important to get on the same page as the hiring manager regarding non-negotiables.

It’s always good to ask “why” in the intake call. This helps you understand the hiring manager’s thought process.

Additionally, by asking “why,” you give yourself an opportunity to gently push back if needed on non-negotiables that will be difficult to achieve.

Is there room to move up in your salary range if required?

It’s a good idea to ask this question upfront. If the initial salary range starts to become a problem in the search, you’ll want to know sooner than later if you can adjust it to entice the perfect candidate to apply.

How do you plan to assess candidates for the required skills and competencies?

There are many ways for hiring managers to assess candidates. Find out before you talk to candidates whether they’ll be expected to complete a writing assignment, a project, provide examples of past work, etc.

What are your deal-breakers and why?

Similar to non-negotiables, you need to understand what your hiring manager will simply not accept. Asking why helps you better understand what the hiring manager really wants out of the role. Similar to non-negotiables, you need to understand what your hiring manager will simply not accept. Asking why helps you better understand what the hiring manager really wants out of the role. 

Who will be involved in the interview and assessment phases?

Candidates will want to know who they may be interviewing with.

Additionally, if you have suggestions on how to streamline the process or improve the candidate experience, now is the time to bring up those ideas.

Who are the key stakeholders at the company who will work with the new hire?

Candidates will also want to know who they will be working with. You need to be able to communicate not only who will be on their team, but also what important individuals they will interface with. 

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