This week I was at the Minnesota Recruiters Conference and I listened to Steve Lowisz speak about “5 Keys To Leading Your Hiring Manager.”  I am not sure if it was the lack of participation or what, but when he was speaking about intake meetings with hiring managers (that meeting when we learn about the job before we do anything else)…it seemed many do not ask a couple critical questions.

The intake meeting with hiring managers is critical, because from this we post jobs and search for people.  If the information we start with is wrong or incomplete, we will likely go in the wrong direction and waste a lot of time.  It is absolutely critical that we really find out what the objectives of the job are and what is needed for skills and competencies in a candidate.

Assuming you already have delved into the objectives of the position, there are two critical questions to ask during the intake meeting to delve into the skills and competencies that may not have been listed during the intake meeting thus far…..

The first is to ask your hiring manager the following:

Think about a couple of your best people who are truly great in this role…please tell me what makes them great.

Of course, there are additional questions one could ask to delve into this (e.g. “Why do they excel?”) , but we are trying to identify the skills and competencies that are really needed to this position.  The people who excel in the role will have them in common.

Maybe all of the top performers had some prior experience with claims data and this was not mentioned as a requirement or preference in the job description.  This is exactly something that I have encountered with one of my hiring managers.  I asked why it was not listed as a requirement or preference and they really didn’t know why…but thought it would be a good idea to include it.  By getting the hiring manager to think about his or her best people and then ask what made them so good, you may find out things about the job that could really make a difference.

Of course, this is only half of the equation.  The second question to ask a hiring manager is the following:

Think about the people you had to terminate or just weren’t very good in this role…please tell me what they lacked or were not able to do that was needed in this role.

I also remember asking a hiring manager this before and being told that the past employees that he had to let go or didn’t do well just were not able to be change agents.  The area was having a lot of change (and being resisted somewhat) and he really needed someone who could help facilitate change.  Of course, this was not mentioned at all on the job description and I insisted on adding it.

Unfortunately, hiring managers usually do not really know how to write and design job descriptions and requirements…and they have been trained to just give lists of skills and not really delve into it deeply.  It is our job as recruiters to help delve deeper into what was provided and really dig out the critical information.  Often I find that the initial information provided is incomplete and sometimes just wrong.

Only by delving deeply and pushing/guiding the hiring managers to get critical information will we be able to deliver the kind of candidates hiring managers really want.

I have found these two questions very helpful during my intake meetings and they were both mentioned and discussed during the conference this week.



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