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6 Things You MUST Do in a Kickoff Meeting with Your Hiring Manager



The quality of a recruiter’s relationships with the hiring managers they work with makes a world of difference. Good relationships set a recruiter up for success, while bad ones can leave a recruiter feeling like this:

Or this:

                via GIPHY

When a recruiter and hiring manager aren’t aligned, the process will take longer than it should. The recruiter will bring in candidates whom the hiring manager doesn’t think are a fit, candidates may suffer from a poor, unorganized interview experience, and chances are decent that the search will end up back at square one.

The good news is, there’s one simple step that can make the process a lot more efficient: a well-run kickoff or intake meeting (emphasis on well-run).

I spoke with Amanda Bell, Lever’s director of recruiting and former technical recruiting manager at Yelp, to find out the six critical components of running an effective recruitment kickoff meeting.

1. Set the intention

The hiring manager isn’t just doing you a favor by finding time in their day to meet, finding a great candidate is in both of your best interests. It can be helpful to remind your hiring manager that you’re on the same side. You can do this with something as simple as letting the hiring manager know how excited you are to help them find the right person for their team.

2. Be mindful of their time

Be cognisant of the fact that a hiring manager intake session or recruitment kickoff meeting is only one of the many things a hiring manager has to do in a day. Be concise, and come prepared with an agenda for the intake session so the hiring manager knows exactly what you will cover, and what will be needed of them to best help you throughout the process.

3. Gain an understanding of the role

Top of your agenda is to gain an understanding of the role. Among the questions Amanda says you should find out are: What would the candidate’s responsibilities be, why is the job exciting, who would the candidate be working with, and what will a normal day will look like? You’ll need this knowledge to advise your hiring manager on writing a job description (or write it yourself, depending on the company) that will attract the right candidates, and to successfully engage candidates during their initial screens.

4. Get examples 

While you have the hiring manager’s attention, take the opportunity to review both good and bad examples of candidates. During the recruiter and hiring manager meeting, go through a few resumes together (if you have any) and source a few candidates on LinkedIn. This way, you’ll be on the same page about what a promising candidate looks like from day one of your candidate search.

5. Define the interview process

Set expectations for the interview process right from the get go. Who’s doing the phone screen – the recruiter? Hiring manager? An individual contributor? How long should the interviews be? Who’s on the interview panel? Who is covering what type of interview? Who has the final decision making power? These are all questions you need to ask to make sure the process runs smoothly and the candidate has a great experience.

When it comes to making your interviews as seamless and consistent as possible, it helps to have a tool that will help you structure them. Lever’s interview kits helps you set up a consistent process to let you compare candidates apples to apples. You can quickly schedule interview panels, leave clear instructions, insert a scorecard, and more to gather all the information you need.

6. Discuss logistics

It’s the recruiter equivalent of doomsday to get all the way to an offer stage with a candidate, and then to find out you don’t have permission to extend it. The best case scenario (still not good) is that you need to get approval from the right people and you delay the process by a few days. The worst case scenario is that you can’t give the candidate the package they’re asking for and you lose them altogether. Save yourself huge headaches down the line by sorting out logistics like compensation, equity, and start date at the very first hiring manager intake session.


You and your hiring manager have the same goal – to move quickly and create a great candidate experience that will get the right people on board as soon as possible. It takes collaboration in order to do that, and a clear, concise, and productive kickoff meeting is a great place to start.

Relationships matter in recruiting today more than ever, internally between the recruiter and hiring manager, and externally with candidates. Read what Mike Bailen, Eventbrite's director of recruiting, thinks is driving the change. Why Relationships Rule in Recruiting, Now More Than Ever.


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