Recruiting Kick-Off Meetings Do Matter
Before we begin any recruiting project, even recruitment research assignments, we ask for a kick-off meeting prior to the start. This routine activity is a time where everyone can learn, share and discuss relevant information as well as discuss expectations. I believe recruiting kick-off meetings set the stage for the win-win partnership that lies ahead of the team.
Embrace Kick-Off Meetings
Recruiting kick-off meetings act as the first formal meeting between the client, their team and the recruiting team (s) for a specific assignment. These meetings need to be embraced, not ignored or taken lightly. It is a time to set expectations, discuss the recruiting process, a time to ask pointed questions, learn about the role, each team player’s responsibilities, as well as discuss other relevant information that cannot generally be answered from just a job specification or informal meeting. It is a time to build rapport between all parties, strengthen the relationship and quite frankly is the start of what needs to be a successful partnership that must yield success. Therefore, the act of engagement before and during the kick-off meeting from all parties is a must.
Kick-off meetings are generally used to introduce the team, understand the search, the strategy, the process, the goals, set the timeline of expectations as well as discuss how all involved are going to work together effectively. In effect, the recruiting kick-off meeting serves multiple administrative purposes. These recruiting kick-off meetings also establish communication protocols, discusses specific recruiting and interviewing processes. It is also a great time to discuss timing around start date and on-boarding. It is the time to discuss when to expect feedback from the hiring manager after a candidate has been presented, set dates for update calls with regards to the progress as well as a great time to talk about the target list, potential talent pool and how many candidates will be presented weekly. I believe recruiting kick-off meetings set the right tone for each recruiting engagement and should never be omitted from the recruiting strategy or process.
The agenda should be kept simple while allowing enough time to cover the role, the process and expectations. Each item should add value to the discussion. Most importantly it is recommended that all parties are prepared. Often the recruiting kick-off agenda is developed beforehand and sent to all parties prior to the meeting.
- Start with the introductions of each attendee while focusing on the role he/she will be involved with during the search. Allow some time to discuss past recruiting experiences that produced results, ones that worked well and should be mimicked.
- Discuss and review the job specification in detail - Discuss ideal candidates to include, musts, needs and wants. Define the skills, traits, and qualifications the hiring manager is seeking. Discuss companies in which the client has had success recruiting from, companies of interest and those which are off-limits.
- Discuss the recruiting process details – Every client has a recruiting process that needs to be followed. If there is not a specific one in place, create one. There needs to be a roadmap to follow and stick to. Use this time to gather emails and telephone numbers of each team player so that communications amongst the team can be made quite easily.
- Set the expectations of each team player, discussing accountability and involvement - Be sure to communicate the role of each, timelines of expected reports and candidates as well as all follow-up activities.
The Meeting - It Can Be Face-to-Face or Simply Done Over the Telephone
- Start on Time - To show respect for all parties involved, the meeting should start promptly. To facilitate this, it is recommended to send copies of the meeting materials in advance. This may include the agenda, job specifications, the list of those attending and biographies or links of those attending.
- Allow the client or someone from their team to drive the process and meeting - During this time, typically the client will speak in detail about the role, the process and expectations. This is the time recruiters and those who are executing need to listen, learn and ask questions.
- Recognize the fact that the kick-off meeting is the beginning of the recruiting engagement - An effective recruiting kick-off meeting presents a unique opportunity to establish the tone of this mutually beneficial partnership. For the client, it is a time to explain the role, the team, the company and the importance of the role to this hiring manager. For recruiters, it is a time to show the client you are an expert and you are the trusted partner who will deliver results by delivering interested, qualified candidates quickly. You are the recruiter who will identify, recruit and vet the high potential candidates your client so deserves. Now is the time to define your own responsibilities for the engagement. It is okay for you, the recruiter to "sell" but not oversell, the recruiting function to the client as a value-added service. Lastly, it seems logical to use this time to build trust between all parties involved. Game on!
- When the discussion is winding down, the recruiter can suggest he/she will send a follow-up email, recapping what was discussed – This ensures everyone is on the same page.
Happy Hunting and be sure to include a recruiting kick-off meeting as part of your next search engagement if it is not part of your recruiting process.