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Recruiter Steve Levy Shows How He Gets Strategic About Intake

Recruiters, it’s time to move from having intake meetings to engaging in robust intake strategy sessions.

To learn how, watch recruiting expert, consultant, trainer, blogger and eTeki advisor Steve Levy’s insightful, entertaining and tip-filled presentation in the eTeki-sponsored webinar, “Beyond the Heap — Finding the Treasure in Technical Recruiting.”

Levy said that recruiters typically view intake meetings “as a one-shot deal.” Intake strategy sessions, on the other hand, are series of meetings in which recruiters update hiring managers on the status of a search, and any intelligence discovered, which leads to a discussion that can change or improve the search.

Another benefit of a strategy session, according to Levy: “(It) educates the managers as well and causes them to actually have more faith in you, and perhaps lighten up on you when things aren’t coming in as fast as we’d like for them to come in.”

Levy said that he likes to go beyond the hiring manager and also talk to senior people or even all of the people in the group if possible. The reason: the intelligence you glean gives you a broader view of the landscape, and allows you to be more successful than if you just relied on the job description.

“(This is) much more robust than that. The more research that we do when we find these people, the more things we uncover,” he said. “When you just use the job description, you’ve lost the opportunity to create a big wave that you can use to sweep up all of the good technical surfers out there and bring them to shore.”

According to Levy, some of the key elements recruiters should cover during intake strategy sessions include:

  1. Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)

OKRs aren’t goals, and they certainly aren’t job duties, Levy said. To identify them, he might ask the hiring manager which “deliverables … are impacting how you sleep, your relationship with your family, your mental health, what have you. If I can find someone to take … those specific deliverables off the board, you would interview them immediately and probably hire them. Tell me which three to five are most critical to this position.’
“Those are what the OKRs are.”

  1. Beating the Competition

Every hiring manager has target companies, Levy said. To beat the competition, it’s necessary to have a value proposition that makes the company you’re recruiting for attractive to talent.

“I go to the hiring manager during this intake session and ask, ‘Why would the very best person at one of these companies leave there to come here?’” he said. “And then (I) just go silent, and wait to see if they can actually come up with a cogent answer. If they can’t, then you should have the courage to say, ‘We have a problem here. We need to define what it is that we’re doing so special here—the value proposition—that I can use when we go out and speak to people.’”

  1. Innovation

Levy said it’s also important to look toward future talent needs as well as current needs. One strategy he uses is, once he knows the names of competitors, he researches their patent activity in related areas.

“I’ll come up with a list of the patents and I’ll present them to the hiring manager, and say, ‘Which ones get you all hot and bothered?’ Out of 50 of them they give you 20 and it lends itself towards additional discussion as to what is so special about them, and it gets them thinking that we need to hire not just to deliver certain results, but also to hire to prepare ourselves for the future, which is preparing for the next wave of hiring.”

  1. Organizations and Associations

Find out which organizations and associations that the manager and everybody in the group are a part of, online and brick and mortar, Levy said. It can be extremely helpful for sourcing.

  1. Conferences

Find out which conferences members of the group go to, have gone to in the past, or plan to go to in the future. Even what conferences they follow online, perhaps via a Twitter hashtag.

Levy used the example of how he gleaned intelligence from the Twitter hashtag #pycon used by the Python conference PyCon 2017. “Man, there were lots of good people tweeting that I captured into a list for future uses and pilfering,” he said.

  1. Online Communities/Forums

Discover the online communities and forums where the hiring manager and group members go to get questions answered or answer questions.

“The way I use it for recruiting is if I see a certain person is pretty active in a certain community or forum, sometimes they will have special nom-de-Internet and not just their name,” Levy said. “As part of my research, I will track the people whom they interact with. In terms of referrals, as is often the case, people who are active on certain community forums don’t view people they interact with as being referral fodder. That’s where this becomes a very interactive process.”

  1. Blogs

Identify the blogs that people in the group are active on—ones they read and especially ones they comment on, Levy recommended.

“Any good sourcer will salivate when they come up to a blog with lots of comments on it,” he said. “Every person who comments, provided they offer a reasonably cogent answer, becomes someone to potentially recruit.”

  1. Education/Degrees/Certifications/Licenses

Find out required or valued education, degrees, certifications and licenses associated with the job. Sometimes they can be esoteric.

  1. Technologies/Products/Tools

Discover which technologies, products, and tools will be used in the role.

  1. Jargon

Learn the jargon, terms and acronyms associated with the field. You can use them to find people.

  1. Thought Leaders

Know which thought leaders—speakers and inventors—the manager and team members follow and respect. This can also be used to find people.

More than Intake
Strategic intake sessions were just one topic that Levy discussed. View the webinar for more great tips to find the treasure in technical recruiting.