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How to Perfect the Client Intake Session on the First Try
Research manager Jeff Bintinger sat down with us this week to talk intake sessions, why communication is crucial, and the steps to take before you start the research process.
Start projects only when you feel confident If you feel like you don’t have enough information to start your research, pump the brakes. Jeff’s client referred to the JD every time his team had a question. As you can imagine, that didn't really answer their questions. They decided to move forward with the project anyway even though they felt uneasy. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until after the first round of research that they had to backtrack… a lot. Like, on their own dime.
If you ask Jeff today, he'll tell you that his team doesn't move a muscle until they feel good about the intake session. More often than not, your gut will steer you in the right direction. So, listen to it. Always push for clarity—even if that means asking clients question after question. The client will thank you in the end (even if it annoys them at first).
Challenge job descriptions This is probably a no-brainer, but we want to reiterate it anyway: job descriptions are not gold. The niche role Jeff's team was working on was like a 60/40 position: some sales, some project management. The JD was nowhere near an accurate description of the role.
Does it seem like Jeff was living a nightmare, destined to fail from the get-go? Absolutely, but recovery was swift and only somewhat painful because now his team makes sure to...
Talk with the right people Not-so-surprisingly, there was a lot of back-and-forth with Jeff's client, specifically about overall job function. Turned out, both the hiring manager and HR rep didn’t have a definitive understanding of the role either. Even though we expect HMs and HR reps to have all the answers, no one knows a role better than the direct report.
Remember the game telephone? That’s what Jeff was dealing with. Now, he makes it a priority to speak with a direct report on every intake call.
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