Rhona Barnett-Pierce


Lead Intake calls with confidence

Lead Intake Calls With Confidence


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I first learned about the power of asking the right questions when I met Kat Kibben, the founder of Three Ears Media. My boss at the time was convinced that I was a terrible writer and I wanted to prove him wrong, so I went online to learn how to be a better writer, and I stumbled upon one of Kat’s workshops.

Good Recruiters Ask Great Questions

In that workshop, I learned that for my writing to be good, I needed to ask better questions.

This insight transformed my approach not just to writing, but to my work as a recruiter. I realized that the key to being a strategic partner to my hiring managers was asking the right questions—specifically, questions that create contrast.

When you ask questions that create contrast during intake calls, you figure out what’s truly a must have for the role, identify hidden biases, and gain a deeper understanding of what the hiring manager really needs. This leads to more effective job postings, better candidate matches, and ultimately, more successful hires.

Unfortunately, many recruiters don’t ask these types of questions, for a few key reasons:

  • They’re not sure what questions to ask or how to ask them
  • They feel pressure to accept requirements at face value
  • They lack confidence in their role as a strategic partner

In the latest episode of Throw Out The Playbook Podcast, Kat Kibben shares their expert insights on how to ask questions that create contrast and lead better intake calls with hiring managers.

Here’s how you can start asking questions that create contrast:

Step 1: Prepare for the intake call.

Come to the intake call prepared with questions that will help you understand the role and the hiring manager’s needs. Kat emphasizes the importance of not just accepting a list of requirements, but digging deeper to uncover the reasoning behind each one.

Step 2: Ask questions that create contrast.

Kat recommends asking a potentially “dangerous” question at the end of the call: “Is there anything we missed? Is there anything we didn’t talk about?”

This question often prompts hiring managers to start listing additional requirements or qualifications that weren’t previously discussed. This is where they start making stuff up. 🙄

GIF of South Park character and the words: You're Making Stuff Up

But this is your opportunity to ask follow-up questions that create contrast, such as:

  • What does someone with that degree know how to do that someone without the degree could not have learned how to do?
  • What does someone with 15 years know that someone with 10 doesn’t know how to do?

These contrast-creating questions, help you discover whether these requirements are truly must-haves for the role or if they might be based on biases or unrealistic expectations. They also help you have those difficult conversations about bias.

Step 3: Use the insights gained to create alignment

The insights you gain from asking contrast-creating questions will help you create job postings that attract the right candidates, make better matches throughout the hiring process, and ultimately, make more successful hires.

By learning to ask questions that create contrast, I found my voice and confidence as a strategic recruiting partner.

I was able to build stronger relationships with my hiring managers, champion inclusive hiring practices, and ultimately, help companies make more successful hires. I’m sharing this with you because I believe every recruiter has the potential to be a strategic partner.

What’s Next?

If you want to dive deeper into the art of asking questions that create contrast and learn more techniques for aligning recruiters and hiring managers, I highly recommend checking out Kat’s new Inclusive Hiring Training.

And if you want even more tips and insights on mastering intake calls and becoming a strategic recruiting partner, be sure to listen to the full episode of Throw Out The Playbook with Kat Kibben!

Talk to you next week!

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