What Are We Intaking?

The phrase “intake meeting” to describe what I call the kick-off meeting with the hiring clients has been popping up more and more this year at conferences or within my company. I am not sure why or how this word became so popular. Is it to make a basic step sound more official and formal?

We are not in the medical profession where they intake patients, we are not clinical experts, and we are not taking our clients anywhere. We are recruiters trying to learn more about the position, setting expectations and developing a partnership. To me, intake means we are in control and that the hiring client is not the expert and they will do as we say. We may take that position during certain aspects of the process but the clients are the ones performing the work or leading the teams.

This may be a semantic argument but I think using words like kick-off, launch or client meeting to describe the initial step of the process between recruiter and client are more in line with what is really happening. I like to view the recruitment process and search like the launch of a cruise ship or the excitement before you head off on a journey. Why sterilize the meeting with a clinical word like intake?

Let’s not overcomplicate recruiting to make it appear more than it really is and label meetings with words that sound great but do not describe what is going on. By being honest about what we do we can move our companies forward.

I welcome your thoughts.



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2 responses to “What Are We Intaking?

  1. Hamish Davidson

    I agree. I have used the term ‘Taking the brief’ for over 20 years and see no reason to change terminology. We have a phrase in the UK – ‘Its what it says on the tin’. If a term needs to be explained and is not immediately obvious, then its probably not helpful.

    Actually, I feel the same about many other terms that are used in a work environment but would not be in a home context:

    ‘Engage’ – do you tell your friends and family that ‘I would like to engage with you’?

    ‘Rich’ – do you tell your friends and family that the book you have just been reading was full of ‘rich’ material?

    ‘Co-produce’ – do you suggest to your partner at home that you ‘co-produce’ dinner, or just suggest cooking something?

    The list goes on …

    Terms like these are invented by pseudo professionals as a means of ‘excluding’ the average commentator/citizen, and ‘elevating’ simple words and terms into elitist jargon.

    What is wrong with just saying what we mean, and using day to day language?


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