Why Intake is the Most Important Step in the Hiring Process

November 7, 2022

min read


Anna Wang

Hiring great employees requires a great hiring process. A great customer success leader wouldn’t dream of kicking off a new customer implementation without a game plan. Similarly, a great product leader understands that each product launch must be scoped and reviewed with care. Hiring is no different - people are the most important asset for any business and hiring is what brings great talent in.

The most important first step in a great hiring process is Intake. This is where recruiters and hiring managers decide what their requirements are for the roles they are hiring for, what key traits and skills to look for, and plan the sourcing and interview process to bring the right candidate through the door.

Every step of the hiring process relies on the decisions made during a successful Intake. If all parties aren’t on the same page, recruiters will source candidates that don’t fit the profile the hiring managers want, hiring managers will assess for the wrong qualities, and a lot of effort will be wasted on an unnecessarily long process that produces a low quality hire. This can also result in a poor candidate experience, as candidates can pick up on misalignment in the recruiting and interview team, and this “bad feeling” will make them less likely to accept a job.

Searchlight’s Intake product provides the answer for running a consistently exceptional Intake process.

Here are some of the most important benefits that Searchlight’s Intake product brings:

1) Improves hiring quality by focusing the hiring team (managers, interviewers, recruiters) on a clear set of skills and traits to look for. We help you reduce bias in the screening process.

2) Improves time-to-fill by engaging hiring managers early on success criteria. We help you reduce the chance of misalignment and needing to re-kickoff the role.

3) Improves visibility and documentation on a process that is often described as a black box. We help create a clear record of Intake responses so you can learn and improve from past hiring.

How do we do it?

Searchlight’s Intake product drives value by automating parts of the intake process, providing  templates and survey questions backed by science, and showing how well specific candidates match up against the ideal candidate profile. 

Here’s some more details on what Searchlight offers.  

1) Intake Library: We help recruiting leaders enforce consistent standards with an Intake Library that houses team-approved templates to be used by hiring teams. This not only makes recruiters more efficient, it also ensures that they don’t accidentally deviate from the plan the team agreed on. Searchlight’s survey and self-assessment questions are carefully crafted based on academic research in I/O Psychology to get honest, useful answers from candidates to identify key Power Skills and Cultural Alignment characteristics quickly while avoiding bias.

2) Hiring team management by position: Empower recruiting leaders to set and manage their hiring teams to have the right people involved for each role. Searchlight makes it easy to provide support to recruiters and interviewers. 

3) Intake match score and talent models: Searchlight helps quantify how well a candidate matches the requirements of the role. This helps the hiring team make a final decision more quickly and with greater confidence and can surface strong candidates that might have otherwise gone overlooked. We’ve had many customers tell us that this analysis led them to make great hires they might not have made without it. In fact, rigorous analysis by our People Data Scientists found that the Searchlight Score is three times more effective at predicting future job performance than traditional interview scorecards. For more about how we test the validity of our metrics, see this blog post.

Great recruiting and hiring is about more than just filling a seat quickly - it’s about making sure that the new hire stays on and is successful in their new role. Not only does a good intake process enable this, but it also makes hiring teams happier by keeping them aligned without too many meetings or wasted time. Searchlight’s Intake product helps hiring teams improve hiring quality, reduce bias, improve the candidate experience and ultimately drive more business value. 

Anna Wang


Anna, our co-founder & CTO, merges engineering and AI with a passion for fiction and history. Leads teams for faster, right-fit hiring insights.

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