I’ve had the honor of being involved with recruiting engineers for hundreds of companies who were seeking to hire over the last 20 years. And no doubt about it, the demand for skilled Engineers is at an all-time high. Unfortunately, the supply is not nearly as high. If you are going to hire the best of the best engineering talent, pay close attention to the 3 following steps on how to hire an engineer, and then evaluate your practices to see how you can improve your recruitment/hiring strategy.
Step #1: You must always be recruiting engineering talent
It’s easy to fall prey to complacency and think that because you’re not hiring right now, that recruiting doesn’t need to be a focus.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
If you wait to recruit and hire until you have a need, you’re already behind the eight ball. Going into desperation mode can potentially cause you to settle and hire an employee that either isn’t right for your team or is missing some of the technical ability you’re looking for.
Instead, keep your network and pipeline up-to-date. Be where the talent is – interact with them on social media. It’s all about staying current and being part of the dialogue. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter to engage with the Engineering community. Share interesting projects you’re working on, awards your company is winning, community projects you’re involved in and company events held.
This not only builds your network, but it builds your brand too.
Step #2: Focus and be clear about your culture/brand
Why would the cream of the crop want to work for your company versus one of your competitors?
It all comes down to your culture.
If you aren’t sure what your culture looks like, that’s a problem and should be initiative number one in your hiring strategy. If you are clear about your culture, shout it from the rooftops. That’s exactly what you want to be showcasing on social media.
When it comes to hiring engineers, you need to ask yourself the following questions: Are your hours flexible? Do you have great benefits? What makes your company so great to work for? Competitive pay is imperative but is only a part of why someone would be interested in your company versus where they are currently employed or one of your competitors.
Get your whole team involved and build a referral program. Integrate it into your culture and make it a top priority. It has been proven that the quality of candidates, as well as the retention rate, are higher for candidates recruited through employee referral programs versus candidates recruited through other means because when your employees refer other people, they often have firsthand information about those people and the quality of work they’ve done in the past. Past performance is a great indicator of future performance.
Step #3: Move fast
Once you’ve identified a potential engineering candidate you’re interested in, move fast.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, the recruiting process is a direct reflection of your company and its qualities and culture. I don’t know anybody who likes slow-moving companies. In the engineering world, slow companies die on the vine. Companies that move quickly innovate and excel, now that’s something top engineering talent is interested in being a part of!
I recently had the opportunity to interview John Livesay, a funding strategist who helps CEOs craft a compelling pitch that engages investors in a way that inspires them to join a startup’s team, on our podcast, Absolute Advantage.
John and I talked about the hiring process, and he shared a great piece of wisdom that I would like to share with you now.
Here’s what John told me about hiring:
“It’s all about culture fit, not skill fit. You can always teach everybody what they need if they don’t have the skills, but you can’t teach them how to fit into your culture.”
Hiring great new employees requires that you have a culture that stands out from your competition, and like John told me, you have to make sure that new employees fit into that culture.
Make your search for great engineers that fit into your culture a never ending process. You never know when a key employee is going to leave or when you’re going to win that next project and need the talent to compete.
And once you find that great new engineer -- don’t wait around. Your competition certainly isn’t.
I hope these 3 steps on how to hire an engineer help you and your firm.