You must ALWAYS be recruiting, and to do that, you need to be where the people you’re trying to recruit are.
Networking is a critical component to your engineering recruitment strategy and must be considered part of your long game. The more you network and the longer you do it, the more benefits you will reap.
Going to an event once a year or joining a group on LinkedIn and not doing anything with it is, quite frankly, is not going to get the job done.
Networking is about connecting and building relationships. The true masters of networking understand that it’s about bringing value to those they are connecting with.
If you’re networking with the spirit of service in mind, you get so much more from the experience, literally and figuratively. For example, if you’re part of an organization that is specific to your industry, you should be offering to be a resource for other members and contributing information that the group and its members will find value in (not self or company promotion).
Not only does this position you as a subject manager expert, but it gets your brand out there and gives prospective candidates and clients some insight into who you are as a person which translates to the company.
So, where do you start?
#1: Get involved with research organizations and groups connected to your industry
If you’re a design/consulting firm, become a member of ACEC (American Council of Engineering Companies) and get involved.
Contact your local chapter and see how you can contribute. Not only does it give you an opportunity to interact with like-minded people, but you will also receive education about your industry.
It’s a win-win.
#2: Get focused
There are so many groups and organizations related to specific engineering niches.
I recommend identifying the groups that make sense for your firm and then assigning them to key people on your team. This allows you to get the most exposure while also making the greatest impact.
I can speak for myself when I say I’ve learned this one the hard way over the years.
You simply don’t get the most out of your time/resources when you use a shotgun approach. The goal is to immerse yourself in an organization or two and get involved.
Time is precious, so be strategic for maximum impact.
#3: Enjoy the ROI
Let’s stay on the “time is precious” topic for a moment.
Many of you may be reading this and thinking to yourself “this sounds time-consuming” or “I’m too busy.” I would argue you don’t have time NOT to network.
Realistically, networking takes 2 to 4 hours per month, per person (again, choose wisely and don’t overcommit).The return on your time investment is priceless.
Since we’re primarily on the topic of networking for recruiting purposes, I’ll stick to the script.
Networking allows you to keep your pipeline filled with potential candidates or people who will refer candidates which translates to filling positions more quickly so that the cost associated with vacant positions decreases.
You will also gain the ability to hire strategically for growth, beat your competition, and save valuable recruiting budget dollars…and those are just a few of the benefits you will enjoy.
This is another one of those things in life or strategies in business that if you put the time in up front, it pays dividends on the other side.
Simply put, networking MUST be part of your engineering recruitment strategy.
If it’s not, you are missing out on an activity that can add tremendous value to your business at a fraction of the cost of other efforts.