How to Recruit, Interview, & Hire Engineers

Hiring is rarely a straightforward process, especially when it comes to technical positions in areas like engineering. Getting the best engineers on staff could make the difference in a company’s ability to successfully complete an important project or develop an industry-changing product. Here are some helpful tips for companies that want to effectively recruit, interview and hire top engineers.

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(Image Credit: Flickr / CurrencyFair)

Treat Recruiting as a Culture

The demand for skilled engineers continues to rise worldwide. Because the supply doesn’t meet the demand, it’s necessary to actively recruit engineers to work for your company. The best way to recruit for these positions is to have an ongoing program that involves every current employee. In other words, recruitment is a part of your company’s culture.

There are several ways that a company can successfully recruit engineers. Referrals from current employees are one of the most effective and impactful recruitment methods. A company can also have full-time recruiters on staff and have an inbound recruiting program that will attract the interest of engineers looking for a change.

Put Careful Thought Into Your Hiring Process

Having a solid list of prospective engineers is a good start, but you also need to have a systematic hiring process in place so that you can make some fast decisions. Because good engineers are in such high demand in some areas, time may be of the essence when you find someone that is a fit for your organization.

You should have detailed job descriptions on hand for every position in your company as well as ads written that you can use for mixed media to advertise those openings. When resumes begin coming in, it’s important to review them quickly to decide who will make it to the interview stage.

Uncover Core Competencies Through Behavioral Interviewing

When you interview candidates for engineering positions, asking them standard interview questions about their strengths and weaknesses isn’t going to give you the best indication of future job success. Instead, use behavioral interviewing to uncover whether or not your candidates possess certain core competencies that are predictors of success.

It’s a common misconception that things such as IQ and problem-solving skills are the top success indicators for engineers. A Harvard Business Review report revealed that it’s “initiative” that is the most important attribute followed by such things as networking, self-management, teamwork, and leadership.

How can you best uncover these competencies when interviewing engineers? The best way to ask open-ended behavior-based interview questions. These questions give a candidate the opportunity to demonstrate how they used initiative in past work environments. A typical question might be, “Can you tell me about a time that you started something up from nothing and what happened?” Another is, “Describe a situation in which your imitative caused a change to occur.”

The recruiting and hiring experience for engineers has changed over the years. Since there is a shortage of engineers, it’s up to the company to put in the footwork to fill open positions, which is likely a change from other departments. To make sure that you get the best engineers for your company, think ahead with your recruiting, have a hiring system in place, and know how to effectively interview for open positions with behavior-based interviewing techniques.

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