When looking at the fastest-growing jobs of 2021 across the world, the word “Engineer” appears almost more than any other. Many engineering staffing solutions boast roles from Robotics Engineers, Full Stack Engineers, and Data Engineers to Site Reliability Engineers, Software Engineers, and Cloud Engineers. Excitingly it seems there will be no shortage of need for these roles in the next few years.
In America alone, the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) found in May 2020 that the unemployment rate for computing occupations was 2.5%. That’s 11.5% lower than the national average. This low rate of unemployment shows just how in-demand engineering roles are today. If a recruiter is not spending their time finding 10x and 100x engineers, they’re building a B team (or worse). Great engineers love working with other great engineers, so finding recruitment help with an engineering background is tricky. Of course, at OSI engineering, we like to make sure people know we started as engineers ourselves but make a misstep in your hiring program. You end up with that B team profile.
Even Steve Jobs of Apple fame considered his most important job was recruiting: ‘The greatest people are self-managing; they don’t need to be managed. Once they know what to do, they’ll go figure out how to do it.’
Traditionally, when a company hires engineering talent, it might ask about a candidate’s technical skills. Today the more interesting question is: What’s your mindset? How do you think about a problem? It’s noticeable when a recruiter with an engineering background is just asking technical questions; however, soft skills come into play and are just as important as pure engineering knowledge.
Engineering Staffing Solutions for Candidates and Recruiters
Below we dig into some of the criteria you need to be aware of when applying for your next engineering role.
For Job Hunters
Look for clear, succinct job postings that speak to you. Perhaps create a spreadsheet of the jobs and the core technologies required. What are the traditional skills you need to have among the jobs that most interest you? Once you identify them, you can focus on how to acquire that experience.
From the recruiters’ perspective, the first step to writing an effective engineering job description is to explain how the role fits the overall company mission. Tying the role to a greater cause often appeals to engineers who aren’t drawn to salary alone.
Hiring managers want to know that you can thrive in a team environment and work well with your colleagues. Somebody who doesn’t work effectively in a group isn’t going to help their company achieve its goals. Trying to determine whether an engineering or technical candidate has an affinity for learning if they’ll work well with others, or whether they’ll make innovation a part of their day job is a significant part of the hiring process.
As a candidate, how can you set yourself up for success?
Here are some essential criteria:
Specific technical knowledge
When you list skills on your resume that prove to be something you know nothing about through the course of an interview, it makes the recruiter question the rest of your resume.
An important question often asked in interviews is ‘Why the candidate has decided to explore new opportunities. Even if their current situation is not ideal, handling this answer is an essential indicator of temperament.
To demonstrate your aptitude, be prepared to explain a situation that you had to learn on the job and speak about how you learn best.
Connections and networking
A growing and well-maintained business and social network will provide you with many advantages in your job search. Why not reach out to someone you know or link to a connection to ask about the company they work at that you’re interested in. You might need references when applying to a new position, so ask yourself, are there people in your network you’d feel comfortable asking?
Engineers Screening Engineers
To qualify the suitability of your candidates, you could consider issuing a test that’s suitable for the role. The aim of a coding test, for example, is to evaluate an engineer’s ability to write clean, functional code.
A lot is talked about in terms of fitting in with the culture of a prospective employer. It is also essential to remember that cultural fit isn’t everything. More critical than cultural fit is an engineer’s ability to communicate well with other team members. This leads back to our earlier point of speaking the same engineering language as the candidate. In some instances, a company’s engineers have also been recruited to serve on the interviewing teams. They are allowing prospective employees, for example, to get to know a potential team manager. Situations occur where the first time a manager meets a candidate would be after the candidate joined the manager’s team.
Don’t Wait Around
It’s essential to close the deal quickly. Given the current engineering skills shortage, great engineers get snapped up quickly. If you’ve found a good fit, don’t hesitate to contact and offer them the job.
In today’s market, great engineers have a choice on where to work. If your competition does things more effectively, it makes it harder for you to hire good people. Not to mention it often leads to often wasted effort.
We hope that in sharing how to evaluate candidates to hire and set yourself up for success as a candidate, you can better navigate and further your professional journey as an engineer and an engineering recruiter.
Are you looking for engineering staffing solutions? At OSI Engineering, we’re first and foremost engineers. We can put ourselves in the shoes of the candidates. We deliver professional engineering consultants and contractors to enable you to meet your time-to-market demands. Our technical knowledge of your specific technology streamlines the process to provide the ‘right’ engineer with the ‘right’ technical expertise to add value with minimal ramp-up time. To speak to a member of the team, call (408) 715-3346 or use this contact form.