Many of you are probably nervously contemplating the wreckage of engineering employment with the rather too rapid crash of mining and oil and gas over the past few months (I am; but am always optimistic thinking of it as yet another business cycle). What intrigues me though is the ongoing search for talented people for smaller companies is as hard as ever. Many will retort that a reason why smaller companies are always searching for staff is that they pay peanuts. Not necessary true.
By companies, I am not only referring to a high tech chip design company but a small company simply looking for engineers for a new pioneering product or the ongoing search for a highly skilled electrician, plumber or electronics technician.
The search for talented engineering professionals is competitive and is an ongoing problem.
Are You Thus?
- Frustrated at the lack of real talent in your division or business?
- Tired at obtaining a tiny number of responses to your job adverts?
- Exhausted with job resumes from candidates who have the wrong experience and skills?
And your team is way behind on a critical project and your overall firm is suffering.
Read on for some solutions…..
How to Attract (and Keep) Brilliant Engineering Talent
- Clearly identify the (technical) problem you want a new employee to solve. Engineering types love solving problems; building things or improving the world in clearly defined way. Esp. challenging ones where they can make a real contribution.
- Ensure a new professional fits into your team from a cultural, behavioural and value perspective. Otherwise you will lose them very quickly. There are software tools that you can use to achieve this.
- Be prepared to invest in the new person to get them up to 100%. You will never get a candidate who is a perfect match for what you require. You will wait forever to find this candidate. It is best to find someone now who can grow into the job. Just check that they have the necessary characteristics to develop in the job.
- Once you have got a stream of good candidates get the recruitment process finalised quickly. Don’t keep a potential candidate waiting for your decision. He or she will soon bolt to another company. Communicate to everyone else in your firm about the new person and get their feedback quickly and effectively.
- In the interview process, tell your story about your company. You have a unique story about what you do and have probably encountered interesting challenges and opportunities along the way. Ensure the candidates are brought up to speed with the unique benefits you can offer as against the big offers they will get from a large company. Such items as easy access to management / flexible time / freedom with decision-making on projects / future prospects in their career / building a unique product / friendly people to work with.
- Invest time in the new individual to ensure they grow with the company and feel valued and are making a contribution. The first three months can be tricky when the new person is not entirely convinced they are in the right place and they have to spend a ferocious amount of time in learning the new systems. This can be frustrating. You can defuse this and keep them.
Good luck in your search for talent.
Peter Drucker is right in saying that: So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.
Yours in engineering learning,