It’s something hiring managers everywhere have encountered firsthand: experienced engineering talent is hard to find. Similar to the hiring problem in the IT industry, the demand for engineers is extremely high, far outpacing the supply of available talent. While there’s a skills shortage that makes hiring difficult, it’s not impossible. There are great engineers out there; it’s just a matter of reaching them, grabbing their attention, and garnering their interest.
Recruiting in-demand engineering talent requires an approach similar to the sales process, where brand awareness makes a big impact. Engineers are flooded with messaging from countless companies ranging from startups to Fortune 100s. How do they know who to trust with their career? Naturally, they gravitate toward those they’ve heard of and are familiar with. That’s why increasing your brand awareness is so critical. It sets a foundation for a relationship to grow upon. In practice, this is carried out in a number of ways.
Start with Company Culture
Assessing and improving your company culture will take time, but doing so will pay dividends for years to come. According to a Glassdoor survey of hundreds of thousands of users, culture is the workplace factor that matters most to employees. Your efforts to recruit engineering talent get a big boost when they are backed by a culture people want to work within.
When considering changes to improve your culture, think about work-life balance. Job seekers often desire the ability to work from home one day per week or to have a flex schedule where they can move their working hours earlier or later when necessary. Consider offering extra paid time off for volunteering. Think about the little things too, they add up. Small things like monthly birthday lunches or even something outside the box like an employee music playlist that everyone contributes to and is played each Friday in the breakroom can make a difference. Rely on your HR department, which will play a big role in these efforts. As your culture becomes a great one, your brand awareness will start to take off and snowball itself bigger and bigger.
Facilitate Positive Word of Mouth
Once your company culture is thriving, it’s time to facilitate the spreading of positive word of mouth. Consumers trust their friends, relatives, and even the reviews of strangers more than they trust what a company itself tells them. It’s the same thing with engineering professionals, whether they are actively job seeking or not. Their career is their livelihood, and they aren’t going to jump ship from their current role unless they are completely confident it’s the right decision. Word of mouth can help make them confident in your organization.
79% of job seekers use social media in their search, so it’s necessary to craft your digital presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, and any other platforms you are able to manage. These are easy places to show off that great culture of yours. It’s where employees can tag themselves in pictures, share the great things happening in their office, and naturally spread the word for you. This same thing happens on any employer review sites that you will want to be monitoring. Think of these channels as free advertising that turns out to be more effective than any other advertising methods you’ve used before.
Formal surveys like the 100 best places to work are another way to promote yourself. There are national and local versions of these, so do some research. Carefully evaluate the criteria and determine if it makes sense for you to apply. Be prepared to invest some time in putting together a great submission. It takes some work and it’s not a guaranteed result, but it can be a good option.
Become a Career Adviser and Advocate
Today’s world of hiring in engineering has become very transactional. Recruiters will often throw big salary offers at a candidate after barely talking to them and then are surprised when the offers are ignored or rejected. Engineering talent who enjoy being in great demand is of course interested in money, but compensation is no longer the only differentiator in today’s employment market.
The best engineers want to work for an organization where they see a future. They want their career path to align with their work trajectory and to know up front how your company can make that happen. Put their career first by asking them where they want to be several years down the road. Point to specific paths and positions inside your organization that can make these goals a reality, and an engineer will know you’re prepared to make their career a priority.
Above all, be human. When cold calls and spam emails are the norm, the human touch from a company is noticeable. Make it known that you’re a resource of knowledge for the engineering industry. Send out information to potential candidates about current trends or topics in engineering that might truly benefit them. Over time, they will see you as a genuine advocate for their career, and that turns into gaining their trust (and ultimately, their skill set).
The Best Ways to Recruit an Experienced Engineer
It’s not easy to reevaluate your recruiting strategies and change them in order to attract engineering talent, but it will be worthwhile in the long run. Until that point, there is one quick and cost-effective solution for hiring the best engineers in the industry. Partnering with a proven staffing firm can grant you proven engineering talent when and where you need it most.
ATR can be the engineering staffing partner you need. Contact us today to get started.