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Engineering Recruitment


In this video we will talk about the challenges of recruiting engineers.

Hi, I’m Jeff Zinser. I own Right Recruiting. We are going to put together a series of videos about recruiting for different disciplines. In this one we will talk about recruiting for engineers.

My company works in many disciplines. We fill all types of jobs but our roots are in engineering because my roots are in engineering recruiting. One of the things I have found in the decades I’ve worked in this industry is that most good recruiters started in engineering and engineering has it’s own challenges and distinctions. So, in this video we are going to talk about what makes engineering recruiting unique and maybe give you some hints about how to make your recruiting effort better- other than hiring us, of course.

Engineering is different in two areas. The first is that engineering specifications have a high degree of specificity. Here’s what that means.

I remember decades ago training a young fellow on being a recruiter. Our assignment was to find a machine design engineer for a client of ours. He was very excited when he he came to me with a resume of a machine design engineer that he wanted me to present to a client. When i looked at the resume i had to say that the person was not going to be a fit. Our client wanted someone who had designed machinery for the foods industry and this person designed machinery for the automotive industry.

The fellow did a lot more work and came back with another resume. Very excited. I found somebody from the foods industry! I found somebody from the foods industry! Once again, sadly, I had to disappoint this person. I said that we also need somebody with experience who has designed PLC controlled machinery. This person has no experience with the type of automation systems our client needs. It became a series of disappointments, which is not unusual in engineering recruitment.

Clients look for people people who can hit the job running in engineering and that is usually documentable. You have done this or you have not. In many ways it’s like IT. You understand this language or you don’t. You understand this database or you don’t. In engineering you understand this CAD system or not. You have designed this type of system of you haven’t.

The fist challenging thing about engineering recruitment is actually knowing what the person will be doing. Not only is it specific in the function, it is oddly unspecific in the title. What does that mean?

I can tell you when we get an assignment for a Cost Accountant. That Cost Accountant will be a Cost Accountant in 90% of the companies we reach out to. Same thing for a Tax account. Same thing for an HR Business Partner. But a Process Engineer at one company might be a Manufacturing Engineering at another company and might be a Project Engineer at yet another company. There might be 6 or 7 different titles this person may have as you go from company to company. So, while the specs are very important the title is not. That can add a siginficant element of confusion to any recruiter who does not understand what the title actually means and what the job function actually is.

Another reason that engineering recruitment is challenging is engineers. Engineers have their own value system and before I get emails from every engineer – there is nothing wrong with that. Engineers value their jobs based upon criteria that sometimes other disciplines don’t. The technical challenge, the product they design, the technologies they work with – these are all legitimate reasons want or not want a specific job. A recruiter who is not used to that can get very frustrated. Engineering recruitment is often not a traditional career advancement issue. For an engineer, it’s not where will this job lead, it’s what will I do that is interesting to me?

Unless you recognize that and respect that it can be very frustrating to recruit in engineering. You can get into almost turf battles with the engineer as to why should or shouldn’t be interested in the job.

So engineering recruiting is a discipline that requires someone to actively investigate and understand what the job is. It’s not a title match, like a Tax Accountant. Sometimes, junior recruiters, or recruiters that are thrust into an engineering project without experience just do title searches and that’s a recipe for disaster. It also requires the recruiter to have enough personal maturity to respect the value system that the engineer brings to the career and not expect that to duplicate the value system that an accountant brings or a sales person brings or that they themselves bring.

If you have a need for an engineering recruitment project you need to ask four very hard questions of the internal or external recruiter. What type of engineering projects have they worked on? How often? What is the success rate? Do they have enough of a background to communicate effectively to this unique population?

Hopefully that will help. If you want to learn more we are here. Send an email to contact us through LinkedIn. Right Recruiting in beautiful Blue Bell, PA

Music by Ema Grace | “Check Them In” http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Ema_Grace/~/Check_Them_In
Creative Commons Attribution License — Changed only to shorten for need.

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