Your Guide to Recruiting Engineers During the Great Resignation
By Lisa VanWyk May 5, 2023

Your Guide to Recruiting Engineers During the Great Resignation

Your Guide to Recruiting Engineers During the Great Resignation - how to stand out

The world of employment is changing. The “Great Resignation” has put pressure on employers to rethink their processes for recruiting engineers and try to get a handle on what candidates really want from the jobs they are going for.

Engineering has always been a high demand profession so in the current climate recruiting engineers is now even more challenging.

Of course, keeping your existing engineers happy and developing talent internally has always been the ideal solution. However, if you’re expanding to take on some of the new opportunities, then you’ll need to go hunting.

Recruiting Engineers – Know Your Prey

Engineers are a very special breed. They have qualities that make them some of the most challenging people to attract to your organization.

This is going to take more than a selection of organic snacks in the break room!

Honest and Trustworthy

The very nature of the job makes engineers value honesty and straight talking. When you’re designing bridges there’s nowhere to hide. They’re used to being trusted to use science to make things work. All problems are solvable so long as you know they are there.

This translates to their outlook on life. They’ll value straight dealing and honesty in your job offer.

Good Teamwork is Essential

Engineers work well in teams.

Engineering is a very wide field with hundreds of specializations and disciplines. There are common threads in everything engineers do and the way they look at tasks. It’s an understanding of engineering principles that enables them to work effectively with others from a range of disciplines.

Most engineers will be looking for opportunities to work with others to make a difference in the world.

Open Minded

Problem solving is what really turns on an engineer. This is what they signed up for and their breadth of scientific knowledge enables them to find creative solutions to some of the world’s toughest conundrums. Ailie MacAdam (president of Bechtel’s Mining & Metals global business unit), in this interview, tells how they solved a problem with underground drilling noise disturbing the sleep of homeowners on the London CrossRail project by adding springs to the feet of their beds!

Making it clear that your organization values lateral thinking and an open attitude to creativity will go a long way to attracting the right people.

Forward Thinking

Thinking ahead is an important skill when effectively managing risk. Engineers are used to analyzing situations and making decisions about how to mitigate the outcomes of conditions that turn out to be rather different than predicted.
This is often handled by constantly trying to minimize complexity. They’ll be impressed by any organization that takes a similar approach in their recruitment practices.

Willing To Take Ownership

The best engineers are keen to set challenging but realistic goals and stand by the outcomes. They thrive in situations where constraints may force the best performance but will expect to be involved in the process of setting them.

Knowing How Engineers Think Will Help You Pitch Your Job Ads

It’s important to make your offer as clear and honest as you can. Vague promises of future benefits will not work well.

The good news is that it won’t be necessary to focus on salary. Engineers know their worth and will expect to be paid accordingly. Your competitors will be offering a similar level so you need to find other ways to appeal.

Knowing what motivates engineers you’ll make a bigger impression by showing the value of your existing and future projects in solving real world problems.

Demonstrate that your company values creative thinking. Indicate your willingness to reward exceptional organizational ability and team work. Show your candidates what makes your company special in the industry.

Keep things simple. It can be very off-putting to be presented with a complex list of detailed qualifications required for the successful applicant. It’s much better to look at track records and their proven ability to solve problems or manage particular situations.

These days, it shouldn’t need to be said, but don’t narrow the field too much. Diversity is important. Just ask Bectel how hiring Ailie MacAdam to work on the Boston Big Dig has worked out for them.

Increasing the size of the field makes a lot of sense.