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Recruit Engineers that are in High Demand and Retain Them Longer

By November 12, 2019 No Comments
Recruit Engineers

Recruit engineers easily when you make them part of your story.

Recruit engineers and retain them longer than your competitors. It is not easy to do, but that is the goal of most companies that require engineers, especially those engaged in technology, civil engineering, petroleum, environmental, and energy solutions. Engineers are the most in-demand professionals in the US.

Only 1-in-100 engineers are unemployed. Engineering roles can be among the hardest jobs to fill. These high tech jobs often require years of study and for a time fewer and fewer students graduated with engineering degrees. But times are changing. Enrollment in undergraduate engineering programs reached its highest point in 10 years with 619,095 full-time engineering students in 2017.

recruit engineers

An IT engineer installs a server design at a data center.

Begin the Process to Recruit Engineers In Advance of Need

The Bureau of Labor projects 140,000 new jobs in engineering by 2026. As a result, those who are ready to work in areas such as automation and robotics will find low unemployment and high demand. In addition, engineers change jobs more frequently. In fact, 50% of all software developers report they plan on switching jobs in the next year. These statistics make one thing obvious. Great engineers have the luxury of picking which projects they want to join. This presents an opportunity and a challenge.

The challenge is obvious. Competition is intense. There are always companies needing talent. To have a chance at attracting engineers, you need to know what an engineer wants beyond compensation. For example,

  • Opportunity. Engineers need to know they’ll be making an impact and move forward in their careers in terms of skills and finances.
  • Challenge. Top engineers want to be working on challenging problems that help them grow. They especially want projects they can point to as achievements.
  • Community. Engineers want to work in a supportive environment where their thoughts are valued by their teammates. More than 50 percent of engineers say they would take less compensation to work for a company that has a fantastic culture or brand.
Recruit Engineers

A civil engineer works on the foundation of what will soon become a skyscraper.

Recruit Engineers to Be Part of Your Company Story

A strong brand appeal will make it much easier to recruit. Be sure your company’s mission, vision, and culture are clearly communicated.  Tell the story and share it in social media using simple video story-telling software like Lumen 5.

Let potential engineers know what your company is collectively passionate about so that the individual you are interviewing can imagine what it would be like to work with your team. As a result,  they see themselves as part of your brand story and integral to completing the company vision.

Need branding help? Try these questions:

  • What do your customers see and experience when they use your product or service? These are your brand traits.
  • What are the specific advantages of your product or service? These are your brand attributes.
  • What is the customer’s perception of value when it comes to your product or service? That is your brand equity.
  • What do you say you will do as it relates to your product or service?  That is your brand identity
  • What is the most compelling thing you can say about your product or service? That is your brand essence.
Recruit Engineers

Manufacturing engineers run 3-D print tests on products.

Manage Contacts Now, Recruit Engineers Later

“It just makes sense to consistently expand and nurture your contacts on professional and networking platforms and in person,” said CEO Chris Schoettelkotte of Manhattan Resources, Houston. “Networking is important across all areas of business, but especially for recruiters. If you are in a position to rely on a retained recruiter to do this work for you, then you save many hours. This is networking time you can now focus on other important aspects of HR.

Networking is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts’. This networking definition suggests that it’s about creating an ongoing relationship with people. Keeping track of engineers is important because we are never sure when a particular need may open, and who may be available. That ongoing relationship helps the recruiter gauge their level of fulfillment in their current position. Therefore, it also removes the awkwardness of a blind inquiry when an opportunity arises.

recruit engineers

Petroleum engineer does field tests on land-based rig.

Planning to Screen an Engineer? Try a Warm-Up Meeting First

Nothing puts the strain on screening like jumping into it cold. Try spending 30 minutes in person or on the phone a day or two in advance of the screening just to say hello. This will help the candidate warm to you and also give you a bit of insight into their personality that you may not get otherwise. Jumping straight into screening is a bit like a cold call. Set the rules for the introductory call and keep it to a minimum. Even if its just 15 minutes, it will be time well spent.

After the introduction, set the screening call. If all goes well, advance taken to interview #1. You will find it more enjoyable for you and the candidate next time you recruit engineers.

Recruit Engineers

Electrical engineers inspect high-voltage lines at sub-station.

Finally, Recruit Engineers by Giving Them Realistic Problems to Solve

When you bring your engineers onsite for their final interview, it might be a good idea to give them a taste of a challenge they might experience on the job. Of course, there are liabilities in assigning a non-employee a project that too-closely resembles a real one you are encountering on the job. However, modeling a challenge to be similar to a hot button issue that you are currently experiencing is a good way to see if an engineer is up to the challenge.

Have the prospective engineer work on a project that reflects a problem they’ll solve on the job. Ensure it will not take long to complete. Also, pick one that gives the candidate an opportunity to work with someone from the team. Be sure they explain their decision-making process.

agro engineer

Agro engineer inspects the greenhouse test environment.

Recruit Engineers by Closing Quickly

If your team agrees that the engineer would be a great fit, you need to send an offer as quickly as possible. Offering quickly is a big win since many larger companies often drag the offer out for weeks due to the amount of paperwork they must complete.

You can speed up the process by discussing compensation openly. Try to avoid vagueness and posturing for negotiations. Also, move as quickly as possible, and stay responsive in your communication. Finally, showcase your passion for the brand by reminding the candidate of your company’s story, and why they should be excited to be a part of it.

“Despite all of your best efforts, there is still a chance the candidate says no,” Schoettelkotte said. “That is business. The important thing is that you don’t take it personally. Protect the relationship – you might hire this engineer in the future.”

pipeline design

Pipeline engineers check project materials before delivery to the site.

Culture is Critical When You Recruit Engineers

The importance of culture is a big topic. At Manhattan Resources, our process starts before the search, by spending time with our new clients in their environment and meeting with their leadership team, to ensure thorough technical and cultural understanding. This time meeting with the client organization might seem like an unnecessary extra step to our competition, but we believe it to be critical to ensure we can appropriately assess candidates.

We conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the position and where it sits in the organization. We also evaluate any nuanced skills necessary in the right candidate that might extend to team relationships, historical expectations, and less clearly defined aspects of the business. As a result, this dedication to finding the right professional for the technical and cultural needs of the client, at the right stage of the professional’s career, is how we can provide our extended placement guaranty. Moreover, it is how we provide candidates that many times have extensive “runway” for future opportunities within the organization.

We visit each new client on-site anywhere in the country before starting their search, meeting with top leadership and the position’s direct peers. To our competition, this may seem as unnecessary step; but our personal understanding of the client culture and objectives for the role, assessed from face to face interaction, drives our ability to provide true fit among the company, candidates, interim professionals, and consultants.


Industrial engineers optimize a major hospital’s cooling unit to minimize the spread of infectious diseases.

About Manhattan Resources

Manhattan Resources is a retained executive search and advisory services firm with deep experience assisting our clients in building high-performance teams. We specialize in oil & gas, retail energy, power & utilities, petrochemicals, manufacturing, distribution, and engineering. For this reason, Manhattan Resources invites you to experience an executive search and business solutions partner like no other. As always, we are there to help you fill mission-critical leadership roles, build high-performance teams, and tackle your most significant challenges. We measure our success the same way you do. Making sure your team is exceeding corporate objectives and measuring how much our people move the needle for your company. Manhattan Resources has the agility, innovation and business acumen to assume a bold approach. As a result, we will help you take your business to the next level. Find out how the experts can help. Contact Us >>