Why great engineers are hard to find and even harder to land (Part 2 of 2)

by Greg Harper
Senior Vice President at Charles Aris Inc.

[Part I available here]

Let's continue with some solutions to the supply-and-demand challenges faced by hiring authorities in today's engineering marketplace:

There are solutions to the engineering imbalance

The scarcity of STEM-based education, the rebirth of domestic manufacturing, and baby-boomer retirements all combine to make recruitment challenging for manufacturing companies. However, many companies have turned this situation into a competitive advantage.

Here’s a strategy we’re seeing some companies implement to help them land top engineering talent: They’re listening to their candidates. The No. 1 complaint received from job candidates is that the hiring process takes too long. Candidates at all talent levels lose interest after two weeks, and with A-players the timeline is even shorter. Seemingly pointless processes and paperwork – this is the HR that drives people crazy. As a result, companies are streamlining their efforts to expedite hiring practices.

Another strategic approach that some companies have adopted is focusing on the four reasons A-players change jobs. Top talent will in fact make a career change if they are sold on four main factors: the company, the people, the job and the opportunity. The previous paradigm dictated that companies didn’t sell candidates on the opportunity until they decided whether they liked them. In today’s paradigm, you have to sell candidates – especially great candidates – during the initial engagement.

The four reasons A-players change jobs …

The Company: Organizations are becoming more skilled at selling the competitive story that makes their company exciting. Does the company have a brand name? Is the company known as a leader or innovator in its industry? What is the company’s growth trajectory?

The People: What is the company’s talent level, management style and culture? How long have most team members been with the company? What is the typical educational background of my potential colleagues (and is it similar to mine)? What will I learn from them that I don’t already know? What’s the management style of the company’s senior leaders? How’s the work/life balance?

The Job: Will the role’s responsibilities ensure impact and exposure? What exactly will I do on a daily basis? What challenges will I be expected to solve? How will solving these challenges directly impact the welfare of the company? How does the title compare with what I have now? To whom will I report? What resources will be available to me in this position?

The Opportunity: What career and financial opportunities can be realized through superior performance? What does the entire compensation package look and feel like? How does it compare to what I have now? What are the benefits? What are the future benefits?

Finally, candidates want timely feedback. Companies are encouraged to provide feedback after any conversation or interaction with potential candidates within 24 hours.