How to Hire Engineers: Tips, Mistakes & Best Practices

February 10, 2022
February 10, 2022 Lauren

How to Hire Engineers: Tips, Mistakes & Best Practices

Do you ever feel like finding good engineers is like finding a needle in the haystack? It seems nearly impossible to find candidates with the right skills and experience, not to mention the right personality fit. But don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Many company owners and managers struggle when it comes to hiring engineers. However, with the right tips and best practices, you can streamline the process and find your perfect candidate. This article provides tips on how to find, interview, and hire engineers for your company.

Why Is Hiring an Engineer So Challenging?

To start, hiring engineers isn’t easy. For over 40 years, the U.S. population has shifted to become more educated and specialized with advanced degrees (nearly 80% of engineers in the U.S. hold a bachelor’s or advanced degree), but with this specialization comes an increased difficulty in finding the right candidate for the job.

The competition is fierce. Not only are there more applicants than ever before, but top prospects are receiving multiple offers from other companies — meaning they won’t stay with you long if your company doesn’t make them feel valued.

According to Zippia, 35% of engineers stay at their jobs for only one to two years, while 21% leave in less than a year. With that said, knowing how to recruit engineers entails creating the right mix of compensation, culture, benefits, and growth opportunities.

How To Hire Engineers in 5 Steps

Because a great engineer is hard to find, HR managers and recruitment teams need to plan their candidate search carefully. Here are some tips and best practices to get started on the right foot.

Step #1: Make a Lasting Impression

One of the best things you can do on the front end of the hiring process is to make your company culture appealing to engineers. If your work environment isn’t something they want to be a part of, hiring them will be difficult. Great companies have great reputations, so growing yours should be one of your top priorities. Here are some ways your company can make a good impression.

  • Build a solid reputation in the tech community. Network with other companies and be open to new opportunities (like hackathons and conferences). The more people know about you, the more likely they are to recommend you as an employer.
  • Communicate regularly with current employees. Keep them updated on projects they’re working on and company changes. The more valued employees feel, the more likely they are to encourage others to apply.
  • Offer a work culture that engineers want to be a part of. Perks like flexible schedules, unlimited vacation time, and good benefits are some of the biggest draws. Involve engineers in decisions that will affect them so they feel like their voice is heard.

Step #2: Streamline Your Application Process

The best way to complement your company’s great reputation is a streamlined application process — one that quickly weeds out unqualified candidates and highlights the right prospects. Here are some steps you can take to create an efficient application process.

  • Ask for LinkedIn or GitHub profiles. In this way, you can view their past work experience and projects, which is valuable information when assessing their skills. Having a look at their social media accounts can help gain insight into their personality as well.
  • Send standardized job descriptions with clear instructions about how to apply (e.g., “Please send your resume and a link to your LinkedIn profile as a PDF”) to all open positions. This ensures that you see an application that contains all the information you need, and also serves as a test of the candidate’s ability to pay attention to details.
  • Create an online form that applicants fill out or ask them for a resume and a few sentences about why they’re interested in the position. The more information you have, the easier it is to gauge their qualifications and interest-level early on.

Step #3: Narrow Down Candidates

Once you’ve asked all the right questions from potential hires, it’s time to narrow down your list of prospects. Here are some tips for how to do that efficiently.

  • Assign points based on required/desired skills and background (i.e., 5 points for an engineering degree, 3 points for front-end coding experience, and 2 points for knowledge of a particular tech stack).
  • Look at the resume in a grid format with skills and experience on one axis and any other qualities on the other. This makes it easy to see how candidates score across all categories at a glance.

Step #4: Make Them Want To Work for You

When it comes time to make an offer, there are several things you can do to give your candidate a say in whether they ultimately join your company or not. If they feel like they have some control over their future working environment, that’s going to put them in a more positive mindset about accepting an offer and sticking around once they’re hired. Here are some ways you can sell them on joining your team.

  • Offer options. Let your candidate choose between a full-time position or a partial role (if that’s possible). If you have multiple openings, let them pick which one they want to apply for first. A lot of people are drawn to flexibility, so giving candidates a range of choices is an easy way to make them feel empowered.
  • Let them interview the members of your team and see how it goes. Even if they don’t get along directly with their future colleagues, chances are good that at least one person will click and show them what working for your company is really like.

Step #5: Sell Them On Your Company, If You Get To This Point

If you’ve followed all these tips and made it to the hiring stage, then congratulations — you’re almost done! But before you and seal the deal, there are still a few more things you can do to make sure your candidate feels good about their decision.

  • Send them an overview of their benefits package with details on how much money they’ll be making and when they’re eligible for raises and bonuses. Knowing what their future paycheck will look like is key — and often enough to get that contract signed.
  • Give them time to think it over and schedule a phone call in which you answer any questions they may have. This final step ensures that both parties are definitely on board with working together, so don’t skip it.

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Hiring an Engineer

There’s a right way and a wrong way to hire an engineer for your company. Here are things you should never do:

  • Try to convince them with money or perks that you don’t have. You’ll come off as desperate and your offer will be viewed poorly.
  • Forget to check references from past employers. Trustworthy reviews from people who worked with your candidate in the past can tell you a lot about their work ethic and how they interact with others.
  • Hire too quickly without digging deep into what they’re actually looking for in a job. It’s possible that a candidate might change their mind later on after they start working, so take the time to find out if your position is truly what interests them.
  • Forget to check their social media profiles. Your stars can quickly become zeroes if you hire someone with a bad online reputation.
  • Fail to consider how their personality meshes with your company culture. If they’re not going to fit in socially, it’s likely they won’t stay very long or be very productive either.

As you can see, searching for and hiring the best engineer involves a long and carefully crafted plan that your company might not have the time and resources to accomplish. Fortunately, you can streamline this process by outsourcing your search to the experts.

Simplify Your Engineer Hiring Process With TruPath

TruPath helps companies hire more efficiently and effectively by offering a technology-based approach to the engineering hiring process. We help our clients fill positions faster and with better results by giving them access to a pool of talented engineering and technology professionals, as well as behavioral assessments that help teams gauge personality fit within their company culture.

Knowing how to hire engineers is great, but having an experienced team do it for you is much better. TruPath is a leader in engineering recruitment, helping companies all over the country find and hire talented engineers.

To learn more about how we can help discover top talent fast, contact us today!