Top Mechanical Engineer Qualities & Qualifications

March 9, 2020
Posted in Hiring
March 9, 2020 TruPath

Top Mechanical Engineer Qualities & Qualifications

(Posted April 2017. Updated March 2020.)

When looking for a new mechanical engineer to hire, knowing what mechanical engineering qualifications to look for is important.

One of the best ways to streamline your hiring process is to begin with a narrow focus. In other words, know what your ideal candidate looks like before you start the search.

Nevertheless, knowing what mechanical engineering qualifications you should prioritize may seem a bit challenging at first.

If your company is looking to hire a mechanical engineer, peruse the tips below to learn about the mechanical engineer qualities and qualifications a strong candidate should hold.

Mechanical Engineering Qualifications To Consider When Hiring


This qualification may seem obvious, but it is imperative to ensure your candidate is knowledgable.

Your ideal engineering candidate should hold, at minimum, a Bachelor’s degree in engineering.

Additionally, if you are looking to hire beyond entry-level, aim for candidates who hold graduate-level degrees in engineering.

Their degree should ideally be in mechanical engineering. However, this can depend on if their university-provided this level of degree specification.

Also, other areas of education to look at can include experience. Have they had any hands-on or educational experiences? If so, how beneficial are they towards the position?

You can also see how much of this experience was internship based versus academically focused experiences. The significant difference between these two is the hands-on experience an internship can provide compared to the overall covering of engineering concepts and theories.

A great candidate might have a fair mix of both. Your ideal candidate’s level of experience will depend on what the responsibilities of your role ask for.

Hard Skills

Beyond their degree and academic grades, what kind of skills do your candidate possess?

Duties for mechanical engineers, as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, can include:

  • Troubleshooting machinery
  • Developing, editing and interpreting design schematics
  • Analyzing existing systems for potential improvement
  • Overseeing the design and creation of new devices intended to solve problems within specific industries.

You want the candidate to have a combination of both hard and soft skills.

In general, hard skills focus on a candidate’s ability to perform specific tasks. For an engineer, some hard skills should include things like a strong understanding of industry standards or knowledge of a certain software used to create schematics.

Conversely, soft skills are often personality-based, such as excellent communication or leadership skills.

You’re looking for a solid combination of factors when it comes to finding a good mechanical engineer.

Beyond their technically savvy hands, what are their interpersonal strengths and qualities?

Let’s say you’re looking to hire a new leader for your engineering team. A candidate with both the hard and soft skills you’re looking for, including leadership experience, would be the ideal choice.

These may seem generic, but mechanical engineering is a vastly large field that requires its employees to wear several hats to accomplish a variety of responsibilities.

Additionally, mechanical engineers often work as part of a team with fellow professionals.

So, look for someone who’s both willing and enthusiastic to engage with a team to create innovative things and solve potential problems.

License and Certifications

In the United States, mechanical engineers must have a license to work. Licensing usually entails the completion of a degree, a few years of work experience, such as an internship, and a state exam.

Passing the state exam confirms the full status of a professional engineer.

Licenses often must be renewed every year, depending on the state, and some states may have continuing education requirements for renewal.

As this varies from state to state, make sure to check your state’s regulations when considering how qualified a candidate’s license is.

A candidate who shows they are properly licensed and comes prepared for renewal shows that they are proactive.

In the end, licensing can often separate professional candidates who are on top of their game from those who aren’t.

Are you in need of a qualified mechanical engineer but don’t know where to look?

Contact TruPath today to tell us about your staffing needs. Thanks to the industry knowledge of the TruPath team, our partners can feel comfortable in their search for an exceptional candidate.