Five Tips for Evaluating Engineering Talent (Even if You're Not an Engineer)

Engineers are always in demand, but it’s critical that you recruit candidates who not only have the skills and experience to do the job, but also the temperament to fit into your organization and the drive to reach for personal and company goals.

Assess potential hires against these criteria to find talented people who will excel in your organization:

Hard Skills

Each engineering specialty may have specific certifications, affiliations or specializations. Know what these are in your industry and verify them before you make an offer.

Assess the candidates’ problem-solving abilities. Give problems related to the job they will be performing. Their solution does not have to be right, but their methodology should make sense. They should know what information they are missing and ask the right questions.

Engineers are normally mathematically and logically-minded with a keen eye for spatial relationships. You can test for these, but realistically, if they have an engineering degree, they should already possess these attributes.

Soft Skills

Does the candidate communicate well? Work well with others? Can he think on his feet? Asking open ended questions can help you evaluate how he thinks. Most projects involve a cross-section of linear and non-linear thinkers. Your strongest candidates will be able to work with both.

Professionalism & Attitude

Take care that you are not mistaking someone who doesn’t interview well with someone who won’t perform well on the job. Use the interview to get to know the candidate. When deciding between two equally skilled prospects, it’s probably best to pick the candidate who will make your office a more pleasant place.

Work Experience

Look for a track record with reputable companies and strong, verifiable references. You don’t want someone stagnant, but you don’t want a job-hopper either. Look progressive responsibility and about 3-5 years at each company.

Consider both well-educated younger workers as well as those with many years of experience.

Culture and Fit

Engineers are sometimes introverted and work best as sole contributors. Will this work in your department or do you need someone who can function well as part of a team?

Look for signs that they mesh with the casual or professional nature of your organization and will fit well into the current team. If working as part of a team is important in the role, consider having him meet some of the team members before making an offer.

Having trouble recruiting engineering talent in the Pacific Northwest? TERRA Staffing can help. Our experienced recruiters can source, screen and interview top engineering talent for you, so that you can hire faster and more cost-effectively. Contact us today to start your search!

For additional insight on engineering recruitment in the Pacific Northwest, read our related blog post on Key Personality Traits to Look for When Hiring Engineers.

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