5 Traits of an Engineer to Look for When Hiring

Hiring for engineers is becoming more competitive as the economy returns to full strength from its recent recession.  Hiring managers who know their organization’s needs and culture well are better placed to find the right engineer for their company.

It also pays to know what skills, qualities, and personality traits serve engineers well in their professional field.  When hiring engineers to your company’s staff, keep an eye out for the following engineer personality traits and skills:

Skills Needed for Engineering

Engineering programs in colleges and graduate schools are typically rigorous programs that call on a young engineer’s mathematics and technical skills.  Top engineers should have an extensive portfolio that demonstrates their technical ability in their field.

The best engineers, however, demonstrate more than just outstanding technical proficiency.  They also bring to the table an array of key engineering “soft skills” including:

  • Communication.  Top engineering candidates can describe and explain their work – not only to other engineers, but to non-engineering staff members whose decisions affect their work.
  • Collaboration.  Like other professionals, engineers must frequently work on teams.  As a result, they must be able to collaborate with other engineers and with professionals across disciplines.

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Key Engineer Personality Traits

Although engineers are first attracted to the field for varying reasons, top engineers seem to share a core set of personality traits, including:

  • Creativity.  Engineers must be able to solve practical problems in an ever-shifting field of stringent requirements, under the pressures of specific deadlines, and while adhering to a strict budget.  Top engineers bring a healthy dose of creativity and innovation to the job to get the work done effectively and efficiently.
  • Organization.  Every project has deadlines, and unexpected delays, disasters, and other events can throw a schedule off track.  Top engineers have the ability to organize their time, as well as the flexibility to handle unexpected challenges.
  • Perseverance.  Especially when a deadline looms, engineering is about getting the work done.  Top engineers will be no strangers to perseverance, buckling down, and working overtime when necessary to complete work well and on time.

Ensuring Cultural “Fit” In Your Organization

Unlike skills and personality traits common among all engineers, finding the right “fit” between a particular engineering candidate and your company is a personalized process.  Talk to your current engineers and other staff members to determine how they work and what they value in your company’s culture, and look for candidates who work in similar ways and value similar qualities and goals.

At TERRA Staffing, our experienced recruiters can help you find the top engineering talent you’re looking for.  Contact us today to learn more!


  1. I’ve been really curious about engineers and what people look for when they hire them as of late, because my son told me he would like to study that field in the future. I’m glad that you talked about engineers having an extensive portfolio when they are looking for a program to get into. I’m going to have to see if we can find a good engineering program that he’d like to try to apply for, and figure out how we can help him get there! Thank you!

  2. I like how you point out that you want to hire an engineering service that is willing to buckle down and work overtime if that means hitting a deadline. The company I work for is thinking about hiring a service to help them with some of the structural problems to their new building. I’ll be sure to mention that the engineers we hire should be willing to have fun, but know when it’s time to get the work done.

  3. I like that you said engineers should be creative to solve problems and meet deadlines. My husband and I bought an old Victorian house that we want to have restored, but the job seems really complicated. Maybe we should hire an engineering service that could solve the house’s problems with creativity.

  4. My favorite part of this article was how you pointed out that a good engineer ought to be creative enough to overcome any potential problems they may face when planning your construction project. This makes sense to me since I’ve read that construction projects often have unexpected obstacles that need to be overcome. Having an engineer that is creative enough to navigate these obstacles in a timely manner would definitely be the kind of engineer I’d want working on a project for me.

  5. This is really nice article. For me every engineers are different, but if you asking to choose kind of engineer I want. I want an engineer with creativity, having time management and know his boundaries and will fit the system of the company that he applying a job.