How to recruit engineers: Your guide to hiring engineers

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Looking for advice on the best way to attract and recruit the UK’s top engineering talent?

Recruiting engineers in today’s climate is tough. Engineers, particularly software engineers, are in high demand and therefore have the luxury of being fastidious about potential jobs.

So, how do recruiters make sure to entice and hire the best engineers? What hiring plan do they have in place?

This simple 5-step guide, compiled from our years of experience hiring in the Graduate Engineering space, is here to help you understand what the key components of hiring top engineers are.

Whether you are looking to recruit Software Engineers, Cloud Engineers, hire Data staff or recruit Developers, here’s how to hire top talent.

If you’re looking to hire Engineers for your business, get in touch and discover how we can add exceptional engineering candidates to your team!

So, how do you recruit engineers?

  • Reflect on why your company is looking to hire an engineer(s)
  • Take time to research the engineering position you are hiring for
  • Create job ads that engage and appeal to the best candidates
  • Outsource your efforts to an expert recruitment agency
  • Make the most of the interview & onboarding process

1. Reflect on why your company is looking to hire an engineer

With business’ increasing reliance on digital technology, engineers – specifically, software/computer engineers – are in growing demand.

In fact, it is projected that companies will need 182,000 skilled engineering professionals running up to 2022, so it is no surprise if your business is the same!

When looking to find a new engineering hire(s), it is important to first reflect on why your company is doing so via a strategic hiring plan.

A well-structured hiring plan will enable your business to assess in greater detail what it wants to gain from prospective hires, the budget for new hires and how these hires will contribute to the business’ yearly targets.

 

How should an engineering hiring plan be structured?

You should try and use these three questions as the central basis around which to structure your hiring plan:

  • What are the targets of the business? – in terms of new hire contributions, revenue targets and wider business targets.
  • What is the business’ engineer-hiring budget? – in terms of both internal and external hiring costs for engineers.
  • How are you going to attract and retain new engineering hires? – in terms of writing appealing job specs, posting attractive job ads, running a positive interview process, and creating an effective onboarding plan.

 

Done properly, the answers to these questions will culminate in the formation of a structured, streamlined hiring strategy that will enable the whole process to be as efficient and effective as possible.

If you need more help creating an engineer-oriented hiring plan for your business, check out our detailed blog on how to build hiring plans.

 

2. Take time to research the engineering role you are hiring for

It is also of equal importance that you make sure you understand the requirements of the role, in order to in turn gauge which aspects of the role would appeal to top talent.

 

  • What skills and experience does your engineering role require?

When hiring engineering staff, it is key that you understand what kind of skills and qualifications are essential for the role.

In terms of engineering jobs, this will likely involve needing an undergraduate degree in a subject like Computer Science, alongside experience using technologies like Python, HTML, JS and CSS and so forth.

It is also important to determine whether the role ought to require candidates to evidence a portfolio of past projects – this may be helpful if the role requires some level of industry experience.

It is also key to determine what soft skills you perceive to be valuable for the role.

As well as having top technical skills, for instance, a key characteristic of a top engineer is being able to effectively communicate – they will likely have to explain technical issues to people at different levels of understanding.

Other skills such as attention to detail, creative thinking and problem-solving are also useful to look for in an engineer.

 

  • What kind of person would suit an engineering role at your company?

Whilst an engineering candidate may have all the skills and experience you deem to be necessary for the role, it is equally as important to take time to figure out what kind of person you see fitting into the role under the specific working environment of your company’s culture.

For instance, if your company has a very collaborative culture, an engineer who prefers to work independently may not be best fit for the role, even with an impressive CV.

Make sure you understand what the role requires in terms of your best fit for your company.

 

  • What kind of salary is required for an engineering position?

It is important to consider how your salary offer will compare to that of similar roles in similar companies and locations.

If the industry standard for a Graduate Engineer in London is around £29k, you are unlikely to attract top talent at a salary below this.

Great engineering candidates know their worth, so it is important to take some time to research industry standards around salaries, in order to offer a competitive package that will help secure top talent.

If in doubt, our Graduate Employment Statistics Archive holds the average salaries for a range of industries, including Tech & Engineering – check it out!

 

3. Create job ads that engage and appeal to the best candidates

Whilst there is indeed a growing demand for engineers, there currently exists a shortfall of 55,000 skilled workers for that demand – those with exceptional engineering expertise, therefore, have the luxury of picking and choosing between job opportunities.

So, it is incredibly important that you create a job ad that engages and attracts top engineering talent:

 

  • How do you create engaging engineering job ads?

Having an accurate, detailed job description is crucial. Listing the job responsibilities (what the role usually involves day-to-day) and job requirements (qualification, years of experience, software proficiency) in full will enable candidates to decide whether they are qualified for the role and whether the role and the company would be best fit for them.

It is also helpful to be honest about your hiring timeline and process in the job ad.

For certain engineering roles, especially more senior positions, the hiring process can take a significant amount of time and involve various stages.

In detailing this, candidates will be able to properly consider whether they are interested in the role to the extent that they are prepared to fully commit to your company’s various recruitment stages.

In this way, providing an honest, in-depth job ad enables a higher percentage of applications from qualified and committed candidates, resulting in a more efficient and cost-effective recruitment process!

 

  • Incentivise candidates by highlighting the benefits of your engineering role

Another central element of a successful job ad is the inclusion of the role’s key benefits.

Considering the competitive nature of the engineering job market, it is not good enough to only specify the competitive salary as the role’s main benefit.

You need to be seriously considering: “why would a candidate apply to my engineering role over others?

Effective job ads will excite candidates by including a ‘benefits of the job’ section, made up of a range of career incentives that draw top talent in.

Here are some of the top job incentives, outside of salary, to include:

Professional Development: can you offer prospective employees the opportunity to partake in any training courses? Will candidates gain any technical qualifications? Do you offer professional development plans?

The best engineers are looking for opportunities to advance their skillset and progress their career, so offering some sort of professional development as part of the role is key to attracting top talent.

Work-Life Balance: do you offer remote working or flexi-work options? Does your working week include early finishes? Can you provide well-being packages, generous holiday allowance and pension schemes? Are there regular team socials?

Work-life balance is becoming an increasing concern for prospective employees, so it is crucial that if you have those benefits to offer, you put them front and centre.

Exciting Projects: do you have any exciting new projects in the works? Do you have a history of innovative projects? Can you name-drop some impressive clients/collaborators? Great engineers will want to be challenged and be able to make a real impact on new, exciting business ventures.

One of the many ways we can help you find top engineering talent is by writing a standout, optimised job ad that promotes your role and company in such a way that only the best engineers are targeted.

 

  • Utilise your company’s social media presence

It is vital that you use your company’s network and social media presence as a form of free advertising that can provide your job ad with great online exposure.

Whilst it is useful to take advantage of all social platforms, LinkedIn should take your central focus, given its talent pool of over 600k engineers.

With such a huge database of engineers, your LinkedIn job ad has the potential to reach thousands of potential candidates, so it is important to make sure your company’s branding is on point and integrated with your employee’s profiles.

With their profiles in line with your company’s ethos, your employees can share your job ad with their industry connections and help your role to be seen by a wider network of candidates.

 

4. Outsource your efforts to an expert recruitment agency

Finding an engineering candidate that perfectly fits your company culture, meets your job specifications and is passionate about your industry, can be time-consuming and difficult to source, not to mention expensive if you get it wrong!

An effective way to avoid this is to outsource your recruitment efforts to an expert recruitment agency.

Give A Grad A Go are the UK’s leading graduate recruitment agency with years of experience hiring for engineering roles.

With over 25% of our graduate database having top-tier engineering or software development skills, we can help add exceptional engineering candidates to your company quickly and efficiently.

With a 96% candidate probation pass rate and over 90% of companies using us on a repeat basis, our hiring process speaks for itself.

 

Why should I outsource my hiring to a recruitment agency?

Our recruitment services include:

 

  • Specialised Account Managers 

At the start of the process, you will be assigned an Account Manager who is an expert in your industry.

The recruitment specialist will meet with you regularly to get to know the needs of your business, which of our services will be the best fit for you and understand exactly the type of engineer(s) you are looking for.

 

  • Expert Advice & Consultation 

Our expert recruiters will work alongside you throughout the recruitment process, offering advice on topics ranging from what salary you ought to offer to what job title to use to optimise your job ads.

 

  • Database of Top Engineering Talent

Our unbeatable database of engineering candidates, paired with our expert recruitment consultants, means you’ll receive a shortlist of well-vetted candidates within approx. 48 hours.

Our average time to fill a job role is at 17 working days (almost half of the industry average) – so you can trust us to find talent, whatever your deadline.

 

  • Guidance on Hiring Processes 

For every engineering role, the application stages will differ dependent on required skills and experience level. Our recruiters are always on hand to offer advice on hiring stages, from interview advice to how to run a successful assessment day.

 

  • Onboarding & Aftercare Check-ins 

After we have placed an engineer at your company, your account manager will check in with you for feedback on how the candidate is doing and find out how we can support you further!

 

 

5. Make the most of the interview & onboarding process

 

  • How do you run a successful interview for engineers?

Engineers need to have excellent problem-solving abilities, technical knowledge and an analytical mindset.

In your interview, make sure to ask insightful and targeted questions that will help identify if a candidate possesses the necessary skills for your engineering role.

For more advice on this, visit our blog for employer interview questions to ask candidates.

If you’re recruiting for a senior engineering or a more specialised engineering role, candidates will be highly skilled and likely highly sought-after, meaning they may be more particular about the kind of role and company they’re looking to work for.

To appeal to those candidates, it is essential that you use the interview to shout about your company and highlight what the benefits that are awaiting the successful candidate(s).

Mention any stimulating projects they will be working on, training opportunities, work-life balancing initiatives, the social elements of company life etc.

 

  • How do you successfully onboard new engineering hires?

Creating an effective onboarding plan is essential when it comes to retaining the best candidates.

Given the demand for engineers, businesses cannot afford to have lack of forethought towards a new hire’s first months – if feeling unsupported, top engineers will not struggle to find a more positive alternative.

A new employee onboarding process, along with a solid new employee orientation plan, will enable your new hires to be fully integrated into your company and will equip them with everything they need to get settled into their new role and drive your company’s growth and success!

Employee onboarding is the process of integrating a new team member into a business and training them for their role.

However, impactful onboarding does not solely involve initial training and introductions – the process should not simply be something to tick off your to-do list.

Instead, businesses with the best onboarding processes start their proceedings when a candidate accepts their offer, continuing the onboarding throughout the candidate’s first year to help nurture and develop talent.

In doing so, such businesses are helping promote a positive company culture that makes space for increased productivity of new hires and increased retention.

For more information on onboarding, check out our onboarding checklist and employee retention strategies

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