With companies experiencing talent shortages worse than they have in decades, it is time to step up to the plate and think outside the box on how you can not only retain your current goldmine of talent but acquire new, quality employees as well. In this new landscape, the relationship between employer and employee is shifting dramatically, and companies need to understand people's priorities to compete. Additionally, there are some ways for finding talent offline that you may be aware of but haven't made the efforts to expand into those avenues.
Technical Candidate Priorities
This obviously isn't a comprehensive list of all priorities of a potential engineering candidate, because let's face it, everyone has different needs. However, when looking at these candidates from a high-level perspective, we may be able to make some headway into how to make a company look more attractive.
In a recent study by EY Americas, "more than half (54%) of employees surveyed from around the world would consider leaving their job post-COVID-19 pandemic if they are not afforded some form of flexibility in where and when they work." Of course, not every position has that capability, but if you have the opportunity to offer this type of environment and don't already, it would be worth considering to become more enticing.
This may seem like an obvious area of focus for engineers, but if you are a company that has engineers on staff, but isn't specifically an engineering firm, you may want to put your finger on the pulse of your current talent to get a good feel for whether there is room for technical upgrades. Engineers are in their field because they like to work out challenges, but they do not need the software or hardware they are working with to be one of those challenges.
Change Your Measurement of Value and Management
Read this subtitle as "culture" if you like. In a study done by Citrix, "86% of employees said they would prefer to work for a company that prioritizes outcomes over output." In addition to this, in the same study, it was found that "51% of HR directors think that their organization would be more productive as a whole (by an average of 53%) if employees felt that their employer/senior management team trusted them to get the job done without monitoring their progress." A quick takeaway from this is to value the quality rather than the quantity of the work your employees put out, and TRUST them to get that work done.
Find New Candidates Offline
Get away from the typical platforms that everyone posts their openings on and reap the rewards!
University Job Fairs
Roughly 70,000 undergraduate engineers graduate each year in the United States, so how do you take advantage of this resource? The top candidates from each of these graduating classes begin their job search early in their careers so to get on their radar, you must get to them early on.
To get your choice of engineers entering the field there is no waiting for them to come to you, rather, you must go to them. 90% of colleges and universities host career fairs year-round where companies can go and send representatives to talk with students and faculty to gain recognition and meet prospective employees. When choosing which career fairs to attend, a variety of factors should be taken into consideration. Rather than spreading resources all over, a team should research universities with strong engineering programs and target the schools they are interested in. In addition to this, many programs will have career fairs specifically for engineering students that may draw a larger crowd of potential applicants.
While not every company is seeking employees coming directly out of college, the benefits of maintaining a relationship with these schools are not solely in their undergraduate population. Many colleges and universities encourage alumni to utilize the resources provided by the school including websites that can connect individuals with potential employers and career fairs. This means that the pool of applicants available will include those with greater experience that may fit a role better.
Positive current employee relationships are key to not only employee retention but also referrals. A successful business with low turnover rates may have a lower need for new hires, but when an opening is available, these happy employees are more likely to share the information with friends and even industry connections on platforms like LinkedIn. Those employees know what you are looking for from an inside view and will be a great source for quality candidates.
A final system that can build a strong foundation within the company is an internship program. Choosing to hire interns seasonally or year-round provides several benefits both long and short-term. Short-term, there are extra hands working to help and take on some of the smaller tasks available. Long-term, these employees learn how the company works and what responsibilities people have so one day down the line they may want to join the team as someone who already knows the ins and outs of the company and can get straight to business.
We would be remiss if we didn't mention using a technical staffing service like TriMech Staffing for your engineer candidate options. While it's not entirely hands-off, one of the main benefits is that using a service like this frees you up from sifting through an avalanche of applications as you let a knowledgeable team do it for you. With over 1,500 successful placements to date, TriMech probably already has an engineering candidate ready for you!
It’s clear that the employment landscape has changed forever. However, even amid a talent shortage, you can find a high-quality fit for your team if you are diligent. Paying attention to what the employees want so that they can have a better work-life balance and sharing your openings in spaces that aren't typical platforms can be a part of your new, successful strategy to close the talent gap. Let us know if we can help!