How engineering hiring managers find candidates

How engineering hiring managers find candidates

Searching for an engineering job? Go where the hiring managers look!  

Even though engineers enjoy a good job outlook, finding the right job can take a lot of time and energy. Consider the following statistics: 66 percent of engineering employees surveyed say they most frequently search for work through online job boards, especially job boards like Careerbuilder and Monster. However, only 14 percent of engineering hiring managers say they use these types of job boards when looking for top talent. This means there’s a mismatch between where the job seekers are and where the hiring managers prefer to look.

Engineering hiring managers: top three sources for talent

1. Employee referrals: 59 percent of engineering hiring managers surveyed rely on employee referrals as their top preference for securing talent. This is significantly higher than among hiring managers of other skill sets—likely because with the steep competition for engineers, having a personal contact can be an employer’s way of reaching talent. In addition, many engineering positions are project based, and professionals who’ve worked together before are more likely to refer one another. Note that when an employee or colleague can vouch for the candidate’s skills, character, professionalism, or all three, it gives the hiring manager more confidence in the hire. In an effort to boost referrals, many companies have referral programs that offer bonuses or other incentives to employees when they refer potential candidates. Letting all your friends know when you’re in the market for a new job might be the smartest move you can make in your job search.

2. Recruiters: Recruiting/staffing/workforce solutions companies are the second most popular option, with 56 percent of engineering hiring managers preferring this route. Notably, recruiters regularly post open positions to online job boards like Careerbuilder, Monster, and other niche sites. Since this is where engineering professionals search for jobs, jobseekers can likely connect indirectly with engineering hiring managers this way. However, a shorter route would be to work directly with a recruiter from the start.

3. Personal network/Industry referrals: 34 percent of engineering hiring managers rely on their own personal network or industry connections to identify top talent. 

Clearly, referrals of any nature offer a competitive advantage to getting noticed. But how do you go about getting one? 

Obtaining a referral requires a preemptive multi-pronged approach:

Network, network, network: It all comes down to your engineering network. Even if you’re happy in your current position, building and maintaining a professional network is vital career maintenance similar to “saving for a rainy day.” It’s notable to mention that of all the managers surveyed, engineering hiring managers in particular (19%) were more likely to look for candidates through a company’s online talent community. To enhance your networking, make a point of also joining online talent communities.

Review your network: Review connections from LinkedIn, previous employers, alumni organizations, and professional organizations with whom you have strong relationships and who have clout in your field. Find out if any of your connections work at the companies that interest you. If not, start networking with people who do.

Politely reach out: A good place to start is LinkedIn, because this gives the other person the opportunity to review your résumé, as well as any endorsements you might have. A cordial email saying hello is also appropriate. Send your résumé along in the email, and mention that any help networking your résumé within the organization would be greatly appreciated.

Job boards can be useful job search tools for engineering candidates. However, to truly gain a competitive edge in your job search, use a holistic approach that brings you closer to where the hiring managers are looking by tapping into the power of referrals and recruiters.

Survey methodology: The 2015 Hiring Manager Research (U.S./Canada) was conducted by RDA Group on behalf of Kelly. Over 1,000 hiring managers in the U.S. and Canada were surveyed to understand their views on the current talent market and to gather opinions on how job candidates can succeed during the hiring process. Survey participants had direct hiring responsibilities for talent in healthcare, engineering, finance and accounting, IT, and scientific fields. Results represent a cross section of industries and career disciplines. Of the total surveyed, 272 were engineering hiring managers. 

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