O P I N I O N
A s president of a small, multi-discipline engineering firm, I’m responsible for multiple tasks and, like many other firms, hiring is one of the most critical and difficult tasks on my plate. Finding and hiring good engineers is critically important, but difficult to accomplish. Don’t be afraid to seek outside help or use assessment tools to help you along the way. Applicant screening assessments
For years, Virginia Tech allowed us to send mass emails to their seniors segmented by department. This made it possible to quickly identify new engineers. Recently, VT switched to a multi-school job service which has a horrible filter system, but at least lets me download PDFs into one big combined file. I’ve learned to divide the file into separate pages and then let our system parse them and create applicants for our jobs. That said, getting an applicant list is the easy part. EFFECTIVE APPLICANT EVALUATION. The big challenge here is figuring out how to effectively and efficiently evaluate applicants. Will team members want to work with them? Can leaders count on them? Will clients be glad they are working on their projects? Are they going to be good employees or not? While the technical aspects of MEPR engineering
can be difficult, an engineer’s ability to listen, get work done, check their own work, and collaborate well can be the difference between success and failure. At first, we tried to judge these soft characteristics through an interview with the applicant, and by calling their references. However, we found the process time intensive and expensive. We provided overnight lodging and meals and spent a good part of a work day with them. We called references and asked questions such as, “What advice would you give me on how to manage this person, if hired?” After the time and expense, we just wanted to hire the person so we could get back to business as usual.
See MATT DWYER, page 12
THE ZWEIG LETTER APRIL 20, 2020, ISSUE 1341
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