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How to hire top engineering talent post-COVID-19

After a tough 2020, many industries are bouncing back rapidly in 2021, with employees feeling more positive about looking for new job opportunities – the demand and competition from technology employers has already started to increase at pace, especially as significant skills shortages exist in the UK engineering and high-tech sector. In the siege known as the ‘War for Talent’, employers need a new battle plan.

If you are looking to hire high calibre engineers, you will need to understand how the recruitment landscape has changed and how you can take advantage of it. Here are four top tips.

1. Quality Over Quantity

The talent drought shows no real signs of becoming a flood. Do not waste a lot of money on scattergun job adverts – take a tailored approach to filter out unsuitable candidates and target the right people. Here are some methods to try.

Developing a Candidate Persona – Research and brainstorm what your ideal candidate would be like in terms of skills and experience, interests, goals, challenges, and personal responsibilities. Then pitch your advertising to that person.

Advertising on External Channels – What channels would this ideal candidate visit? What online publications and blogs would they read? What LinkedIn or Facebook groups would they be in? Focus on the advertising spends there.

Building an Employer Brand – Younger workers want an employer whose values match their own. Seek support from your marketing team and your specialist recruitment partner to help you build a clear picture of why your company is a great place to work and to communicate it on your website and social media channels. Ask your high performers what they love about working in the business, and use it to attract other potential candidates like them.  Ask your employees to promote it, and make sure the world knows your organisation is a great place to work.

From the outset, potential employees should understand the strengths of a company as an employer. Businesses that do this effectively can engage talent early and instill loyalty that is directly related to the brand’s overall mission.

If you consistently deliver on your promises to your employees and go the extra mile to make sure they are happy, you will also find that they spread the good word about you by themselves.

Creating an Employee Referral Programme – Your employees know your company and have a good idea of who will succeed there. Encourage them to refer their friends and professional contacts through financial rewards and perks (but do not pay out until the candidate they refer has finished their probation!).

2. Offer Back to Work Schemes & Apprenticeships

The pandemic has left many young people worried about their financial future and likely to consider going straight to work rather than university after leaving school. This means apprenticeships are likely to be in higher demand. Build partnerships with schools where you can give talks about engineering as a career, and guide students to choose the GCSEs and A-Levels they will need to develop a technical career.

There will also be more adults returning to work or changing careers, so target those groups and tailor your message to show them you can offer them job security and accomplishment through training, progression, and benefits.

3. Change Your Screening and Assessment Techniques

To achieve the best results from the new talent pool here is how to screen the potential candidates.

Test Applicants Rigorously – The best test for any candidate is to give them a task they would commonly have to handle in the role. e.g., a CAD test. Set homework between the first and second interview, asking them to prepare a plan or presentation on how they would design, code, or solve something relevant.

Find Out How They Work – Ask competency-based interview questions. Ask them they how they overcame a challenge, dealt with conflict, or took a project from idea to implementation and completion.

Assess Their Personality – Take advantage of some of the wealth of personality tests available to discover whether they will be a good cultural fit.

Get a Second Opinion – Having two interviewers will reduce unconscious bias and give you a usefully different perspective. Inviting team members to meet the potential hire is also a good test of cultural fit. You can also use your current staff as interview guinea pigs – ask them if they would be willing to take part in practice interviews and let you know what they think of the questions, whether the questions give an accurate picture of the role and how the interview made them feel.

4. Sell the Opportunity

Make sure you build a compelling case and educate the candidate on the position and the benefits of employment with the business. Then, allow the candidate to make an informed decision. You want to highlight (or sell) the unique selling points (USPs), the positive aspects of working for you, and the way it makes the business stand out, but you also want to make sure that you set accurate expectations about the role.

With 30+ years of experience in knowledge-led recruitment, Redline is well positioned to offer support and advice. We’ve achieved 4.8 stars out of 5.0 ratings on Google Reviews and hundreds of Case Studies confirm it is not only WHAT we do, but HOW we do it that clients and candidates really appreciate.

For more information regarding how we can help your business grow, please contact at Redline Group on 01582 450054 or email


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