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How to secure the best engineering and technical talent

20/02/19 Cathy Swain Consultant - Contract & Interim

Engineering and the high-technology arena is vital to the UK economy: it contributes to 26% of our GDP which is more than the retail, wholesale, financial and insurance sectors combined. This figure is predicted to increase as new advancements in technology and engineering become more frequent, which means the need for highly skilled engineering talent is increasing exponentially.

A recent survey of over 7,100 businesses revealed that 50% are struggling with talent shortages, with 68% of businesses struggling to recruit highly skilled individuals. It‘s therefore important for employers to be as proactive in the recruitment process as job seekers are. Here at Redline, we have over 35 years’ experience of working in the high-tech, engineering and manufacturing sectors and are therefore aware of the challenges employers regularly face whilst trying to attract and retain the best people in this skill scarce market. Following is a step by step guide through the recruitment process - from promoting your employer brand to securing your new engineering and high-tech talent.

Build your employer brand

It is essential to spend time enhancing your employer brand and especially your digital footprint if you wish to attract top talent. You must ensure your company website is informative and responsive from both desktop and mobile devices. Currently, 89% of job seekers consider their mobile device as an important tool whilst searching for a new career and 45% use it to search for a new role at least once a day. Similarly, using your company’s social media outreach to promote your USP’s is beneficial as 79% of job seekers are likely to use social media to find out more about your organisation’s people and culture.

Endorsing a friendly company culture and treating your employees well will inspire your existing workforce to recommend and promote your company to their friends and, in turn, may refer friends and family to apply to your organisation. In order to optimise conversion rates, you should research and understand the candidate community you wish to recruit and target the appropriate demographics accordingly in your recruitment activities, such as advertising. For instance, if you’re looking for graduates, promote your flexibility, as the majority of millennials look for this from an employer.

Offer employee perks

Imagine finding top talent who is both a cultural fit and an expert in their field, only to have them decline the offer because your company is not offering attractive incentives in such a competitive job market. Statistics from our own research show that the main reasons for candidate declination include the salary offered (31.9%), ‘better’ company or position (28.5%) and declined due to location or relocation (15.5%).

With that in mind, counteract any potential reasons for the candidate to decline by negotiating the salary and benefits with them, as well as bringing awareness to training and career development opportunities within the company.

Attract the right candidate

32% of companies across sectors have reported difficulties recruiting experienced STEM professionals, and 20% find it difficult to recruit entrants to STEM. It is useful in the skills scarce jobs market to be open-minded about hiring someone who may need on-the-job training. Internal and external job training has many benefits including increased job satisfaction and a decrease in employee turnover which can save the company money in the long-run. While engineering remains as a male-dominated industry, considering diversity when hiring is important as companies are 15% more likely to perform better if they have a gender diverse workforce.

How do you know if the candidate will be suitable for the role? Enhancing the interview process by asking competency-based questions can determine if your candidate has the essential skills necessary to excel in an engineering or technical job. These include problem-solving abilities, logical reasoning, communication skills, leadership abilities and creativity.

Use your time efficiently during screening and job interviews to determine the candidate’s non-academic competencies such as their cultural fit, to what extent they prepared and researched for their interview and evaluate their eagerness for the job.

Nearing the end of the interview, take the time to recognise the candidate’s value and ask them what qualities they want in a job or manager. Job interviews are a two-way conversation, and you can reap real rewards from matching your recruitment pitch to the candidate’s particular interests within the role.

Close the deal

After building your employer brand, creating a stellar job advert, carefully interviewing candidates and finally choosing a compelling candidate to hire, you might think it’s time to celebrate, but don’t start the onboarding process quite yet. Your candidate still has to accept the job offer. This is an essential part of the recruitment pipeline that is often forgotten or overshadowed, but with job seekers now affording the luxury of being selective, you should close the deal as swiftly as possible, otherwise, you may risk losing top talent.

The best ways to secure a promising candidate include promoting your company’s work benefits and career growth potential during the interview (as a plus, tailor it to suit the needs of that individual). In addition, express your belief in their competencies — you must portray yourself as a supportive manager from the onset. 90% of employees are more likely to stay with an organisation that empathises with their needs and would even be willing to work longer hours and make trade-offs on pay for an empathetic employer.

Once you make the decision to hire a candidate, send the job offer as soon as possible. If you do not act quickly, this could cost you, particularly in the competitive engineering sector where the war for talent is fierce. Be proactive but not pushy as the right candidate will be eager to work with you and will see the value in the role and your organisation.

Redline can help

At Redline, we’ve streamlined the recruitment process into an efficient method based on our significant insight and research, taking you in depth through the interview and onboarding processes.

Redline Group offers knowledge-led, tailor-made recruitment programmes to suit clients’ specific needs, adopting a ‘partnership’ approach to ensure a detailed understanding of clients’ objectives and requirements.

For more information regarding how we can help your business, please contact Cathy Swain, Redline’s Contract & Interim Recruitment Consultant on 01582 878858 or email CSwain@RedlineGroup.com