It takes a unified front to win the battle for top-notch contract engineers
By: Leslie Stevens-Huffman
Imagine heading into combat without support from allies or a strategic battle plan. Unthinkable, you say? Well the unthinkable happens every day when managers try to win the war for top-notch engineering contractors by relying on vague connections with a host of unproven staffing firms. Fortunately, it’s easy to create dynamic staffing partnerships that ensure your opportunity to work with the A-team on every single project.
Less is More
When it comes to talent acquisition, volume doesn’t guarantee quality. In fact, the most qualified contractor could be snatched away by a wily competitor while you scour through scores of resumes and conduct numerous interviews. Working with one or two qualified staffing firms engenders familiarity, which creates efficiencies and reduces the need to interview several candidates to fill a single contract position.
Select Partners Strategically
It may seem like all staffing firms are the same, but understanding their subtle differences is the key to selecting the right partner. Choose a firm that fulfills a thoughtful list of tangible criteria such as recruiting experience and technical capabilities, talent sources and inventory, insurance coverage and knowledge of your engineering disciplines and projects. Don’t overlook intangible qualities like chemistry and communication, so recruiters feel compelled to call you first when an exceptional contractor becomes available.
Establish Ground Rules and Expectations
Time is of the essence in a competitive talent market. So, create a one-page service level agreement that spells out each party’s role and responsibilities including the timeframe for responding to requisitions or requests for interviews or feedback. And don’t forget to ask about exclusive access to top engineering contractors. Then, hold each other accountable for fulfilling these commitments, since mutual accountability is the cornerstone of productive partnerships.
Establish a consistent evaluation, selection and onboarding process and clearly communicate your performance goals and expectations. This helps recruiters adequately screen and prep candidates before interviews and assignments. Make sure the budget is approved before submitting a requisition. Further, ask recruiters to stay in touch with top contenders, since unforeseen delays during the selection process may damage your company’s reputation and ultimately hinder your ability to compete for the best engineering talent.
Recruiters need ammunition to woo high performers. So go beyond the job description by outlining the professional benefits of the project and the advantages of the work environment. Offer unabashed feedback after interviews, so recruiters enhance their ability to make precise matches by honing the selection process.
Collaborate and Unite
Consider offering joint referral or milestone bonuses or sponsoring an open house to garner interest within the contracting community. Sharing resources and knowledge and developing a joint strategy is the best way for managers and staffing firms to attract and retain top-notch contract engineers.
Competition for top engineering contractors is a fierce today as ever. By focusing on quality, not quantity, carefully constructing alignment and agreements with your staffing firm, and consciously managing communication before the hire, and feedback afterwards, you can build a world-class battle plan for acquiring and maintaining the best engineering talent.