5 Outdated Recruiting Practices that Turn Off Top Engineers

By: Leslie Stevens-Huffman

If you haven’t updated your hiring process in a while, you may be hanging on to antiquated habits and procedures that actually hurt your ability to attract top engineering talent.

Outdated Recruiting

Today’s job seekers want a transparent, inclusive process that provides a realistic preview of the job and the environment. They also expect timely feedback and status updates, whether they’re pursuing contract or full-time positions. Outdated hiring methods that add complexity, and provide limited value to the candidate, should be replaced.

Is your company with-it or behind the times? Here are five outdated practices that actually hamper your ability to recruit.

Confidential Searches

While you may have good reasons for keeping the name of your company or the hiring manager under wraps, being anonymous can actually work against employers looking to source top talent. Word travels fast in the social media age, so naturally professionals are reluctant to submit their resume for a position without knowing exactly where it’s going.

In order for recruiters to interest and submit passive candidates to anonymous companies, recruiters may have to agree to scrub an engineer’s contact information and the names of previous employers from their resume. It’s hard to keep your recruiting activities quiet for long, so why take the risk of getting less-detailed information and/or scaring away potential applicants?

Boilerplate Job Descriptions

Generic job descriptions that provide a laundry list of qualifications are practically worthless. To be meaningful, the description needs input from the engineering manager or someone who has intimate knowledge of the role, the technical requirements, and most importantly, the expectations and outcomes.

Lou Adler, a former designer of missiles and guidance systems for an aerospace manufacturer, today is a recruiting guru. He recommends that employers start by describing the job they want done. “Once you see how performance depends on context, and how recruiting should be focused on matching individuals to optimal contexts, it just seems like common sense,” Adler explained in an interview with Fast Company.

Freeform Interviews

What’s wrong with the traditional job interview? Just about everything, according to expert, Dr. John Sullivan. But revising just two things can modernize a musty interviewing process and help your firm stand out in the minds of top prospects.

1. Provide a detailed agenda

Engineers want to receive detailed agendas and relevant background information on the company and the hiring manager so they can prepare and have a worthwhile, two-way discussion. There’s definitely room for improvement, since 38 percent of candidates report receiving minimal interview preparation and communication during the interview process and 41 percent receive no information at all.

2. Provide feedback

Feedback has emerged as one of the most important things candidates want from the hiring process. LinkedIn research found that 59 percent of professionals want feedback whenever there is an update on their application or status, and 94 percent want feedback after an interview – even if they are rejected. Providing timely status updates and feedback are small changes that can have a very big impact on in-demand engineering prospects.

Low-Ball Offers

A qualified engineer may be offended if you try to save a few dollars or get an edge in negotiations by offering a below-market salary or hourly rate. According to a CareerBuilder survey of 400 staffing professionals, failing to meet the candidate’s expectations on salary and benefits is one of the most common reasons for a declined job offer. Why risk rejection? Take your best shot right out of the gate.

Geographic Limitations

Between telecommuting, relocation and per diem travel, confining a search to local candidates has become an outmoded practice. Savvy managers are extending their parameters to find a “game changer” from other locales or countries.

In fact, imposing a geographic hiring filter that discounts professional experience acquired in another region, or assigns local characteristics to applicants, has been called “placism” by Michael O. Church. He maintains that “placism” is ineffective because it deliberately restricts the talent pool. The point is you need to cast a wide net if you’re intent on attracting the best and brightest engineers in today’s competitive talent market.


Other information of potential interest

Adapt or Fail: How to Tailor Your Hiring Process for the Contract Marketplace

Build a Compelling EVP to Attract Top Engineering Talent

Tips for Building a Deep Mentor Pool

Emerging Strategies for Managing an Agile Workforce

How to Attract and Hire Creative Engineering Talent

Becoming a Client of Choice for Contract Engineers

Need top engineering talent soon? Submit a job order or call 1-888-888-PEAK


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