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What It Takes To Recruit High-Level Engineering Talent

It’s an interesting time in the controls and mechanical engineering spaces. Salary, benefits, and stock options for management-level engineers are significant enough to make recruitment more challenging than usual. The best potential candidates may be happy where they are, or if they’re looking for a new situation, may be able to pick and choose where they want to work. Your recruitment strategy for high-level engineering talent requires finesse, and an awful lot of elbow grease, to give someone a reason to accept a position or make a switch. 

More Than Just Salary 

The most difficult thing about recruiting high-level engineers is making sure that the client can offer a better arrangement than what the best prospects currently have. A $10,000 raise to a person’s base pay will not move them, because it’s very likely they’re already well-compensated and have a vested financial interest, such as stock options, in the company they work for. 

Having clarity about the role allows you to seek out candidates who best fit a client’s hiring criteria. First, you should work closely with the client to get a detailed understanding of what their needs and wants are, as well as what they may offer high-level engineering talent. This information helps you build a solid outline, that you can reference as you begin approaching people.

Best Practices for LinkedIn

When it comes to finding the right kind of candidates, LinkedIn can be a recruiter’s best friend. The site provides many search and filter options. From a recruitment perspective, it’s best to focus on keywords, that reveal areas of expertise that are specific to the role. You can get a good first round of potential candidates from the initial search. From that information, break it down further, by diving into special skillsets, subsets, and certifications, that would differentiate candidates from the pack. 

Since a major change in employment is not just about salary and benefits, take a holistic look at the prospect. A LinkedIn profile reveals a good deal more than employment history. Find out what interests they have beyond the job, i.e., their involvement with charitable causes, volunteer commitments, or memberships to different organizations. It could be a game-changer during future conversations, especially if your client has a history with any of the candidate’s non-work-related pursuits.

Once you’ve created a solid list, send the prospect a message via LinkedIn. A seasoned recruiter will always provide a few salient tidbits about the company or position here as well. But as a best practice, be careful not to disclose too much information with your initial contact. Keep it high level and include any enticing details such as opportunities for significant growth like a job title change, greater management responsibilities, or a larger team to lead. 

When there’s a positive response, let them know that you’ll call at their convenience, and request a few time periods that they’d be available to talk freely. Treat your new contacts the same way you treat your clients. Be respectful of their time because none of us has enough of it. Then confirm the time with them, initiate the call, and make sure they have all of your contact information.

The Pitch

During the conversation, it’s crucial that you’re not only transparent in your pitch, but that you provide substantive reasons why a move could be in their best interest. Find out about their current projects and responsibilities. Salary and other benefits should be open for discussion as well. 

Make sure the story you tell about your client is a good one. The research you’ve done at the beginning of the process should give you that edge, and the narrative must be clear and on point. High-level engineering talent may already know how your client is perceived in the industry. They might even know the kinds of projects they have in the pipeline, but you should always know more about the client and their business than anyone you’re speaking with. Know the details of why your client’s company is a better place to work, or a better cultural fit. 

If you move forward from the phone call, then send the candidate’s resume to the client, along with a thorough write-up of who they are, and why they’d be a good fit. From this point on, the process is fairly standard, and includes rounds of interviews, and dialogue about compensation and perks.

Stay in Touch Even if Doesn’t Work Out

For high-level engineering talent who show interest, but choose to not move forward, stay in touch. We’re in the business of making matches, so it’s important to keep those relationships alive. The perfect opportunity could happen at any time. In a month or two, or in six months or more, that very skilled engineer whose interest was peaked, may be ready to make a leap to another company. 

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