In 2018, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers reported that the STEM skills gap costs the UK 1.5bn each year. The report identified that 9 in 10 employers have found it difficult to recruit the right skilled staff, leading to a shortfall of over 173,000 workers.
In such a candidate-driven market, it’s never been so important for a business to attract the right talent. Engineering candidates are in demand and competition to acquire them is at an all-time high. Employers need to keep in mind that interviews are 2-way, and while they’re trying to find the best talent, candidates are also trying to find the best business.
You interview a great engineer and offer them the job, but they decline. Why? We aren’t talking about salary, location, or shift patterns – any good engineering recruiter will have already discussed these in detail ahead of the interview. We talk to thousands of candidates per month and have identified a number of their common ‘turn-offs’ during the interview process. If you’re hiring an engineer, get ahead of the competition and read the list of common mistakes to avoid below:
1. Not having a clear recruitment plan
We see this all too often. Potential candidates can become very frustrated by slow feedback from employers. Not only will this result in a potentially negative view of the business and its organisation but is also likely to mean that the engineer will attend other interviews and potentially accept another job offer. Before you set out to recruit, ensure you have a clear plan of when you can interview when you can provide feedback and how long you anticipate it taking to make a formal job offer. Maybe even more importantly, do you definitely have sign off to make a quick offer for when you do meet the perfect candidate?
2. One-way interviewing
Gone are the days of intimidating interviews when candidates have to impress the employer and hope to be offered the job. As well as ensuring the engineer is the right fit for your business and assessing their technical skills, talk about the selling points of your business. Keep in mind that it’s very likely that a talented engineer will have multiple interviews, potentially with the same salary (or more), so why is working for your business so much better than working for the competition? Engineers will want to know this, so don’t make the interview all about them and their skill set.
3. Rushing the interview process
Candidates have told us that being rushed through is one of their biggest turn-offs in job interviews. To avoid this, ensure you’ve allowed enough time so that the interview is long enough for both parties to get what they need out of it. Allow additional time for questions from the candidate and potentially a walk around the site/facility.
4. Not talking about success
Many employers are nervous to talk about who they’ve worked with, projects they’re working on, or any of their potentially groundbreaking technology during the hiring process. Although we know it’s important to withhold some of this information, they’re actually the details that really excite engineers and are often a differentiator they use when comparing employers. Naturally, engineers want to work with growing businesses and exciting technology, so talk about it!
5. Not talking about training or progression
Engineers love to learn, they love to get stuck in to new things and have a new skill under their belt. If the role you’re hiring for comes with opportunities to do this, make sure you’re including it during the interview process. Tell them what they’ll learn, what training they’ll receive and what their progression plan could be.
Being aware of, and avoiding these common mistakes will ensure a smoother engineering recruitment process and will help your business to secure the best talent in your next recruitment drive.
ATA Recruitment are engineering recruitment specialists, working alongside some of the UK’s biggest businesses for over 50 years. We help our clients to overcome the engineering skills gap and hire the best talent for their engineering team in a very competitive market.
Our thorough processes ensure that employers receive a seamless service, saving them both time and money in the recruitment process. If you would like to find out more about how ATA can support your business to fill your engineering jobs, contact us using the button below.