Blog: What Engineers Want (And How to Hire the Best Ones)

What Engineers Want (And How to Hire the Best Ones)

According to recent research by multiple engineering industry groups, 82% of employers are likely to hire engineers this year. However, 86% of employers have trouble filling their engineering roles. The challenges associated with recruiting quality engineers are so significant that 24% of employers aren't confident that they will be able to bring on the engineering talent they need.

Why is it so hard for companies to hire the right engineers? According to the same set of research, the most common reason is a lack of applicants. The second reason is a lack of experience, followed by a lack hard job skills and technical skills. Fourth on the list is salary demands are too high.

What's interesting is that from an engineer's perspective, their top consideration when seeking a new position is increased salary, bonuses and/or incentives. That's followed by a better work environment and culture, then more interesting or challenging work. Fourth on the list is access to better professional training and career development, with the last reason being an improved work/life balance.

Traits of the Best Engineers

In addition to the issues covered above, one of the reasons both technical and non-tech organizations have trouble hiring the right engineers is the people in charge of this process aren't always sure what they should be looking for in candidates. For anyone in that position, the good news is there are some traits that are shared by most of the best engineers. They include:

  • Ability to balance pragmatism and perfectionism
  • No aversion to debugging and bug fixing
  • Have a healthy amount of skepticism
  • Know what the business is trying to accomplish
  • Can clearly communicate complex ideas

For many organizations, the last item on that list is often what matters most. Regardless of an engineer's technical skills, if they aren't able to function as part of a team and communicate what they're working on to the rest of the organization, issues are inevitably going to arise.

Best Hiring Practices for Engineers

Although understanding what motivates engineers and how to identify the best candidates is helpful, that doesn't mean an organization can expect their pipeline to suddenly fill up with a list of highly qualified talent. Bringing in the best requires a collaborative effort between recruiters, the hiring manager, and the hiring manager's team. That's why organizations need to get everyone on-board with the importance of hiring engineers.

When a company does find a candidate who is a good fit, they need to act fast to avoid losing that individual to another company. Additionally, it's important to always treat potential engineering hires as people instead of assets. Taking the time to actually connect with candidates can make a significant impact during the hiring process.

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