If you’re a business owner who has tried to hire mechanical engineers in the past, you’ll know that exceptional candidates for the role are notoriously hard to find.
Mechanical engineering is a profession where there is a surplus of opportunities and only a small group of qualified candidates. On top of this, the hiring process for engineers can be very time-consuming and sometimes quite costly, which makes finding the right mechanical engineer for a project or company even harder.
Despite the challenges of recruiting in this industry, finding mechanical engineers doesn’t always have to be a struggle. We’ve put together a range of advice for sourcing the best possible candidates for a mechanical engineer role, from where to start looking to tips for conducting interviews.
Where to Look
If you want to find a mechanical engineer, it goes without saying that you need to know where to look first.
It’s a well-known fact within the industry that mechanical engineers aren’t the most proactive candidates when it comes to seeking a new job. Because opportunities are so plentiful, many find that they do not have to search too hard for a job before they are approached by a company or project manager, which can make finding candidates in the first place very difficult.
There are several different approaches you can take when looking for engineers to fill your mechanical design roles, focusing on different areas where potential candidates are likely to be found.
Perhaps the most obvious place to find mechanical engineers looking for a new role is on online job boards. Here, you won’t have as much control over the potential candidates you attract, but you’ll be able to post a job advert that will reach a large volume of people and generate a lot of interest in your opportunity.
To narrow down your search through this method, we recommend looking at specialist job boards that are designed for certain roles and candidates. For example, you may require a mechanical engineer with specific experience or be looking for someone who can work remotely, and specialist jobs sites can assist with finding the right person for these kinds of roles.
Having a network of different industry contacts is one of the best ways to find talented mechanical engineers, whether you’re in frequent conversation with other companies or engineers themselves. If you invest time into building relationships with potential candidates, even those who are currently in a different job, you’ll be better prepared when an opportunity to hire them presents itself.
A great way to expand your list of industry contacts and start networking is to get involved with groups that mechanical engineers are likely to be a part of. Speaking at a conference or attending job fairs is a fantastic method of promoting a business and starting conversations with potential candidates, particularly if the event you are attending has a specialist focus.
If your company has the time and resources, you can find plenty of suitable mechanical engineers on candidate platforms such as LinkedIn. These platforms are a brilliant way to connect with a wide variety of people and target individuals who have the exact experience you are looking for.
Using candidate platforms to find mechanical engineers does require you to put the work in, as sifting through profiles and reaching out to people can be a long process. It’s worth noting that most candidate platforms are quite general websites as well, which can make sourcing an in-demand role difficult.
Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to have a company profile on these kinds of sites so you can connect with as many people as possible and build a following of potential candidates.
If you’re not looking for an engineer with specific skills and experience then one of the best ways to find talented mechanical engineers is through education pipelines, which bring new graduates straight into your company. Whether through offering work experience placements or just working with an education establishment or university, this is one of the best ways to get to candidates before your competitors and build up affinity with your business.
There are some drawbacks to this method of finding mechanical engineers, such as the fact that candidates will require full training when they start and that graduates only appear at one point every year. However, if you have the resources to invest in training candidates or recruitment programs, it’s a very useful process.
One of the best ways to filter through unsuitable candidates and ensure that you’re only finding the best candidates for your role is to use a specialist recruitment agency (nudge nudge wink wink). Whilst more general recruiters may not work with your company’s best interest in mind and end up wasting time and money, a recruitment agency that specialises in mechanical engineering and other related industries will have an exclusive set of connections and access to candidates that other agencies may not.
Recruitment agencies work to match their candidates with the roles that clients need filling, and specialist companies have years of training and experience in matching the right person to the right role. If you’re looking for a mechanical engineer for a specific project or task, this may be your best approach for finding the perfect fit.
Attracting Top Mechanical Engineers
There’s no point in putting in the work to find mechanical engineers if you’re not also building and promoting a company that they’re going to want to work for. If you want to make a positive impact on potential candidates then you need to sell the role from the get-go, along with the experience they’ll have whilst working for you.
Know the Role Inside Out
It’s a well-known recruiting strategy that one of the best ways to attract top candidates is to write a detailed job advert that only targets the exact kind of person you want to work with. To do this, you’re going to need to know the role inside out before you start advertising.
Mechanical engineers nowadays can pick and choose when it comes down to available roles in the industry. Many have specific expertise, and you need to target these qualities when you write a role description and show that you’re an expert in your field if you want to attract top talent.
When narrowing down the specifics of a mechanical design engineering role, ask yourself the following:
- Do you need an engineer with specialist skills in a certain area?
- Is there a specific problem you are looking to solve by hiring them?
- Are any specific abilities or experience required for this role or project?
- Are you looking to fill a permanent position or seeking a contractor?
- Is there a deadline for filling this role?
It is also important to use the correct terminology in your job advert, to make it clear if any specific coding or technical skills are required. Talented mechanical engineers will be looking for engaging tasks and responsibilities that match their interests, so you want to make it clear what the role will involve.
Make sure to feature the following three sections in your job advertisement:
- A description of the role tailored precisely to the opportunity
- Necessary education, qualifications and experience, to avoid any unsuitable candidates applying
- Responsibilities and an idea of daily tasks
Successful mechanical engineers are problem solvers at heart, so it can also benefit you to explain what they are going to be working on and the desired effect that their input will have.
Sell Company Culture
Because of the high demand for mechanical engineers, you’re not only trying to win potential candidates over with a description of the job you want them to do. Your company and its culture also needs to stand out from your competitors, and offer the best career package overall.
In longer role descriptions or recruitment sales pitches, you can detail the work environment of your company and paint a picture of what working as part of your team will look like. Focus on things such as growth opportunities and staff benefits as well as specifics like salary and hours.
Company culture is also about finding the right fit for your values. One of the best ways to find the right candidate for a mechanical engineering role is to outline the values at the heart of your business so that potential employees can see immediately if they’ll be a good fit.
It’s been found that candidates nowadays are attracted to companies and roles that align with their personal values, and mechanical engineers are no different. Ensure that you’re promoting the kind of work environment that engineers are going to want to be a part of, and ask your current staff what attracted them to the business in the first place.
Offer Unbeatable Benefits
Along with company culture, the benefits that come along with a role are an undeniable part of whether a candidate is going to want to work with you. What you can offer will very much depend on the size of your business and the resources you have on hand, but even small companies can advertise very attractive benefits that help them to stand out.
Salary is only the starting point when it comes to benefits for your employees. Also consider holiday allowances, potential health insurance and the retirement or pension opportunities that you can offer. It can help here to look into that your competitors provide in terms of benefits, so you can adjust yours accordingly.
If you also offer training, mentorship and career development guidance to your employees, these are all benefits that can sway an engineer’s decision when it comes to choosing who to work with. And if you don’t currently offer services like these to your employees, consider starting!
Our final pieces of advice are for after you’ve found potential candidates for your role, and want to keep selling them the opportunity through the interview process. You may have attracted talented individuals with your company’s image and your job advertisements, but you need to keep candidates keen throughout the interview process so they don’t get snapped up by someone else.
Mechanical engineers are often serious, committed to their work and very analytical. You need to ensure that every stage of interviewing is carried out professionally, so that neither party feels that they are wasting their time. Having thought-through interview questions is a vital part of this, along with ensuring you are always prompt in updating potential candidates on their progress towards securing the role.
Finally, remember that a job interview is all about assessing a potential employee’s personality as well as their skills. In a mechanical engineering role, the skills and qualifications of a candidate are particularly important, but an impressive CV isn’t much use if it belongs to someone who doesn’t make a good impression.
Although mechanically engineers are renowned for being tricky to find and hire, there are many ways in which you can make the process easier for yourself and streamline your recruitment process to ensure only the best candidates come through your doors. If you’re putting in the work to make your company a brilliant place to work then you’re bound to be attracting the best kind of candidates out there, but checking that you’re looking in the right places and refining your interview process will only continue to boost this success.
If you’d like the support of an expert in finding mechanical engineers then please get in touch and let us know more about what you’re looking for.