ATEC BLOG:  What Do Companies Look For In Engineers?

Here at Advanced Test Equipment Rentals we work with our own staff of engineers in-house, as well as our clients who are in the product development world. Life changing technologies are produced at an inspiring pace; opening the door for a constant influx of new engineers. Whether it is a temporary position, or a direct hire, finding the right skill set and personality fit are crucial to a company's success. This brought me to the question:

"What do companies look for in engineers?"

We got the opportunity to talk with Keith Nickerson, Business Development Representative at Kelly Engineering Resources: a leader in staffing and workforce solutions. Nickerson described the importance of fitting company culture when applying for a position:

"Strong personal and interpersonal skills are important. A personality fit is a big part of what we focus on."

On a team each individual has a specific skill set that can contribute to the overall project. Having two out of the top three skills on a job listing is crucial. Engineers should make sure their resumes reflect these skills. There is a so much weight placed on the resume these days. A lot of firms use a keyword search for skills. Kelly provides a separate write up to supplement the resume on how the applicants' skills match the criteria. A cover letter may also assist in matching resume skills with a company's job requirements.

Another element facing engineers is the question of whether or not applying out of state or out of the country increases opportunity for placement.

"ROI (return on investment) is important for a company. Long commute or out of state applicants don't have a work life balance. They do not know anyone in the city they moved to, and are less likely to stay at a job. They may not be a long term investment for the company."

Even if the company is not hiring directly, they may still consider the position to be a long term investment. A lot of organizations do temp to hire now. Good candidates for temp to hire are local applicants with tenure through their last company. It is important to show longevity on the resume. Organizations want to know that their applicant did not jump from other jobs too quickly.

If commuting is a necessity due to a lack of positions in your local job market, there are still options like project oriented roles. These jobs are short term placements and recruiters are less concerned with travel or out of state applicants. Hiring managers want someone to fill a particular job, so the skills are more important. No matter the type of position you are applying for, it is vital that you be up front about your goals. On the job interview tell them your intentions. If growing with the company is important be vocal about your ambitions.

"Career aspirations need to be transparent. My job is to take people through that interview process. Attrition costs the company a lot of money. The employee or applicant should share what makes them tick and ways they want to grow. There's no level of employment where that shouldn't be done."

Even if you feel you are outgrowing your current role, let your agency or managers know your interest in pursuing higher placement. Keeping in communication with management and staff is a constant part of the process.

"If someone is looking to transition into a new aspect of the field, maybe they've started a college program and are taking classes; we have a conversation with the company and suggest other projects that the employee could also work on."

In the end, engineers need to seek out companies that match their career aspirations and skill development. Organizations are interested in finding employees that have the right skill set and plan on growing with the company. Constant communication between management and staff is a major part of this strategy. Getting the job is just the beginning.