Vetting Engineering Job Candidates Before Making a Hiring Decision

Vetting Engineering Job Candidates Before Making a Hiring Decision

Engineering jobs are highly complex and require a wide variety of skills, talents, and abilities, which can make it difficult to parse out the good candidates from the great ones.

One of the most time-consuming processes for any engineering firm is hiring new employees. First, you need to have a pool of applicants, which can take weeks to gather. Then you need to vet all of the applicants for a given position to try to determine who is the best fit.

When it comes to highly specialized positions that require a very specific skill set, this process can become even more challenging. In many cases, you will want to find someone who is either a mid-level or senior-level candidate who has the most appropriate educational background, as well as a certain amount of work experience that pertains to the job you’re hiring for. By the time you check out every applicant’s education and work experience, you may not have the time needed to check on professional references, which should be provided by each applicant.

For most companies, selecting the wrong candidate can be a very costly mistake. Not only will you lose the time and money you put into hiring that candidate, but you may also lose time and money on big projects that either weren’t done properly or weren’t completed on time. That’s why vetting candidates is the most important part of the hiring process.

Vetting Approaches

When it comes to vetting candidates, you can take many different steps. During this process, you may want to start by looking into each candidate’s references. These references can provide you with valuable information about the professional abilities possessed by your candidate. References also give you a chance to learn a little about the personality of the person you’re considering for a position.

The best way to contact references is via phone call, according to the Human Resources Department at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. When you speak to references via email or post, you’re likely to get less valuable information.

To ensure that your vetting process is thorough, a background check can be done on all potential candidates to see if they have a criminal record. In addition, you may also want to check with the Department of Motor Vehicles. However, the Chicago Employment Law Blog recommends keeping background checks to a minimum. This means that you should only run background checks on those who meet your other qualifications, such as education level, experience, and skill set.

The Chicago Employment Law Blog also recommends that you only run background checks on employees that will have access to money, accounting records, or need to perform other fiduciary duties. For some companies, including government offices and state institutions, regular background checks are performed to ensure that employees are fit for their positions.

Many hiring managers also turn to social media to learn about potential employees. With the internet showing hiring managers all kind of information with just a few clicks, there’s no reason not to dig a little deeper into your applicants’ personal and professional lives online. If you choose to delve into a candidate’s social-media accounts, you will need to be careful. Basing a decision off of this information could open up the company to a discrimination lawsuit from rejected candidates.

What About a Recruiting Service?

Since vetting job candidates is a time-consuming task, it may take a long time for your company to select a final candidate. Instead of wasting precious time that you could be spending on your work, consider hiring an engineering-specific recruiting firm. During the hiring process, an engineering recruiting company can take care of the complicated legal tasks that would take up valuable time during your workday.

Your company’s human-resources department will also appreciate the fact that they don’t have to take on the burden of vetting potential employees. Plus, using a recruiting service can help you find the best candidate on your first shot, so that your company doesn’t invest even more time and money in the hiring process.

When using a recruiting service, you have access to a pool of candidates that otherwise might be missed, which could help you find the most qualified person for your position. Ask the recruiting firm if they have any additional candidates you should consider beyond those who have applied for the position organically. While this may expand the pool, the recruiting company can then help you narrow down the field to only those who are the most qualified.

At the end of the day, you want to ensure that you’re bringing in the best candidates for interviews. By following the above advice, you can rest assured that you’re going to interview all of the best potential employees. The rest is up to you. Ask questions that prompt the interviewee to further delve into their experience and skills; you can even learn more about the candidate’s personality during a job interview.

Interview Tips

When it comes to the interview process, bring in each of the selected candidates that were vetted by either you or a professional engineering recruiting company. Don’t waste time interviewing a candidate that hasn’t been previously vetted.

If you’re having a hard time deciding between candidates after the first round of interviews, narrow down the pool and conduct more interviews with your selected group. During this second interview, you may need to dig a little deeper with questions that are even more specific than those asked during the previous interview.

No matter what you decide to do during the hiring process, vetting candidates is an essential part of the process. Skipping these steps or cutting corners could leave you regretting a hiring decision in the future, and cause you to spend more money, time, and other resources to find a new employee in just a few months. Instead, invest the time and resources now into finding the best candidate for your open position. Once you have found the best candidate, it is time to make them a part of your team, which is the fun part for everyone.

Evan McDowell is Talent Sourcing Manager at Austin Nichols Technical Search.

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