Why Engineers Screw Up the Interview…

…because they are engineers and they can’t seem to help themselves?

Engineers by nature and by training (is it nurture or nature?) are trained to look for the reasons why something will fail and too often, this translates right into the job interview.  Too many engineers are looking at the potential candidate and trying to find reasons why they aren’t a fit instead of looking for attributes that add value to the organization, and by sharing a value proposition to make them WANT to come to work there.

Your interview process needs to change based on the current job market.  Look around.  If you haven’t noticed, we are in one of the hottest job markets I have experienced in 16 years as an engineering and architect recruiter.  So, if you are conducting interviews like you did back in 2010, you need to stop and re-evaluate your process.  The candidate sitting in front of you has options.  More options than you do currently, so in light of that fact, if you want to increase your options of actually attracting that candidate to to come work for you, you need to make some slight shifts in your mindset.

I invite you to consider the following:

  1. Interviewing is like dating: Just get to know them first.  Do you even like this person?  Is this someone you would want hanging around your office for 8-12 hours a day?
  2. Screen in, then screen out- too many engineers are screening out first and missing a lot of potentially good people for minor things that aren’t really that important at the end of the day.  Good companies and good managers know that a person with integrity, intelligence and personal drive can learn skills germane to the job.  Would you rather have a person with the exact skills but who has a low personal drive and an annoying personality that disrupts the team?
  3. Know your value proposition and key in on what you have to sell the candidate.  Here’s a tip, folks: your value proposition isn’t having a paycheck to offer and good benefits.  When I ask my clients this question, this is the most common response.  If you don’t know your value proposition, you need to create one.  What is unique about your company in the marketplace?  Why do YOU like working there? What do other people find compelling about continuing to work at the company? Take some time and figure this out and then actually talk to candidates about why your organization is a great place to come and spend 8-12 hours a day!

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