How to Find the Right Engineering Recruitment Partner For You


April 20, 2021


180 Engineering

No one wants to make a bad hire.

Hiring the wrong candidate can have serious implications for your business, from depressed team morale and productivity to significant financial losses. According to a blog post by Skye Schooley the U. S. Department of Labor estimates that a bad hire can cost about 30% of that employee’s first-year earnings. As if that’s not bad enough, Schooley goes on to say that industry specialists suggest that the costs could actually range from $240,000 to $850,000, depending on a number of factors.

Working with an engineering recruitment partner is a terrific way to mitigate the costs – financial and otherwise – that a bad hire can incur. Additionally, a reputable, trustworthy engineering recruitment agency can increase cost efficiencies, widen access to the industry-specific talent pool, improve time to fill metrics, and provide industry-specific expertise that helps your company hone in on exemplary candidates.

But just as finding the perfect hire can take a bit of finessing, so can finding the perfect engineering recruitment partner. How exactly do you find the right vendor to work with?

Do Some Research To Assess Their Expertise

Every recruitment agency should have a web presence, including a website and social media accounts. These pages can provide a terrific cursory overview of a vendor. While the visual aspect of their web presence may give you some insight about whether their company culture is a good match for your own, dig a little deeper and find answers to questions like:

  • Do they specialize in engineering or are they trying to be everything for everyone?
  • Do they share reviews, testimonials, and case studies?
  • Do they have blog posts that clearly demonstrate a depth of understanding in your area of specialization?
  • Which recruitment services do they offer (retained/contingent/contract/executive)?
  • Do they recruit and/or have a network in your company’s home city?

While you’re on their website, take a look at their job board and ask yourself if:

  • The postings on their job board confirm their area of specialization.
  • They have roles posted on their site that are similar to roles that you are hiring for within your own organization.

In this initial stage, focus on three areas: the vendor’s credibility (as shown by reviews, blog posts, case studies), their industry-specific hiring expertise, and their geographic presence. All these factors will impact how well the vendor is able to understand and meet your unique hiring needs.

Ask About Their Recruiting Process

Once you’ve done your initial research and have a short list of possible vendors, it’s time to meet with them and ask questions. You already know that they have the industry-specific knowledge to address your needs, but how effective are they as recruiters? At this point, ask questions like:

  • How do they source candidates? (Strong vendors will use sources other than job boards, including their own internal network and sourcing/recruiting passive talent.)
  • What is their screening process like?
  • What kind of background checks do they perform and how long do these typically take?
  • How will they keep you up to date on your search, and how often will you receive updates?
  • How accessible will they be to you, when you need to reach them?
  • How will they prioritize your job along with the others they are seeking to fill?

Their answers to these questions should help you understand how well their work processes will meet your own hiring expectations. It should also lay the groundwork for the talent partnership that both of you are seeking and clarify if it is a good fit for both parties.

Analyze Their Success

When you have that conversation with a vendor about their recruiting process, it’s an excellent time to also ask for concrete examples of their success. Pose questions such as:

  • How long have they been established as an engineering recruitment vendor?
  • Are they accredited or do they have professional memberships in any organizations?
  • Have they won any awards or have they been recognized for recruitment excellence?
  • What is their track record with their other clients?
  • Can they share candidate success stories with you?

Gauge their answers according to both quality and quantity. A recruiter who takes pride in their track record will gladly offer up the concrete details that you’re asking for.

Also, keep in mind that the definition of “success” may vary across metrics. For example, it’s better for a recruiter to refer fewer high-quality candidates to you rather than many lower-quality ones. In this instance, success is measured by quality rather than quantity.

Pay Attention To Their Answers

Throughout the conversations that you have with potential vendors, pay attention to their answers and to their overall interactions with you. Take note of how well the representative from the firm is asking you questions and listening to your answers about your struggles in the hiring process and about the roles you need filled. A reliable and competent vendor will have done their due diligence on you as well, and will be keen to learn more about the kinds of issues you need help with.

There’s no question that it will take some time and effort to find the perfect engineering recruitment vendor to partner with. But that will be time well spent. The knowledge and resources that an effective specialized recruiter can bring to the table is astonishing. A competent vendor can implement positive change not just in your hiring process but also in long-term employee satisfaction and morale, which in turn affects productivity and your bottom line.