How Twenty Minutes Makes All the Difference


April 2, 2019


180 Engineering

To help you manage the sizeable shifts within today’s talent market, 180 Engineering wants to take you behind-the-scenes to get insights, options, and observations from our skilled and experienced team members. Our talent-recruitment veterans are working with our network every day to help clients find the engineering and IT professionals needed to grow their organizations and to support candidates’ goals at various points in their careers.

Meet Julie Johnson, Senior Engineer Search Consultant, 180 Engineering

Julie has years of experience working in talent acquisition and client-management roles. Currently, she’s leveraging her rich background to help 180 Engineering’s clients find engineering and technology talent to grow their organizations. Julie also experiences a lot of satisfaction in assisting candidates in building their careers.

How do you know you’re sending your clients the right candidates?

At the beginning of the hiring process for a given position, I have a twenty-minute conversation with the hiring manager. Learning exactly what the hiring manager—who knows the position better than anyone else—wants helps me to make sure the job description is prioritized appropriately to attract the right candidates. Then, during the candidate screening process, I get the candidates to open up so that I fully understand their backgrounds and where their skills lie, and I can get a feel for their personality and work style.

With a solid understanding of the needs of the hiring manager and thorough candidate conversations, I send proposed candidate synopses explaining why I think the candidates are good fits. This process allows me to test whether I have identified all the most important criteria. As a result of this approach, a client sometimes may come to realize they want something a little bit different than what they thought they wanted.

If I get the feeling that the client is a bit uncertain as to what they are looking for, I’ll often test the waters by sending some variety in the candidates. Clients sometimes don’t know what they are looking for until they see it.

Again, not to be too redundant, but that first twenty-minute call with the hiring manager is so essential for an efficient and effective hiring process. Without this conversation, I’m shooting in the dark. Even when I learn that what the client wants is a little different than what they first articulated, I at least have a strong starting point.

Do you help clients tweak their job descriptions?

A client organization often writes job descriptions based on what the candidate will be doing every day instead of striving to convey the most important aspects of the job. I take the approach of asking clients what is most important so that the job description is prioritized appropriately.

My outsider’s perspective is also valuable to make sure job descriptions are clear. Clients know their businesses well, so it is easy for them to use internal jargon that is not well understood by the industry at large and will be confusing and possibly off-putting to candidates.

Do you ever experience a lack of alignment for a given position within your client’s organization?

Typically, the hiring manager and executive team are in alignment; however, a lack of priority alignment is more common between the hiring manager and human resources (HR). The HR team is so critical to a company’s talent-acquisition process, but virtually every position in the market today has become much more specialized. It’s impossible for HR to understand the nuances of each job. One day, HR is hiring an accountant; the next day, a manufacturing director; and the next day, a medical device quality engineer. This is why 180 Engineering’s specialization is so valuable. We understand the engineering and technology markets and often serve as a bridge between HR and hiring managers.

What’s most exciting to you about working with candidates?

I love being able to uncover aspects of what candidates want that they may not have been able to articulate themselves in the past. Pairing people’s true passions with positions that allow them to pursue those passions . . . there’s nothing better.


To talk to Julie and learn more about 180 Engineering’s talent acquisition services, contact us.