Ways to find the right people for your Field Engineering Teams

Our earlier blog:
Three things are certain in life – death, taxes, and a shortage of Field Engineers
looked at the current difficulties in recruitment which a lot of companies are facing at the moment.

hands holding pictures of people

If you are a team leader or in a team which is under resourced, you are probably working long hours and don’t feel that you have time to change your recruitment strategy. However, you don’t have to spend much time to make significant changes to the process.
It is a truism, but there are the people out there who are good fits for your roles. You just need to find them, or they need to find you. The first thing to do is to widen your net. How can you do this? There are five ways to consider.

Number One – Geographical

If in the past, you have perhaps just considered local candidates. This has probably led to local candidates being the only ones to apply. You now need to look wider. Consider:
Looking further away in terms of your advertising
Offering assistance with relocation
Encouraging people from neighbouring countries to apply (if applicable)
Sponsoring work permits and visas if this is possible
Remember that immigrants have a lot to offer in terms of drive, enthusiasm and work ethic.

Number Two – Cut the list of skills

Some job descriptions read like a wish list.
This may be because the hiring manager has a perfect candidate in mind.
Or it may be because the job description:
has been added to over time
different people have added parts based on their understanding of the role
A good exercise is to take time to read through your job description. Then decide if you yourself have all the skills asked for!
Then take anything out which is not vital.
Ask yourself, are there any of the skills needed for the job which you could offer training for instead?
For example, perhaps someone doesn’t have the necessary level of language. Could you send them on an intensive two-week course followed by regular weekly lessons? There would be a cost with this, but if they are a fit in other ways, it would be offset. Keep in mind that someone who is learning the language of your country, speaks another language(s) and this could be useful.
This would work for programming languages too. If someone doesn’t have python, for example, could you offer them the chance to learn supported by the company? Again, there is a cost, but it might mean you have an ideal candidate at the end of the course or training. As a side benefit, there will already be a sense of loyalty from your new hire from day one of starting to work for you.
If someone hasn’t worked with the equipment, software, or systems you use, look at aptitude. Could they learn quickly? Do they have the basic skills, interests, and techniques.

two people in interview

Number Three – Promote from within

This requires out of the box thinking. Is there someone working within the organisation already who could do the job? They already know the company, the processes, the people, and the industry. You won’t have to attract them, hire them, relocate them, or compete with other job offers being made. So, walk around the building, or read through the employee list. Assume that there is at least one person there, who could fit into your team, and then find them.

Number Four – Attract from outside your industry

Advertise in different and possibly unusual places. Your current staff may be able to make some suggestions.
Check your job descriptions for language that could be making people rule themselves out. You can check your job description with a gender decoder.

Don’t list too many very specific skills unless they are vital. Instead, are there skills which would make a good substitute or suggest that someone could learn what you need quickly?
If you usually look for full time people, consider part time, remote, or hybrid working. It may open up a whole new seam of candidates.
Work out what are the transferable skills for your industry and your job vacancies.

engineer shaking hands

Number Five – Consider other groups

Are there some people that your organisation has never hired? Are there groups of people who have never applied to you?
For example, there could be potential in these groups of people:
Those leaving the military
Retirees or those who have taken early retirement
Those who have left one career and want something different on a part time basis

The funnel

So, now your net has been spread wider and you now have a bigger pool of candidates to consider. Think of the next process as a funnel.
For example, if you have:
100 applications,
and 10 will be interviewed,
Means 1selected.
Of course, if you are very lucky:
1 application
and 1 interview
means 1 selected.
Or, even luckier:
100 applications
leads to 100 interviews
and 100 selected.
The numbers will vary depending on the role and the industry – and your specific company.
They are all going to be there at the start.
From the original longlist who or what selects the initial shortlist?
Is it one person for the initial filter or a team?
Do you use software or AI (Artificial Intelligence) to filter?
This is a key stage. You don’t want to lose anyone at the is stage who could potentially be the one you hire.
So, think about:
Bias, both conscious and unconscious
Try reviewing CVs/Resumes without name, education, current company, photo (if it is legal in your country) and see if your decisions are different.
Assumptions about work permits – don’t assume someone’s nationality eliminates them. Perhaps they have a spouse, dependent or ancestry visa?
Consider other ways of filtering. Can you:
Use an aptitude test?
Ask for samples of work?
Ask about hobbies?
If you keep as many people as possible in your funnel, you may end up filling more than one role.
Good luck.

shaking hands after interview

Further reading

How to select engineers who thrive in field-based roles.

Worth Sharing!