steve ermak


Right now, in 2021, the engineering market is white hot.

Although there are plenty of students with engineering degrees, fewer and fewer candidates have the requisite skills to succeed as engineers in top organizations. This is resulting in a growing talent gap: too many jobs and not enough qualified candidates to fill them.

So if you want to attract and land great engineering talent, you have to get serious about competing for that talent.

Paying above-market rates is a good place to start; the old adage “you get what you pay for” rings true here. If you want top-tier talent, you’ve got to pay the top tier bucks.

But there are a number of reasons that factor into an engineer’s decision to take a new job, and pay isn’t the only factor. Here are some other ways your organization can compete for the best engineering talent in 2021.


Move fast.

In a highly competitive market, engineering candidates are fielding job offers left and right. That’s why speed is an important factor in getting a candidate to accept your offer.

I know that a lot of companies want to be absolutely sure before they make an offer. After all, hiring someone is a big investment. It makes sense that you’d want to take your time.

But consider this: let’s say you have engaged an ideal candidate but haven’t made an offer yet. At the same time, they’re entertaining an offer from a competitor.

Which company do you think they’re going to go with? Who would you go with, if you were in their shoes?

Clearly, it would be the competitor who’s already made an offer.

My advice is to always assume that there’s another offer on the table. That way, you’ll move as fast as possible and won’t miss the opportunity to work with your ideal candidate.


Showcase your state-of-the-art projects.

There’s a lot of demand for engineers with niche skill sets. For example, in the automotive sector, experience with autonomous vehicles or electrification is a massive plus.

As a result, engineering candidates are looking for jobs where they can pick up these skills. If you have state-of-the-art projects that you’re working on, be sure to showcase that in the interview process.

It gives them a compelling reason for them to accept your offer, rather than a competitor’s.


Manage your market reputation.

People want to work for reputable companies. So if you have a tarnished reputation, you’re going to have a hard time attracting and landing great talent.

Anyone can Google your company, read reviews on sites like Glassdoor, see what people are saying about you on social media, and will certainly call anyone in their professional network who’s had experience working with you.

Bottom line: you can’t get away with anything anymore.

Hopefully, your reputation is so great that you won’t have to worry about this. But that’s not always under your control. Sometimes, you’ll be a part of an organization that has had a shady past and you’re trying to turn it around.

If that’s the case, then reputation management has to be part of your recruitment strategy. Here are some intentional steps you can take:

  • Own your mistakes. Don’t try and pretend like past mistakes never happened. Your candidates are smarter than that. Instead, own up to them and show that you’re ready to make a change.
  • Proactively respond to complaints. Don’t wait for the candidate to bring up the bad reviews. Show that you’re proactive by letting the candidate know that you’re taking steps to turn things around.
  • Show that you’re serious about moving forward. Don’t just talk the talk: walk the walk. Provide tangible examples of new policies or benefits that will reverse the negatives of the past.

Great talent will flock to great companies. If you’ve had trouble with your reputation in the past, then it’s critical to start fixing it immediately.


Provide upward mobility.

Great engineers aren’t just looking for a J.O.B.

They want to work in an organization that they can contribute value to, but will also contribute value to them in their career. This includes salary, benefits, and office culture, but also upward mobility

Granted, this is something they have to work for. But if you’re talking to great talent, they know they’re going to have to work for it. Odds are, they’ll work extremely hard for it.

They just want to know that, at the end of the line, there’s going to be a reward for all of that hard work.

No one wants to take a dead-end job. By showing that you’re a place where engineers can grow in their careers, you’re going to set yourself apart from the competition.


Conclusion: You have to “sell” the experience.

Having all of these benefits is great. But unless you can communicate them to the candidate, they’re not going to help you land that great talent.

In a typical job interview, the onus falls on the candidate to sell themselves. But on the flip side, you need someone who can sell your organization and present all of these reasons why an engineer would want to work with you.

If you aren’t a natural salesperson, then you need to find someone within the company who can provide this support.

Remember: the key to finding and landing engineering talent in 2021 is to proactively sell your company to the talent market. If great engineers see that you’re an exciting place to work, you won’t have a hard time landing them.

let’s talk