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What To Expect As A Client From Your Recruiter

Honesty

An experienced search consultant can be many things to a client they are working with above and beyond just recruiting: adviser, provider of market intelligence, resume screener, reference checker, recruiting coordinator, and expert negotiator just to name a few .  One thing you should always expect from your search consultant as a client is honesty.  Here is how your expectations of honesty should play out when working with a recruiter:

The Job Order.  You should always find a recruiter who is an industry expert.  Often times recruiters take any positions that arrive on their desk and have a hard time saying no.  A good recruiter should be honest and should be able to say “no” when an opportunity is presented to them that falls out of their wheel house.  I appreciate all the calls I get from existing and new clients requesting my services, but from time-to-time I must be honest and tell them they would be better off selecting another recruiter who has the true expertise they are looking for.  For instance, I specialize in recruiting civil engineering and land surveying professionals mainly in the areas of land development, transportation/highway engineering, bridge engineering, water & wastewater engineering, and water resources.  There are a number of specialties that are on the fringes, that may seem logical areas for our continuum of expertise, but are not.  These areas might include construction management, structural building engineering, or environmental (site remediation) engineering.

The Time Frame. Often times I have new clients that approach me with exciting new searches, and they ask me how long they think it will be before I can deliver some solid candidates.  If a recruiter can make you a promise like that I would be skeptical at best.  The honest truth is we do not know.  In our business timing is everything, so it is about catching the right candidate on the right day with the right opportunity.  Now, from time-to-time we may have readily available candidates that we are actively working with they might fit, but normally speaking, those situations are few-and-far between. Searches are customized and tailor made to uncover candidates with specific skill sets that meet your requirements.

The Word on the Street.  Honesty can sometimes be a hard pill to swallow, but a good recruiter will be your firm’s eyes and ears, and an honest recruiter should be able to have a professional conversation with you when your firm’s reputation is not so great.  When recruiting for a client, if I continually hear the same objections from perspective candidates specific to my client’s reputation, I feel as though I have an obligation to report that to my client.  This market intelligence will allow the client to truly evaluate their public perception and make changes, or it will lead to a conversation that will allow me to overcome those potential objections.  For instance, I have a client who from time-to-time is considered a “sweat shop.”  I approached my client with this information, and in fact they produced a report for me showing that their average hours hovered around 45-46 hours/week.  Hardly a “sweat shop” in the consulting civil engineering world.  This honest conversation provided me with the needed ammunition any time the topic surfaced and to have some honest conversations with my candidates as well.

Salary Expectations.  Every so often I will have a conversation with a new client revolving around salary for the proposed position they are looking to fill.  Because we are experts recruiting civil engineers, we talk to civil engineers all day long and have our “finger on the pulse” as to the range of salaries that are being offered to the different experience levels and specialties underneath the civil engineering umbrella.  If our client is being tight on the purse strings, we will let them know, and nine times out of ten they are appreciative of that honesty.  They often have to go by different salary surveys they find on line or through national organizations, but salaries and compensation plans tend to be very parochial in the civil engineering community.  Sub-market salaries can absolutely kill any chance of finding that civil engineering rock star that is so desired, so don’t be afraid to ask your search consultant his or her opinion of the salary range you have earmarked for the open requisition.

Interview Feedback.  No one enjoys being the bearer of bad news, hence the old saying “don’t murder the messenger.”   Your firm may have a GREAT opportunity, but if your interview process is not a well thought out process it will come back to bite you in the rear end.  Many firms fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to interviewing, and in the end, an unprepared interviewer or team of interviewers can derail an interview process and turn off a really good candidate, leading you back to square one.  A good recruiter will extract honest feedback from their candidate, and if that feedback ends up being negative as a result of an uncomfortable interview environment, an ornery line of questioning, etc, he/she should let you know about it.  Granted there are two sides to every story, but use that feedback to better position yourself the next time a strong candidate walks through your door and sits across the desk from you.

Over the years I have developed many strong client relationships based upon trust and honesty, and it is a two way street.  The ability to put everything out on the table will go along way when working with an experienced search consultant and will lead to far better results in securing the quality talent that is so desired.

This blog is the 2nd in our Honesty series.  The first in the series is titled ” What to Expect as a Candidate from your Recruiter.”

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Matt Barcus
President :: Precision Executive Search, Inc.
Managing Partner :: CivilEngineeringCentral.com

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January 12, 2016 at 2:39 pm Leave a comment

It’s All About Relationships.

relationships

Relationship: the state of being connected

Engineering projects, project teams, department teams, clients, civil engineering recruiters all have one similar characteristic – RELATIONSHIPS. This includes our relationship with ourselves, our colleagues, our supervisors, our clients, our candidates. We cannot escape this inevitable connection.

How we treat others, through our words and more importantly our actions, will direct our success. It’s about being connected and trying to treat everyone with respect and consideration. If you have established, good relationships, no one can take them away from you.

As an architecture and civil engineering recruiter, I’m asked daily as to how I conduct my searches. My answer centers around the relationships I have established throughout my nearly 30 years of recruiting. Recruiting is a profession that is much more than a business. If done correctly, it involves understanding client needs, culture and personalities, and trying to make the best match with a candidate.

Those of us who love our jobs understand that we are dealing with people’s lives. We try to get to know our clients and candidates, and many become longtime friends. I find that the same can be said for just about all in the engineering consulting business or for that matter, any business.

Prior to the development of LinkedIn, connections were a bit more difficult to establish and sustain. It took a conscious effort. Today with the assistance of social media, a click of the mouse and I can reach thousands of A/E connections.

But with the ease of staying connected, are many consultants losing that ability to pick up the phone and keep the REAL connection? If you lost your job tomorrow, would your connections answer the phone if you called? Are your clients really YOUR clients or are they your company’s clients?

It’s all about relationships.

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Carol Metzner President, The MetznerGroup Managing Partner, CivilEngineeringCentral.com

View Carol’s profile & connect with her on LinkedIn

civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion

January 7, 2016 at 10:57 am 1 comment

Happy Holidays From CivilEngineeringCentral.com

We would like to take a moment to thank all of those who help make CivilEngineeringCentral.com  successful and relevant!

All Of Our Customers Who Advertise On Our Site
All Of Our 18,900+ Followers On Twitter
All Of Our 23,000+ Facebook Likes

All Of Our 11,300+ LinkedIn Group Members
All Of Our 53,000 Annual Blog Visitors
All Of Our Friends & Family Who Continue To Support Us

HAVE A HAPPY & SAFE HOLIDAY SEASON & MAY ALL OF YOUR HOLIDAY WISHES COME TRUE!

December 21, 2015 at 11:59 am Leave a comment

What to Expect as a Candidate from your Recruiter – Part 1 in the “Honesty” Series

An experienced recruiter can be many things to a candidate they are working with:  career counselor, resume writer,  sounding board, confidant, negotiator, interview coordinator, interview coach,  and sometimes even friend.  One thing you should always expect from a recruiter as a candidate is honesty.  Here is how honesty presents itself through the recruiting process and what you should expect from the search consultant you are working with:

 

The initial call. When you are contacted for the first time by a recruiter you should know how the recruiter got your name.  Was it through LinkedIn or some other avenue the recruiter was researching on the internet, or was it via a referral from a previous supervisor, a client, a past subordinate, or maybe even someone in the peripheral on whom you made a positive impact.  This is important to know, because if the recruiter does uncover a great opportunity for you, you will want to reach out and thank that referring source.

 

Resume critique. Poorly written resumes are often brushed aside and given little, if no consideration. If someone’s resume is not up to par, I let them know, and we work on reformatting it together.  It is important that your recruiter share with you his/her thoughts, both good and bad, so that a properly formatted and laid out resume is developed prior to formal submission to any company.  I’ve seen my fair share of poorly written resumes, in fact I just concluded brushing one up with one of my current candidates.  The resume shipped over to my client in its original form may have not made the greatest first impression.  Your recruiter should understand that you are a professional engineer, not a professional resume writer, so if it is something that you have not done often it can indeed be a challenge.   A recruiter looks at resumes all day along, so they should be able to offer some solid tips.

Where your resume is going. Never allow a recruiter to haphazardly submit your resume to firms without your prior permission.  Having a recruiter “spam” your resume to dozens of companies is perceived as an act of desperation and absolutely jeopardizes your confidentiality.  You should be selective in who your resume is submitted to, and an honest recruiter will ALWAYS inform you as to where they would like to submit your resume and request your specific permission.

Qualifications / interview feedback. Submitting your resume and/or interviewing on your own without the guidance of a professional recruiter can be frustrating.  Receiving any feedback in response to a resume submission or an interview can be challenging, and for many people that is an understatement.  A good recruiter will provide feedback from the client.  Positive feedback is positive feedback; it is easy to understand and easy to communicate back to the candidate.  Often times, when a resume is not well received, or the feedback from the client in regards to the interview is less than stellar, the feedback can be a hard pill to swallow.  A good recruiter will be honest with you in providing feedback, no matter how negative; they should NOT beat around the bush or sugar coat things.  Discussing the negative feedback will provide value to you as a candidate and will help you better prepare for the next interview that arises.

Nothing available.  After speaking with a recruiter,  if they have nothing available, they should TELL YOU THAT.  This will allow you to move forward with other avenues and will keep you from being hung out to dry. So often candidates submit their resume to a recruiter, have an initial conversation, but then never hear anything back.  I can’t tell you how many times I have worked with a candidate who has told me they submitted their resume to another recruiter who said they had an opportunity for them, but never heard back from them again.

Negotiations. An honest recruiter should be able to have a frank conversation with you when it comes to negotiating an offer.  They are certainly looking out for your best interest and formulating an offer that you will be excited about, but they are working on behalf of their client, and if they feel as though your demands will “upset the apple cart” they should let you know ahead of time, because once the apple cart is upset it is very difficult to get it back on its wheels.  A recruiter should let you know what requests are feasible, what current market conditions are, what others in similar roles are making, and they should have a good feel for their client as to what will and will not fly.  From time-to-time I have worked with candidates who demand the moon when we arrive to the offer stage.  A good and honest recruiter will be able inform the candidate that their expectations may be a little rigid, and if they really want the job they will have to back down a little bit.  The goal of a recruiter is to hammer out a deal that will be a win/win for all involved.

I have seen many civil engineering recruiters come-and-go over my eighteen-and-a-half years in this business, many of them are no longer in business because they failed to be honest.  When working with an experienced recruiter, make sure you feel comfortable working with them, and set expectations up front that revolve around some of the points I mentioned above.

 

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Matt Barcus
President :: Precision Executive Search, Inc.
Managing Partner :: CivilEngineeringCentral.com

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December 16, 2015 at 2:22 pm 1 comment

Professional Registrations – More Than Wall Decorations

wall

For nearly 30 years I’ve been connecting employers and job seekers in the civil engineering industry. Sometimes I have someone who is a great fit for a position but the company does not want to interview the person. Why? Because the individual did not have a particular professional registration/license that the company felt would be valuable to the position – PE, AICP, LEED AP, PMP, etc.

Now before you fire off hate mail about the importance of professional knowledge and experience, I agree that both are important. That being said, a four-year degree and working for the same company for many years don’t mean you earned the right for job security or future promotions. Registrations are an unbiased barometer of your skills. They also illustrate your value, provide marketability and help you to stay current with industry knowledge and trends.

Show your Value
By showing your skills are up-to-date, you might be in line for the next promotional progression in your current or future role. You’re also showing your employer that you are a valuable member of the team and willing to learn new things.

Marketability
You may not think you need to be marketable because you’re not planning on leaving your current employer – especially in the current job market. With the many employer market driven changes and changing client loyalty, you should want to show you’re at the top of your game.

The days of employees working their entire career with one company are going the way of the Dodo bird. Employees often leave for new opportunities. (Sometimes too soon but I’ll address that topic in a future blog.)

And don’t forget about mergers, buy-outs or downsizing. As companies try to achieve greater success with reduced overhead (polite corporate speak for fewer people), they will want individuals who are among the best in their field. Registrations are another way employers’ view that you go above and beyond what is asked by putting in the time and effort.

Stay Current
Sure you have your undergraduate degree and possibly a masters or Ph.D. You also have on-the-job training and years of experience that you couldn’t pick up from the classroom. You also supplement workplace information with seminars and journals. Registrations or new accreditations are third-party recognition that you’re keeping your expertise current. It also shows that you passed an industry’s measurement of knowledge. It’s not a joy to complete, but you’ll thank yourself weeks, months or years down the road.

Now I’m not saying that licenses are the Holy Grail for a successful career. You still need to know your stuff and prove your worth. But as the job market expands and companies search for the best and the brightest to achieve greater success, professional registrations could give you an edge over another person for a promotion or a future job search.

Do you think that registrations are valuable to augment industry knowledge or are they over-valued and not worth the personal investment? Let us know.
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Carol Metzner President, The MetznerGroup Managing Partner, CivilEngineeringCentral.com View Carol’s profile & connect with her on LinkedIn civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion

December 8, 2015 at 10:17 am Leave a comment

No Time For Waste(water) In DC!

DC tunnelAn earth-moving event is underway in Washington D.C. Only this time it’s not on Capitol Hill. This one is happening approximately 100 feet underground to fix runoff and wastewater problems that have afflicted the District of Columbia since the 1800’s.

DC Water is conducting a $2.6 billion project to install 13 miles of new sewer tunnels under the nation’s capital. This effort will be the largest infrastructure project for Washington, D.C. that most people will never see. The effort, expected to be completed in 2022, will clean up local waterways while fixing an antiquated and poorly designed wastewater infrastructure.

Around the time of the Civil War, the district installed a combined sewage system. So when it rains, storm water mixes with wastewater and overwhelms the current system. As expected, the result is disgusting!

Neighborhoods are forced to endure flooding and more than two million gallons of polluted water flow into the Potomac and Anacostia rivers, as well as Rock Creek each year. This isn’t the type of information to be found in flyers produced by the local board of tourism or in new home listings. On a positive note, the new sewer system is expected to decrease local flooding to only minimal rain water and reduce the runoff into nearby tributaries by 96 percent.

The first leg of the project was successfully completed in July 2015. The Lady Bird, a 440-foot long, 1,300 ton tunnel boring machine, completed a 4.5 mile long conduit wide enough for subway cars. After two years, Lady Bird traveled approximately 4 inches every minute, 24-hours each day for six days each week. It cleared earth and rock while also laying reinforced concrete walls as it advanced. For the next seven years, boring work for smaller passageways will continue in order to connect the remaining 8.5 miles of sewer lines to the large tunnel made by the Lady Bird.

The first update to the D.C. sewer system since the late 1800s will benefit thousands of people while improving quality of life. The underground project addresses local sewer problems that have persisted and magnified as a result of more than 100 years of urban development.

As a civil engineering recruiter, I see that mega projects to repair or replace infrastructures systems, like the improvement to D.C’s sewer system, the Crescent Corridor Extension and the future Tappan Zee Bridge, ensures a lively job market. What are some other needed infrastructure improvements to be planned and implemented?

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Carol Metzner President, The MetznerGroup Managing Partner, CivilEngineeringCentral.com View Carol’s profile & connect with her on LinkedIn civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion

November 30, 2015 at 11:31 am Leave a comment

Are You Having Fun With Your Career?

Having fun at workEarlier this week during the course of conducting a search for a client of mine I spoke with a TxDOT Engineer who would make a great candidate for a position I was recruiting for. After discussing with him his career and the specifics of the opportunity he explained, “Matt, that sounds like a great opportunity for someone, but I’m having too much fun to leave to go anywhere else.” Not the outcome I was looking for, but we had a good laugh and talked about the importance of having fun in one’s career. I see it as a very important element of a job – I mean you are spending anywhere from 8-10 hours a day (and often more for some folks) at work, you might as well enjoy what you are doing, right? It got me to thinking what I love so much about my job as a search consultant and what makes it fun for me:

1. The challenge. The pursuit of finding the ideal candidates for my client that will help them prosper and grow is very exciting to me. The opportunity to deliver a candidate that can make an impact on my client’s business, and the opportunity to provide a new role for someone who may not have that same opportunity with their current company gives me great satisfaction.  It is also fun to compete with my teaming partners and AGAINST other recruiters!

2. The relationships. Having the opportunity to serve so many wonderful clients over the years and forge some great working relationships is what gets me out of bed every day. Certainly I have worked with my fair share of clients who were not necessarily my cup of tea, but that comes with the territory. It is an honor to work for many great clients who are equally as passionate about what they do for a living as I am.

3. The variety. I am fortunate to work with a wide variety of consulting civil engineering firms across the country. Some clients are small, local consultants who serve their local community, while others are large regional and national firms. I am exposed to working with all types of civil engineers in land development, water/wastewater, and transportation, just to name a few.  I speak with company CEO’s, Vice Presidents, and wide array of principal level shareholders; I speak with technical experts and project engineers; I interact with human resources and business development executives, all within the civil engineering profession.  Every day is a little different than the day before, and every conversation is different than the one prior.  The variety that I am exposed to keeps me challenged and on my toes.

What is it about YOUR job as a civil engineer that makes your job fun for you?

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Matt Barcus
President :: Precision Executive Search, Inc.
Managing Partner :: CivilEngineeringCentral.com

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November 20, 2015 at 10:15 am Leave a comment

ASCE’s Civil Engineering Magazine – 7 Questions

I was honored to be featured in the September 2015 issue of ASCE’s Civil Engineering magazine. A few years back I had blogged about social media and the impact and role it played in the civil engineering profession. Based upon that blog, I was contacted by the editor of Civil Engineering magazine to see if I would be interested in contributing to the “7 Questions” series specific to the topic of new marketing and branding strategies for civil engineering consulting firms. It was a great Q&A session and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to participate. I have attached a .pdf version of the article, please let me know your thoughts and let me know where you agree (or disagree for that matter), and what trends YOU are seeing when it comes to marketing and branding in the civil engineering profession.

 

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Matt Barcus
President :: Precision Executive Search, Inc.
Managing Partner :: CivilEngineeringCentral.com

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November 20, 2015 at 10:12 am Leave a comment

Job Hopping – Good or Bad?

Job Hopping

A track record of frequent job changes in the civil engineering profession is frowned upon, there is no way around it. Some industries may allow for it and it may be deemed acceptable, but not within the civil engineering profession. There are plenty of valid reasons why people jump ship, but if you find yourself in the never ending search of greener pastures, you may want to pause and think twice. Here is why:

1. A company is going to invest a considerable amount of time and money in developing your skills, providing training, paying a good salary and providing benefits, and often awarding bonuses. When they view a resume with frequent career moves the thought that crosses their mind is “why should I invest in this person when they are only going to leave after 2-3 years?”

2. Beyond quality work, a civil engineering practice is built around quality relationships and trust. If a civil engineering consulting firm makes it a habit of hiring those with an unstable employment history clients will become frustrated. That is, they begin to build a rapport and level of trust with clients, but should those clients see a revolving door of project managers or engineers assigned to a project that raises a major red flag and they likely will begin to search for another consultant that can offer a more stable team of engineers that they can trust. I realize the revolving door can also be an issue where the employer has to take a hard look at themselves, but that’s for another blog.

3. In most cases, companies are looking to grow. They want to know that the employees they hire will be a part of that growth. Of course the employer needs to provide that opportunity and must show that career path, but if you have a habit of getting bored, or trying something new, or jumping ship for a couple grand more in salary, that will catch up and bite you in the rear in the long term.

Of course there are exceptions to the rule, and when we qualify candidates for our clients we analyze and discuss our candidate’s career not only from a technical skill set point of view, but from an employment chronology perspective as well. Just yesterday I spoke to a candidate who had some solid experience and a really nice project resume, but had made some frequent job changes over the course of the past 10 years. As we dove into those situations, the moves he made were valid. It was not a circumstance where he left for a more significant role each time, or left for a larger salary each time, or left because he did not get along with everyone. He was laid off twice, once because he was working in land development in the DC area when the housing bust hit, and once because he was working on a portion of the Keystone Pipeline project that came to an end.  Another move he made was because he got married and he and his wife chose to live closer to her job.

I believe that making some strategic career moves over the course of a 40+ year career is vital. It allows for advancement opportunities, it allows for a change of pace if you are stuck in a rut, and it allows for exposure to some new and exciting ideas and people. But my advice is to MAKE THINGS HAPPEN with your current employer. Work hard, be innovative, don’t be afraid to fail, and communicate effectively with your boss. When you have done your best and are no longer able to MAKE THINGS HAPPEN, then you should consider greener pastures.
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Matt Barcus
President :: Precision Executive Search, Inc.
Managing Partner :: CivilEngineeringCentral.com
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November 20, 2015 at 10:08 am Leave a comment

I Look Like a Civil Engineer

Civil Engineer

If you have not caught on to the trending new website for civil engineers spreading across social media and the internet, it may be time to check it out. There is a new website titled “I Look Like a Civil Engineer.” The website was developed with a vision of providing stories and inspiration to the civil engineering community, while championing diversity. Not only diversity of gender and race and inspiring women and minorities to enter the world of civil engineering, but also diversity of experiences within the profession. The site is full of inspiring stories from civil engineers across the country who share how and why they got into the civil engineering profession and where their passion stems from. Real civil engineers of all races and genders and looks inspiring others to follow their passion while promoting the civil engineering profession at the same time. It is a great time to be a civil engineer, and the outlook for the profession continues to shine bright. Be sure to check it out. Share the site with your peers; invite a student who shows an inclination towards math and science to visit the site; or better yet, share your story!

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Matt Barcus
President :: Precision Executive Search, Inc.
Managing Partner :: CivilEngineeringCentral.com

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November 20, 2015 at 10:00 am 1 comment

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