Posts filed under ‘Corporate Recruiters’

10 Ways Social Networking Can Impact Your Business & Career As A Civil Engineering Professional

By Matt Barcus
President, Precision Executive Search, Inc.
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC, home of CivilEngineeringCentral.com

Remember when musings of the Internet was just a fad?  Remember when the compass and slide rule were irreplaceable?  Remember when the Post Office was relevant?   Well, as it turns out, the  Internet is here to stay; if you have a compass and slide rule you just might get your 15 minutes of fame on PBS’ Antiques Road Show; and I can’t recall the last time I paid bill or sent a hand written letter via snail mail. Compass That said, consider yourself forewarned in regards to the utilization of Social Networking sites LinkedIn (44M+ users), Facebook (250M+users) and Twitter (4.5M+ users), among others – don’t be a naysayer, or you will be left in the dust.  Chances are, if you are reading this, you are familiar with, and hopefully active on, one or more of these technologies.  The key is – how can you make sure your company stays relevant by using them effectively?

10 WAYS SOCIAL NETWORKING CAN IMPACT YOUR BUSINESS & CAREER AS A CIVIL ENGINEERING PROFESSIONAL

1. Recruiting Professionals – Did you see the user statistics in the above paragraph? And those are only the three most popular sites among hundreds.  And guess what?  I suspect there are likely hundreds of thousands of members of the civil engineering community  who utilize these tools and share information. They have put themselves “out there.”   By joining these networks yourself and “working the network,” you will find many outstanding professional candidates, both passive and active.  This topic of recruiting on social networks is quite a robust topic and information can easily be found online, in books or through various seminars.  There are plenty of experts in this area so invest a little bit of time and money to catch you and your firm up to speed.

2. Industry News – Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin all have users and user Twitter Logo Headergroups who will be of interest to you.  You will find that ENR, ASCE, Society of Hispanic Engineers, SMPS, etc all have active users and groups on these sites where news bites and press releases are shared regularly. Also, by connecting with other friends and colleagues within the industry you will often read status updates or tweets in regards to local infrastructure news.

3. Relationship Building – Learn what your colleagues, clients, and potential clients are doing; learn their interests; follow their tweets; make logical and profound comments in response to theirs.  You  can get a real sense of their personality, interests, etc that will certainly assist during face-to-face marketing efforts.

4. Marketing/Branding – Develop a Facebook Fan/Group page with blog entries, promotions, press releases, wins, job postings, awards, charity events, etc.;  tweet these same items; develop a compelling corporate profile on LinkedIn and make sure your employees do as well.

5. Recruiting College Students-This is a “no brainer”.  If you want to reach out to the next generation of civil engineers you need to have a strong corporate brand on Facebook and MySpace for sure.  Join the CivilEngineeringCentral.com Fan Page on Facebook!When visiting college campuses for recruiting trips have a couple laptops up and running at your table exhibiting these pages and invite them  to join your pages or groups on line.   Come prepared with business cards that provide the URL’s of your corporate social networking sites.  College students want to work for firms that understand and are avid  users of the web 2.0 technology that they utilize.  85% of college students are active on Facebook, 65% are active on MySpace.  Again, a “no brainer.”

6. Recruiting Boomerangs – How often have you had employees of your firm fly the coup, only to return because the grass was not greener on the other side?  By staying in touch with well respected ex-employees  by Linkedin Logoinviting them to join a group where they will be exposed to all the great news that is occurring with your firm, you are giving yourself a nice advantage above other firms when the time comes that he or she begins to look for a new job.  Firms like URS & Toll Brothers, among others, each have “Alumni” groups on Linkedin.

7. RFP’s – It’s only a matter of time before builders, agencies and architects will be tweeting RFP’s.

8. Professional Growth – By joining Facebook or LinkedIn groups, or by following specific associations or trainers or presenters on Twitter, you can remain well informed of all of the conferences, seminars, blogs, articles and publications being offered that you find relevant in your career.

9.

10. Ignorance is Bliss.  Do not fall into this trap.  These networks are no longer the wave of the future, they are a mainstay.  As a civil engineering professional, by not jumping on board you will become a relic – and this label is not something you or your firm will want to be labeled as as the demand for talent begins to hit the upswing.

As you can see, I intentionally left a blank space after #9 – what might you suggest to fill in that blank?


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

August 12, 2009 at 4:06 pm 10 comments

In Defense of the Land Development Engineer

By Matt Barcus
President, Precision Executive Search, Inc.
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC, home of CivilEngineeringCentral.com

Over the years I have often seen outstanding land development engineers desire to break into a new area of specialization under the civil engineering umbrella, yet they have found the opportunity to do so to be scarce, at best, purely because they have a background in land development.  That said, after discussing this topic with numerous land development engineers across the country, I have been so inclined to blog…in defense of land development engineers.

Why do many firms who specialize in areas of water & wastewater, highway engineering, water resources, etc, turn a blind eye, when hiring, to candidates who come from a land development background?   The usual response is that they do not have the desired technical experience, and  would rather go without having to absorb the cost of training someone.  As a recruiter, I completely understand that reasoning.  There are some deeper stereotypes though that should be addressed here, so let’s do a little point/counterpoint as we evaluate some of these potential misconceptions…shall we?

  • POINT: Land Development Engineers are the “General Practitioners” of the civil engineering industry.  They are jacks-of-all-trades-and-masters-of-none.
  • COUNTERPOINT: Land Development Engineers are indeed jacks of all trades, but they are often masters of those trades as well.  When pulling together a land development project you are dealing with roadway, traffic, hydrology & hydraulics, utilities, etc.  With a good 7-10 years of experience a talented engineer can fully master these concepts.  This shows a high level of intelligence and a desire to learn.
  • POINT: If our highways and treatment plants and bridges were designed as poorly as some of the subdivisions then we would have an enormous problem.
  • COUNTERPOINT: Though you many not always like what you see, often times it is the land development engineer who is at the mercy of their client- the developer.  Some developers have the goal of fitting as many lots as possible within a parcel of land for the least amount of money.  This is unfortunate as many land development engineers are very creative.  It’s not always about what it looks like, but rather the money – and at the mercy of the client their hands are often tied.  Many firms would walk away from this type of client because  they do not share the same philosophy…but many do not walk away.
  • POINT: Dealing with governmental clients is much more complicated than dealing with a developer.
  • COUNTERPOINT: Have you ever dealt with a developer?  Enormous amounts of pressure,  often times ridiculous deadlines with ridiculous expectations, and then there is the collections process.  Also, land development engineers deal with MANY different personalities -not only their clients, but attorneys, municipal engineers and other governmental agencies, designers, surveyors, planners and landscape architects, builders, home buyers, angry citizens at public meetings, etc.  I would tend to say, that more often than not, an experienced land development engineer could handle dealing with governmental engineers.

In the end, it may not be so much the technical skill set  as it is the mentality.  I believe that there are many talented land development engineers out there that could pick up pretty quickly on how to design a highway, a dam or a bridge with a little mentoring and  some additional studying/training after hours.  Land development engineers are used to spinning many plates at once in a fast paced environment, and are not often the analytical number crunchers that you so desire when designing a treatment plant.

So, when a sound land development engineering resume does surface, don’t be so quick to rule them outWhat if they are indeed a number cruncher? Imagine a number cruncher then that has acquired great communication and team building skills as a result of being in a land development environment and what that could bring to the table for your firm’s bridge or water resources group.  Would you be better off hiring this engineer and taking the time to catch him or her up to speed in a specific specialty rather than searching for the perfect candidate for two years with nothing to show?

During the current recession that we are entrenched in this may not be too much of an issue for you with the surplus of candidates “out on the street.”  But during improved times and boom times, is this mentality really too “out of the box” for the civil engineering industry?

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

July 8, 2009 at 3:37 pm 30 comments

What Can An Animated Squirrel Teach You About Hiring?

By Matt Barcus
President, Precision Executive Search, Inc.
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC, home of CivilEngineeringCentral.com

 

If You Have a Minute-and-a-Half…

 

What you just witnessed was Scrat, from Ice Age 2, working his tail off to get his prized acorn…he came SO close, but in the end he failed.  

How many times have you come SO close to hiring the right candidate, but in the end you were not able to “seal the deal” ?  In breaking down this video we can dissect how his mission is very similar to yours as a hiring manager, human resources professional, or recruiter in the civil engineering industry attempting to seek out the perfect candidate and what can occur if the proper steps are not taken.

The Hunt 

The same way Scrat has pulled out all the stops in reaching his goal, you have exhausted your candidate database, your batteries in your electronic Rolodex have gone dead, you’ve dangled a boat load of “benjamins”  in front of your employees encouraging referrals, you have scoured the job boards and resume databases, you have mined your way through the Internet, you have blasted through your contacts on LinkedIn to no avail…in one last ditch effort you have even discovered how to “tweet”, and as a result, you have found your acorn…errrrr, your perfect candidate!

The Capture  

Visible and within reach, you loosen up the candidate with an introductory phone call that progresses nicely. At the end of the conversation you invite the candidate in for an interview…SWEET!  The candidate goes through a multi-interview process and the outlook is positive, from where you are standing anyway. You feel awesome, you reeled ’em in hook, line and sinker, he’s yours, sign him up.

The Fall Off

Wait, you told everyone in the office,  you  had the announcement ready for your next company newsletter, you had the press release prepared…what happened?  You had your candidate right at your doorstep but he never stepped over the threshhold.  Now you’ve lost the candidate and you have fallen back into the depths of the same search where you found yourself not so long ago.  How could this possibly happen?

Failure To Plug The Holes 

You had your candidate the same way Scrat had his acorn.  The pipes began to burst, you duct taped the holes temporarily and juggled the candidate as long as you could.   But in the end, he accepted a position with your nemesis two exits down off the expressway.   

Unfortunately I have witnessed this scenario all too often in my career as a search consultant.  The goal of course is not to learn how to plug the holes (because you saw what happened to Scrat when he tried to do so), but rather how to prevent those unexpected bursts from happening altogether.

  • Be On Time.  The same way you expect a candidate to arrive on time for their interview, make sure you are on time as well.  Prior to the interview make sure you exchange cell phone numbers in the event that something arises that is going to cause you to run late or have to reschedule.  Last week on our LinkedIn discussion board we learned of a candidate that arrived to his interview on time, but was made to wait thirty minutes before the hiring executive was able to invite him back for the interview.  Once the interview begins the candidate may be pre-occupied with the fact that he had to wait thirty minutes.  And even if he does get over it and the interview goes well, that thirty minutes of unjustified monotony sitting in the lobby has created a seed of doubt in that candidate’s head as to how you or the company may operate…as if they do not care about people.
  • Don’t Skimp. If the interview was scheduled before lunch or before dinner, and it is going well and you see it carrying over for some time, take the candidate out for a meal.  Not only is this a memorable gesture, but as always it gives you the opportunity to evaluate their demeanor in a public setting.  And if the IHOP is the closest restaurant to your office…you might want to try the NEXT closest restaurant.
  • Get Off The Fence. Make a decision.  Once the interview(s) are complete, your ability to get off the fence and make a decision is crucial.  Don’t let the engineer in you be the cause of losing the candidate.  The longer you sit in a deep contemplative state analyzing the potential hire the less interested the candidate becomes and the more likely he is to be scooped up by another firm.  Even if it’s a no-go, communicate this to the candidate.  Your failure to communicate even the decision not to hire the candidate will be remembered, and you never know when you may need to call upon that candidate down the road.
  • Avoid The Low Ball.  Evaluate your current salary structure and make nearly the best, if not the best offer you can, right off the bat.  This shows you are serious. If the candidate is considering other offers on the table, even though you make it known you are open to negotiation,  the first impression of you attempting to short change them more-often-than-not leaves a sour taste in the candidates mouth.  
  • Remember Magnum, P.I. Make sure you,  your human resources staff or your recruiter conducts a full and comprehensive investigation.  By understanding all the details of the candidates compensation (and I mean ALL the details) and benefits you will limit the sneak attack the can often occur at the end of the process.  You know, the sneak attack when the candidate has all but officially accepted and then he drops the bomb that he is declining your offer to accept another?  Make sure your understand their current and desired title and responsibilities.  You could make a fantastic offer,  but “if the shoe don’t fit” then you have wasted your time.  Uncover their hot issues.  Why are they looking to leave?  What was the initial appeal to your firm?  Speak to references to get a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses so you can be prepare to offer an opportunity that will improve their weak points and tone up their strengths.  And finally, know what they are up to.  This may be a little tricky without utilizing a seasoned search consultant, but you need to find out what other firms they are meeting with and what the details are of any other offers they may be considering.
  • Make Sure The Fat Lady Sings.  The old saying holds true during the hiring process.  You must continue to close the deal with the candidate until the day they walk through your door.  There are a number of things that you can do to minimize the chances of them accepting another offer from another firm, or a counter offer from their existing employer.  
  1. Require them to provide their current employer with no longer than a three week notice, though a two week notice is even better; any longer and that leaves a large window of opportunity for them to change their mind.
  2. Have them sign an offer letter.  The psychology behind having a candidate sign and return an offer letter to you is huge.  It shows another level of commitment beyond the verbal acceptance and holds them more accountable.
  3. Meet with them once a week for lunch until they start in order to discuss their office set up, their technology requirements (blackberry, lap top, etc)  and to prepare them for the projects that they will be working on.  This mentally pulls them in closer to you and further away from their current employer or any other firms that may be dangling a last minute carrot.  
  4. And finally, have Human Resources invite them into the office to fill out the hiring documents so they can hit the ground running on their start date.  

By following some of these simple steps you will find that your ability to bring on top talent will be sure to improve, and you will be able to have your acorn…and eat it too.

 

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

April 23, 2009 at 1:43 pm Leave a comment

Corporate Recruiters & Headhunters Caught In Downturn

By Carol Metzner
President, The Metzner Group, LLC and
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC home of CivilEngineeringCentral.com
 
Many top ENR firms added recruiters to their corporate teams  over the past 3 years. Firms were so desperate to hire staff that they increased their recruiting teams by  astounding numbers – never seen before in the civil engineering industry.  Additionally, any headhunter who could spell civil engineering (and several who couldn’t) jumped right on the bandwagon.                       

Weekly I receive emails, calls or see Linkedin updates of corporate recruiters who are looking for employment and third party recruiters looking for contract recruiting jobs. We all knew that cuts in “overhead” staff were imminent. So, now many corporate recruiters are looking for new employers and many headhunters are looking for new clients. 

Corporate recruiters are  networking like the pros that many of them are.  They are using Web 2.0 tools, posting resumes on niche job boards and some are hanging their own shingle – hoping to win some search assignments from firms. Many headhunters are aggressively making marketing calls, offering to team with others and using crystal balls to assess the next upcoming recruiting trend.

Both recruiters have something in common:  both are utilizing LinkedIn and social networking sites to their max! AdvertisingAge reported that LinkedIn membership hit 36 million last week. Everyone wants to connect with everyone else.  Networking is at an all time high. This has presented a few issues.  Several headhunters contacted me and told me of their hesitancy to connect with corporate recruiters who had nothing to do with them until the corporate recruiters were laid off.  And some after “linking-in” report that the corporate recruiters won’t share their connections.  I say…GIVE IT A REST.  As we have discussed in numerous BLOGS here, looking for a job is stressful under most circumstances.  Stress is heightened when looking for a job when one is laid off. Folks, help each other out. And….people remember those that help them when times are tough.

The market is starting to turn.  As recruiters, corporate, contract or third party headhunter, let’s work together. Our work, as in consulting engineering, is mostly about relationships.  If you have established, good relationships, no one can take them away from you.  I have yet to hear from a civil engineer that his or her colleagues are hesitant to help them network!  

civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering industry blog :: civil engineering discussions 

March 4, 2009 at 4:18 pm 3 comments

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