7 Tips To Beat Out The Competition In Hiring Great Candidates

 

Fantastic job: Excited young businessman giving thumbs up while

Without a doubt, the civil engineering profession is a candidate driven market.  That is, civil engineers are in high demand in most parts of the country and when they conduct a job search they are receiving multiple offers.  Great news for the candidate as that puts them in a position of power; not so great news for the companies looking to hire them.  How many times have you interviewed THE PERFECT candidate, only to have them accept an offer from your most fierce competitor down the street?  If this has happened to you more than once, it is time to re-evaluate your interview and offer process so that your percentage rate of hiring top notch employees trends upward.

Here are 7 tips that will not break your budget or flip your schedule upside down that can help improve your chances of welcoming that next great civil engineer or civil engineering executive:

  1.  Move swiftly.   There is an old saying in the recruiting world, “great candidates have a short shelf life.”   Great candidates are decision makers, they are movers and shakers, and they do not have time to schedule interviews a couple weeks apart, only to wait another couple of weeks before an offer is made.  They know what they want and they go after it.  If you show signs of indecision or hesitancy in your process, even if it is of no fault of the candidate (i.e. sketchy work history, good not great references, etc.), they very well may see that as a sign of weakness, and as my kids often jest, “ain’t nobody got time for that!”
  2. Don’t be afraid of technology.  If you are not able to schedule a face-to-face interview in a timely manner, schedule a SKYPE call to get the ball rolling or to keep positive momentum during an interview process.  Text message quick updates, feedback, questions, or availability – these messages pop up on the face of everyone’s smart phone and allows for a quick response during busy days, but can keep things moving forward.
  3. Listen, Listen, Listen.  So many times hiring managers discuss all the great benefits of working for their company, but they fail to listen and understand the motivations of the candidate.  So ask a lot of questions of the candidates first, listen, and then respond accordingly.  What you think may be the most important attributes of your firm may not be the most important characteristics to the candidate.  Ask, listen, and then respond.  If you make your case before listening and understanding the candidate’s motivation they very well may be walking out the door for the last time.
  4. Be a Project Manager of the interview process.  If you are in a position of authority where you are responsible for hiring, you have likely mastered the art of project management.  When you are assigned the management of a multi-million dollar infrastructure project you wouldn’t wing it, would you?  Don’t wing the interview process either.  Take the time to absorb the candidate’s resume, find out what you can about them online. Develop a plan/process with those who will be involved in the interview process with decision time lines, technical skills to look for, personality traits to look for, specific questions to ask, and make sure everyone involved in the process knows specifically the role that the candidate is being interviewed so that a meaningful conversation can be had.
  5. Meet in a social setting.  Obviously it is important to invite the candidate into the office so they can experience the office environment and witness the hustle and bustle and observe the setting of what potentially could become their second home.  But beyond that office interview, meet them outside the office.  A breakfast or lunch meeting is okay, but chances are they may be a little preoccupied with the work that is waiting for them when the arrive back to the office, or they may fear their boss may become suspicious of them should they arrive late for work or take an extended lunch.  I would suggest grabbing a couple of co-workers and inviting them out for happy-hour after the work day.  This way they are not as preoccupied and they can let their guard down, and the same can be said for you.  This opportunity will allow for you to get to know the person, not just the engineer. You will also begin to witness  if a natural camaraderie is easily developed.
  6. Send a thank you email.  Wait…what?  That’s right.  We all know it is standard operating procedure for a candidate to send a thank you letter or email to the hiring manager following an interview.  But try sending a thank you letter to the candidate.  I recently had a client send an email to a candidate in the 48 hours following his interview letting him know of the value that they saw in him and that he could bring to the organization, while at same time reiterating some of the important details of their previous conversation.  This simple gesture, an email that may have taken 10 minutes at the most to type, made a very positive impact on the candidate and ultimately “sealed the deal” as he was weighing a couple of different offers.
  7. Ditch the canned offer letter.  We are excited to offer you the role of Vice President, here is your salary…please read the employee manual…we need proof of your citizenship…you are required to take a drug test…Oh, and by the way, our state is an “at-will” state so we can fire you at any time.  Sound familiar? “Woopty Frickin’ Doo,” right? It doesn’t make you feel that special, does it? For many companies, this type of terminology in an offer letter is pretty standard.  Not that these elements should not be included in the offer letter, but jazz it up, man!  Recap the reasons WHY you are excited to have them join your firm and the impact that they will make on your company.  Recap your interview conversations and let them know why joining your firm will further enhance their career.  Drop in a couple of exciting pieces of company news that may appeal to them.  And reflect on a statement or conversation that occurred over the course of the interview that stood out.  By adding some strategic personal elements to the offer letter shows that you took the time to really understand their motives and ambitions.  A simple gesture like this may be the deciding factor between two or three equally exciting offers that they are considering.

The competition for great civil engineering candidates is at an all time high.  By adopting these simple strategies into your hiring process you will make great strides in improving your offer-to-acceptance rates.

 

 

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

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March 21, 2016 at 10:04 am Leave a comment

Control Your Career, Don’t Let Your Career Control You

Frustrated with the fact that one of your peers got the promotion that you felt you deserved?

What about the guy two offices down from you who was recently hired to manage your team when you felt you were the best man for the job?

Would you rather JUMP out of bed in the morning excited for work rather than hitting snooze three times and gingerly rolling out from under the covers 27 minutes later?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then this message is for you.  It is time for you to take control of your career!

Before I go any further, I am requesting your help:

I AM LOOKING FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION IN ORDER TO HELP ENCOURAGE FUTURE CIVIL ENGINEERING LEADERS TO REACH HIGH LEVELS OF SUCCESS, SO YOUR COMMENTS WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!

Taking control of your civil engineering careerTaking control of one’s career is not a “one-and-done” event where you make some minor tweaks and see what happens; taking control of your career is a daily, ongoing, lifelong process.  Taking control, and then maintaining that control so that your career is forever on the upward curve is about making simple choices, on a consistent basis.  It is the compounding effect over time of making those simple, consistent choices, that will allow you take control of your career and advance to professional levels that you have thought previously unattainable.  BEWARE:  as easy as it is to make those choices, it is just as easy NOT to make them, and THAT is why so many fail to “grasp the bull by the horns” when it comes to their career.  If this concept sounds vaguely familiar to you, it comes from the Jeff Olson titled book, The Slight Edge.  If you are looking for a REALLY GOOD and IMPACTFUL read, I would highly recommend it.

In any event, it is that “compounding interest,” if you will, of the regular choices you make in your career that will lead to great things.  We live in a “now” world, where everyone expects immediate results NOW!  If this your mentality, then you are chasing your tail.  But if you are patient and understand the concept of “compound interest” where small actions today with seemingly minuscule  impact, compounded over time (done on a regular basis), you will find a path to growth filled with major accomplishments throughout the lifetime of your career.

Specific to your career as a civil engineer, here are some suggestions based upon my 19 years of experience in recruiting civil engineers:

**Keep a running list of clients and potential clients and dedicate time each day or week to reaching out to them.  Make notes of the conversations that are had so that you can refer back to them in future conversations or attempts to call.  Don’t just note the outcome of the call, but note any personal information that is divulged regarding family, hobbies, favorite sports teams, etc.

 

**Actively participate, on a regular basis, in the different industry associations that you are a part of.  It is a great way to meet new clients, gather valuable information that you can bring to your clients or potential clients in your business development activities, and it is a great way to shed light upon yourself as a professional, or the firm that you are working for.

 

**A good majority of hiring activities are a result of internal referrals.  That said, keep some sort of database of professionals that you have either met or witnessed in action that have made a positive impression.  These should be folks that you specifically target as you build your team.

 

**Provide and schedule regular doses of self improvement specific to your career.  Read regularly.  Attend seminars or webinars that will enhance your career.  Make presentations, whether at association meetings, client interviews, or internal “brown bag lunches.”  And if you are scared of public speaking go sign up for your local Toastmasters club (and ask your employer to pay for it – the worst they can say is “no” ).

 

**Identify a mentor.  Depending upon the career track that you are looking to take, find that one individual, either within your firm or elsewhere, that has experienced tremendous success that you would like to emulate, then sit back and learn.  Meet with them once a month to ask questions and share stories that will help facilitate career growth.

 

**There is an old saying, “good things come to those who wait, but only those things left behind by those who hustle.”  Hustle every day.  Ask questions. Document your success where you can tell your story to your current employer or potential employer and don’t be afraid to ask for more responsibility if you are ready.

 

**Don’t be afraid to fail.  Express your ideas and let your creativity flow freely.  This has a lot to do with the corporate culture you are in, as some companies are set in their ways and operate with an “if it ain’t broke don’t try and fix it” mentality.  That is, they do what has worked in the past and create a culture of idea suppression.  If it fits your style, find an organization that truly promotes an entrepreneurial culture where ideas are shared and cultivated and respected.  After all, part of the reason you became an engineer was because it allows you to be creative and solve problems in new and different ways.  They may not always work out, but if you are not being challenged or your creativity is being stifled by the company leadership or culture it may be time for a change.

These are some of my ideas.  The reality is though, I am on the outside looking in as I am not a civil engineer myself.  So here is where I am looking for a little bit of your help:

WHETHER YOU HOLD A POSITION OF EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP WITHIN THE CIVIL ENGINEERING COMMUNITY OR ARE AN EIT WITH JUST A COUPLE YEARS OF EXPERIENCE, PLEASE COMMENT BELOW WITH ANY WORDS OF WISDOM THAT YOU MAY HAVE.  WHAT ACTIONS WOULD YOU SUGGEST TAKING ON A REGULAR BASIS, THAT COMPOUNDED OVER TIME, WILL LEAD TO A HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL CAREER IN CIVIL ENGINEERING?

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

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March 14, 2016 at 8:50 am 1 comment

Missed Career Opportunities & Diminishing ROC

Timing the stock market is impossible…no matter what anyone tells you, it just can’t be done on a sustainable basis.  The same can be said when it comes to career opportunities.  Take a look at this chart:

Missed opportunities

There are a number of different directions I could go comparing your career to the stock market, but my message today is that if you try to perfectly time your career moves you will spend the rest of your career with the same organization.  If you miss out on opportunities that are presented to you for no other reason then “the timing is not right,” then you are diminishing your ROC (Return on Career).    Diminishing returns on career – here is what I am talking about:

  • Exposure to salary compression
  • No exposure to new people, new clients, new cultures, or new types of projects
  • No breaking out of your comfort zone
  • Missed growth opportunities passing you by
  • Creative and lucrative retirement savings programs

I’m not suggesting making a move every couple of years, because I still believe the “job hopping” mentality will catch up to you, at least in the civil engineering consulting world.  But if an opportunity presents itself, and I don’t mean one that is just  doing the same thing with a different company for a little bit more money, those are a dime-a-dozen, but something different and challenging that can take your career to new levels; don’t you owe it to yourself to at least explore the opportunity?  It does not have to be on company time, as most executives and hiring managers we work with are willing to meet first thing in the morning for breakfast, out for drinks or dinner after regular business hours, or even on the weekends.

Quite often when I approach candidates with career opportunities with clients that I am extremely passionate about I am told that “the timing is not right.” I get it, on the surface the timing is rarely right because:

  • You are in the middle of a project – but aren’t you always going to be in the middle of some sort of project or task?
  • You would feel guilty leaving your boss with challenging task of having to replace you or pick up your work that you are leaving behind – don’t you think if your boss was presented with a great opportunity he/she would consider it?
  • You feel as though you deliver great value to your employer and you would feel bad about leaving them in a bind – other valuable employees have moved on before you, yet the company managed to survive, and often thrive!
  • You are waiting on a bonus – there is a strong likelihood that that bonus can be equalized with a signing bonus from your new employer.

It is a great time to be a civil engineer as there are tremendous opportunities available with firms that are creating new positions due to growth, expanding into new services lines, and opening up new offices in new geographies, all of which present enormous upside for experienced professional.  Guess what? The folks that take on those new and exciting opportunities are in turn creating some quality opportunities within the firms they left.  So take a step back and reflect upon all you have accomplished, what your current career situation looks like, and what the future holds for you with your current firm.

Take a good, hard, honest look.

If you do not see that defined path for advancement, or if you find that you are too “comfortable” or “content” in your current role and see that that level of contentment is leading to complacency, then shed the “not the right time” excuse and take some time to explore what other opportunities may be out there.

Wayne Gretzky

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

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February 29, 2016 at 11:30 am Leave a comment

Do Formal Mentoring Programs Work?

Recently I had a candidate interview with a mid-sized consulting civil engineering firm.  The company was very well established with strong leadership and a great reputation within their community.  The interview went well and both parties enjoyed spending the day together getting to know one another, both on a personal and professional level.  Following the interview, in debriefing the candidate, she had one major area of concern about the company.  You see, my candidate is an ambitious young professional with about 10 years of experience.  She is confident in her abilities and has had some really good experience thus far in her career.  One of the reasons she was considering a new opportunity was because her existing employer did not have a mentorship program where she could further refine her career as a professional civil engineer. She was looking for a firm where she could not only be challenged and where a visible path for upward career mobility was available, but where she could be provided a mentor to guide her in areas of technical and managerial leadership in order to develop a well rounded and productive career, one day leading to a principal or executive level role.  This conversation led to a couple of interesting discussions not only with my candidate, but with my client as well.  Initially I thought to myself, “why wouldn’t a company have a formal mentorship program in place?”  It seems like a no brainer, right?  But in the words of Lee Corso:

For any of you ESPN College Game Day fans :)

For you ESPN College Game Day fans 🙂

Though my client does not have a formal program, they do have  a number of mentor-protege situations within the organization that occurred naturally, and they feel that is the best approach for their culture.

There are a number of advantages to formal mentoring programs if they are carried out properly:

  • Established goals with measurable outcomes
  • Authored plans / curriculums
  • Sense of accomplishment for both mentor and mentee
  • Value added benefit to employees
  • Building of strong relationships between employees and company principals which may lead to a stronger sense of loyalty
  • Direct organizational benefits in the areas of company growth, client satisfaction, employee engagement and pride

Without a doubt, those are some major advantages that can separate your civil engineering firm from the pack and help distinguish itself from the competition.  There are however some potential downsides to a formal mentoring program worth considering:

  • You MUST have a dedicated Principal who is willing to develop or research, administer, and monitor the program on a consistent basis
  • Forcing a mentor / metee relationship between two people can be troublesome, as opposed to letting a natural relationship flourish over time
  • A forced mentor / mentee relationship that goes awry leads to fences that need mending, which takes time and effort in-and-of-itself

At the end of the day, each organization has to look itself in the mirror and determine whether or not a formal mentoring program fits their culture, and if so, do they have the resources of time, effort, and money to deliver an effective program where all parties can reap the benefits?

What has YOUR experience been with a formal or informal mentorship program within your civil engineering organization?

About the Author:

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

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February 22, 2016 at 10:37 am Leave a comment

Work – Life Balance: A Civil Engineer Putting Family First

work life balance banner

 

Correct me if I am wrong, but here are some existing truths in the world of civil engineering:

  • The economy continues to improve
  • The civil engineering profession is booming
  • Consulting engineering firms seem to be as busy as they have ever been
  • The demand from clients is high
  • The fight for talent is intense and ongoing

Faith, work, spouse, children, volunteerism, health and fitness, personal development, friends, hobbies, plain ol’ down time.  How do YOU prioritize these items? Is it possible to find balance? In this day and age, is it possible to put any of these items ahead of your responsibility of working as a civil engineer knowing the truths listed above?

Many civil engineers I speak with are working 50-60 hour weeks on a regular basis, not to mention their time outside of the office where they are thinking about work!  Last month I had a candidate who took a stand and made the conscious decision to re-prioritize his work/life balance, at the minor sacrifice of his paycheck; for the sake of anonymity I will Work-Life-Balance-Sign-post-by-Stuart-Milesrefer to this candidate as “Steve.”   As a Sr. Project Manager for a busy highway engineering consulting firm, Steve had a strong passion for his career and his profession. He had a very successful 16 year career, had worked his way up, and was at the point where he had not only mastered many areas of his profession from a technical standpoint, but he had also developed great people and inter-personal / inter-relational skills which allowed him the added opportunity to be actively involved in marketing and business development efforts and a lot of client-facing time.  His employer at the time valued those skills, and saw Steve as an integral contributor to the growth of the local office he was working in.  Beyond his typical project management duties, Steve was also attending networking events, planning meetings, board meetings, public outreach meetings,  and other business related activities around regular business hours, which was pretty typical for someone in his role.  As much as he enjoyed what he was doing, he had to put the breaks on.

Steve is a family man, and he made the conscious decision that he needed to spend more time with his family.  His children were growing up quickly right before his eyes, but they were still young enough where he could be a major influence in their lives and he did not want to miss out on that opportunity.  Steve came to us with his story and asked if we could help.  He was not looking to work with any less vigor or passion, but he wanted an opportunity where he could be more focused internally as a “hands on” project manager.  Steve wanted a role with a company where they valued his experience and could utilize his talents functioning as a technical expert providing QA/QC on projects, and where he could mentor and develop younger engineers into strong and successful project managers themselves.  He would still carry the many stresses that come with being a civil engineering consultant, and he was fine with that, but by uncovering an opportunity that was more internally focused, which diminished many of the after hour business activities, his life would be more balanced and he could dedicate more time to his family.  We were excited to present an opportunity to Steve that would allow for the shift in his career.  He took about a nine percent cut in base pay, but with bonus he will likely meet or exceed what he was previously making.

With this change, Steve’s life is more in balance and his priorities straight.  As a result, Steve is happier, and because he is able to enjoy more time with his family and because he relieved himself of some of his previous duties, he is more productive than ever!

Everyone’s motivation and priorities in life are different, absolutely.  But if you were feeling the way Steve was, would you be bold enough to consider making the type of move where you might take a cut in pay, but where the percentage increase in your happiness and well being superseded the percentage loss in pay?

 

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

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February 15, 2016 at 9:53 am 1 comment

Are You The Smartest Civil Engineer In The Room?

Light Bulb

Are you the smartest civil engineer in the room?  If you answered “yes,” might it be time for you to explore a new opportunity?

I am not sure where the quote originated from, but it has often been said:

Smartest Person in the room

Last year I published a blog about about firms who are stuck in their old ways, and no matter how successful those “ways” worked for them in the past, should civil engineering firms not have the ability to evolve as a company, they will be left in dust.  This same concept certainly applies to the individual civil engineer as well.

No one is perfect, I suspect we can agree on that.  There is always room for improvement, and unless you surround yourself with people who are more talented than you, if not overall, at least in specific areas, your career will remain static.  Often times I hear from civil engineers that they have “topped out” or hit the proverbial “glass ceiling.”  Because of certain situations they very well may have advanced as far as they can with their current organization, but figuratively speaking that may also be their way of feeling as they are the smartest person in the room.  Surrounding yourself with those whose intelligence surpasses your own can allow for the following:

  • Learning of new engineering concepts
  • Learning of new management, financial, and business operational techniques
  • Learning of how technology is changing the way business is done
  • Exposure to new opportunities and activities outside of the workplace
  • Challenging of authority and learning as a result
  • The ability to compete more vigorously

 

Once you surround yourself with more talented people, you will witness the domino effect take place, as more doors will open and more opportunities will present themselves, which can lead to professional and personal development.

So every once in a while, be sure to take a step back and observe your surroundings…are you the smartest person in the room?

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

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February 8, 2016 at 9:46 am 2 comments

Hiring 55+: That Silver Hair May Be A Silver Lining

Goerge Burns
Back in 2012 I started a discussion on LinkedIn, and then wrote a blog in response to that discussion that revolved around the employment of those 55 and older.  The idea that employers shy away from hiring those with 35+ years of experience is disheartening and unfortunate, and in fact, in the line of business that I am in of recruiting civil engineering and land surveying professionals, this line of thinking is not necessarily uncommon.  The perception often is that those 55 and older are “riding off into the sunset” and lack the passion and energy.  Though this very well may be true for some, there are PLENTY of civil engineers and surveyors who are vibrant, passionate, extremely knowledgeable, and remain very competitive who see themselves working until their mid 70’s, or in the case of Bob Vollmer, until nearly the century mark…take a look:

In that LinkedIn discussion that I alluded to earlier, one of the participants commented as follows in regards to the “seasoned professionals” he works with:

“I am presently working with a group of seasoned professionals that can handle just about any problem with little direction. What a difference in the caliber of design product! The client knows and appreciates that quality and I am confident they will continue to use our service. Managers should be aware of the value of that quality and the little comparative cost difference as a percentage of the entire project it represents. “

That said, as the war for talent in the civil engineering and land surveying profession continues, don’t be so quick to toss aside that resume that shows a graduation date from the 70’s or early 80’s,

THAT SILVER HAIR MAY VERY WELL BE A SILVER LINING!

 

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

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February 1, 2016 at 10:15 am Leave a comment

Has Your A/E Firm Taken Over Your Identity?

question

Are you known as a civil engineer, architect, landscape architect and planner OR are you known as an employee of your employer?

Recently an outstanding executive engineer was set to interview with my client. This engineer had worked as a leader in his firm for 20 years. At the start of the process, he told me had participated in a three-month long interview process for another opportunity only to not receive an offer. He was informed that he was not hired in the previous firm because they thought he was known as “Bill Smith, ABC Engineers.”

In other words, he was no longer “Bill Smith, PE, well respected leader in the ACEC engineering community.” Instead he was known as “ABC Engineers’ Bill Smith.” The firm told him that they were concerned that he had been with his employer (and successful) for so long, that his identity with municipalities and agencies was too intertwined with his firm’s identity.

This made me wonder: Can a firm take over your professional identity? Do you become the “brand” of your firm?

A “personal” or “professional brand” is an identity built around you personally. It is in basic terms, who you are and how you want the world to see you. Personal brands can be flexible and are becoming helpful for use in your career – at all levels.  A “business brand” is an identity built around a company or business. These brands are usually not flexible and can be critical to a firm’s success or failure.

Many of us are taught to be aware of our behavior when we attend business functions as we are representing our firms. We typically introduce ourselves by our name and our company affiliation. To separate your professional identity from your company’s is tricky. That is where your personality and relationships come in. You are representing your company, but remember you are also your brand.

LinkedIn and other professional social media outlets are helping many of us develop our own “personal/professional brand.” Blogs, participation in technical associations, published technical papers, LinkedIn profiles and published writings (like this one you are reading) are great avenues to have people learn who you are and what you do. For example, after reading this, it would be my hope that when someone asks “Do you know anyone who is an architecture or civil engineering recruiter/headhunter?” that you would reply “Yes. Carol Metzner does that.” 🙂

 

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

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

January 27, 2016 at 5:14 pm Leave a comment

Honesty & The Exit Interview

Exit InterviewsExit interviews are rarely an enjoyable experience – for the company, or for the employee.  Now, from time-to-time “high fives” are given when sub-par, poorly producing employees resign. Or employees skip out to their car and begin gleefully singing and offering up a rapid fire of fist pumps in the air excited about moving on to a new employer. But I believe that in many cases, when someone resigns, a good, quality relationship is broken and the exit interview can be difficult.  That said, resignations and layoffs are a part of life, and companies and employees live another day and continue to prosper no matter how awkward that moment in the exit interview may be.    So often I hear about how exit interviews are a complete waste of time, and that they are more of a “that’s the way we’ve always done it” process and mentality, and really just a necessary evil.  But WHAT IF those employees who were leaving were REALLY honest, and that leaders conducting the interview truly ENCOURAGED honesty during the interview.  A true dose of honesty could make a great impact on many organizations, big and small, but a high level of commitment to the evaluation of results of exit interviews must be made.  Many organizational leaders are already stretched thin as it is, I get it, and putting in the time to undertake such a task likely presents great challenges and can easily be put on the back burner as other priorities take precedence…but what if?

If honesty is encouraged where as those leaving your company would actually feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, consulting firms and organizations who employ civil engineers could truly continue to evolve and better themselves.  Certainly there will be those employee experiences and comments that will be considered outliers, but if you are hearing a steady dose of what really works and what they really enjoyed, and continue to enhance that culture or those programs or those projects, you will continue to retain your top talent.  Typically employees are much more inclined to share the positive than the negatives , as they do not want to burn any bridges or hurt any feelings.  But by having an honest conversation with those exiting the building for the last time where they feel comfortable ALSO sharing the negatives can be of great value to an organization.

  • **Maybe a manage or director who is great and widely liked by clients shows a completely different persona to his employees, which leads to resentment or diminished morale.
  • **Maybe some of the systems that you have in place are antiquated and prohibiting you from keeping up or passing by the competition.
  • **Or maybe a branch or satellite office is not getting the attention from corporate leadership that it so desires, and as a result the staff working there feel like the ugly duckling.

There is a saying that I have heard a couple of times recently that states, “you don’t know what you don’t know.”    Try looking at exit interviews not  merely as a formality when turnover occurs, but try REALLY using them as a learning tool and a way to provide future value to your organization.
This was the third entry in our HONESTY series.  The first two entries in this series are as follows:

What to Expect as a Candidate from your Recruiter

What to Expect as a Client from your Recruiter

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

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January 22, 2016 at 12:18 pm 1 comment

It’s Not About The Title or The Money: Stop Lying To Yourself!

money

If I had a penny for every time a job seeker told me that they would not reject a job offer based upon the title or the money, I could have bought an island years ago!  Stop lying to yourself.

Inevitably, 95% of job offer rejections center around money or title. That is acceptable and sometimes even reasonable. However, telling a recruiter or perspective employer that you will not be making a decision based on money or title is just not true (95% of the time).

As an executive recruiter, I tell my candidates that they should not walk away from a great opportunity over money nor should they accept an opportunity because of money. Same goes for title.

When potential job seekers call me, regardless of their experience level, I ask them a number of questions.

  1. Why are you looking for a new job?
  2. What do you want to do?
  3. What location(s) do you want to work? Are you open to relocation?
  4. What type(s) of company/companies do you want to work for?
  5. Are the answers to questions 2, 3 and 4 absolutes?
  6. What are/were you making and when is your next increase anticipated?
  7. How important are money and job title?

Why are you looking for a new job?
Are you unhappy in your current job? If so, what do you dislike AND what do you like about your situation? If you don’t define likes and dislikes, you won’t be able to red flag them and identify them in an interview. The thought “any job is better than the one I have” won’t help you in your job search. What must you have in a new job? What would you like to have in a new job?

What do you want to do?
Do you have an idea of what you want to do and are you qualified to do it? Be honest with yourself and about your abilities. If you like a variety of work, keep options open when looking at jobs. Do you know your strengths and weaknesses?

What location(s) do you want to work?
If you are not open to relocation, then do not say that you are. Many firms will not be open to telecommuting.  Do not go for an interview that requires relocation with the thought “they will love me when they meet me and allow me to telecommute.”

What type(s) of company do you want to work for?
Do you like working for a small firm, with a family feel? Do you like the resources and project scope of a large national firm?

What are/were you making and when is your next increase anticipated?
This is not a trick question. Be honest.

How important are money and job title?
If you must make a certain amount of money to live your life, then say so. If you need an officer title and won’t consider anything less, then say so. Don’t get into the interview process saying one or both items are not important and then back out later because you didn’t receive an offer with a certain dollar amount or title. It’s inconsiderate to everyone involved.

As the saying goes “Change is the only constant.”  The days of joining a company at 21 years of age and working there until you are 67 years old are GONE. As you entertain job opportunities be honest with yourself and with others at the start. You will find yourself with an excellent career opportunity with the right compensation, title and company!

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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 19, 2016 at 11:51 am 1 comment

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