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Behavioral Interviewing for Engineers

In my conversations with recruiters specializing in placing Engineers they are adamant about the point that Engineers get hired for their credentials and not their behaviors. Interestingly enough their corporate counterparts disagree.

Given 30-40% (if not more) of Sr. Level Engineers will retire in the next 10-15 years, there is a mass concern among companies that operate with these people at their helm…They are asking themselves questions like, “WHO will take their place?” “HOW will we know which of our new hires to put in our leadership development program?” “WHAT will we utilize to determine who we ought to hire and who we ought to pass on?”

Companies are asking these questions and actively conducting the research to get answers. I believe recruiters ought to be having these conversations with their clients, so they become part of the solution.

Targeted selection has been around a long time. DDI is a company that many refer to as the grandfather of this type of interviewing. KeenView, KeenHires newest product launch is a SaaS model built to aid companies in their interviewing and selection process.

It all begins with defining the role, understanding the key elements of a successful hire, beyond the hard skills, beyond the credentials. While those are important they almost never cause a failure, what causes a failure is simple. The wrong person, doing the job wrong and making a negative impact on the company in the process. By Key elements I mean, behaviors, values, competencies.

What will the ideal candidate be motivated by?

Power? Control? Winning? Helping? Serving? Completing? Responsibility? Growing? Learning?

How will the ideal candidate process information and solve problems?

Through……. Critical thinking? Discernment? Integrity? Innovation?

How will the ideal candidate get work done?

Through…….Delegating to Others? Organization? Pro Activity? Networking? Developing Others? Intensity? Visioning? Researching?

How will the ideal candidate communicate with people?

Through….Affiliation? Persuasion? Public Speaking? Empathy? Assertiveness? Inspiration?

In each company these answers are different, depending the on the companies values, mission, vision, and objectives. In many cases in the same company each department needs slightly different traits, capacities, competencies, and behaviors. In a company, let’s say of 5000 employees, mostly Engineers; with 50% of them departing in the next 10 years they might need to develop 50 different Engineering benchmarks depending on their hiring managers’ specific needs. There would also be a benchmark built for high potentials that would move through the company mentoring program with velocity.

If you recruiting are in a hot bed area, like Engineering in Clean Energy, Clean Tech, Green Tech, Bio-Tech…it is time to think about who will lead your clients organizations, and how you can help them solve that problem.

When you become the solution to the Succession Planning dilemma, you wont have to worry about how many great requisitions you have to work on, they will all be great, because you will be working side by side with your clients with the end in mind.


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