Skill set and technical knowledge are imperative when selecting your team’s next engineer.
Often overlooked when considering candidates for specialized positions are applicants’ soft skills. Even in highly technical roles where knowledge and expertise are essential, soft skills are vital in determining how well an individual can execute the role’s functions. Additionally, soft skills provide insight into the overall value a candidate will bring to an organization.
During an interview, it is easy to omit soft skill queries in favor of questions aimed toward a candidate’s technical skill set and knowledge. However, inquiries geared toward assessing the more qualitative characteristics of a candidate can give employers an added sense of confidence that they are hiring the best individual for their engineering team.
We have identified 9 soft skills necessary for recognizing top-quality candidates within the various engineering fields.
Engineers often communicate with internal teams and clients regarding projects. During these moments, it is important your engineer can effectively communicate orally and in writing. Additionally, comprehension and listening skills are a must to ensure all parties are on the same page with projects.
We do not always associate empathy with engineering, but empathy is a crucial soft skill for engineers to possess. When you work on a team or are in a role that requires continuous communication with others, an individual’s ability to understand different work and communication styles is vital to effective group performance. Empathy helps to develop strong working relationships within the company as well as with your company’s clients.
Although engineers have the opportunity to work individually on smaller projects, many times larger projects are a group effort and require a team of people to complete them. Your business’s next engineer should be collaborative and committed to successfully achieving the team’s goals.
Engineers must be flexible and able to adjust to unexpected changes, challenges, and obstacles within their daily workflow. If they are not able to accommodate ever-changing timelines, project resources, and changes in production efficiency, your company’s time and productivity will always be wasted.
Leadership doesn’t always mean managing a team of employees; it can also be defined as empowering others to tackle projects head-on. Someone who can effectively delegate tasks not only keeps themselves on-task, but implores others to be accountable for their own deadlines, too. An engineer who inspires others and generates positivity in high-pressure environments possesses a soft skill from which everyone on your engineering team will benefit.
There is a difference between a candidate who is a good fit and one who is the right fit. Developing interview questions targeted at discerning a candidate’s soft skills are a great way to make this delineation.
Processes are the foundation of a company’s daily operations. Being able to analyze processes and execute established procedures are important for any engineering role. Engineers must have a process-oriented mindset in order to be effective in their day-to-day responsibilities.
Creativity and being able to think outside of the box are must-have skills for high performing engineers. Engineers need to be able to see projects from multiple angles and develop solutions using these different perspectives and their problem-solving skills.
Sometimes a project doesn’t roll out the way it was planned, but that does not mean you should give up on the project in its entirety. Having an engineer on your team who is willing to go the extra mile to solve issues and overcome roadblocks is a necessity. Engineers need to be able to examine the obstacles they are facing within a project and cultivate solutions for these speed bumps.
An individual who is organized in their daily work, thoughts, and processes will make for a more productive engineer. Candidates who prioritize organization will be better equipped to handle a higher volume of tasks and will be in a better position to complete said tasks on time –or even early.
Hiring an engineer who lacks organization will cause an increase in missed deadlines and a decrease in company efficiency. A disorganized engineer may cause an overall slowdown of team productivity and a decrease in product quality.
Because of the inherently smaller talent pool for specialized positions, filling these roles can come with its own unique set of challenges. Even though the applicant pool may be smaller, it is still important to keep in mind that there is a difference between a good fit and the right fit; developing questions around a candidate’s soft skills is a great way to make this delineation.
Good luck with the hiring process while you search for your next engineer!