By: Leslie Stevens-Huffman

Engineering contractors are in high demand these days. So much so, that an experienced professional with desirable skills and credentials may receive multiple offers.

Losing your top choice to a competitor can hurt your firm’s ability to take on additional projects, lower morale and increase stress. And who has the time to execute another search?

Never fear. Here are five best practices that can significantly raise your batting average by improving your techniques when you step up to the plate.

1. Learn Your ABCs. Landing your first choice can be as simple as ABC, an acronym for “always be closing.” The idea is to continuously work on closing an engineering contractor from the moment you first meet them. You see, understanding a candidate’s motivation is the key to sealing the deal, and if you wait until the end of the hiring process to discuss an engineer’s passions, it may be too late.

Ask open-ended questions during your initial meeting to elicit the contractor’s needs, preferences and goals, then sit back, take notes and give him or her the floor.

2. Customize Your Value Proposition. Once you understand the contractor’s priorities, tailor your project descriptions, benefits and team interactions toward his or her needs and career objectives.

As engineer and author  Pete Soderling points out in Mashable: “If you can’t explain why the technical challenges directly related to this role are interesting and worth solving, you’ll lose your audience. It’s that simple.”

Practice your ABCs by continuing to touch on how your firm and project fit the contractor’s requirements throughout the interviewing process. Customizing your value proposition and creating a unique, inclusive interviewing experience that showcases your culture, team and engineering prowess makes contractors feel important, displays respect, and conveys your sincere interest in hiring them. Remember, if you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll end up appealing to no one.

3. Take Stock of Your Competition. While you’re in discovery mode, find out where else your contractors are interviewing, whether they’ve received any offers and which way they are leaning. Knowing who you’re competing against as well as the contractor’s likes and dislikes lets you emphasize your firm’s uniqueness and strategic advantages and improve your position.

You may only get one shot to secure the services of a top engineering contractor, so it’s important to know where you stand before you make an offer. Soliciting feedback and continually gauging the contractor’s interest through the hiring process gives you the opportunity to confront objections and increases the likelihood of your proposal being accepted.

4. Shorten the Hiring Cycle. The more time you take to make your decision, the more time a contractor has to explore other opportunities. Plus, an engineer may feel compelled to go with a less desirable offer if you hesitate. Complete the interviewing process within 48 hours, and once you’ve found the ideal contractor, make an offer right away. Why wait, when you can close the deal right then and there.

5. Make a Competitive Offer. Presenting a low ball offer to an engineering contractor just to save a few dollars is a recipe for failure in a competitive labor market. Research the going market rate and confer with your recruiter to ensure that your offer is on point. After all, you’ve already invested considerable time in interviewing, so why not reap the rewards by offering to pay the contractor what they’re worth.


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