As a professional service firm, two of your most important commitments to clients are to fulfill their needs in a timely matter and to satisfy quality standards. Both of these basic business components rely upon your ability to hire quality candidates to fill internships, entry-level positions, and various titled positions for experienced engineers, scientists, architects, planners, and more. For most firms, this can be a continuous challenge.
Data collected from the firms that entered the 2006 Best Civil Engineering Firms To Work For Contest exemplifies the hiring practices of the industry. Looking at the median figures for new hires, CE News estimates that a median-size firm, which employs 160 staff members, hired approximately 43 new employees last year. Sixteen of these new employees were entry-level staff. Additionally, the median size firm hired about 10 interns or co-ops. Also, the median-size firm experienced a 14 percent overall turnover rate, which equates to more than 19 positions that had to be refilled. The median voluntary turnover rate was 10 percent.
This data shows that the median-size firm hired, on average, almost four new employees every month. Knowing that from start to finish, the time it takes to interview candidates, make offers, and get an employee in the door can take a month or longer, it behooves firms to practice a continuous recruiting program.
The Best Civil Engineering Firms To Work For Contest entrants indicated that their greatest source of new hires is from referrals (61 percent) and college recruitment (21 percent).
To promote referrals, 83 percent of firms compensate employees if they refer a candidate who is hired and stays with the firm for a pre-determined period of time. Each firm’s compensation amount is unique; we found the range extends from $250 to $10,000! Many firms determine the amount based on the position of the new hire. Referral programs help keep a stream of candidates engaged in the hiring process and offer the firm some reassurance that the candidate is worth considering.
A continuous college recruiting effort could involve mentoring students, teaching seminars, or being an adjunct professor. To hire for specific job openings, college job fairs and on-campus recruiting interviews can be fruitful.