Beyond having specific technical expertise, structural engineers must possess excellent problem-solving skills, collaborate effectively with architects, engineering teams, and external professionals, all while understanding legal requirements, safety regulations, and the latest industry trends.
As a manager, when you find someone who fits the bill, considerable training and onboarding are then required to ensure engineers are well-versed in your company's software and processes. Doing so means that your engineers won’t waste billable hours navigating unfamiliar programs or incur costs by not following protocols leading to potential project delays.
The Search for the “Right Person”
Finding the perfect structural engineer for your team or project takes time. It is crucial when evaluating candidates, to consider the following:
Do they already hold a professional license? If not, how far in the process are they in obtaining one?
Portfolio of work
It is important to evaluate previous work. Ask for a portfolio containing information and references from past projects so you can better understand their style and capabilities as an engineer.
Ensure engineering candidates have experience working with relevant software. This is commonly overlooked and can incur a lot of onboarding costs. If a new engineer has to learn entirely new software, project timelines and overall design efficiency may be impacted as well.
Ultimately, finding the right person is about more than just their skillset – it’s about finding someone who fits into your team culture, understands your projects, and can provide a unique perspective.
Take Your Vendors into Account
With software experience an important part of evaluating a potential hire, it is important to consider if the software your team uses has onboarding materials and other resources to help with a new engineer's transition to your firm. Do your vendors have experts who provide guidance and training, or are there 3rd party learning resources available?
Software vendors are essential partners in the success of engineering teams and the companies that use their products. An experienced and knowledgeable software vendor can help you avoid wasting hours on training and get new engineers up to speed as quickly as possible. Vendors should provide high-quality customer support, have extensive knowledge of their software's capabilities and limitations, offer well-documented resources and develop custom solutions as needed. Having trusted vendors helps ensure that engineers possess the necessary skills their employers require.
Selecting a Software Vendor
When selecting a software vendor, consider their resources. Do they have experienced engineers available to answer technical questions? Are they active in the industry and up to date on market trends? Are they offering in-depth tutorials and courses?
A vendor also needs to be compatible with your engineering team’s workflow. Each engineer has unique capabilities, so it’s essential to find a vendor who understands what each individual needs from them. Vendor support staff should take time to understand an organization's overall approach and specific engineering challenges before suggesting software solutions or providing advice. This streamlines the engineering process and saves valuable time.
Consider All Factors When Hiring
Including existing or potential software vendors and partners in the hiring process ensures your current systems and technology will remain compatible with an engineer's work. Additionally, vendors can help decrease onboarding time and provide insight into best practices.
Unlock the Power of Your Firm's Technology and Operations
Beyond hiring the right engineers, your teams need access to highly optimized tools to stay competitive and reduce the stress and high turnover rates many engineering firms experience. Our new ebook, How To Optimize Your Structural Engineering Firm’s Software And Operations Stack, is a practical look at strategies you can employ, and includes tips on:
How to reduce costs with improved efficiency
The importance of finding a project niche
How to hire and retain engineers
And much more!
Download the ebook for these actionable steps!