Five recruiting tips for A/E firms in the new reality

The A/E industry is dealing with a talent shortage and this means companies needs to change their recruiting approach.

By Morrissey Goodale September 2, 2020

Despite historic unemployment levels in the last several months, the A/E industry is still dealing with a formidable talent shortage. If you expect your firm to land key hires in the New Reality, rethink every aspect of your recruiting approach. Here are five tips to consider:

1. Articulate unique, competitive advantages. Convey what makes your firm special – and why it’s a safe bet these days. Frame the legitimate competitive advantages your firm has over its rivals, whether it’s an entrepreneurial culture where a dream and hard work will get you where you want to go, a brand that brings in the choice projects from a fiercely loyal client base, or the financial strength to withstand the hardest punches the economy can throw

2. Frame your firm’s remote working strategy. Before candidates make the leap in the New Reality, they’ll want to know that your firm is fully equipped to operate remotely. They also will want to know how communication works and how a healthy culture is maintained through the use of screens and speakers. Perhaps your firm collaborates by using virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR) technology, for example. In any case, explain what your current remote working policies and strategies are, and what they will be in a post-vaccine environment.

3. Be the brand. In the new reality, your shot at making a good impression with a candidate is primarily done online.  You can’t easily walk them through your office, introduce them to staff, or take them to lunch. Instead, you’ve got to translate that experience – and credibility – virtually. So brand your video call backgrounds with logos and unique office angles for each person who will have contact with candidates (and clients, for that matter) in your organization. Get facile with online tools so you can quickly show video walk throughs of your office and include other folks from your organization on a video call (and with branded but unique backgrounds for each participant, your graphics won’t come off as a cheap trick). Stumbling about on a video call while trying to figure out various features may have been amusing at the start of the pandemic, but the bloom came off of that rose months ago. If this is you, get some training and coaching.

4. Have something to say about diversity and inclusion. This is a topic where you simply can’t afford to be caught flat-footed. Many folks who are seriously considering making a change will want to know their employer’s stance on, and approach to, diversity and inclusion. So whether your organization is creating discussion forums, developing action committees, hiring consultants, or onboarding dedicated specialists to advance the cause, get out in front of the issue with those you interview.

5. Don’t just stand there. Move! Get your head around the fact that progressive firms are hiring candidates without meeting them even once in person! We can tell you from experience that more and more, this dynamic is becoming a rule, not the exception, in the A/E industry. Capable professionals are in high demand, and if you string out the process while waiting for things to “blow over,” you will flat-out lose the opportunity to bring top performers into your organization.  When a recruiting process is laborious and bureaucratic, candidates will think life in the firm will be similar and remove themselves from contention. In the new reality, it’s not the big that eat the small, it’s the fast that eat the slow.

This article originally appeared on Morrissey Goodale’s website. Morrissey Goodale is a CFE Media content partner.

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