State of the Engineering Job Market 2018

Instead of publishing prognostications sure to be wrong, this year I decided to write more about what the state of the job market is right now figuring that thing will likely at least hold for the next few months. In a word, the market is very tight right now – lots of job openings but not enough people who are looking for something new. Here is a link to the article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/state-engineering-job-market-2018-adam-krueger/

New Feature: Jobs By State

Ok – so this isn’t a “new” feature, we’ve had things like this before – let’s just say this version of it is a lot cleaner looking than previous attempts. Towards the top of the homepage, you now see two buttons, one says “Jobs By State”, the other says “Submit Resume”. If you click on “Jobs By State”, you are now taken to a page with a map of the United States. If you click on a specific state on that map – you will be taken to a list of engineering openings within that state. The jobs you will see are taken from a couple of places…some of them are my own jobs that I have with my clients and some of the jobs are jobs that other recruiters in my network have. In either case, you are the winner because this is access to a lot of jobs that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to provide you access to on my own. The application process is simple, if you see a job you like, click on the job title, review the description and click “apply” at the bottom of the page. Here’s a link to the new “Jobs By State” page.

http://sunrecruiting.com/jobs-by-state/

**If you see any glitches, please let us know, we’re working on getting all of the state links to work correctly.

New Section for Entry-Level Engineers

To all of you entry-level engineers out there – we hear you and we want to help you! Let’s face it, sometimes getting that first job in the chemicals industry is the hardest job to land. We’ve created a page here on our website that has some resources you can use to find and land that first post-college job. We have some helpful links, some resume writing advice, and links to the career services pages at dozens of the biggest engineering programs at Universities around the country. Check it out: http://sunrecruiting.com/the-recruiting-process/for-entry-level-engineers/

Two Great Counteroffer Articles

Came across two great articles about counteroffers lately through a recruiter contact of mine and I thought I would share them. I’ve seen (first-hand) a few instances over the years of people taking counteroffers and I have to be honest, the advice shared in both of these articles has rung true more often than not. Anyway – for your reading enjoyment:

1.) From the Fordyce Letter in 2010: http://www.fordyceletter.com/2010/06/29/counteroffers-are-you-kidding-me/

2.) An old article, but a good one, by Paul Hawkinson entitled “Road to Career Ruin”: http://bit.ly/13qLNtM

Value of a Recruiter

Came across this interesting article today on Recruiting Blogs (http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/the-20-000-email) and while I’ve seen many others like it over the years, this one has actually prompted me to speak up.

To briefly summarize – the article provides the example of “Jane”, a generalized Talent Acquisition Manager with an operating company. She shared with this author what she has found in interviews with recent hires, particularly the ones who were recruited and placed by recruiting agencies. One of the stories is about a guy named “Steve” who told Jane that he received a LinkedIn InMail out of the blue, had one conversation with the agency recruiter – was submitted for the job and went through the process and ultimately accepted the position. It was Jane’s opinion that the agency recruiter basically sent a “$20,000 email” and didn’t provide much value to the equation. It is to this assertion that I would like to respond. I feel like this will be instructive not only for other Talent Acquisition people like Jane who may read this, but also to others who find themselves asking, “why use a recruiter?”

I’d like to start with a question. My question is this: “if this business (recruiting) really were as simple as sending InMails out all day, wouldn’t there be a whole lot more “successful” recruiters?” No only that, “wouldn’t most companies have caught on the ruse by now and figured out ways to do that internally?” I ask those questions because when you think about it – the answer is obvious…there is a lot more to being an agency recruiter, and having success as a recruiter, than simply being able to write and send emails/InMails. I’ll start with my own experience in this business as an example. I started as a research assistant working for an experienced recruiter. Our niche is chemical engineering and when I came in for my first day on the job, I knew nothing about Chemical Engineering. For the first 6 months on the job, I went through a crash course on lingo, industry terms, and the ins-and-outs of talking to an engineer over the phone. Afterall, you can’t just pick up a phone and have even a mildly technical conversation with an engineer without knowing a little bit about what they do — if you try that it’s going to be a very frustrating conversation (and probably pretty short too). On top of all that – you have to learn the ropes of the recruiting business itself…what does a good candidate look like on paper? How do you run a desk? How do you prioritize phone calls and how do you know where to spend your time? Once you’ve submitted someone for a job what do you do then? How do you prepare someone for a phone or face-to-face interview? What changes can you make to a resume to make it better? How do you gain new clients? How do you retain clients? And on and on and on and on. There is a ton to learn! I would say that for someone new to the recruiting business – it is going to take them at least a year or two to get to the point where they have learned the important things…not only with regard to the particular industry-niche they are in, but also in terms of learning the recruiting business itself.

So getting back to Jane’s example in the article – sure, the recruiter she was working with did simply send an email/InMail to land a recruit. But the experience that likely went into that agency recruiter being able to spot someone on LinkedIn – have a conversation with them and guide them through the interviewing process is what Jane is paying for — it’s WAY more complicated than simply sending an email.

For every example like “Steve” there are 10 examples where there is way more to the story than “hey, I got an InMail from a recruiter and the job was a great match and I ended up landing it.” The much more common story is that the agency recruiter had a relationship with someone who they had known for 10+ years and that contact gave them a referral to another person who was a good match for the job but had a crappy resume. Here’s how the story goes from there:

The recruiter spent time with that person on the phone and helped them build a better resume which they submitted to the client and that client was interested in speaking to that candidate. The recruiter called the candidate to test them out on some interview questions and realized that the candidate had poor interviewing skills so that recruiter spent time on the phone with that candidate coaching them on how to answer certain questions. As a result, the candidate did well in the phone interview and was invited to come in for a face-to-face interview. Again, the recruiter spent time with that candidate helping them to prepare for that interview by giving the candidate background on the company and the people they were going to be talking to. The candidate did well in the face-to-face interview and ends up being offered the job. The recruiter, on behalf of the company, helps to sell the candidate on the opportunity that is before them and works with the candidate and company in negotiations regarding the offer. As a result, the candidate is satisfied with the final offer and accepts the job. The recruiter then helps guide the candidate through the pre-employment milieu (background checks, drug screen) and checks in with that candidate periodically over the first 6 months they are at the new company to make sure everything is going well.

THAT, my friends, is how things go most of the time. And sometimes, we go through all of that up until the offer-stage only to have a candidate turn-down the position or take another offer they received that wasn’t a result of our efforts. Sure, every once in awhile we get lucky and we find someone on LinkedIn, Monster, or whatever…but that is by no means typical and no recruiter who has maintained long-term success in this business is making the majority of their placements based on luck. There is skill involved in this business and THAT is what the companies are paying for when they pay our fees. Just like when you go to the Dentist or Doctor’s Office – you are not paying for someone to check your blood pressure, listen to your heart or clean your teeth. You are paying for the experience that that doctor or dentist has that allows them to see when things aren’t right. You can check your own blood pressure – you don’t need someone to do that for you, what you need is for someone to be able to tell you what to do if your blood pressure is too high. Translating that metaphor – a company needs us for our specialized knowledge in a given area (in our case, engineering) and our ability to find quality candidates for their job openings – and for our ability to transform a poor resume/interviewer into someone that can effectively communicate their talents. THAT is where our value as agency recruiters lies.

2013 AIChE Salary Survey

Hey all – I know I’ve been pretty lax in regular posting to this blog, my apologies. Just a lot going on in the recruiting world. I thought I would share this in case you haven’t seen it yet – it’s the 2013 AIChE Salary Survey. Sun Recruiting had an advertizement in the issue, but the real meat-and-potatoes is this article, which AIChE publishes every 2-years. There some good stuff in here and in general it reflects the trends we’ve been seeing as well.

Link to the Salary Survey article in the latest AIChE publication: http://www.swiftpage4.com/CampResource/2W14AC7LI97SHZ4C/BIO/text.pdf

Links ‘n Things Monday (5/13/13)

Whew, it’s the 13th and NOT a Friday, we’re safe. Here’s some interesting science and engineering articles from around the web.

1.) It’s too bad that people have to come back from Space because Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield is about the best thing to happen to astronauting (?) in the past decade. He is set to return from space tomorrow but he has offered a rare glimpse into space life through his Twitter account and through YouTube videos. His latest video, a music video, tops them all and makes me wish more of his colleagues were like him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KaOC9danxNo

2.) I find the timing of these remarks to be incredibly insensitive. Last week, scientists from NASA, the National Science Foundation and SETI gave testimony in front of Congress that budget cuts may hinder the search for extraterrestrial life…um, what? First of all, how far down on the list of priorities is finding “aliens” anyway? It’s a little flabbergasting that in tough economic times like these, time is even given to scientists like this. I’m all about science and engineering, but finding aliens is so far away from being a priority it’s almost insulting that people are even complaining about not having funding for it; here’s the full article: http://www.livescience.com/31970-alien-earth-search-budget-woes.html

3.) It’s bordering on fear-mongering right now (in terms of the media coverage), but some of the new diseases that are being discovered are potentially very serious and very deadly and are worth paying attention to. There is word that a new SARS virus has been found in Saudi Arabia and France. I recently started reading a book called “Superbug” which talks about the rise of MRSA viruses in (and out) of hospitals and how some strains are proving almost unbeatable with antibiotics. The woman who published this piece on Wired is the same one who wrote the book: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/05/coronavirus-france-saudi/

4.) If you’re a chemical engineer or chemist, you’ve no doubt encountered some Chemphobia in your friends or acquaintances when you tell them what you do. This particular author did an excellent job in combating some of that in rebutting someone who attempted to compare the dietary sweetener Splenda to the carcinogenic chemical DDT: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2013/05/10/ddt-and-sucralose-a-case-study-in-chemophobia/

5.) Here is your cool science GIF of the week, extinguishing a flame using electricity: http://i.imgur.com/DlK2fIK.gif

Look for the Sun Recruiting ad in the June issue of the AiChE publication; this year they are publishing their bi-annual salary survey which I’ve been told is a big deal.