Time to read: 7 min

Recruiting skilled engineers is a daunting task — factors like job security, income, and benefits are a good start in attracting mechanical engineers, but you need to go the extra mile to attract highly skilled, passionate, and motivated engineers. Engineering candidates typically use logic when deciding to take a job and will often utilize a problem solving method to determine which job is the best fit for them. 

a team of Fictiv engineers solves a problem together

Stay ahead of your competition and read on to learn more about how to attract talented mechanical engineers. This article discusses the most innovative and creative ways to successfully recruit skilled mechanical engineers:

Consider Your Audience When Marketing Job Duties 

Mechanical engineers are natural problem solvers who thrive on challenging and rewarding tasks. Knowing how to correctly market the job responsibilities that a mechanical engineer will have on a daily basis is critical. Let’s consider an example — which of these job duty descriptions would entice a mechanical engineer more? 

A. Responsible for design, design updates, and design drawing releases on projects.

B. Cutting-edge design work on NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab offerings. Take your designs to outer space and be part of an amazing team of talented engineers. 

Option B is more appealing to both beginners and advanced engineers. Option A comes from a job description for a NASA Mechanical Engineer II, and most of us can agree that a NASA job description can and should be more exciting — given how exciting NASA’s work is, they missed an opportunity to market this position more effectively. 

Now, part of good marketing is showing proof. Whether you record a video of a mechanical engineer working on an exciting project or invite candidates to tour your facilities, showing, instead of just telling, the work they will be doing is an excellent way to generate excitement and interest. Mechanical engineers want to work on large, complex projects, make a positive societal impact, and utilize cutting-edge technology. So, showing how your company offers such opportunities is one of the best ways to recruit skilled engineers.

Pro-Tip: If you are looking for how to market your company culture and open positions, check out our article Engineering Culture at Fictiv which has many helpful marketing insights!

Budget for R&D

Mechanical engineers love to tinker and develop new processes, products, and systems. It’s frustrating to have innovative ideas with potential, but no ability to bring them to fruition because there’s no budget to do so. If your company hasn’t already, it’s wise to carve out a budget for R&D projects, and advertise that fact in your job postings. 

In Fictiv job postings for Manufacturing Engineers there’s a section titled “Opportunity to Unlock Your Creativity: Think of all the times you were held back from trying new ideas because you were boxed in by bureaucratic legacy processes or old school tactics. Having a growth mindset is deeply ingrained into our company culture since day 1, so Fictiv is an environment where you have the creative liberty and support of the team to try big, bold ideas to achieve our sales and customer goals.” 

That’s the sort of message that gets engineers excited about the potential to innovate!

Fictiv job posting for a mechanical engineer

But you do have to put your money where your mouth is. Allocating an R&D budget for projects that can add value to your company is one way to recruit skilled engineers. In practice, it looks like giving engineers some time every week to explore research projects, or, even better, allocating the budget and access to company facilities to develop physical prototypes. The fruits of these projects will ultimately belong to your company, but the engineers can explore concepts they would not have been able to on their own.

But you do have to put your money where your mouth is. Allocating an R&D budget for projects that can add value to your company is one way to recruit skilled engineers. In practice, it looks like giving engineers some time every week to explore research projects, or, even better, allocating the budget and access to company facilities to develop physical prototypes. The fruits of these projects will ultimately belong to your company, but the engineers can explore concepts they would not have been able to on their own. 

Provide Cutting-Edge Equipment and Opportunities to Use It

Mechanical engineers, by definition, have a deep passion for machinery. Having a well-rigged manufacturing facility with advanced tools like 3D printers, CNC mills, CNC lathes, and various automation systems, for example, shows candidates that they can get their hands dirty during manufacturing and development. It entices with the promise that they can design and develop products using cutting-edge manufacturing technology. 

While it doesn’t make sense to procure tools with the sole reason for attracting engineers, it’s a good reason (along with improving efficiency and production capabilities) to innovate in your manufacturing facility. If your company isn’t focused on the manufacturing side of things, then a 3D printer, for example, is a useful tool for designers to explore concepts and validate designs before outsourcing the manufacturing. Sitting in front of a PC all day with CAD software and Excel spreadsheets can get tedious, so spending time in the workshop is something engineers look forward to. And, it not only improves communication between your engineering and manufacturing teams, but also results in better products and processes. 

Offer Relocation Assistance

Your local pool of engineers may not have the skills you need, but you can reach a wider group of talented engineers by offering relocation bonuses or assistance. This is especially useful for younger talent, as they often don’t have family responsibilities and so are more willing to move for a job. And don’t limit your relocation assistance to US-based engineers, you can also attract international talent — just be sure you understand the relevant labor regulations regarding foreign employment, since some types of engineering work are restricted to US citizens. 

Again, consider your audience and try to market your relocation assistance benefits in a way that will appeal to engineers. Use iconography or graphic design to promote the benefits you provide. Can you offer moving assistance? Do you offer housing while someone looks for a permanent home? Do you provide meals to the employee and their family? List them all, since they’ll sweeten the deal for potential employees. 

Create Internships & Scholarships

Internship programs are an excellent way to recruit skilled engineers early in their careers. It’s relatively easy to identify high-performing engineers by engaging with the engineering faculty at  local universities. Internships are much better than interviews as you get to see how the intern works, and how they integrate into the company culture. 

In this scenario, there aren’t any commitments from both sides if things don’t work out, but a successful internship can result in a skilled engineer putting your company at the top of the list when looking for a job after their studies are complete. Also, you can fund a scholarship for gifted students in return for the student recipient working at your company for an agreed-upon time frame after graduation. 

Organize Engineering Challenges

A design challenge with either a cash prize or a potential position in your company can be an excellent way to evaluate talented candidates. They give you a window into a candidate’s work ethic, attention to detail, and general mastery of basic mechanical engineering concepts. It’s also a way of outsourcing a difficult problem to find an optimal or unique solution. 

Just bear in mind that engineering challenges are best suited to attracting university students close to obtaining their degrees — full-time professionals have neither the time nor the inclination to tackle low-reward engineering challenges. 

 Fictiv provides a stimulating environment for engineers to solve complex challenges

Offer Training & Travel Opportunities

Engineers are lifelong learners. As such, offering opportunities to grow their expertise and learn new things is a good recruiting tool. Training can include software courses, refreshers on specific topics your company focuses on, or allowing engineers to explore topics that are interesting to them.  And if you’re worried about engineers leaving the company after training, you can mitigate that risk through written agreements that protect your company. 

As for travel, it may not be a part of your business, but allowing engineers to travel to interesting work sites and facilities can be a boon for recruiting. Overall, training and travel opportunities make for a more enticing benefits package. 

Fictiv offers an incredible benefits package

Fictiv Benefits

Offer a Leadership Position

Another way to entice exceptional engineers is to offer a position of leadership within your company. This gives them a loftier title as well as the rewarding task of managing a team of engineers and technicians. This isn’t for everyone, but it will be attractive for engineers who wish to engage with engineering from a top-level, managerial perspective and aren’t keen on highly technical positions. Engineers are natural problem solvers, so hiring talented engineers for team-leader roles helps to identify issues and solve them earlier on. Plus, they’ll disseminate their knowledge and experience throughout the company and improve the skills of the teams they manage.

How Do I Recruit More Engineers?

There are many ways to recruit more engineers, including:

  • Engaging with recruiting agencies 
  • Asking your existing engineering team for referrals
  • Posting detailed job descriptions on popular job sites 
  • Presenting at university career days 
  • Sponsoring university competitions

When hiring for a position, considering a high volume of candidates is the best way to find the right fit for the job. So, advertise and market the position. 

How Do I Keep My Mechanical Engineer Happy?

Like any employee, engineers require some basic things to be happy in a job: yearly raises, work-life balance, and opportunities to grow professionally. Allowing an engineer the space to execute their ideas will also help keep them motivated and happy. So, make those elements a priority in your company and advertise how great you are in your job postings when you do!

Fictiv — We Deliver Complex Parts at Ridiculous Speeds

While sourcing skilled mechanical engineers can be a force multiplier for your company’s design and development capacity, using Fictiv as your manufacturing partner can be a force multiplier for sourcing and producing physical parts. 

Fictiv is your operating system for custom mechanical parts, whether its CNC machining, injection molding, 3D printing or urethane casting. Our expert engineers and skilled manufacturing partners ensure you get quality components no matter how complex your designs. So, create an account and upload your design today to see what our instant quote process, DFM feedback, and intelligent platform can do for you — we deliver complex parts at ridiculous speeds!