Let’s face it – looking for an engineering job can be a very stressful time, both for the candidate and employer. Both parties are looking for a new “relationship” and professional dating can be tough. It is a time-consuming effort that involves putting yourself out there – for technical job-seekers, it means subjecting yourself to difficult, often-times random technical grilling. For employers, the job search is a multi-layered process that depends on tricky coordination between the hiring group and HR, with multiple steps to try and find the right match for your team.
Qualified engineers need to have good hard skills – command of their chosen programming languages, understanding of design patterns, good coding practices, etc. However, the best engineers have good soft skills as well. I’m not just talking about one’s ability to communicate clearly or get along with team members – it’s also an attention to detail in every aspect of the job.
Recently, I’ve been involved in a phone screening our engineering candidates, and I’ve been very surprised at a recurring soft-skill issue. Multiple candidates have simply not shown up for phone screens that were sent out as calendar invites. The problem? I add a conference call dial-in to the meeting invite, but candidates didn’t join because they expected me to call them directly.
This issue has probably occurred roughly 50% of the time I send out an invite for a phone screen – a surprising number of occurrences. I know it is customary to receive a phone call from a prospective employer wanting to screen a candidate, but what does it say about one’s attention to detail if they don’t recognize a conference dial-in inside their calendar invite?
In most cases, I’m able to reschedule and connect with the candidates, so it doesn’t disrupt our ability to engage them in the hiring process. But for all of you out there looking for new employment, it’s important to remember that first impressions are important no matter what job you’re looking for. And missing a detail like a calendar dial-in starts the interaction off on the wrong foot, which might disqualify you from jobs with more stringent employers.
Also, find out ‘How to Find Motivated Job Applicants‘