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HR Tips: Managing Engineers

Are you looking for ways to manage engineers?
Joe Van Tassel 28 Jul 2020

There are two ways that the technology sector is being uniquely impacted right now. One is with low unemployment numbers as a result of COVID-19,  and the second is some uncertainty around H1B visas. The U.S. has decided to place a hold on any new H1B visas being awarded, to prioritize domestic jobs. Engineering and technology firms use a lot of visa holders for high technical and specialized jobs, so they become quite crucial as the companies need engineers to operate at every level, be it from an entrepreneurial standpoint, to management, down to technicians. Leadership when it comes to managing engineers is a skill that’s not easy to find.  In order to fill the role successfully one must understand how the technology goes together and also relate to the emotions of these very technical, smart, and math-minded personalities.

Below are a few engineering profiles to help managers better understand working with all levels of the engineering team.

The Entrepreneurial Engineer

Have you met engineers like Elon Musk who are always thinking of new ideas, innovations, and are continuously tinkering away at projects? Personality types like Elon Musk are great at new ideas but perhaps prefer to stay in simply developing projects all day long without having to deal with the hassle of managing people. Business Insider, SpaceX, Tesla CEO, and Microsoft’s founder along with Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Netflix’s Redd Hastings each took the personality test and agreed they would choose to achieve their professional goals over “pleasing” others. This is not a bad thing according to philanthropist Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, but it simply means that these personality types will do what it takes to accomplish their dreams even if there is a chance it may upset some people.

The Manager

Let’s say you have a team that you want to manage and you have several entrepreneurial types. How do you align each individual, stick to development project timelines, and ensure overall company costs and goals are achieved? You cannot put a non-engineer in charge and expect the engineers to have full respect for that person. You also cannot put someone in charge that has zero people skills. Some key strengths of a good engineering manager include, leadership, decision making, responsibility and the real ability to communicate with technical teams while also focusing on business matters. Speaking from experience as a leading California Tech Recruiter, this applies across all engineering verticals, from mechanical engineers, to civil engineering, through to chemical engineering, etc…

The Technician

Head down and bum up – most technicians are focused on getting their job done and are working through the day focused on clocking out. The right engineering manager will be focused on building up teams who will start determining methods and tasks, define consequences, finish tasks on time, allow for mistakes, enable talent, and focus on the customer’s needs.

Recruiting the right engineering manager to manage a range of personality types in the engineering faculty is a real challenge for many human resources teams. If you have not worked in a technical or engineering environment oftentimes the notion of what’s the right fit and the right leadership style becomes a real unknown. Making assumptions can cost the company in more ways than one. The wrong leadership can result in resignations, dysfunctional teams, hefty HR lawsuits, and the end product of those consequences will only lead the company’s profits to erode.

Integress has a consultative process that really digs deep into these challenges in establishing the right candidate that can perform the role. We can help cherry-pick the right candidate to manage engineers, handle business issues, work with the CFO or CEO to align innovation goals, and increase production. These skilled candidates are also adept at the deployment of research and development projects. With the status of H1B visas posing a challenge to companies in the US, it is vital to have a contingency plan to ensure that candidates are interviewed now and perhaps contracted as interim solutions. Should there be an issue with existing experts being forced to go back to their country origin, these steps can minimize the impact to your teams. Take the guess work out on the types of candidates you need, stop taking a hit and miss approach on Ziprecruiter or Indeed, get the right people through Integress engineering recruiters and headhunters. We operate throughout the US, from our Inland Empire Engineering Recruiters location all the way to Chicago Tech Recruiting. We’ve worked in almost every industry vertical from IT recruiting to automation headhunting.

The team at Integress will work closely with you to ensure the right specifications are followed in order to get the right candidates in front of you. We are engineers ourselves and have the ability to provide executive search on contingency, which means there are no fees upfront. For an initial consult, contact us HERE

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