Short staffed? Maybe you are short sighted?

Short staffed? Maybe you are short sighted?

It takes no genius to see that the civil engineering profession is booming.  I mean step outside and take a look around, what do you see?

New single-family and mulit-family residential developments sprouting up everywhere.

Major infrastructure and capitol improvements programs taking place.

Airports and universities across the world are constantly under construction.

As a result, civil engineering firms from coast-to-coast are short staffed and struggling to identify qualified candidates.  Of course these firms should be active on social media and have experienced in-house or external recruiting professionals on board working all avenues, but there are a few candidates that may actually be hidden in plain sight that you should strongly consider:

  • Civil Engineers who have been out of work for personal reasons.  Life happens right?  Family illnesses, death in the family, traumatic divorces, aging parents…all reasons that talented professionals take leave of absences.  Just because someone has voluntarily been “self-employed” or becomes an “independent consultant” over a few month or couple year period should not always be a red flag.  Do not rule these folks out because they have been out of the business for an extended period of time.  Many of them have resolved their issues and are EAGER to get back to work.
  • Civil Engineers who are 55 or older.  Just because they have their AARP card does not mean they are riding off into the sunset!  Many firms I know will push aside a resume of those who graduated on or before 1984.  This is CA-RAZY to me. Many people are now working into their late sixties or early 70’s, and they are “sharp as a tack.”
  • Degreed, but unlicensed engineers.  Maybe life happened and they never chose to take the PE exam.  Maybe they transitioned from many years in the construction industry where the PE was not required.  Maybe they simply they just did now want the professional liability. Who knows?  But often times these folks have talented design skills, are great project manager, or who have the personalities and sales skills that can bring great value to your firm by capturing business.
  • Civil Engineers who fall short on desired years of experience.  Maybe you are looking for Director of Vice President caliber candidate who has 20+ years of experience.  Guess what? I often speak to civil engineers that have 10-15 years of experience that would JUMP at VP level opportunity.  Not for the money or the glory, but because they TRULY are ready.


As you struggle to find quality candidates in this robust economy, don’t be afraid to reel in the candidates that your competitors may be passing on! What is the harm of grabbing a cup of coffee for 45 minutes?  Worst case scenario you have to work an extra 45 minutes to make up for the time spent meeting a sub-par candidate.  Best case scenario you meet a great candidate who really can bring value to your organization!

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