How to Find a Civil Engineer

A Guide to Help you Find a Qualified Civil Engineer

How To Find A Civil Engineer

September 2nd, 2020

There is a shortage of skilled, qualified civil engineers in the labor market, making it extremely difficult to find one to employ. New developments and aging infrastructure are some of the reasons why the demand for civil engineers is so high. With the market place being so competitive, experienced engineers often have many potential employers to choose from.

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How to Find a Civil Engineer:

1. Craft a compelling civil engineer job ad.

To catch the eye of civil engineers looking for work in a job market that greatly favors them, write a job ad that celebrates your unique employee value proposition (EMV). Entice them with details about your company culture, the latest technology you use, benefits and perks you offer, etc. Think about what is important to people and what might convince them to work for you instead of another company.

What civil engineers in the job market are looking for:

  • Flexible working hours.
  • Opportunities to use the latest technology.
  • Above-average starting salary and regular pay increases.
  • Opportunities for career growth.
  • Paid training.
  • Performance bonuses.
  • Positive company culture.
  • Office location and facilities.
  • Training at a professional level.

Use our Civil Engineer Job Description to build a compelling job ad.

2. Post your ad on multiple job boards.

Job boards are a good way to source civil engineers. When posting your job ad, you'll want to take a shotgun approach and post it on popular sites for their wide and general reach, and then you'll want to post it to niche sites for a more targeted approach. Indeed and Glassdoor are perfect for reaching a broad, general audience. Post the ad on your website and then make sure to configure it correctly so that it can integrate with Google for Jobs. This will allow your job ad to show up in search results. Our guide explains how to do this, but there are companies who can do it for you.

Engineering.com, National Society of Professional Engineers, EngineeringJobs.net, and IEEE.org are great for finding engineers specifically.

Check out our engineering job posting sites ranking for some pricing information.

Note: Keep your company information on Indeed and Glassdoor up-to-date, monitor comments, and respond to them when appropriate.

3. Use social media to recruit civil engineers.

Whether you're looking for young, qualified civil engineers to kick start their careers at your company, or experienced professionals to plug a growing skills gap, social media platforms are a great recruitment tool. They can be used to build an employer brand, increase web presence, and actively recruit talent.

To begin your social recruiting campaign, first craft your overall message. Like your job ad, your social recruiting strategy will rely heavily on your unique employer value proposition. Look at what you have to offer as an employer and then decide how to share that information in interesting ways. It takes time to build an employer brand but it is a powerful tool for attracting talent.

Attract civil engineers with these social recruiting tips:

  • Set up separate social media profiles for recruiting.
  • Post multiple times every day.
  • Use images and videos to highlight your company culture, quality of construction projects, tech, big projects, etc.
  • 65% of your posts should be original content.
  • 35% should be content from other sources.
  • Engage as often as possible with your audience by liking and sharing posts.
  • Post Facebook job ads.
  • Ask your current employees to like and share your posts.

For a more active approach, use Facebook and LinkedIn to research and recruit skilled civil engineers from competitors, identify potential employees working in similar fields, and target recent graduates.

4. Offer internships.

One way of plugging the skills gap in your company is by bringing graduates in and training them, giving them the skills you're looking for in the labor market. It might take some time and resources, but a good internship program will attract the best graduates. Once you've trained them and they've had the first-hand experience of what it's like to work at your company, chances are good they'll take a full-time position if you offer it to them.

Use your internship program to create lasting partnerships with the best schools, colleges, and universities. That way your brand becomes associated with these institutions, you have access to the best up-and-coming talent, and you grow your brand awareness.

Creating a successful civil engineering internship program:

  • Put someone in charge of the program so that they can ensure the interns get the most from the experience.
  • Give each intern a junior-level mentor for immediate, personalized feedback.
  • Let the interns know what is expected of them and set goals.
  • Monitor performance regularly.
  • Communicate with the interns daily to keep them motivated and focused.
  • After the internship program comes to an end, maintain a good relationship with the interns leaving the company.

Note: Many companies take advantage of the generally accepted idea that interns don't need to be paid. While this may be true for some internships, it is important to make sure you're not breaking any labor laws by withholding payment. Read the U.S. Department of Labor's fact sheet regarding internships under the Fair Labor Standards Act before deciding what is best for your internship program.

5. Ask employees for referrals.

A great way to find and hire a skilled civil engineer is to ask current employees for referrals. Create an employee referral program to motivate employees to become a part of the recruiting process. Essentially, the program offers rewards for any referrals leading to hires. Make sure it is clear to your employees that the civil engineers they refer should have the right skills, qualifications, work ethic, and attitude

6. Screen your civil engineer applicants.

The next step in finding a good civil engineer to work for you is the screening process. This will include a screening email, a short phone interview, a test, and then a final interview held in person.

If your efforts to hire civil engineers has gone well so far, then you'll likely be receiving a bunch of applications. You'll need to separate the applicants who are the most serious about the position from those who are less serious. To do this, send each applicant an email thanking them for their application. Include in the email five questions they need to answer within a certain timeframe. The questions could include:

  1. What interests you most about this position?
  2. How long have you been a civil engineer?
  3. What is the biggest project you have worked on?
  4. How do you prepare for creative pitches?
  5. How would you describe the main responsibilities of a civil engineer?

Those applicants who take the time to respond with thoughtful answers to your questions are serious about the position. Many applicants won't respond at all. This applicant screening email not only identifies serious applicants, but it also identifies who of them are best suited for the position and can go through to the next phase of the screening process.

7. Set up a phone interview.

Now that you've selected a few of the applicants to move on to the next round of screening, contact them to schedule a phone interview. The interview should be about 15 minutes long and should cover salary, qualifications, experience, and work history. Read our guide on how to conduct a phone interview to get the most out of the interviews.

Example questions:

  1. What do you expect for a salary?
  2. Why did you leave your previous employer?
  3. How did you find out about this position?
  4. What made you decide to become a civil engineer?
  5. Why do you want to work for us?
  6. What qualities make a good civil engineer?

When interviewing an applicant, have a copy of their applicant screening email interview answers with you so you can check to see that the answers given during the phone interview support those given in the email. Listen carefully to how the applicant communicates. Be wary of applicants who seem insecure and disorganized.

8. Schedule a test and final interview.

The last step in finding a civil engineer to work at your company involves a test and an in-person interview. While the applicants' resumes and the preliminary interviews will have told you some of what you need to know to decide who to hire, a test will tell you who is truly capable, and the interview, who will fit in. Arrange a time for each applicant to come in for the final phase of the screening process.

The test should be designed to assess the applicant's ability to perform the duties of a civil engineer at your company using role-based questions. The test should measure the following:

  • Technical knowledge.
  • Mathematical proficiency.
  • Analytical skills.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Creative thinking.
  • Ability to assess risk.
  • Ability to read and understand data.
  • Communication skills.

After the test, conduct the in-person interview. Read through our civil engineer interview questions for some suggestions about questions to ask. Be sure to allow the applicant to ask any questions they might have about your company, the position, etc. Use the interview to further sell the position to the applicant so that when you offer them the position, they won't hesitate to accept.

9. Offer the best applicant a job.

Finding skilled civil engineers in a very competitive market is proving difficult for most companies, so when you find one that is perfect for a position at your company you must act fast. Call the applicant to tell them the job is theirs and then send them a job offer letter that explains everything you're offering and what they can expect to happen next. Use our job offer letter template to craft a compelling and professional letter.

FAQs:

What can I do to source civil engineers?

What should I look for when hiring a civil engineer?

Things to look for in a civil engineer:

  • They should be comfortable splitting their hours between the office, on-site visits, and attending council meetings.
  • Excellent critical thinking skills and sound knowledge of mathematics and physics.
  • Creativity.
  • Exceptional communication and negotiation skills.
  • Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering or related field, accredited by the Institution of Civil Engineers.
  • Familiarity with design software, such as Autodesk, AutoCad Civil 3D, and MicroStation.
  • Excellent time management skills to ensure project deadlines are met.