With the economy picking up in the Gulf Coast region as well as in other parts of the country, we’ve received many questions from companies that use SOLIDWORKS, wanting to know how to find and hire the right engineers and designers to feed their growing demand. SOLIDWORKS, like any other tool, is only as good as the person using it. So, how do you know the engineer standing in front of you, resume in hand, is the right person to maximize the return on your SOLIDWORKS investment?
Traits to look for in a Candidate
The first step in any search is identifying what you are looking for. If you have been in a management position for any length of time, you have likely noticed a trend among your best-performing team members: they embody what it is to be considered a craftsman. True craftsmen are excited by the tools of their trade and are more likely to find success using them. Whether it’s the mechanic who sprints to the MAC tool truck when it pulls into the parking lot like a kid running after an ice cream truck, or the machinist that never misses a chance to quiz the local Mazak or Haas rep, these top performers fully immerse themselves in their trade. These are the kinds of team members who like to discover new and innovative methods for getting their job done faster, better, and cheaper. The same rules apply for engineers and designers
How to find the right Candidate
Now that you know the kind of employee you’re looking for; the next step becomes how to find them. Where do you find candidates that fit the criteria we have established? Start by contacting your SOLIDWORKS Value Added Reseller (VAR). Due to your local rep’s proximity to the design and engineering sphere, they will be able to provide you with valuable pointers and resources for your search. Your SOLIDWORKS VAR can also provide you with access to a database, managed by SOLIDWORKS, of certified SOLIDWORKS users. Next, reach out to your local SOLIDWORKS User Group. These User Groups meet on a regular basis and are a great place to network with users (this is the same advice we give to users seeking opportunities). Finally, when you are reviewing resumes you receive, look for experience in the advanced SOLIDWORKS tools like PDM, Composer, Inspection, Model Based Definition or others. An experience like this tells you the candidate is motivated and constantly seeks out tools and methods to improve his or her performance. Don’t simply settle for the “experienced with SOLIDWORKS” resume line.
Questions to ask during the interview
Once you find that perfect candidate(s), it’s time for an interview. What kind of questions do you ask to ensure they fit your need? We have already discussed how experience with advanced SOLIDWORKS tools on the resume is an indication you might have a great candidate on your hands. Even if it doesn’t pertain to your specific processes, probe them about that experience. How did the interviewee come to learn SOLIDWORKS Model Based Definition? If the answer is anything along the lines of “After seeing a demo at a user group event, I presented the functionality and how I thought it would benefit our current process to our management team. They approved and put me in charge of implementation,” you know you are dealing with a motivated candidate.
Ask them about their hobbies outside of work. Look for activities in the sphere of Computer-Aided Design. Ask them if they own a license of SOLIDWORKS. All of the inquiries will give you context beyond what appears on their resume. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask the candidate to take a practical exam. Give them a simple example of a part you produce and ask them to reproduce it in SOLIDWORKS. If you are not sure of what an appropriate exam might look like, your local SOLIDWORKS VAR can provide you with some guidance.
To summarize, we have identified the traits inherent in a motivated, innovative designer or engineer, how to find candidates with those traits, and the types of questions to ask during an interview to validate your candidate is the right fit. Now, is it reasonable to expect this type of candidate for every position on your engineering and design team? Probably not, especially in today’s market. However, by following these steps, your company can hire the right person capable of providing direction for your Design and Engineering teams and ensure you get the maximum return possible on your SOLIDWORKS investment.