You can’t – Google has them. Strike that – I have them 😉
Clearly I’m joking, but only to a point. Surely every company should be striving to get the best engineers. And they all can!
Who is your ideal engineer?
That’s the big question. If you can define what the ideal team member looks like for you then you can both recruit with better focus and also aim to get the very best of this specific sub-group of engineer. But not at the cost of diversity! Make sure that your definition is clear enough in terms of approach, experience or enthusiasm but do not artificially reduce the different backgrounds these people may come from. The variety of individuals on a team should be considered a strength and will create a higher quality, better thought out product in the long term.
I strongly disagree with the “checkbox approach” that many recruiters use – I.e. 5 years experience in tech X, expert in method Y. It’s important to consider how each new recruit will adapt to your team – enthusiasm and keenness to learn rate far higher in my estimation. After all you want to bring people on to be part of the journey forward not just to bring their skills and apply them to your domain.
Be honest in your recruitment
It may not be comfortable but it’s important to share the lows as well as the highs of the job they will do. You won’t be doing anyone any favors if you sign up a new member of staff and in the first week they realize it was not the job they thought they were applying for. This goes for the highs as well – only advertise and discuss opportunities that are real – do not dangle freedom, responsibilities or pay progression that you cannot truly expect to provide.
Know what defines an engineer in your organization and what you can provide for them. Consider the opportunities and also the challenges. Be open and honest about it.
Remember that “A” people hire other “A” people whereas “B”s tend to hire “C”s. Always be hiring people that are smarter than you – after all they will be doing the real work 😉