7 Non-Technical Skills Engineering Recruiters Look For


For a layman, engineering is a domain that has been touted as one based solely on science and logic. Prospective engineers are always engaged in trying to learn and acquire new technical and practical skills, as required by their field. But having acquired these so-called professional skills can end up being completely inadequate, especially if one plans to work in a corporate environment.

For a potential job candidate, possessing the right technical skills, and work experience is a must. But along with this, recruiters also expect their candidates to have certain soft-skills as well. These are the skills that will assist the candidate in fulfilling his/her role in the company more efficiently and beneficially.

Engineers are expected to be able to provide solutions to complex problems, and also express those solutions in a methodical manner, which can be understood by their clients and coworkers. They are also required to possess insight not only about their work but also the people they work with.

Hence, employers are always on the lookout for applicants who have essential soft-skills. Here are seven soft skills to focus on -

1. Leadership and Management

For engineers, taking on responsibility and preparing to lead a team is a valuable skill to acquire. Leadership and Management skills are one of the utmost importance. And it isn't too hard to pick up these skills; one can easily learn and acquire leadership skills via training, observation, and practice. Learning when to mentor and give advice, when to move back and give space, when and how to discipline and criticize, how to use a team member's strengths efficiently, are all the skills that are wished for in an engineer.

2. Communication

Communication skills are in a set of two. The first skill deals with explaining concepts and hypotheses to clients, managers, and coworkers, and translating the former from the technical to simpler layman's terms. The second skill involves giving instructions and tasks to team members and other players, without rubbing anyone the wrong way. It is important to understand the weaknesses and shortfalls of one's team members. Apart from this, it is critical that engineers gain the ability to give excellent presentations to clients, and write clear-cut, non-ambiguous, data-specific reports, summaries and e-mails. Engineers need to possess advanced communication skills, to excel at interactions with clients, colleagues, team members, and management, and perform their work more efficiently.

3. Commitment Towards Learning

Engineers must demonstrate their drive, and desire to learn, and their ability to stick to a plan. Many young, recently are created engineers may not understand the critical importance of staying committed, but they soon realize that without this skill, all other skills end up being pointless. Commitment to learning also means being aware of new and upcoming technologies, and keeping oneself updated on one's industry. Engineers who show they can work effectively within the industry and improve it, are highly regarded by recruiters.

4. Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

Engineers need to tackle situations and scenarios that require diligent and to-the-point solutions. Engineers should be able to approach and solve every task and problem with a calm and analytical mind. They need to provide solutions to all aspects of the problem while taking the least amount of risks. Problem-solving is an engineering skill in which each solution is tested and modified to fit the company's resources, and the client's needs. Hence, it is often necessary to test several related and unrelated solutions before deciding on which is the most optimal one.

5. Attention to Detail

A good engineer is expected to have a keen sense of observation. Engineering projects are often complex and engineers must consider a myriad of details and information, right from the conceptual data, the problem-solving phases, to the modelling and the testing phases. They need to focus and pay close attention to this data stream to ensure that nothing critical gets lost in the process. The success or failure of any project hinges very often on the quality of observation of detail implemented by the engineer.

6. Constructive Criticism

Since most projects require expertise over a wide range of skillsets, engineers are usually required to work as part of a team. Hence, it is important to understand one's work and be able to give and receive feedback without bias or prejudice. A team is responsible for the project as a whole, hence the team, as a whole, should be fully aware of the project, and must be active while proving feedback to their fellow team members. Giving and Receiving Feedback is a skill much appreciated by both recruiters and coworkers, as it provides a medium for the employees to receive honest feedback about their work, and pointers on how to accomplish it better.

7. Creativity and Flexibility

Engineering is not all reasoning and logical thinking. There are times when engineers are required to step out of their comfort zones and think outside the box to provide satisfactory results. An engineer is required to be creative, and make the best use of the resources provided to him/her. An engineer must also never confine themselves to any boundaries. Engineering, and science, as a whole, is an ever-growing field, wherein new technologies and better techniques keep on evolving day-by-day. Hence, an engineer must remain flexible and open-minded to such developments, to reap the benefits that these new and improved methods may provide.

There are several other soft skills like interpersonal skills, collaborative skills, non-verbal skills, that ideally, an engineer must possess. However, the important thing is, the ability to realize that a single person cannot design and implement an engineering marvel; it takes a team of skilled and trained professionals to do so.

Nobody can perfectly integrate with everyone; it takes skills to work effectively with people. Hence, engineers must begin working on developing their non-technical side to gain brownie points from recruiters and potential employers.

Written by - Siddharth Biju

Edited by - Vasudha Sabharwal

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