Hays UK jobs and employment blog


Three tips to maximise the interview experience for civil & structural professionals

By Richard Gelder, Director of Hays Construction & Property

In our present skill-short employment market, getting the right candidates for your organisation into the interview seat in front of you is no easy task. It’s crucial, therefore, that once they’re there, you do your utmost to engage them.

Our latest research shows that employers are actively deterring some of the best candidates out there during interview by not putting enough thought into the structure and content of the process. A key statistic from our recently published What Workers Want report – that over half (55%) of civil & structural engineering candidates have been deterred from a role due to a poor experience during the interview process – is alarming when you factor in the fact that up to five employers can be battling it out for just one civil & structural engineering candidate on a regular basis.

With this in mind, implementing a hiring process with the sole purpose of engaging candidates should be a top priority; ensuring sure you ask the right questions, showcase your organisation to its best advantage and make applicants feel valued and respected. When mapping out your own interview structure, consider doing the following:

Use an informal style

A more casual conversational style makes for a more relaxed setting and ensures a more positive interview experience for the candidate.

Performing under pressure is never easy, but in the case of civil & structural engineers the demand is so high for candidates that employers cannot necessarily afford to dictate the interview style if they want to secure the best talent. Competency based interviews with traditional HR style questions are deemed effective by less than half (47%) of civil & structural engineering candidates but are favoured by 63% of employers overall, whilst informal interviews are the most popular style for civil & structural engineering applicants (56%) but preferred by only 41% of overall UK employers.

Showcase your culture

Take the opportunity to introduce candidates to your team as part of the interview process, and make the time to give them a tour; over half (52%) of civil & structural engineering candidates want to see the physical workspace before accepting a role.

With this in mind, do not underestimate the power of your workplace culture or its importance to candidates – over a third (39%) of civil & structural engineering candidates consider people and culture to be the single most important incentive when considering whether to apply for a role. After all, everyone needs to pay the bills, but people want to be happy too.

Keep communication consistent

Prompt feedback is of crucial importance, over half (60%) would only wait 1-3 days after an interview for an offer before accepting another. With such a scarcity of civil & structural engineering candidates, employers cannot afford to risk alienating them with poor communication or slow responses.

Conducting too many interviews also puts employers at risk of losing talent. If a candidate finds themselves in the midst of a three stage interview application process they may lose interest in favour of an employer willing to hire them after just one meeting.

For more detailed insights into how employers can hone their application process to attract top talent, you can request your copy of the Hays What Workers Want 2018 report here.

About this author

Richard leads specialist recruiting consultants across the sector. He joined Hays in 1991 and quickly worked his way up through the ranks and was appointed Director in 2001.


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