Today’s hardware engineers have diverse roles with diverse responsibilities. Not only do they work with physical products, but they also work with the end-users of those products to ensure the hardware is working properly. To put it simply, hiring managers need to be up to date on the needs of the evolving job landscape just as much as the engineers themselves— but they dont need to do it alone.  


Why hire a contractor?  

The benefits of hiring a contract engineer are that it saves money and can provide someone with a more diverse set of skills. On average, contractors work on multiple projects, making them more agile and equipped to adapt to more teams and organizational cultures. Furthermore, due to their autonomous state, contractors work independently, freeing them from interoffice politics, which means work can be done quicker.  

When looking to hire a contractor, you need to know A: that they can confidently complete the necessary tasks and B: that they will be a good ambassador for your company. Explain your company culture and values so the recruiter can understand the type of candidate you seek. Working with a staffing agency requires clear communication from both sides. Below are a few things we think every hiring manager who’s new to the space or new to working with an agency should look for when hiring a contract hardware engineer. 


1. Be precise with the job description 

A vague description can slow the entire hiring process. For example, you’d never just tell the staffing agency, “I need a mechanical engineer,” that’s way too broad. It’s crucial to give the staffer the exact requirements you must have as well as ones that would be nice to have. This will save time for you, the recruiter, and the applicant when filling the role. Additionally, keep the lines of communication open. Give potential partners details about the work environment and benefits package, so they know what to offer and how to differentiate you from your competitors. The faster you can give feedback to the recruiter you’re working with, the more efficiently they can decipher if they’ve found a fit or have missed the mark. 


2. Keep hard and soft skills in mind 

Qualifications are essential when hiring for high-level jobs like hardware engineering. However, anyone who works with people knows that what looks good on paper doesn’t always translate to the bigger picture. One of the best ways to evaluate candidates is to look at their hard and soft skills. Hard skills are specific abilities that can be demonstrated and measured. In contrast, a soft skill is a personal attribute that supports situational awareness and enhances the ability to get a job done. Make sure to look for a mixture of hard and soft skills to guarantee the longevity of a good contractor relationship. 


Hard skills in hardware engineering: 

  • Database knowledge
  • Strong understanding of mathematics
  • Machine learning
  • Understanding of computer science and/or electrical engineering
  • Programming languages


Soft skills needed in hardware engineering:

  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Digital literacy
  • Analytical mindset
  • Strong communication
  • Creativity
  • Project management


3. Set a timeline 

If you are hiring a contract engineer for a specific project or product launch, determine a timeline for that project in conjunction with your hiring timeline, as one will impact the other. 

That deadline should allow you enough time for the following: 

  • Have conversations with the contract engineer about your company and goals for the project. 
  • Allow the contract engineer time to research your problem/idea to see if there are any issues you and the company were unaware of.
  • Have check-in meetings to verify you and the contract engineer are on the same page and discuss any project updates. 
  • For the contract engineer to effectively work on the project. 
  • For last-minute revisions, reviews, and changes before the final project is completed.

Keeping this timeline in mind during the hiring process should provide you ample time to curtail any unexpected problems that arise, keeping everyone on schedule for success.  


LevelUP with TeamUP 

Hiring an engineer is not always easy, as you will often need particular skills. Furthermore, engineers are in demand and tend to have lower unemployment rates than other professions. This is where TeamUp can help. Once you have a clear vision of who and what you need, TeamUP Staffing makes on-demand talent sourcing simple by providing skilled tech professionals to meet your Tech and IT Staffing needs. We focus on helping you achieve your goals to ignite change and accelerate transformation.  Contact us today to get your project rolling! 


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Post by Jamie Vassar
June 17, 2022