Reaching the right people

Jun 03, 2015

Today’s competitive market – and the fact that the best employees aren't necessarily looking for a job – means your digital footprint must be big enough to reach everyone.

Creating a game plan for recruiting and retaining the best and brightest talent is not for the meek at heart. In the AEC industry, we are constantly faced with new opportunities and project deadlines, all at the same time. It’s a constant reminder for us that we have to ensure that we have the best people in place to get the job done. No one ever hires a structural engineering firm to design or build half a building. Everyone wants a finished product, and that requires manpower. In my past few months back at the helm of Zweig Group Recruiting, I have realized how important it is to have a solid plan to create a digital footprint in the area of recruiting for your firm. It’s certainly a part of the overall strategic branding effort that most of our clients are undertaking to make their firm’s websites more user-friendly, informative, and responsive to the needs of the client and general public. This is no longer an option, but a necessity. In order to be successful in the AEC industry, there are several areas in recruiting that need to be fine- tuned to the point that they become second nature: You must have a strong applicant tracking system, also known as an ATS; you have to make sure that you can communicate the narrative or story that makes your firm a compelling place to work; and you have to be everywhere online with your job opportunities. I don’t have enough space in this article to focus on all of these areas, but rest assured I will address them one by one in future issues. I want to first talk about Job Boards and what it takes to “be everywhere” with your job postings. Since the early 1990s, job boards have slowly become one of the dominant ways for firms to get their job postings out. What used to be strictly word-of-mouth, the Jobs section of the local newspaper, and internal job postings has now taken on a different form that is more deliberate and available. But now, even the strongest of the Job Boards are taking heat from Social Media: The LinkedIns, Facebooks, and Twitters of the world are becoming fertile ground for recruiting. According to Jobvite’s statistics gathered on recruiting in 2014, 94 percent of recruiters use or plan to use social media for recruiting. In addition, this same report cited that 73 percent of 18-34 year olds, also known as Millenials, found their last job through a social network. I could keep killing you with statistics to make my point, but I just want to make it very clear that we are in a changing environment. Of course, you may be wondering: What does all of this mean to me and my company? It could mean nothing or everything, depending on where you stand with technology and how well you market the opportunities that exist within your firm. There are big and small job boards out there, and almost every job sector and discipline has a job site that is geared almost exclusively to it. One of the biggest challenges I hear from clients and potential clients is that they don’t know where to look for good people. I’ve said it before: “Good people are not necessarily looking!” But, it can’t hurt to be where they may look. At Zweig Group, we advertise positions on several job boards for our clients, and we’ve even found that it can really be hit-or-miss when looking for the right engineer or architect. Recently, Zweig Group decided to resurrect a job board we had started several years ago, and is back up and running! We jump-started this brand to offer AEC firms a place to advertise their most important positions and to identify talent that is appropriate for their needs. We are adding new AEC industry-specific jobs and encouraging AEC workers looking for new opportunities to visit the site and review all of the postings related to their expertise. It’s not yet a perfect solution, but it’s certainly a great start. I believe that you have to “be everywhere” when it comes to recruiting, and a good place to start is posting on niche job boards like and ramping up your social media presence so that the good people that are actually looking for work can find you. I know it sounds like a lot of work, and it actually is, but I’ve found that once you build a solid digital foundation for your recruitment program everything else can fall easily into place. To find out more about or to post a job for FREE, visit the site. In addition, if you haven’t already, start taking social media seriously or if you are just perplexed about where to start, give me a call, shoot me an email, or hit me up on Twitter @RandyWilburn or @ZGRecruiting, and I will see what I can do to get you pointed in the right direction. Randy Wilburn is Zweig Group’s director of executive search. Contact him at

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.