How RTM Builds Culture Through Recruiting
Every fall, colleges and universities across the country host career fairs – providing students the opportunity to engage with prospective employers and explore the many opportunities available to them post-graduation.
That’s why for the last few months our Beyond Engineering podcast has featured conversations with interns and engineers, whose first contact with RTM Engineering Consultants was at one of these fairs.
As someone who has been involved in the recruiting process from both sides of the table now, Tim Hedrick, Principal at RTM, emerged as the ideal candidate for conducting these podcast interviews and addressing some of the common questions we receive from students each year. Additionally, having played a pivotal role in the recruitment of several of our recent RTM guests, Tim offers valuable insights.
So, how does our recruiting team here at RTM identify candidates that fit our company culture? You’ll find those answers and more in this excerpt from a 2022 episode.
What is RTM’s approach to career fair season?
Fall is a busy time of year for RTM. We do a ton of career fairs across the nation for all of our offices, and we recruit both locally and nationally. Career fairs give us an opportunity to recruit young, talented engineers before they actually get into the industry. We get to see a little bit of their personality at these career fairs, which is a huge part of the recruiting process.
Building RTM from entry-level employees all the way up to the principal level is like building a farm system [in pro baseball]. You need an A level, the AA, and the AAA before you get to the majors. We need an entry-level, mid-level, senior-level and principal level at RTM.
Career fairs are a good way for us to start that development from the ground floor.
What’s the best way to put candidates at ease at these fairs?
The main thing is just to have flowing conversations with candidates. Get them to open up a little bit, don’t have forced conversations.
It’s not easy for these students to come up to our booth. I was actually terrible at it when I was at school. I would walk around booths three or four times before I got the nerve to go up, which is hilarious because now I’m on the other side.
I like to ask: “What are your hobbies? What do you like to do outside of school?”
Just to make them somewhat comfortable because I really am looking for their personality. If they can make it through a four-to-five-year university, they’re capable of learning and growing as an engineer.
In addition to a growth mindset, what else catches our attention?
Whether or not they have had a previous internship in the [AEC] industry. Knowing Revit or AutoCAD is always helpful. Those are the two software platforms we use.
An important question that I like to ask is whether they were involved in sports or an outside organization. Something that created an opportunity for them to learn how to manage their time between an extracurricular activity and college classes, because the hardest part of our job is managing our time with all the projects that come in. The requests from the architects, the constant jumping from problem to problem, or job to job. Those kinds of extracurricular experiences actually help at the entry level.
How do we recognize RTM’s CORE values in a candidate?
Our first CORE value is communication. It’s really impressive when a candidate comes prepared, they’ve looked at our website, they’re not just winging it. So, the communication back and forth, just the flow of the conversation is helpful when it comes to communicating in our business.
What is one of the most important attributes for an RTM candidate?
It’s the willingness to learn, that’s the biggest thing that they have to have. It’s the willingness to jump right in and learn.
I mentioned personality…no one wants to work with someone they don’t get along with. I know that sounds oversimplified, but it can be a problem for a lot of companies. Hiring based on the resume, not the person, can create culture issues within your organization.
We have amazing mentors and teachers at RTM. We can teach you the technical side of this business. But we can’t teach you how to be a good teammate.
Listen to the full conversation about building culture through recruitment in RTM’s Beyond Engineering podcast:
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