Of all the things you learned in school, how to hire a new BIM team member probably wasn’t one of them. But as your business grows, finding and hiring BIM talent will be a skill you need to have.
Below are three steps to help you with the hiring process, so you can find the right members to join your BIM team.
1. The Description. The first step to getting what you need is figuring out what you want. Writing a clear job description for a BIM job will help you clarify your expectations for the person filling the role, and it will help people applying for the job decide whether they’re qualified. Is this an entry-level position, or more of a managerial role? What skills are required? Should applicants have industry experience? How much does the job pay?
For the pay question, career resource sites such as PayScale, Salary.com and the AUGI Salary Survey can provide a range of compensation values for similar positions in your geographic area. BIM is still new enough, with varying job titles, that you may not be able to find a lot of positions exactly matching yours. But you should still be able to get some ballpark figures.
Remember that you’re advertising your firm as well as the job. Try to include some interesting facts about your firm that might entice applicants to give it a second look. Maybe the company offers some really good benefits or unusual perks, or has worked on some high-profile projects recently. You want to impress your candidates as much as you want them to impress you.
Bonus tip for applicants: Please read the job description carefully before you apply! It’s okay if your qualifications don’t exactly match the listing. Just be prepared in a cover letter or the initial phone call to explain why you’re applying.
2. The Advertisement. There are almost countless places to post a BIM job—many free, some not. The paid options include sites like LinkedIn, Monster, CareerBuilder, SimplyHired, and Indeed.com. Most of them are time-based (for example, you can post a job for 30 days), but Indeed has a slightly different model: pay-per-click. If you’re on a tight budget, this is an option that lets you control precisely how much you spend.
Many colleges, universities, and technical schools also have career centers with websites or literal bulletin boards for job postings. Don’t forget the online communities, too. Many BIM and CAD forums have a jobs section where employers can get in touch with prospective candidates. A mix of venues is your best bet. Post on as many free places as you can find for your area, but also be prepared to invest in one or more of the paid sites. They often have a larger reach and attract a wider variety of applicants.
Don’t get too caught up in technology, though, and forget the value of good old networking. Let your staff know you’re hiring and consider offering a “finder’s fee” for a good referral. Attend meetings of your local user group and meet as many people as possible. It seems today that many of the best BIM talents are already happily employed, so you’ll have to cast a wide net to bring in the right people.
Bonus tip for applicants: Knowing where hiring managers are advertising helps you, too. Get your résumé out there, literally and digitally.
3. The Interview. Writing your job description and finding applicants is the easy part of the hiring process. Then there’s the interview. It takes a bit of practice and interview training to be able to evaluate someone in conversation and decide whether they’d be a good fit for the job and for your company.
If you’re brand new at interviewing, you may want to find someone else at your company to sit in with you, and maybe even lead the first few, until you get comfortable with what to ask and how to direct the conversation. (Also take a look at what not to ask. Some topics are prohibited by law in an interview.)
I prefer to do my initial screening by phone because you can get a pretty good idea of someone’s enthusiasm and communication skills without a lot of time invested on either side. One thing I always make sure to ask is, “What’s your favorite thing about BIM?” It’s a little off the wall, but I want my team to be enthusiastic about the software.
If the phone call goes well, we bring them in for a face-to-face chat and a test. A BIM test doesn’t have to be elaborate, but you should have one. Ours usually involves a half-done model and some markups. We don’t look for perfection; instead, we watch to see what kind of questions the applicants ask. Are they willing to admit it if they don’t know how to do something, or if they don’t have enough information? Are they interested in our company standards? Are they curious about how the model was put together? We look for attitude because most skills can be taught—as long as there is a willingness to learn.
Bonus tip for applicants: If you’re asked a technical question and you don’t know the answer, it’s okay to say you don’t know—or “I haven’t worked with that feature before.” When it comes to explaining your skill set, honesty is always the best policy.
With a little persistence and a bit of luck, you’ll find somebody who has the right mix of skills, interests, and attitude to be a great addition to your growing BIM department.