Finding extraordinary engineers for exceptional clients

Evaluating Ethics in Engineering Candidates

April 23rd, 2015

Ethics continues to be a very important attribute for any professional engineer. In fact, the process of earning engineering licensure usually involves an ethics exam, so if your company wants to employ licensed engineers, a candidate’s ethical outlook needs to be part of your hiring criteria. Making ethics a vital part of your company’s culture also helps to position your firm as one to be trusted by clients and the public at large.

Let’s take a closer look at a few strategies for evaluating an engineering candidate’s ethical affinity.

Licensed Professional Engineers Remain the Safest Ethical Bet

When presented with a candidate already licensed as a professional engineer, chances are good that ethics remain at the forefront of their mind when solving problems and developing solutions for their clients. While the requirements for earning a professional engineering license vary by state, ethics remains a major component of the licensure process. For example, the Washington State Department of Licensing makes passing a Law and Ethics exam a requirement before engineers are even qualified to take the PE license examination.

The National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) publishes a Code of Ethics that all engineers must take very seriously. The NSPE’s Board of Ethical Review – made up of seven licensed PEs – helps to maintain the Code of Ethics while offering opinions on various cases where ethics and the practice of engineering intersect.

Ultimately, when interviewing candidates for an engineering position, licensed professional engineers remain your company’s best chance at hiring an engineer with an exemplary ethical outlook.

Research a Candidate’s Exposure to Ethics in Their Educational History

Determining the ethical outlook of a new engineer fresh out of college is a more difficult proposition. Obviously, research into a candidate’s educational history and social media conduct is a must. Pay close attention to any extracurricular activities that focus on charitable organizations and other ethics-based societies.

Spend some time during the interview querying the client about their own ethical outlook. Offer them the chance to describe a scenario in their educational career – or even as an intern – when an ethical decision needed to be made. This might provide some insight on how they would react when faced with a real-life work-related situation.

Consider giving a candidate an ethics exam to test their knowledge of the NSPE’s Code of Ethics or make up your own scenario-based test for the same purpose. The NSPE’s Milton F. Lunch Ethics Contest is another great way to make sure all your employees continue to be up to speed with engineering ethics. Being known as an ethical company is good for the public and is good for your business.

If your organization wants additional business insight or some excellent engineering candidates, talk to the experts at The Talley Group. As one of Washington State’s top engineering staffing agencies, we can help your company achieve its ultimate goals. Schedule some time with us today!

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