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Post by Rich Moy on Jan 10, 2017, 12:00:00 PM

If you were to ask people in non-tech roles what a network engineer does, they might say that they’re responsible for making sure the Internet connection is stable around the office. While that wouldn’t be completely false, the truth is that network engineers are responsible for maintaining complex systems that allow your employees to stay productive. In fact, because the most talented network engineers create such reliable connections between a wide variety of devices, their work often goes completely unnoticed by their colleagues. Although there’s not a silver bullet solution to help you hire a network engineer faster, here are a few tips to make it easier.

Know Where They Spend Their Free Time

While you might find a few candidates on some of the more traditional networking sites, connecting with the right networking engineers requires you to meet them where they spend their time online. Some of the most popular resources include the Cisco Support Community, the AnandTech forum, and the aptly named Networking Forum. Additionally, the network engineering community on Stack Overflow is one of the most active and vibrant on the entire site.

Engaging engineers on these sites takes a good deal of finesse. Starting new forum threads to advertise your jobs or sending recruitment messages to users is a surefire way to get these passive candidates to ignore you. Instead, use these sites as a resource to help you better understand your open role(s). When you have questions, feel free to ask the engineers on the site. This approach will take a little more time and effort, but will ultimately help you start conversations about your need to hire a network engineer down the road.

Understand The Challenges They Face at Work

The phrase “we need to hire a network engineer” isn’t an ideal way to start a tech recruiting email. Getting a candidate’s attention requires you to have a deeper understanding of their responsibilities than any network engineer job description will tell you. Here are a few of the unique challenges they face on a daily basis.

  • Overseeing and troubleshooting hardware installation. Installing and testing computer hardware to support an entire office isn’t as simple as plugging a few things into the wall. Network engineers are responsible for working with vendors to select the correct solutions, training end users on best practices, and troubleshooting problems as they arise.
  • Understanding every piece of technology. Everything a network engineer touches impacts your entire company’s connectivity (and productivity). As Amy Arnold wrote for NetworkComputing.com, “It's a must to keep sight of the bigger picture; systems work with other systems, and rarely is any one piece of technology an island.”
  • Managing projects across multiple teams. Many IT departments have specialized departments to handle specific tasks, making communication difficult at times. Often, it falls to the network engineer to break down silos and encourage collaboration. This is especially important as the field evolves and requires network engineers to be more flexible. Brian Menezes recently told ComputerWorldUK that, “A network engineer or architect must be a problem-solver, as there are some very complex problems that we’re faced with.”

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