Inventor and Industrial Designer James Dyson and his company, Dyson, are synonymous in creating high-tech home appliances. From the world’s first bagless vacuum cleaner to creating bladeless electric fans, Dyson is a prime example of how engineers can produce innovative solutions to daily home challenges. But how do they hire for world changing engineers?
Forbes Magazine spoke with Max Donze, the C.E.O. of Dyson, on how they recruit for and hire engineers. Here are 5 things that we learned from that interview:
1. When looking for engineers, passion and curiosity can trump experience.
“We look for people who are frustrated by the status quo, and who have a fire in their belly for making things work better. It’s what drives us at Dyson. Often our best engineers are the ones who were taking apart toys as children and understanding what made them work–they often bring that same natural curiosity to their day-to-day work, leading to game-changing technology.”
2. Don’t rely on interviews.
“We do quite a bit of scouting early on–not relying on interviews to make our selection of engineers, but actually sending our engineers to the end-of-year design shows at top universities with design and engineering programs to see for ourselves who’s up to snuff. Often these shows feature problem-solving projects that mirror our own work at Dyson– our engineers will walk the shows and see what catches their eye, talking to students about their ideas and how they came about. This does a much better job of uncovering who truly has the passion and skill-set for a job at Dyson than a traditional interview might.”
3. Look for engineers who explore new uses for core technologies.
“At Dyson, our products are born from core technologies–motors, batteries, air movement. We develop technology, and then we think about the various problems this technology can solve based on the benefits it brings. A finely tuned digital motor can mean a powerful cord-free vacuum that changes the way you clean, but it can also be adapted to create a hair dryer with fast, focused airflow that makes it easier and faster to dry and style hair. We want engineers to follow tangents, exploring new uses for core technologies, and often these tangents may be born from their own personal frustration. Our engineers just want to make things better, and that’s what they tend to do.”
4. Engineers always challenge the norm.
“You know someone isn’t a fit when they begin to accept or settle for the norm. Engineers must be forever frustrated to continue to design things that work better. Even when a product has gone to market, we continue to tinker with it, because we know there are always ways to make it better. If someone doesn’t have that drive to challenge convention, they aren’t a fit.”
5. The importance of continuously hiring new employees.
“For many things, we can and will continue to home grow expertise, but the more advanced we get, the more we have learned to bring the outside in and help us complement our knowledge with new research and new insights from around the world.”
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