Draft Employer Interview Protocol-1

CPACE Primary Research: Draft Employer Interview Protocol


Goal is to have both an HR and Engineering Manager involved in the interview, if the company is large enough to have both.
This will allow each to answer questions that the other may not have enough information to answer.

Demographics

(This information is intended to be filled out by the interviewee before the interview via a web-based survey tool)

Employer Name:
Interviewee Name: 
Interviewee Job Title/Position: 
Employer type: Please choose one.
  • Academic ________
  • Government ________
  • Private sector_______
What's the zip code for this location: ____________________
What is the total size of your company? Please choose one.

Small (5-199 Full Time Employees) _____

Medium (200-999 Full Time Employees) ____

Large (1000-6999 Full Time Employees) ____

Huge (7,000 or more Full Time Employees) ____

What is the estimated annual revenue of this location? ________  
What industry is your firm part of? Please check any that apply.
  • Aerospace _____
  • Agriculture/foods _____
  • Alternative energy _____
  • Bio-based products _____
  • Bio-medical _____
  • Chemical ______
  • Civil _____
  • Computer/software _____
  • Construction _____
  • Electrical _____
  • Electronics, except computer ______
  • Environmental _____
  • Health and safety _____
  • Industrial _____
  • Marine/naval ______
  • Mechanical ______
  • Mining and geological _____
  • Nuclear ______
  • Petroleum ______
  • Work environment _____
What type of work does your firm specialize in? Please choose one.
  • Design ____
  • R&D____
  • Manufacturing ____
  • Construction _____
  • Other (please specify) _______________________________________________________________________
Which of the following best describes the market of this location? Please choose one.
  • local ___
  • state ___
  • multi-state ___
  • national ___
  • international ___
How many engineers does your company employ? We are defining an engineer as someone who holds at least a four-year degree in engineering. ________
How many engineering technicians does your company employ at this location? We are defining an engineering technician as someone who has at least an associate / two-year degree in engineering technology.   _________  

The occupations below correspond to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics occupational classifications. For our purposes, we are defining an engineer as someone who holds at least a 4 year degree in engineering, and an engineering technician as someone who holds at least an associate/two-year degree in engineering technology.  We recognize that some companies use the term engineer more broadly, but we would ask you to keep these definitions in mind for your answer. For each of the occupations I listed, please indicate if your firm employs workers in that occupation, and if so, how many total employees you have in that occupation at all levels.

Engineering Managers 
 Yes  No
## _____
Civil Engineers  Yes  No
## _____
Computer Hardware Engineers  Yes  No ## _____
Electrical Engineers  Yes  No ## _____
Chemical Engineers 
 Yes  No ## _____
Mechanical Engineers  Yes  No ## _____
Civil Engineering Technicians  Yes  No ## _____
Electrical Engineering Technicians  Yes  No ## _____
Mechanical Engineering Technicians  Yes  No ## _____
Manufacturing Engineering Technicians  Yes  No ## _____
Industrial Manufacturing Engineering Technicians  Yes  No ## _____

The next sets of questions are about your organization's demand for entry-level engineering employees.  When we talk about entry-level jobs, we are specifically interested in jobs where you are are hiring newly graduated applicants, either at the 4-year or 2-year level, not jobs that require education and previous work experience. We would like you to respond for each category of entry-level engineering job. (Note to interviewer - list only those they've said they employ in previous question.)

What is your company's current hiring demand for the following types of entry-level engineering employees? Please check High, Medium, Low, or NA for each category.

High (More open jobs than applicants); Medium (Jobs roughly equal to applicants); Low (Lots of qualified applicants for few jobs); NA (Do not hire)

Job Categories High Med Low NA
Civil Engineers



Computer Hardware Engineers



Electrical Engineers



Chemical Engineers



Mechanical Engineers



Civil Engineering Technicians



Electrical Engineering Technicians



Mechanical Engineering Technicians



Manufacturing Engineering Technicians



Industrial Manufacturing Engineering Technicians



Does your company project notable changes in hiring demand for any of these entry-level positions in the next three to five years?  Please check Increase, Decrease, or NA for each category.
Job Categories Increase Decrease NA
Civil Engineers


Computer Hardware Engineers


Electrical Engineers


Chemical Engineers


Mechanical Engineers


Civil Engineering Technicians


Electrical Engineering Technicians


Mechanical Engineering Technicians


Manufacturing Engineering Technicians


Industrial Manufacturing Engineering Technicians


What are your current educational requirements for these entry-level positions? Please check level of education for each category. HS= High School Diploma; AA=Associates; BS=Bachelors of Science

Discussion on 4/9 to block out the options that are not applicable

Job Categories HS AA Degree Some College BS Degree More than BS Other
Civil Engineers





Computer Hardware Engineers





Electrical Engineers





Mechanical Engineers





Chemical Engineers





Civil Engineering Technicians





Electrical Engineering Technicians





Mechanical Engineering Technicians





Manufacturing Engineering Technicians





Industrial Manufacturing Engineering Technicians





For entry-level engineering technicians, do you anticipate the educational requirements changing in the next be three to five years? To what level? Please check level of education for each category. HS= High School Diploma; AA=Associates; BS=Bachelors of Science

Discussion on 4/9 to block out the options that are not applicable

Job Categories HS AA Degree Some College BS Degree More than BS Other
Civil Engineering Technicians





Electrical Engineering Technicians





Mechanical Engineering Technicians





Manufacturing Engineering Technicians





Industrial Manufacturing Engineering Technicians





  

Introduction

(Note - The interview questions will be sent to the interviewee(s) ahead of time to help the prepare for the interview)

Good morning/afternoon. ((Interviewer Script))

The CPACE project is a partnership with Michigan State University (MSU), Lansing Community College (LCC) and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW).  The project's goal is to design and implement a process to create a collaboratively-defined undergraduate computing education within the engineering and technology fields that is in alignment with the computational problem-solving abilities needed to transform mid-Michigan's economy and workforce. 

Before we get started, I want to just quickly go over the goals of this interview. We are reaching out to companies to learn more about the skills they need from newly graduated engineers and engineering technicians. In particular, we are focusing on computational skills. By computation skills we mean using computers to analyze, design, model or make decisions as part of the engineering practice.  For a number of the questions I'll ask today, I'll be asking you to think about your needs 3-5 years out. This is because we are collecting data to use in redesigning curriculum, which is a long-term process.

As indicated when we set the interview up, we expect this interview to take around 45 minutes to complete. I'm going to start off by asking some general questions about your company and its engineering jobs. Then I'll ask you some more specific questions about the kinds of technologies your engineering workers use.  Do you have any questions before we begin?

(Note to interviewer - review demographic question and ask for clarity at this point if needed.)

Talent

What are the core engineering-related jobs in your business? These aren't necessarily the jobs where you have the most openings - although they might be - but the ones where vacancies or skill gaps really hit your bottom line?
Do you have difficulty filling entry-level engineering-related job openings that are filled with new 2 year or 4 year grads?
  • For what type of engineering positions?
  • For what type of technician positions?
  • What do you perceive as the problem?
Is your company moving away or towards entry level engineers or a certain type of entry level talent?
Besides formal education, what other qualifications are you looking for in applicants for your entry-level engineering-related positions?
How important are computational skills for these particular positions?
  • How do computational skills compare with other qualifications?
  • How do you determine whether applicants have these computational skills at the necessary levels?
Please rate the college graduates you have hired in terms of the following computational skills (5 Excellent  - 1 Poor)

5 4 3 2 1 n/a, other
Ability to understand when and why to use the computational programs your firm uses most





Technical ability to readily use and apply the computational operations using the programs/tools firm most uses





Ability to creatively and independently use computational capacities of the programs/tools firm most uses in ways they were not trained to do.







When you hire a new grad, when it comes to computational skills, which statement best applies to your typical experience?

Expect and can find Expect but can't find Prefer but can develop Prefer but difficult to develop Don't need Other
Ability to understand when and why to use the computational programs






Capacity to readily use and apply the computational operations using the programs/tools your firm most uses





Ability to innovate and think beyond computational operations of the programs/tools your firm most uses







Up until now, we've been talking about your current hiring trends and practices.  Looking three to five years out, what entry-level engineering-related positions do you think will be in most demand by your company?
  • How will the qualifications for these jobs differ from those of the jobs currently in demand? 
In what ways does your organization provide information about computational skill requirements to college and universities?
  • We participate on education & training advisory committees
  • We participate in curriculum development
  • We participate in job shadowing & mentoring programs
  • We participate in internships/co-op opportunities for students.
  • No participation
  • Other, please explain.

Technology  

What are the effects of technology on your company and your industry?
  • How are you being impacted by new technology?
  • Can you give specific examples of new technology that is changing your industry?
  • How do you anticipate technology changes affecting the computational skills you will need in your workforce in the future?
Specific Technologies

Interviewer instructions: Present interviewee with a paper copy of the list of categories below and ask them to list software used by categories, letting them select the category in which they list the software. Reference example list if interviewee is uncertain about a particular category.

  What are the types software that your entry level engineers use on a regular basis?
Engineering Specific Technology Categories What is the actual software being used? Check if named as one of the top 2-3 most important pieces of software.
Analytical or scientific software

Compiler and decompiler software

Computer aided design CAD software

Computer aided manufacturing CAM software

Data base user interface and query software

Development environment software

Enterprise resource planning ERP software

Industrial control software

Map creation software

Object or component oriented development software

Program testing software

General Technology Categories

Document management software

Financial analysis software

Graphics or photo imaging software

Information retrieval or search software

Internet browser software

Inventory management software

Materials requirements planning logistics and supply chain software

Requirements analysis and system architecture software

Operating system software

Pattern design software

General Purpose Software

Presentation software

Project management software

Accounting software

Microsoft Office suite software

Spreadsheet software

Time accounting software

Video creation and editing software

Electronic mail software

Desktop publishing software

Of the software you listed above, which 2 or 3 are the most mission-critical or important to your company? We recognize that email and Excel might be really important to getting the job done, but what we're most interested in are the ones that are crucial to your company's competitive advantage in the marketplace.
For the 2 or 3 programs you mentioned, how do engineers use this software in your company?
  • What are the engineering tasks that the software supports?
  • Do all levels of engineers use the software?
  • How do entry-level engineers use the software? 
How has this software changed the nature of engineering work for your company's engineers?
  • What does the software enable engineers to do that they cannot do without using the software?
  • About what percentage of the work-week would you estimate is spent using these programs/software?
How do entry-level employees learn to use these programs/software?
What are the prerequisite skills that employees need to use these?
How do new engineers learn to use these programs/software? 
Looking into the future, are there new software programs and technologies that you expect will become important to your business? (Things that are currently considered cutting edge, but that will become critical to getting your work done.) If so, what are they, and how do you anticipate those changing the computational skills you expect from your entry-level employees?
In what ways do any of the software programs used by your engineering and technical staff encapsulate or capture the engineering and design knowledge of your company? 
  • For example, software may not only be used by individual engineers to design components, but may consolidate and merge these designs into a larger project and may support the collection of bids from vendors.
  • What knowledge or skills do your engineers need to have to leverage these tools? 
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