Amtec Hiring Guides

How to Hire Civil Engineers in Reno

Amtec Hiring Guides

How to Hire Civil Engineers in Reno

Current Environment

Civil engineering, and specialties within the discipline, are necessary components of any large building project. The current hiring environment facing civil engineering recruiters requires identifying top-notch candidates based on both qualifications and potential to become a long-term contributor to a high-performing team.

Civil engineers conceive, design, build, supervise, operate, construct and maintain infrastructure projects and systems in the public and private sector, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment. Civil engineers commonly work in planning, design, construction, research, education, and government.

Generally, a bachelor of science degree is required in either civil engineering or civil engineering technology, along with additional education and licenses for some specialties.

Although a bachelor’s degree is enough for an entry-level position, a Professional Engineering (PE) license is needed for higher-level positions and leadership roles.  A degree from a program accredited by ABET is needed to get a professional engineer (PE) license.


The construction of the Pyramids in Egypt (circa 2700-2500 BC) might be considered one of the earliest examples of civil and structural engineering in action. These mysterious structures remain one of the most complex feats of engineering and construction ingenuity given the equipment for building or safety.

But much earlier than that, when mankind started to evolve out of a nomadic existence, the need for shelter and transportation drove early innovations and accomplishments in civil engineering. Since then, the field has evolved as architecture, construction, and infrastructure projects have grown increasingly complex.

Will COVID-19 Affect the civil engineering Field?

A recent report published by Deloitte stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated many industries, but some engineering specialties have maintained a steady course. Many civil engineers and specialties in the field, such as structural engineers, continued work on public construction projects during the pandemic. In the short term, the report projected, the building and construction trade should remind strong, which will keep civil engineers busy. However, supply chain issues and shortages of contractors or materials, and contract cancelations due to budget problems could hurt the industry down the road.

How will Recruiting civil engineers Help Your Company?

How will Hiring civil engineers Help Your Company?

Recruiting the top civil engineers can ensure you have the expertise and know-how needed to plan, manage, and complete projects on time and on budget.

However, hiring the best civil engineers in itself won’t distinguish one company from another. Aligning those engineers and other team members to work toward a central mission or purpose will make the best use of talent and resources. Consider the USA Olympic basketball team, the first-year pro athletes were allowed to compete. They were the best players, but they failed to play well together as a team. Teams with lesser talent beat the U.S. because they played better together.


Technology is an area that is key for engineers. When you are looking for recruits, be prepared with specific questions about a candidate’s expertise with the latest technology systems and software to give your organization critical expertise.

Fill the Talent Gap

If there are talent gaps or your organization needs more expertise in a particular specialty, you can source candidates that fill that requirement.  For example, if certification or licensure in a specialty of civil engineering is required for eligibility to bid on certain projects, this is a high-priority hiring requirement.

civil engineer Details


Before we get to exactly how to recruit the best structural engineers in Reno, here are some of the details of the job.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, many civil engineers hold supervisory or administrative positions ranging from supervisor of a construction site to city engineer, public works director, and city manager.

Other civil engineers work in design, construction, research, and teaching.

Civil engineers are often assisted by civil engineering technicians and work closely with environmental engineers.

There are several specialties within the field of civil engineering that may require additional skills and experience.

  • Construction engineers manage construction projects. They are generally responsible for the design and safety of temporary structures used during construction. Duties may include managing budgets and communications.
  • Geotechnical engineers are specialized in foundations for buildings, streets, runways, dams, and a multitude of other things.
  • Structural engineers analyze and design gravity support and lateral force resistance of buildings, bridges, and other structures for strength and durability. This includes creating drawings and specifications, performing calculations, reviewing the work of other engineers, and writing reports.
  • Transportation engineers plan, design, operate, and maintain systems such as streets and highways.

Civil engineers typically do the following:

  • Analyze long-range plans, survey reports, maps, and other data to plan and design projects
  • Consider construction costs, government regulations, potential environmental hazards, and other factors during the planning and risk-analysis stages of a project
  • Compile and submit permit applications to local, state, and federal agencies, verifying that projects comply with various regulations
  • Oversee and analyze the results of soil testing to determine the adequacy and strength of foundations
  • Analyze the results of tests on building materials, such as concrete, wood, asphalt, or steel, for use in particular projects
  • Prepare cost estimates for materials, equipment, or labor to determine a project’s economic feasibility
  • Use design software to plan and design transportation systems, hydraulic systems, and structures in line with industry and government standards
  • Perform or oversee surveying operations to establish building locations, site layouts, reference points, grades, and elevations to guide construction
  • Manage the repair, maintenance, and replacement of public and private infrastructure

Source: BLS

Looking for another position? View other positions we place in Reno, Nevada.


Typically a career in civil engineering requires a bachelor’s degree. Some specialties within the field require a master’s degree and other industry certifications or accreditations.

Some employers will require a degree from a school that is accredited by ABET, so keep that in mind when researching schools and programs for civil engineering or any of its specialties.

US News & World Report ranked the top 3 undergraduate college programs for electrical engineering. These programs focus on coursework in math, statistics, engineering mechanics and systems, and fluid dynamics, depending on the specialty. Courses include a mix of traditional classroom learning, work in laboratories, and fieldwork.

Armed with a degree, graduates have a multitude of opportunities working in the public or private sector.

These are the top undergraduate schools where the highest civil engineering degree offered is a doctorate.

Top Schools

  • University of California Berkeley

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Georgia Institute of Technology

Salary Range

civil engineers in the U.S.


Total civil engineers Employed in the U.S.





civil engineer Salary Comparison


Nationally, compensation for civil engineers ranges between $55,000 for entry-level positions and $144,000 for those with more experience and in higher-level positions.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 422,000 civil engineers employed in 2019, with 16% of those positions being women. The ethnic makeup of the field is estimated as 81.9% white, 12.4% Hispanic or Latino, 3.9% African American, and 13.6% Asian.

According to the U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for civil engineers in 2019 was $87,060, compared with $94,500, the median annual wage for all engineers.


The average annual salary for civil engineers in Nevada was 99k in 2019. The hourly wage averaged $48.

For more detailed compensation information for civil engineers in Reno, download our free compensation/salary report below.

Working in Reno

Reno, Nevada, is a unique little town nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains on the eastern border of California. It’s a short drive to the beautiful Lake Tahoe, hiking and biking trails in the Washoe Valley, and the famous ski resorts such as Squaw Valley, Heavenly Mountain Resort, and many more.

It’s a historic town. With the gold rush in full swing, the community was officially established in 1868, the same year the transcontinental railroad reached the town, and these roots have given the town a wild west feel.

Tourism, entertainment, and gaming drive the economy, but the area is also immersed in commerce, described as the place where the  largest alpine lake collides with the Biggest Little City in the World.”

Here are a few things residents describe as the most positive things about Reno.




    • Outdoor adventure. All four seasons, there’s something to do outside in and around Reno. Skiing, hiking, boating, biking the area has it all.
    • Money. From the perspective of taxes, Reno is a great place to live, work, or own a business. Residents of the state of Nevada do not pay state income tax. Nevada is one of only seven states in the U.S. with no personal income tax and one of five states with no corporate income tax.
    • Convenience. Although the city is a little isolated from other major cities, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport is only a few miles east of downtown.
    • Although tourism and gaming are the economic behemoths of the area, there is also a growing focus on high-tech companies and startups. Microsoft, Apple, and Gigafactory for Tesla have set up shop in the city.
    • K-12 schools. The city maintains a healthy 21:1 student-teacher ratio as well, creating one of the highest-rated college readiness scores for a metro area of its size in the country.
    • Amtec’s recruitment and staffing services are available in Reno too.

While there are many “pros” there are also a few “cons” to working life in Reno.


    • Cold. The city has a high desert climate but does experience four seasons. Although the summers are warm, winter is cold and averages about 22 inches of snow per year
    • The city is expanding and there are some excellent healthcare, construction, tech, and teaching jobs, there’s just not the variety or quantity that you would find in larger metropolitan areas. This means salaries tend to be a little lower than larger cities in California and Nevada.
    • Public transportation is limited outside of the city center, so you will generally need a car to get to places outside of the city.

Current Weather

Not your city? View other cities where we place civil engineers.

Demand for civil engineers in Reno

Demand for civil engineers in Reno

The employment of civil engineers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2019 to 2029, slower than the average for all occupations. However, as infrastructure continues to age, civil engineers will be needed to manage projects to rebuild, repair, and upgrade bridges, roads, levees, dams, airports, buildings, and structures of all types. The military and government agencies also require the services of civil engineers.

The supply of candidates and demand for open positions have a direct correlation to a company's ability to hire. Download a free Supply and Demand report for civil engineers in Reno, Nevada below.

How to Hire the Best civil engineers

Finding and hiring the best civil engineer candidates can save you money right away and well into the future.

The costs of making a bad hire are well documented. The cost can run as much as 30% of the employee's first-year earnings according to the US Department of Labor. Bad hires can cost a whopping $240,000 in expenses related to hiring, compensation, and retention per The Undercover Recruiter. 74% of companies who admit they've hired the wrong person for a position lost an average of $14,900 for each bad hire according to CareerBuilder. These statistics support our long-held position that behavioral questions are the best way to get to know your candidates and past behavior is the best indicator of future performance.

Recruiting Best Practices

The information below comes from the best practices Amtec uses for finding the highest quality candidates.

Defining the Position

When defining the role you are creating, we recommend a position profile to fully evaluate the position you are hiring for. You must decide if the engineer can work remotely or must work in Nevada. If working in Reno is essential, make sure you include that in your job posting so candidates can decide how many miles they can commute.

How to Source the Best Candidates

When you are looking to source the best quality candidates for your open positions, make sure you have done the legwork to hire an "A Player". You can do this by making sure your company's perspective is aligned with the current market, you have taken into account the job responsibilities, as well as what type of characteristics you are looking for to fit your company culture. Then proceed to write a job posting to attract high-quality candidates.

Characteristics of civil engineers

While licensure is not required for entry-level positions as a civil engineer, a Professional Engineering (PE) license allows for higher-level positions and leadership roles. A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, approve design plans, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public.

If you need to recruit the sharpest engineering professionals, look for these traits and qualifications when you interview.

  • Graduate of a program accredited by ABET.
  • Look for candidates who revel in analyzing and solving problems and developing cost-effective, safe, and efficient solutions.
  • The best candidates enjoy being focused, self-motivated, and innovative.
  • If you are looking to fill a leadership role, look for candidates who have proven experience leading high-performing teams.
  • Good communications skills are needed as engineers often need to present plans and analysis during construction or production.
  • Consider candidates who will best fit your engineering environment.
  • Partner with a recruiting agency that specializes in civil engineering to find the best candidates that can do the job, and become a valued member of your team.

How to Screen Candidates

You wrote a job posting, posted the position online, and received a lot more resumes than you’d bargained for! Next comes the enormous task of sorting through those resumes to eliminate the ones that are clearly not a good fit. Now, you have a stack of resumes for candidates who have potential. So how do you go about screening the remaining candidates?

It starts on the phone! As a recruiter, the goal of your telephone screening is to learn more about your candidates. You can confirm that they have the educational qualifications and relevant experience, but you also need to determine if they would fit into your company's culture. To make this job easier, use a system to consistently evaluate results. This way you can equally and objectively compare candidates and evaluate their "soft skills", like communication and thinking process. Download Amtec's Professional Assessment Questionnaire below to help with screening candidates.

Free Professional Assessment Questionnaire

An individually customized questionnaire that helps assess a candidate's competence with written communication skills, thinking processes, and other relevant skills.

How to Interview Candidates

At Amtec, we believe in the power of behavoral interview questions to go beyond the experience and skills listed on the candidate's resume. Although you will want to confirm in the interview that the candidate does indeed have the experience listed on their resume, your assessment needs to go much deeper than that. An interview using behavioral questions can help you determine how well the candidate will fit with your company culture.

Download Amtec's best practices on conducting super effective interviews to find the best candidates and fill your open jobs.

Behavioral Interview Guide

Get the info you need to hire the best civil engineers

Free Interview Guide