The economy sputters along, but the demand for field service engineers is strong. Not everyone, however, is the right fit for a job that now requires technicians to handle everything from sales strategies to the latest technologies. To find out which qualities hiring managers prize most, we turned to members of the field service engineer LinkedIn Group and got a handful of smart and surprising responses. Here are the top three qualities field service operators look for when hiring a first-rate engineer:  

Has Passion, Works Hard

  • “Willingness to work problems, i.e., not lazy. The ideal tech finds complex challenges to be a form of fulfilling entertainment in real life, fortitude and persistence are acceptable substitutes.” — Mike Frome, owner of Fromeco, an aircraft battery manufacturer.
  • “Experience, attitude and ‘DO you want a job?’ We only want to hire FSE’s that actually want to work and have a drive to be a FSE. We are not looking for people just to fill a position.” — Clair Bragg, president of GenTech Scientific, a seller of scientific and medical lab equipment.
  • “Flexibility with working hours. If you have to be home at 5:00 pm every day, you can’t be an FSE.” — Marc de Vries, flow cytometry expert at medical supplier Becton, Dickinson and Company.

No Technical Experience Required?

  • “Character before experience because if the FSE has bad character or questionable character we do not want to hire them. — GenTech Scientific’s Clair Bragg.
  • “Good ability to network with back office, technical specialists etc…”  — Becton, Dickinson’s Marc de Vries

Knows (and Likes) the Customer

  • “Good rapport with people (if you can’t put customers at ease, you shouldn’t be in the field).” — Mark Pulliam, technical solutions consultant at Hewlett-Packard.
  • “Good customer service skills: the best quote I have heard on this is that, ‘The customer doesn’t care about what you know until they know that you care. That is the most important skill. Caring about the customers concerns and needs.”  — John Irvins, AV media technician at Mediatech, a manufacturer of lab equipment.

Street Smart, Learns Fast

  • “Eagerness to embrace new technologies (if you don’t grow with the business, you’ll be left behind).” — Hewlett-Packard’s Pulliam.
  • “Eagerness for continual learning in a variety of domains.” — Becton, Dickinson’s Marc de Vries.
  • “Intelligence, problem-solving ability, whatever you want to call it. Frequently utterly unrelated to formal education path or even time in-field.” — Fromeco’s Mike Frome.