Recruiting Blog

Improve Technical Recruiting: Pie Chart Question

My 29 years executive recruiting experience, specializing in engineering, scientific, IT and technical recruitment, has taught me many engineering recruiting tips that can help you more quickly fill your technical employment requirements. Please share these with all your internal management recruiters as well as hiring managers in your executive recruitment process.


One useful technical recruiting tip is the pie chart question. What you want to do is ask your candidates to break down for you by a pie chart what they did on a regular basis. For example, for an electrical engineer, ask them, “break down for me by a pie chart what you did in your last 6 months of work?” Their response may be, “I spent 60% of my time on digital hardware design, 30% of my time on firmware design and 10% on analog hardware design.” I recommend repeating this question and including key technical criteria that is important your recruiting process. Especially if you do not get a satisfactory answer, please modify this interview question by including key technical criteria, that is important to your job opening, to prod the candidate into more precisely answering the question (e.g. “let me restate this question, for example would you say that you are involved with 40% analog hardware design, 30% digital hardware design and 30% firmware software design? Please break down for me what you are doing on a daily basis at your company?”). Please go to and click on 1st below for more details on this useful recruiting question.

12 Commandments of Recruiting

The benefit of the pie chart question is it will force your candidates to more precisely identify for you what they actually did on a regular basis. As a result, you will greatly streamline your technical recruiting process and reduce your staffing errors.

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