Recruiting Top Consulting Engineers

By Ashu Chatterji, CEO at Caravel Labs

In a speech to the first cohort of Project Sunrise interns back in the summer of 2020, Yang Zheng, laid out his vision for the mid- to senior-level Consulting Engineer at Caravel Labs.

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  • A good software engineer is one who can design and implement the most elegant software solution that works as defined, in the most efficient manner.

  • A good consultant on the other hand is one who is willing and able to embrace the customer’s entire environment – their needs, their wants, their desires, their real and perceived constraints, and reflect these in the definition of the solution.

  • A good consulting engineer is one who is able to combine both of these.


Yang embodied this persona. Yang’s penchant and unblemished track record for solving complex human problems in the shortest possible timeframe by leveraging the latest technological advances is remarkable by any standards, and his work is remembered across every human-inhabited continent for this reason. Fate did not give Yang enough time to fulfill his vision for his Consulting organization, but in order to fulfill his vision and ultimately the vision and mission of Caravel Labs, we continue to find and grow a community of high-performing consulting engineers.

Given the long-established culture of role specialization in the IT consulting industry, finding professionals with equal dexterity in both engineering and consulting is extremely hard. In our experience, finding promising engineers early in their careers and immersing them in teams led by mid- to senior-level Caravel Labs consulting engineers is a very effective way to accelerate their professional growth and make them valuable members of the consulting engineer community. This is one of many reasons why we are so enthusiastic about Project Sunrise, our immersive internship program for college students.

A much harder challenge is the identification and recruiting of mid- to senior-level consulting engineers. The truth is that there is a miniscule proportion of engineers who have the required levels of engineering and consulting dexterity. These skills are so rare that they are often not understood even by relative veterans in the IT consulting firms. We have found that answering two questions help potential applicants determine if a consulting engineer role in Caravel Labs would be worthwhile for them. We ask potential applicants the following questions:

  • In the most recent year of your employment, how much of your work time did you spend writing (or helping others write) code that has been deployed in an environment being used by end users for their day-to-day business use? 

  • In the most recent year of your employment, for any code that you deployed, do the number of actual end users who use it for their day-to-day business use (excluding manual testing) exceed the size of the engineering team (developers, testers, architects, project managers)?

Not surprisingly, the pool of qualified applicants for our mid- to senior-level consulting engineers remains small. Our general approach to recruiting top developer talent as well our pay and benefits policy, including our policy of pay transparency, help us attract applications from best of the pool of qualified candidates. This is why we have a policy of rolling job positions for these roles, in multiple locations that are in proximity of our cluster of team members, such as Seattle and Washington, DC in the United States, San Juan in Puerto Rico and Kolkata in India. This mechanism allows us to continuously connect with software engineers whose skills and interest align with ours, and allow us to proactively look for ways to bring them on board at the earliest.

In a very intentional deviation from the HR-related principles and practices of the IT consulting industry, at Caravel Labs we believe in growth from improving the impact of our team members per capita by equipping them with more modern tools, rather than achieving it by increasing employee headcount. This allows us to keep our team sizes small, improve per capita income of our team members high and leaves the team more resilient to volatility in the business landscape. The flip side of this approach is that our hiring timelines from application through interviews to offer and onboarding is significantly longer than the industry average. We explain our rationale for this approach to our applicants, as we believe that this approach ensures appropriately exciting work for the highly skilled and motivated engineers who choose to apply to our positions, while also providing stability and longevity of positions, which is often not the norm with the majority of employers in the IT consulting industry.

If you are interested in becoming part of our growing team, please visit caravellabs.com.

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