Q&A with Senior Consultant David Pham: engineering employment trends and lockdown entertainment

Q&A with Senior Consultant David Pham

We talk to Bayside Group Senior Consultant David Pham about helping engineers navigate the employment landscape during Covid, the biggest challenges facing employers and how he’s coping with lockdowns. Hint: it includes his stella music collection that he’s amassed from years as a professional DJ. 


Dave, tell us a bit about your professional background and how you came to work at Bayside Group?

Prior to working at Bayside Group, I worked for a recruitment agency hiring IT and sales professionals. I then transitioned to a contact centre where I was engaged as the sales trainer and recruiter for the 300-strong company. It was in these roles that I realised my passion for developing relationships and helping people achieve their career ambitions. 

I always loved working for organisations in the technical space, but when I applied to Bayside Group in 2010, I was really looking for my next challenge! Though I didn’t study engineering, it was something I had always been fascinated in, so the prospect of working for a company that specialised in working with engineering recruitment was really exciting to me. 


You’ve been working in this space for many years now, but initially how did you learn more about the industry? 

I was just drawn to engineering because of the incredible intricacies of the roles, how engineers worked, and the software and methodologies they used.  

From the outset I wanted to give myself strong foundations that would allow me to understand my clients’ businesses and the kind of professionals they needed for projects, so I completed a CAD course and got halfway through my Advanced Diploma of Building Design. I absolutely loved it and would stay up late at night reading about concrete construction methodologies – my friends were a bit surprised! But it meant that when Drafties came in for an interview and showed me their drawings, I knew exactly what they were, and could identify how their skills would best flourish in a certain role. 

It’s almost a decade on from when I first started, and I’m now a Senior Consultant within Bayside Group’s engineering division. 


What’s your process for better understanding a client’s organisation and the kind of professionals they’re looking for? 

I believe it all comes down to effective communication. I work really closely with businesses and their hiring managers so that I can really uncover what they’re needing in a professional and how they might fit with the existing team. I engage with them so I can understand the challenges their business might be facing, as well as their short and long-term goals. 

From here, we work together to create a roadmap to finding them the best engineering professional for the job! 


From what you’re seeing, what are some of the biggest challenges employees in this industry are facing in the current climate? 

Lockdowns have had such a phenomenal impact on so many businesses and individuals. On engineering and related sectors, the stop and start motion has really hurt the fluidity of activity, projects, hiring and onboarding. 

I think for new starters in the industry, or even those with experience who are beginning new roles, it’s been quite a challenge. Working remotely and not having the face-to-face training and interaction you would traditionally have has been especially difficult. Me and my team touch base with everyone we’ve placed regularly to ensure they’re getting the support they need and are settling in. 


And what about for your engineering and construction clients? 

For my clients, I think one of the biggest hurdles is feeling sure that they’re hiring the right people for their organisation. It’s much easier to get a sense of a person during in-person interviews than a virtual one, so it’s my job to make sure they understand the rigorous screening and interviewing processes we go through. 

I take them through each step of the recruitment process, so they can see the work we do behind the scenes that ensures they’re hiring someone who has the skills they need, and also the values that align with their business. We work to build strong relationships with the professionals we’re helping to find jobs, which makes a difference when matching people to the organisation. 


What do you enjoy most working as a recruiter? 

For me, it always comes down to building relationships. I learnt that early on in my career, but it’s something that’s really been fortified working at Bayside Group. It’s incredible to see how the business has built trusting relationships with organisations that, in some cases, span decades! 

It’s also amazing when you can follow the trajectory of someone’s career. You might help them get their first job as a graduate, and then in 15 years they’re the director of an engineering company and are calling you to be a recruitment partner. Being part of that process is so remarkable and rewarding – I love being a part of that story. 


How are you travelling during COVID? What are you doing to get through lockdown? 

In a professional sense, I feel as though I’m lucky to be able to bounce back from 2020 which was a challenging year. I had more time to understand upcoming requirements for our clients, a lot of which is now coming to fruition which is great to see. As a team we’re also growing, while continuing to strengthen our relationships through regular communication and team building. 

Music has also been such a big saviour for me during this time. Before Covid, I also had regular gigs as a DJ, so I have an amazing music collection that I’ve created over the last 30 years. Any time things get too tough, I just turn to my electronic music and it’s such an amazing outlet. 


If you’re looking for engineering and construction staff, or for a job in the industry, you can contact Dave Pham on 03 9864 6000 or the Bayside Group engineering team here.  

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