Electronic Design

Get To Know Yourself, As Well As The Company, Before You Accept That Job Offer

In today's fiercely competitive job market, engineers and other specialists with experience in computers, information technology, the Internet, and telecommunications are in demand. "Techies" are courted and wooed by companies with offers of rich compensation, lofty titles, and challenging responsibilities. But before you accept an offer and make a career move, you need to really know yourself and the company that's courting you.

Recent surveys conducted by various consulting firms show that most companies are, or else will be, enhancing compensation and benefit packages to attract qualified applicants. These same surveys, though, say that people look for more than money when they select a new job. Employees want companies to offer a solid reputation, learning opportunities, a positive corporate culture, the potential for advancement, and compelling responsibilities and projects.

Before you accept any job, you need to research the company's culture and atmosphere. Every organization has a workplace environment that defines the "personality" of the company. Speaking with as many people working there as you can prior to accepting a job is helpful. For example, you should typically meet with a human-resources representative, the hiring manager, group leaders, and co-workers who would be part of your team after you accepted the job. Spending time meeting with a firm's employees outside the constraints of the formal job interview gives you a chance to get "the real picture."

Technical questions and specifics about the job's day-to-day responsibilities are essential to ensure that you have the skills and interest to succeed. Also, asking employees about the corporate culture, management style, and current challenges will help you to build a more accurate view of a company. It doesn't matter if a job or company is "hot" if your intuition sends you a negative vibe about your future position or employer.

Engineering requires a willingness to take risks and accept challenges. You will want to choose a company that promotes teamwork, personal accomplishments, and flexibility.

Not only should a job seeker meet with a human-resources representative, but also with the managers for whom he or she might work. Find out if these managers encourage engineers to grab onto a specific part of a project as their own, as well as appreciate how the employee's work relates to the entire project. Some of the qualities that mangers value the most include enthusiasm, a positive attitude, and a connection to the "external customer" (real-world needs, expectations, budgets, and problems).

Is The Company Open To New Ideas?
One should investigate if a prospective employer has a work environment that meets the professional and personal needs of its employees. If you want to know whether a company is really open to employee ideas, ask several people what they like about working at that company specifically. After visiting a prospective employer, it's acceptable to call them if you have questions, concerns, or additional information to convey. The managers making hiring decisions understand that there's a lot of information you need in order to make an informed decision.

As a potential new employee, you should select a company that will provide you with the resources and opportunities to succeed. For example, some companies like Fujitsu will introduce new employees to a "mentor" so that they will become acclimated to their team's projects, work environment, and co-workers. It's important to work for a company that really cares about making you feel welcome, appreciated, and connected. This type of relationship building should start from your first day on the job and continue as you build your career. Make a point to notice how a firm treats its employees during your visit as part of the recruiting process.

All prospective employees always have to consider how a specific position will enhance their skill set and make them more marketable in the future. Education should never stop as it is a life-long pro-cess. Companies that value the development of their employees offer training programs that include external classes and workshops, tuition reimbursement, and in-house training, such as bringing in special instructors for a course or having a subject expert as a guest speaker.

Some of the best learning experiences come from informal discussions with co-workers in a casual setting, like during breakfast and lunch times. For instance, a new Fujitsu employee who just graduated from engineering school decided to launch a technical book club that meets regularly and includes lunch provided by Fujitsu. Another employee is active in the IEEE and often invites guest speakers to our lab. Other employees are active in business and school partnerships that encourage high school and college students to explore careers in engineering.

You want to examine a company's ability to create a casual, friendly, and supportive work environment. For example, does the company offer sponsored activities, such as social activities, new employee orientations, and special programs and events that help co-workers get to know each other? Is there a corporate wellness program, with access to a company-run or subsidized fitness facility, or other healthy lifestyle initiatives? And, are there peer recognition awards where an employee can nominate another when he or she deserves special recognition (and a monetary award) for helping co-workers, or working on a project in a special capacity? Furthermore, if it's needed, does the job offer include flexibility in a relocation assistance package?

Unfortunately, it's easy to become so caught up in the financial considerations of taking on a new job that one loses perspective. For long-term career satisfaction, you must do something that you enjoy. You should select a company that you feel good about in terms of culture and people. You must be able to grow in many different ways through relationships with your co-workers and managers.

Showing enthusiasm and passion for what you want to do is great. You want to work for a company that's seeking out engineers who are bright technically and are quick learners, with the ability to thrive in a dynamic, high-growth, and fast-paced environment.

Everyone wants to work for a high-caliber company that's crafting the latest and best-quality products in a specific industry. Choosing a company, or selecting an area, where there's a lot of potential for long-term growth should provide you with the edge in terms of career opportunities. Growth can be found in traditional companies, as well as Internet and electronic-commerce companies.

In this very competitive labor market, an enriching and enjoyable workplace is a key factor in attracting and retaining employees. Beyond compensation, people look for all kinds of things that contribute to a positive work environment, such as great projects, state-of-the-art equipment, a convenient work location, a comfortable work space, the "social" aspect or working with other employees they like, and recognition for a job well done.

Ultimately, a happy employee yields higher-quality work than an unmotivated one. You will want to find a job and a company that inspire you to perform your best work. To do so, you will need to understand who you are, what your strengths and needs are, and then look for compatibility with a company.

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