How do students and graduates most often go about finding their future employers? Through university, at careers fairs and online – but usually not on ski slopes. However, that was exactly where my application to work at Bayer MaterialScience started.
I first got to know my current employer Bayer through “Students on Snow – Euregio”. Not in the office, but out on the piste – it’s certainly an unusual environment, and all the more so for someone like me who isn’t even particularly good at skiing. And yet it’s also a great opportunity to meet people from the company in a completely different context.
Taking part in something together creates shared points of reference and encourages genuine dialog. You get a direct sense of a company’s spirit and culture – ultimately, applying for a job should involve both parties learning about each other.
An application process as speedy as downhill skiing
Motivated by this idea, I followed up the event by applying online for a position at Bayer MaterialScience in Leverkusen. Things then moved very quickly – I had my first day at work less than three weeks after my interview. The application process was tough, of course, but it also felt very personal. I received a call from my future boss immediately after my online application and was invited to an interview. Once again, this wasn’t about asking tricky questions, but instead was an enjoyable discussion of my strengths and weaknesses and a chance to present my skills of persuasion with a sales pitch. It was also clear in my second interview with the head of department that the priority was for us both to get to know each other and to find someone who would fit in well with the rest of the team.
“Welcome to Bayer!”
It goes without saying that my first weeks at Bayer were very exciting. I could see how well the selection process had worked because I was made to feel part of the team from the very start. That was thanks to all sorts of factors – from the balloons and “Welcome to Bayer, Fabio” sign hung on my door, to lunch invitations and knowing that both doors and ears were always open. I really did feel very welcome.
Making an active contribution to sustainability
I have been working in project management at Bayer MaterialScience for eight weeks now. In this position, my work is focused on two strategic contributions to sustainability – wind energy and the use of CO2as a raw material in the plastics industry. I find it fascinating to see how teams from different disciplines and backgrounds can take on major projects of this kind and drive forward technological change. Seeing how our products are used in applications such as wind turbines and CO2-based plastics and make a significant and measurable contribution to sustainability is the part of the job that most inspires me. Particularly in a large company, I hadn’t expected that this impact and my part in it would be so closely connected.
But let me return to the ski slopes for a moment. The most important thing for me about finding an employer I was suited to was engaging directly with people from the company.
This is the only way to get an accurate impression of the people you will soon be working with toward shared goals. So my advice is – make the most of any opportunity to get to know employers personally.