I have been working at VTT full-time (More than 10 years)
If you have the will and the skill, you can often influence what you work on and how you work on something within a project.
Good support for travelling to conferences to present your work and meet and discuss with international peers.
Some good people still remain, if you can find them.
Pay has stagnated for last 10 years or so. Personal pay has nothing to do with your skills or contributions. Idle a project doing nothing, or do world-class research and results, no-one cares. New hires have been frozen for years, so no new blood, no new energy, no fresh ideas to stir it up with some rebel feeling. Old geezers clubs keep each other hired regardless of research skill over any layoffs. A good researcher in a core subject is not valued whatsoever. You have to be acquiring funding to be something. Over the years, most capable people have left and what remains is mostly those who know they are better of staying and biding it till retirement.
Still, the potential is great, and it was actually great a few years back. Hope it will get there someday still.
Advice to Management
Freshen the management, fire the old friends club who do not contribute, start rewarding people for good work, take responsibility for more than just everyone having some project number for hours. It's always in the words, never in the real action.
I applied online. The process took 2 days. I interviewed at VTT (Espoo (Finland)).
First interview on skype with the group manager and the technology cluster manager, then on-site interview. The skype interview consisted of a brief technological presentation followed by standard questions (strengths, weaknesses, why do you want to work with us). The on-site interview took two days. There was a separate day for a compulsory psychological test. It has very little to do with psychology despite its name. The psycho-test seems to be outsourced to an external HR company - the purpose is transparency and impartiality of the hiring process, I guess.The psycho-test consisted of IQ-test assignments, very generic interview with an HQ person, several individual and group assignments. It is probably not possible to fail this test and it is mainly for classification of the candidate (introvert, extrovert, psychopath, able or not able to work in a team etc). The interview at VTT consisted of a seminar, a lab tour, discussions, talking to people working there, a dinner in the evening.
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