With roughly 145,000 open jobs on Glassdoor, a median salary of $104,463 and a number 11 position on Glassdoor’s Best Jobs in America list, there’s no denying that Software Engineer is one of the hottest job titles out there. But just because the job is in high demand doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a job. With a position as important as this, companies aren’t just going to hire anybody. Before they extend an offer, companies want to make sure that candidates have the hard skills, soft skills, personal qualities and values necessary to thrive at the company and in their role.
To learn exactly what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for, we chatted with Dennis Episkopos, Senior R&D Director of Software and Informatics at Agilent. In our conversation, he shared some of his best career tips for engineers just beginning their careers, what he looks for in candidates and what makes his company unique.
Glassdoor: What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
Dennis Episkopos: Within the software and informatics division, I set the strategy to create solutions that help our customers be more efficient, effective and profitable. I also enjoy coaching people and creating high-performing teams, an especially rewarding focus of my position. There is no better way to develop state-of-the-art products than with a highly dedicated team working together for the benefit of our customers.
Glassdoor: What traits or characteristics are you looking for in entry-level engineers?
Dennis Episkopos: In addition to a solid education and mastery of relevant skills, I look for a candidate who is eager to learn new things, who enjoys the challenge of solving complex problems and who can bring different perspectives and background to the team. And personally, I also look for a good sense of humor!
Glassdoor: When you interview a candidate, do you look for “culture fit”, or “culture add”?
Dennis Episkopos: I used to look for ‘culture fit’ — someone who would fit right in and ramp quickly. What I learned is that when you hire for fit, you get people who think the same way you do. In today’s fast-paced world, adding to our culture means finding candidates who can embrace our values, yet bring new ideas, thinking and ways of doing things. A wider variety of perspectives leads to better outcomes — a cohesive team with diverse perspectives and inclusion means not only great results, but it also reinforces Agilent as a great place to work.
Glassdoor: How would you describe Agilent to a recent college grad?
Dennis Episkopos: Agilent helps our customers make the world a better place. We produce instruments, applications, services, consumables and expertise used in labs, clinics and organizations. Labs around the world are supported by Agilent to research and diagnose cancer, develop and test pharmaceutical drugs, ensure safer food, improve quality in manufacturing and test the environment — and that’s just a few examples. We have a strong culture of innovation, and talented employees who make amazing things happen every day!
Glassdoor: What roles at Agilent do you consider most interesting, or that offer unique opportunities?
Dennis Episkopos: I may be biased, but I believe that software engineering is an ever-evolving job where employees can learn something new every day. People don’t always realize how creative and collaborative the software-development process is. It is almost by definition innovative, since you create new functionality that didn’t exist before. And it is always a team effort.
Glassdoor: What does Agilent offer to an entry-level engineer?
Dennis Episkopos: At Agilent, you’ll be using the latest and greatest technologies: everything from cloud and mobile applications to the latest in advanced scientific hardware. We also offer unique challenges and great growth opportunities. For example, you might start off your career as a software engineer in Silicon Valley, later help us create a new product in Australia and end up managing a sales team in Spain. At Agilent, no two days are ever the same.
We also offer a flexible work environment. Our employees can work from home and choose flexible hours, and we even provide up to four paid hours per month for you to volunteer with your favorite charity. And, of course, we offer an impressive set of incentives and benefits.
Glassdoor: What is your number one job search tip for engineers in the first three years of their career?
Dennis Episkopos: My one recommendation is that engineers who are starting out in their careers pay attention to what they enjoy doing, and what they like learning about, so they come to understand their passions. It will be the things they voluntarily spend time on: inventing, designing, building, maintaining, researching and improving devices, systems, materials or processes. Passion accelerates your abilities, and doing work that you enjoy inspires innovative and progressive ideas.
Agilent is hiring like crazy! Software Engineers — join them online on Monday, July 30th, during their virtual career fair. Chat with recruiters and hiring leaders from the comfort of your own home between 12 – 3 pm PST and discover careers with Agilent. Register here.