What they do
Nexen is a Calgary-based energy company with more than 4,000 employees working in key locations all over the world. They are a major player in the development of the Athabasca oil sands through their Long Lake project, and are also involved in conventional oil exploration and development, natural gas recovery, and energy marketing.
A little bit of history
They started out as Canadian Occidental Petroleum Ltd. in 1971, and expanded throughout western Canada and the Gulf of Mexico in the 70s and 80s. In 1993, they struck black gold at Masila, Yemen, and expanded their holdings in North America through a series of acquisitions including Syncrude. They officially changed their name to Nexen in 2001.
Where you can start
Entry level positions include New Grad (NG) Engineer, NG Geologist, NG Geophysicist, NG Buyer, NG Human Resources, NG Finance/Accounting, (Chartered Accountant – they are a CA Training company). They also offer four-month summer student positions across all aspects of their business.
Head offices are in Calgary, but they also have operations in Alberta, BC, the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea, offshore West Africa, Yemen, and Colombia.
Their Calgary head office is located in a 36-storey stainless steel office tower right downtown. The building features an open air glass atrium with lots of greenery and a water feature, a large conference centre equipped with cutting edge acoustic technology and high-def video displays, and a fully equipped onsite fitness facility that is free for all employees. There are kitchens on every floor and it's in close proximity to various cafeteria style shops and restaurant options. They are close to nature trails, biking, and green space, including Century Gardens and Prince's Island Park. Transit is nearby and onsite bike lock-up is available.
There are a lot of programs to take advantage of as a Nexen employee, from educational subsidies to health and fitness programs. They offer paid co-op and engineering internship programs to university and college students throughout the year, and many of their work-term students end up with jobs. If your post-secondary program doesn't support work terms that run during the school year, they offer two summer work programs as well. The summer student employment program welcomes students from various disciplines to work at Nexen, and the technical summer student program is aimed specifically at helping engineering, geology, and geophysics majors gain valuable experience in their field of study. Once you're done school, you can take advantage of their New Grad Development program; it helps recent graduates matriculate seamlessly from school to work at Nexen through on-the-job training and assignments and one-on-one mentorship.
Nexen was rated one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2011. They do a lot of outreach in Aboriginal communities, with a dedicated Aboriginal Partnership department along with Human Resources internally, and a long-standing focus on hiring Aboriginal students through career and recruitment fairs, as well as through partnerships with Aboriginal student associations, at colleges and universities across western Canada.
At their offices, dress is business casual, and casual on Fridays. The Nexen Social Club has been organizing social functions for employees for over 20 years, with the company hosting annual traditions like the hockey tournament, Family Day activities at Spruce Meadows, and a Calgary Stampede pancake breakfast. There’s an employee recognition program, and several formal feedback and review programs. They were one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2011.
The company conducts outside surveys yearly to ensure they offer competitive salaries and compensation packages to employees. There are referral bonuses and annual bonuses available. They also offer profit-sharing plans, pension plans and retirement planning assistance, insurance packages, health benefits and more. Employees get three weeks’ paid vacation per year to start.
The President’s Safety, Environment, and Social Responsibility Award encourages excellence in those areas by donating $10,000 to a charity of the winner’s choice. As a company, they actively sponsor leadership and management programs, scholarships, and bursaries for Aboriginal post-secondary students through The Banff Centre. Nexen employees can take two days off per year to volunteer in the community. The company also has a program that matches employee donations to registered charities dollar for dollar, up to $20,000 a year. They support over 600 local, national and international organizations, including lots of community involvement through the United Way.
Degrees they like
Engineering, geology, geophysics, business, commerce, finance, accounting, human resources, supply management, environmental science, occupational health and safety.
How to apply
Through their website. Remember to include a cover letter, your GPA, and your availability. There is a lot of competition for jobs, though, so only successful candidates will be contacted for interviews.
How long before you hear back, and what’ll happen when you do
Nexen uses Behavior Descriptive Interviewing (BDI), and their interview process is fully outlined on their website, so you won’t go in unprepared. Basically, they’re interested in your accomplishments, not just your personality or demeanor during the interview – so be ready to give concrete examples of past experience and successes. Afterwards, the interviewer will tell you when to expect a call back; they’ll let you know either way, which is nice. If you got the job, congratulations! Expect to undergo a thorough orientation process, and don’t worry: there are lots of resources for new hires and the company has a dedicated intranet portal just for new employees.
Best thing to say in an interview
Nexen wants you to know their company, and to know yourself. Do your research, understand the position you’re applying for, and be prepared to explain why you’re a good fit with the company.
Worst thing to say in an interview
It will show if you don’t really know much about the company, or if you’re just looking for a job rather than a career. And don’t let your first question be about the money.
Where can my career go with Nexen?
They really stand out when it comes to career development. Employees are eligible for tuition subsidies of up to 100 percent for both work-related courses and schooling related to their position. There are all kinds of financial incentives to continue your professional development and education at every stage of your career, and the company offers internal professional training programs, courses, internships, apprenticeships, and mentorship programs. Basically, they will help you stay as cutting-edge as you were when they hired you.
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