Cosmic Jobs: Now Hiring at CERN!

April 2, 2010


CERN Twitterstream Cosmic Jobs:  Now Hiring at CERN!

On March 30, 2010, “a new era in science” opened when the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) achieved an operational energy level of 7 TeV.

Decoded, that means scientists have succeeded in smashing together sub-atomic particles at something near the speed of light.  Why?  To find out more (and maybe everything) about the origins and inner workings of the cosmos.

There’s a long way to go before the answers are revealed—and it may well be that surprising new questions emerge before there are actually any answers.  So there’s plenty of work to be done at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), owner of the world’s largest science experiment.  The LHC is a circular tunnel that runs for seventeen miles under French and Swiss territory, packed with devices that can measure time to a few billionths of a second and register location to millionths of a metre, to record data about the particle collisions.  Around fifteen million gigabytes of data every year, to be exact.  The data will be stored and processed in a worldwide grid comprising thousands of computers.

Top scientists from many countries are participating in this huge project.  But CERN also needs all kinds of other workers, from administrative staff to equipment technicians.  In fact—they are looking for a Recruitment Specialist!

This “challenging position” would be in a “newly established unit” that will:

. . . implement best practices by forecasting and anticipating recruitment needs, planning these in collaboration with key management stakeholders, and subsequently delivering a service of excellence from attraction and assessment of candidates through to selection and appointment.

That description may sound familiar—but now just imagine recruiting for a project that may unlock the secrets of the universe.  “Challenging” just doesn’t seem a strong enough word!

In terms of the organization’s online presence:  Careers at CERN is a pleasant but rather plain site, with information on a variety of programs, the typical search tools,  and the usual sort of video.  There’s nothing about the “culture,” perhaps because applicants in such a rarified niche would either already know or not really care about the working environment.  And there are no social media links.   CERN actually has a good Twitter presence on the “science” side, but apparently that hasn’t taken hold on the HR side.   So all in all, the site is functional but not nearly so exciting/romantic as one might hope.

If you want to know more about CERN and the LHC, get some background with the 3 Minute CERN Tour at YouTube.  (It’s really excellent.)  Then catch up on recent events with this BBC story.  And CERN’s LHC website is also a great source of information.

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