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for 24 weeks
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GET A JOB AT...GOOGLE CANADA

WANTED Engineers, sales, policy, marketing, public relations WHERE Waterloo, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal EMPLOYEES 100 Even if it weren't one of the coolest, most innovative companies on the planet, the perks alone would make Google worth the gruelling hiring process (which includes an initial phoner and as many as three face-to-face interviews). The company's Canadian operations are small-just over 100 people-but they're looking to hire in just about every department. Employees are encouraged to spend 20% of their time working on a pet project (that's how Gmail and Google News were created), and to take free courses-personal finance, language, work-related skills-through Google University. Free meals, sleek, open-concept offices (with phone rooms for private gabs with mom), Ping-Pong and video games make it just a bit easier to put in the long hours Google demands.

WHAT THEY WANT Chris O'Neill, the managing director of Google Canada, breaks it into four parts: "First, role-related knowledge and experience. Second, we want people who understand that the challenges of today will be different tomorrow-people who can think through problems. Third, leadership, whether it's a local non-profit, sports or your church. Then there's 'Googliness'-people who value teamwork, have the audacity and desire to think really big, and have a desire to make a difference in the world."

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WHAT THEY DON'T WANT "People who think incrementally don't tend to do well here," says O'Neill.

VIBE You don't need to wear a suit to be taken seriously.

INSIDE TRACK "I like to hear people say 'we' more than 'I,'" says O'Neill.

DEAL BREAKER "Would I want to spend four hours in an airport with you?"

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GET A JOB AT...BARRICK GOLD

WANTED Finance, accounting, project managers, civil engineers, geologists WHERE Toronto and international EMPLOYEES 20,000 Attention, travel fanatics: Jetting around the globe is practically a requisite for working at the world's largest gold producer. Barrick has 25 operating mines on five continents-some of them in dicey locales. With gold trading at record-high prices, the prospects for growth are huge-and so are the opportunities for new employees. If you have kids, you'll be happy to know Barrick offers scholarships worth $4,000-plus for dependants (first undergrad degree only). Also, a Canadian passport gets you a spot in the candidate pipeline anywhere in the world.

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WHAT THEY WANT People who are mobile, able to work cross-culturally and aware of the challenges of the mining business. "We're looking for folks who have that passion to succeed and are entrepreneurial," says Chad Hiley, VP of human resources. "Continuous improvement is one of the ways it manifests itself. It comes from our roots-we started with one mine 27 years ago and we're now the global leader."

WHAT THEY DON'T WANT People who aren't thrilled about travelling.

VIBE Work hard, earn big.

INSIDE TRACK Prospective employees go through multiple interviews with HR, management and other employees to make sure they understand Barrick's culture and the demands of the job. Don't be shy about grilling them: One of the company's core principles is, "We hire employees, but they also hire us."

MOVE ON UP Barrick's Global Succession Planning Program lets employees build knowledge and skills by temporarily placing them in jobs of greater complexity.

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GET A JOB AT...MAPLE LEAF SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

WANTED Finance, accounting, IT WHERE Toronto EMPLOYEES 600 full-time If you're a fan of the Leafs, Raptors or Toronto FC, working at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is a dream gig. They might all be losing teams, but there's lots of opportunity at MLSE, with three specialty channels, marquee restaurants, the Air Canada Centre and a major real estate development. Since the company gets hundreds of applications for jobs, it might take longer than many companies to choose the right person. But lucky hires enjoy proximity to sports superstars, the chance to attend a leadership course taught by CEO Richard Peddie and Friday afternoons off during the summer. A very strong culture of employee recognition includes tickets to shows, games and trips to Air Canada destinations.

WHAT THEY WANT "We have an obligation to entertain people, and we have to make sure we're here for the fans and looking after them," says Mardi Walker, MLSE's senior VP of people. "It's having a very strong service mindset, being flexible on when you are going to be working, being team-oriented and not being afraid to work hard."

WHAT THEY DON'T WANT People who think being a Leafs or Raptors fan qualifies them for a job. If you're looking for 9 to 5, this is the wrong place to be.

VIBE "We're always playing to win on the ice, the court or the pitch, and in the executive suite."

BEST FIT If you're a classic Type A, MLSE is your kind of place. The company attracts sports-loving, sports-playing, driven personalities. Passion is crucial.

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WARNING "You should see our dodge-ball tournament," says Walker. "It can get a little tough out there."

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ENCANA

WANTED Engineers, accountants, land negotiators, geologists, geophysicists WHERE Calgary EMPLOYEES 3,000 You want perks? Encana's got them. Workers at the natural gas company's Calgary office get the first and third Fridays of every month off, in return for working 81/2-hour days. That's an extra 24 days off a year. Encana also takes your life experience into account when doling out vacation time. New grads start with three weeks, and that bumps up to four by age 25 (senior employees get eight weeks off). As for benefits, employees get a lump sum each year to spend any way they want-buying extra dental coverage or additional holidays. There are scholarships for your kids and cash for energy-efficient home upgrades. And Encana will match your charitable donations up to $25,000 a year. Plus, its state-of-the-art Calgary headquarters, the Bow, due to open in early 2012, will have mountain views and three floors of indoor parks.

WHAT THEY WANT Encana does a lot of recruiting out of university, and David Urquhart, the company's team lead for HR, is looking for people with a passion for continuous improvement, who thrive on and accept change, and who are good communicators. They're also on the hunt for "experienced people who know how to assess and take calculated action."

WHAT THEY DON'T WANT Spotlight hogs. "We're definitely a 'we' culture rather than an 'I' culture. It's key that everyone is working for the greater good, even on different teams."

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GET NOTICED Since Encana likes to get 'em young-roughly one-third of its hires last year were straight out of school-it has started using social media as a recruiting tool. "The connections we've made with students on Twitter are huge," says Urquhart. "On the very first day, there were over 600 contacts."

HOT COMMODITY "Drilling and completion engineers have some of the hottest skills right now," says Urquhart. VIBE Lead by example.

INSIDE TRACK Expect behavioural-type questions-they're looking to determine whether you're a leader, a follower or someone who jumps on board to build on an idea. "We don't try to throw people back on their heels with any weird questions," says Urquhart.

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FOUR SEASONS HOTELS AND RESORTS

WANTED Tech services, distribution, engineers, finance, sales, hospitality managers WHERE Toronto, Geneva, Singapore, plus hotels and sales offices worldwide EMPLOYEES 40,000 People are Four Seasons' business, and the hotel management company-founded by Isadore Sharp in 1960-has a stellar reputation for service. "It's horribly clichéd to say this, but honestly, it's about people," says Mary Sullivan, Four Seasons' vice-president of corporate HR. "We don't own any of our hotels. People are the only thing we sell, and we make money by doing a really good job of serving people." As for perks, Four Seasons staff earn free nights at its hotels-three in their first year, topping out at 20. "And the hotel goes overboard when our own are staying with us," says Sullivan. "It gives employees the opportunity to access something you wouldn't be able to otherwise."

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WHAT THEY WANT "The people who are attracted to a career in hospitality are by nature extroverted and fun, and they have a deep-seated need to make other people happy," says Sullivan. That applies as much to garage jockeys as to accountants. "We say we hire for attitude and we're prepared to train for skill."

WHAT THEY DON'T WANT Applicants who are more interested in working for a prestigious brand than providing good service. "Humility is probably the best predictor of success in this organization," says Sullivan.

INSIDE TRACK No matter what kind of job you're applying for, you'll likely be asked to describe a situation where you've gone out of your way to make sure someone was well taken care of, how you've dealt with conflict, and how you've recovered from a mistake. "Our mantra is about recovering from mistakes," says Sullivan. "That's what distinguishes great service."

VIBE The Golden Rule rules: Treat others as you want to be treated yourself. "It's a big thank-you culture," says Sullivan.

PACK YOUR SUITCASE With 84 hotels in 35 countries, "we move people around a lot," says Sullivan.

SHARP FACTOR Issy started out as an architect and builder, and the Toronto headquarters is "museum quality," says Sullivan. "I think Issy made it that way because it'd be nicer than your home, so you'd be happy to stay longer hours."

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DELOITTE

WANTED Technology (SAP, Oracle, CRM), financial performance management WHERE 58 offices across Canada EMPLOYEES About 8,000 in Canada Deloitte is big on work-life balance. Yes, employees toil hard-but they're well compensated for it. Canada's largest professional services company also encourages "career customization"-you can take it up a notch or dial it down depending on your needs. New moms returning to work can do four days a week, and employees nearing retirement can gradually cut down their load. Deloitte also offers leaves of absence to anyone who wants to do community work overseas. Variety is another perk of the job: The average consulting gig lasts a few months, then you're on to the next one. Plus, employees have the opportunity to work with member firms in 140-plus countries. Deloitte staff also get a $1,000 annual bonus to spend on aerobics classes, yoga or other wellness activities, plus three personal days off.

WHAT THEY WANT Business smarts and an in-depth understanding of a particular industry. Deloitte also wants team players, says Sü Grant, the company's senior manager of recruitment strategy in Canada. "We look for leaders who have managed teams and people, have strong client-relationship skills, and a background in project management."

VIBE Buttoned-down.

INTERVIEW PREP Candidates are asked to offer solutions to case studies.

GET ON THEIR RADAR Referrals go a long way at Deloitte, so it helps if an employee puts in a good word for you.

BEST FIT Business-savvy leaders who are looking for variety and flexibility.

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SID LEE

WANTED Creative team members, writers, art directors WHERE Montreal, Toronto, Amsterdam, Paris EMPLOYEES 350 Sid Lee is the ad agency to watch these days. It has been steadily racking up awards for its work with brands like Adidas, Cirque du Soleil and Red Bull. Though the shop has a limited number of jobs open at any given time, co-founder and creative chief Philippe Meunier says, "We're always scouting."

WHAT THEY WANT This is how Meunier sums it up: "Multicultural people who like a chaotic management style; courageous people willing to cross the ocean to start a career; people with no boundaries in terms of culture and how they see the business. We like people who are humble and share the spotlight. You need to be good at what you do and have some mojo. Be inspiring. Have colour, flavour and personality. Sometimes we can look at someone and say, 'That's a Sid Lee guy or girl.' We know right away."

WHAT THEY DON'T WANT Ego.

GET ON THEIR RADAR Follow Sid Lee and its partners on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. "When I travel for business, I set up meet-and-greet events through social media to review portfolios and meet creatives over a beer." In November, Meunier put out a call over Facebook, inviting people to send him their portfolios. He got 200 submissions in 24 hours. The winner got a one-week internship at Sid Lee in Montreal.

INSIDE TRACK "Don't do weird or fancy stuff to impress us," says Meunier. "Just put 10 of your best pieces online-very simple and clean."

VIBE "There's not one guy as superstar. Many creative people drive the show."

SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE About 70% of Sid Lee's work is in English, and that language dominates the Montreal office. In Amsterdam, the first language is Swedish (Meunier has a thing for grads of Sweden's Hyper Island program), the second is English, and the third, Dutch.

SQUIRM FACTOR "Doubt is good for the creative process. We like to push people outside their comfort zone."

BOTTOM LINE The face-to-face interview is make-or-break. "I ask about life, dreams, what they want to do," says Meunier. "For me, that's crucial."

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RESEARCH IN MOTION

WANTED Engineers, finance, admin, legal, intellectual property WHERE Waterloo, Toronto, Mississauga, Ottawa and offices worldwide EMPLOYEES 14,000 Research In Motion can't hire people fast enough-it's looking to fill 3,000 positions on six continents (though most of them are at its home base of Waterloo, Ontario, where it has 25 facilities). "We're always beating the bushes for great people," says Rodney Moses, RIM's VP of global talent acquisition. A few of the perks: signing bonuses for select hires, a company-wide year-end payout, and an inventor's incentive for anyone who comes up with a patentable technology. An added bonus: Co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis treat employees to a free concert to celebrate company milestones. Past RIM Rocks gigs have included U2, Aerosmith, the Barenaked Ladies and Van Halen.

WHAT THEY WANT You don't have to be a BlackBerry devotee to work at RIM, but it helps. "Most people who come here are passionate about either our products or the space we're in," says Moses. "It's high-energy and very creative-a company based on innovation, and you feel that every day." As for your CV, Moses recommends you customize it for the job you're applying for. "That's 70% of the battle of getting in here," he says. "The other 30% is expressing your personality. We want people who are confident, yet humble; collaborative, yet decisive."

VIBE "We don't put parameters on anyone's success," says Moses.

INSIDE TRACK Use social media like Twitter to raise your profile and get on RIM's radar-and definitely have an updated LinkedIn page.

WARNING "If you don't have your Facebook page locked down to family and friends only," says Moses, do it now-RIM will be checking out your online profile before making any hiring decisions.

POSSIBLE DRAWBACK You're reachable 24/7 thanks to free BlackBerrys. Moses has four of the devices on the go.

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