Influence v. Authority: Building Teams to Get the Job Done

When tasked with building a school in time for the new academic year, while knowing the project was already behind, what did EMJ Superintendent Nestor Praniuk do? He was honest.

“This is where we are; this is where we need to be. We’re a team. Together, we’re going to do this,” Praniuk said referring to his conversation with the owner. And, together, they did. Through collaboration and Nestor’s leadership, the team delivered a new lower school addition at Chattanooga Christian School (CCS) just in time for the school year.

“As a parent, I know the importance of starting the new year off right,” said Praniuk. “I didn’t want our work to impact the parents and teachers. To me, there was only one option and that was to open on time.”

On paper, getting the school completed by the August 13, 2018, deadline did not look feasible as various setbacks had already placed it 10 days behind. Through diligent efforts and consistent communication, Praniuk and his team, including Senior Preconstruction Manager Kyle Tippens and Project Engineer Devin Munczenski, aligned all trade partners with their goal and empowered them to make it happen.

Praniuk recalls challenging his trade partners and workers on site to understand the progress CCS is trying to make and the experience the school is aiming to deliver its clients. “I told them, ‘Think like a parent and what their needs are. What happens with their day if construction doesn’t come through on time?’”

Communicating an end goal is one thing. Getting all stakeholders to follow through on their commitment is another feat, one that requires thoughtful leadership and influence.

“It’s all about trust,” said Praniuk. “The key is creating healthy relationships with all involved. Get to know the other person and what’s important to them and why. Determine what you need to do to please them and then do it. You do what you say you’ll do, and you solidify that mutual trust.”

“In my many years of organizational leadership, [Nestor] is in a small group of unique leaders who I believe are critical to the ability of an organization to meet its goals and execute its mission,” writes Chad Dirkse, President of CCS, about Praniuk in a letter to EMJ.

“The core values EMJ espouses are embodied well in Nestor’s leadership. I know he cares deeply for CCS and for EMJ,” Dirkse continued. “He is not afraid to tell me no or challenge something he doesn’t agree with but works hard to meet my needs and expectations. He is also extraordinary at building healthy sub relationships.”

Praniuk’s approach to building great relationships with the trade partners, or subcontractors, on his construction jobs is simple: “Be a leader your subs want to follow, and treat them like you would like to be treated. We are only as good as our subs are. If they succeed, we succeed.”

At EMJ, we talk a lot about our project teams and how they extend far beyond our own employees to include the owner, designers, engineers, and all of the subcontractors that deliver a piece of the intricate puzzle that results in a building. Praniuk lives this. He manages each partner on the site as he does members of the EMJ team, with respect and as a valuable contributor.

“I get to know the workers as people and try to tap into their potential. 99% of their life is work. They’re sharing it with you on this project. Show them you care,” said Praniuk. “My goal is for them to take ownership and pride in the project, just like me. It’s much more than a task to be completed that day.”

Pictured are Director of Construction Gabe Thompson, EVP Chas Torrence, Nestor Praniuk, Kyle Tippens, Devin Munczenski, and VP of Construction Howard Smith.


The team’s hard work and strength of character shone brightly on the site.

The lower school at CCS was phase III of ongoing work the EMJ Construction Special Projects team is completing for the school. Praniuk and his team are now constructing an outdoor pavilion on the campus.

“The most rewarding part of our team’s work is meeting the client’s expectations and needs and creating great impact on the life of subs and our clients,” said Praniuk. “It’s more than a project. It’s personal.”

Nestor Praniuk joined the EMJ team in 2015. He has more than 18 years of construction experience, working at all levels from trade partner to site supervision. Earlier this year, he was honored with the Edgar M. Jolley Award for Outstanding Performance.


Related stories:

Sen. Corker visits Chattanooga Christian School expansion

Celebrating 50 years: Above and Beyond

A message from Burt Odom, CEO & President, EMJ Corporation

EMJ’s purpose and mission have evolved over the past 50 years, but we have always stayed true to our roots to go above and beyond. There are many stories passed around our organization that speak of all-nighters to finalize a job, executives assisting on-site crews, and coincidental meetings that turned into decade-long friendships.

Our mission, to deliver unique value to our clients, partners and colleagues, is about performing to the best of our abilities so that everyone we encounter receives an exceptional experience. These experiences lead to long-term relationships of trust and collaboration, similar to the bond that Ed Jolley and Charles Lebovitz built so many years ago.

I believe EMJ has thrived for half a century because we aim to think differently than other general contractors, and that’s something I am extremely proud of.

I hope you enjoy this second excerpt from EMJ Corporation: The First 50 Years, a book developed to share the company’s story and honor those who built EMJ. Printed copies will be available soon, and look for more excerpts on the blog throughout 2018.


“I remember we were building a shopping center once in a small town in South Carolina—Laurens, South Carolina,” Charles Lebovitz of CBL Properties recollects. “The night before the grand opening, Ed and I were out there in the parking lot helping to finish the striping of the lot. The stores were fully-fixtured and had merchandise. We had represented that we were going to open on a certain day at 9 a.m. And the night before, we did what it took to get it done.”

Going above and beyond became a hallmark for Ed Jolley and Independent Construction Company. Not only did the company always deliver on time and on budget, but Jolley also took a unique approach to the way he worked with Independent Enterprises.

“There was a tremendous chemistry between the Lebovitz family and Ed Jolley, and eventually myself,” says Jim Sattler, who joined Independent Construction Company in January 1976. “That chemistry was so important. [Independent Enterprises] had a development team, but they counted on Independent Construction Company to basically perform all of the preconstruction services that they needed. If they were given an assignment to go out and evaluate certain properties and see which would be the best properties, we were always involved.”

Charles Lebovitz adds, “[Ed] understood our approach to development. He was able to participate directly as we would go to different cities to meet with utility companies and others as far as developing initial budgets, where utilities had to be extended to the property, how to handle the storm water drainage for the property—all the things that went into a project. Ed became almost an extension of Independent Enterprises. He would go to those meetings and be identified as the contractor, but he understood the business. He understood what it took to put these shopping centers together, and he was very helpful in the negotiations with different local officials to secure the permitting and everything else. To say that [Ed] was our general contractor was really a misnomer.”

That strong connection between Independent Enterprises and Independent Construction Company became even more clear in 1978. Charles Lebovitz and four associates formed CBL & Associates, and Ed Jolley showed his solidarity with the new firm by renaming Independent Construction Company.

“Since there was no longer an Independent Enterprises and we were now CBL, Independent Construction Company changed its name to EMJ Corporation,” Lebovitz explains. Although Jolley claimed he would never use his initials as a company name, he recognized how beneficial it could be when Charles Lebovitz did just that with his new company. Both men had sterling reputations based on the work they had done over the years, and the credibility they built translated to the new iterations of CBL & Associates and EMJ Corporation.


EMJ Corporation founder Edgar M. Jolley

Edgar M. Jolley was born on December 9, 1928, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to John E. Jolley Sr. and Grace Scott Jolley. He grew up in the Chattanooga neighborhood of Ridgedale, as well as in Boynton, Georgia. He graduated from Central High School in Chattanooga and in 1951 received a degree in business from the University of Chattanooga, where he was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and a head cheerleader for the Chattanooga Mocs, which he fervently supported after his graduation. While his family business was in the automotive industry, he found his professional calling in construction services and at the helm of EMJ. He retired in 1993. In addition to being a father of seven, a grandfather of fourteen, and a great-grandfather of two, he was an avid golfer and pilot (of both private aircraft and remote control planes), as well as a community leader. In 2005 he was inducted into the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame at UT-Chattanooga. He passed away on January 30, 2007.

Check back for more excerpts from the EMJ anniversary book throughout 2018. 

Related story:

Celebrating 50 years: How it all began


3 ways Quality Planning Meetings benefit your construction project

EMJ’s Dallas team is preparing to begin work on a new Cinemark project in Frisco, Texas.  The project team recently held a Quality Planning Meeting to ensure that all team members are aligned with the client’s goals for the project’s design and execution.

George Heath, Vice President of Retail- Single Tenant, Phillip Crissman, Senior Superintendent, and Matt Connors, Project Manager, shared three key reasons why a Quality Planning Meeting is beneficial to any project:

1. Client values
Before each Quality Planning Meeting, EMJ’s Quality Department prepares an agenda that outlines topics and questions that assist construction teams in defining what quality issues are most important to a client. These concerns or challenges may relate to aesthetics, functionality, or maintainability, and knowledge of these enables the team to proactively tackle issues and prepare for execution.

“The client was very experienced working with other contractors on these types of projects, so he came in knowing exactly what he didn’t want,” George says. “He had prior issues with fire sprinkler layout, cleanliness of units, damage to floor finish and leaks. My team is keeping these issues in mind as we plan to ensure that his experience with EMJ is a positive one.”

2. Team buy-in
Before breaking ground, the meeting brings the project manager, preconstruction manager, project engineer, superintendent, quality manager, environmental and safety team members together, jump-starting relationship building and accountability.

“The meeting gets buy-in and puts everyone on the same page with the same goals,” Phillip says. “It engages all team members, strengthens relationships, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of time, but the value is considerable.”

3. Perspective

Each meeting participant reviews the project drawings based on their expertise and previous experience. Bringing these project participants together in a safe space to explore ideas and be transparent about concerns for the project gives all team members a deeper understanding of the project as they analyze variables.

“Each team member has their own experience and lessons learned that they bring to the project. We all view the documents with the filter of, ‘What can we do to give this client a really high-quality project and experience?’ and these are the ways we can improve,” says Matt. “It’s extremely valuable.”

George and the team are set to begin construction of Cinemark on December 1, with completion of the new facility scheduled for September 2018.

Interested in hosting a Quality Planning Meeting on your next project? Contact Jonathan Horne, Director of Quality Assurance, for details at

EMJ ranks #69 on ENR’s list of Top 400 Contractors

ENR Top 400 Contractors


Last week, we received news that EMJ Corporation ranks #69 on Engineering News-Record’s 2017 list of the Top 400 Contractors in the U.S.

This is EMJ’s 25th year on ENR’s list. We started at #166 back in 1992. In 2014, we ranked #129, followed by #101 in 2015, and #82 in 2016.

Today, our ranking, and our progress and growth, is due to our family of companies, each of our outstanding employees and the exceptional experience they deliver to our clients on every completed project.

Among these companies, EMJ Construction’s offices in Boston, Dallas and Chattanooga continue to elevate our brand through exceptional project delivery in a variety of sectors. EMJ’s teams have diversified their scope of work and expanded into industrial, distribution, multi-unit housing, healthcare, hospitality and more.

EMJ Special Projects, formerly Accent Construction Services, continues to serve the needs of clients seeking quick turnaround, single-tenant builds. The company has carved out a niche in adaptive reuse and historic renovation that has opened the doors to unique and innovative opportunities.

And, RedStone Construction Services, a Native-owned company based in Tulsa, Okla., just completed the corporation’s largest project in history, River Spirit Casino Resort.

If you take a deeper dive into the ENR rankings, you will see that EMJ ranks #15 in the Power sector. This is because of Signal Energy, which provides engineering, procurement and construction for renewable energy and infrastructure projects throughout North America. Among Signal’s top projects in 2016 were the Amazon Solar Farm in Virginia and Tranquility Solar Project in California.

While this ranking is a great honor for EMJ’s family of companies, in many ways it represents the accomplishments and growth of our clients who have partnered with us for many years.


What’s next?

So where does EMJ go from here? How do we elevate our efforts to set new standards within the industry and serve our clients better than the competition? Our people and C2C.

We have an exceptionally talented group of people at EMJ. Our team is of high integrity and a strong moral compass. Our culture of servant leadership guides us in serving our clients, but also each other.

Our C2C approach is centered around our clients and drives our teams to deliver unique value to our clients, partners and colleagues. The result is an exceptional construction experience that builds trusted relationships and transforms the way people view our industry.

By practicing servant leadership and aiming to live up to our values—honest, selfless, passionate, smart, responsible and gritty—in everything that we do, we are set up for success for years to come.

Guiding teams into the future with construction technology

EMJ’s people are the building blocks of the company. Their personalities, skills and past experiences are large parts of what make the company great. We are proud of each member of the team and enjoy sharing their stories.

Jonathan uses a Matterport reality capture device to capture virtual walkthroughs of rooms at EMJ’s 728 Market Street project.


Jonathan Deming, EMJ’s Director of BIM and Construction Technology, began his construction career building U.S. Embassies internationally—most notably in Beijing, China, and Moscow, Russia. He worked in various roles from construction project manager to design engineer, gaining understanding of the complexities and challenges of many construction roles.

After several years of international construction, he changed his course to focus on BIM and technology.

“Building internationally expands your perspective and pushes you to look beyond the way things have always been done,” Jonathan says. “Exploring ways to increase efficiency and improve the overall construction process in other countries really launched my passion for construction technology.”

After shifting his career focus, Jonathan gained experience working on projects of all sizes, including the Defense Logistics Agency’s (DLA) $90 million Defense Distribution Center. He led a team that self-performed the design and fabrication of mechanical systems to include ductwork and piping, using 3D modeling technology. This effort resulted in over $500,000 in savings to the project and several accolades, including first place in the 2013 Sysque Model of the Year.

Jonathan also worked on DFW’s Automated People Mover and Terminal Expansion, a $1.2 billion program, where he served as a quality assurance engineer and scheduling manager.

A model of Shaw Industry Group’s Create Centre by EMJ’s Construction Technology team. The office building was designed by Gensler.


Today, Jonathan leads EMJ Corporation and its family of companies in the training and application of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and various other construction technologies, such as laser scanning, smart site, 4D scheduling and more. Some of the projects impacted by his team’s work include 728 Market Street, U.S. Xpress, Connection Park, Chattanooga Whiskey and Farmer Brothers.

“Applying technology to construction can be complex and disruptive, so it’s important that we compare methods and help clients understand what the best options are so that they can achieve their goals and cut risk,” says Jonathan.

Jonathan’s department is also responsible for selecting and implementing the cloud-based project collaboration system Procore, currently being rolled out across EMJ.

With nearly 20 years of experience, Jonathan is committed to sharing his knowledge with others in the industry. In 2016, he founded Grassroots BIM to serve his Chattanooga community. This group of like-minded professionals who are passionate about construction technology holds quarterly meetings to foster community and collaboration within the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industries.

“The group’s tech-focus aligns perfectly with Chattanooga’s emphasis on innovation, and it has the potential to really enhance the AEC community,” says Jonathan. “We are building great momentum and are excited to see the results.”

He has also served as the speaker for Autodesk University and a guest lecturer for Carnegie Mellon University Graduate School of Civil Engineering, The University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, and The University of Tennessee School of Engineering Technology. This August, Jonathan will be one of the main speakers at the Advancing Field Technology 2017 conference, where he will address topics ranging from data analytics to ROI case studies.

For those trying to find their way in the construction industry or life in general, Jonathan says,  “Find your passion. It won’t necessarily be instant or easy, but when you find it, you will have a whole new outlook on your job and your purpose in life.”

Learn more about EMJ’s Construction Technology offerings here, and learn more about our EMJ team and how to become a part of it here.

FedEx, TNACI win Chattanooga construction, design awards

Two EMJ Construction projects received accolades at the 2017 Building Recognition in Chattanooga (BRIC) Awards on Tuesday, April 18th. Hosted by AIA Chattanooga, green|spaces and Sustainability Professionals of Greater Chattanooga, the BRIC Awards highlight projects completed by Chattanooga-based firms that represent the best-of-the-best in construction innovation, engineering and design.

The Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute, or TNACI, was the big winner of the evening, taking home four awards—the People’s Choice for Sustainable Project of the Year, both the People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice in Best Commercial Design, and the People’s Choice for Collaborative Building Team of the Year.

FedEx Ground Distribution Center took home the Judge’s Choice for Collaborative Building Team of the Year. This is EMJ’s second consecutive year to receive the Collaborative Building Team award, after last year’s recognition of our Cabela’s project team.


TNACI - aerial

TNACI is a 14,000-square-foot freshwater research center on the banks of the Tennessee River. Anticipated to be LEED-Gold certified, the facility provides a central location for researchers across the Southeast to bolster the mission of restoring the region’s natural ecosystems and educating the public on conservation. The entire site serves as a living classroom, showcasing how sustainable design can protect ecosystem health while creating connections between people and the natural environment.

Through the design and construction process, the team not only minimized TNACI’s impact, but produced a restorative entity for the ecosystem. By avoiding culverts, controlling erosion, removing invasive species then restoring natives, and carefully considering alternatives, the project will positively impact on the environment for years to come.

“I’d always heard that construction was the worst experience, but for me, it was the best year of my life,” said Dr. Anna George, Director of TNACI, during her acceptance speech for Sustainable Project.

Pictured, from left to right, are architect Matt Brown of Franklin Architects, Lead Superintendent John Rudez, Senior Vice President of Construction Jack Bowen, Senior Vice President of Preconstruction James Tyson, and Dr. Anna George of TNACI.


Thank you to all of our subcontractors and partners on this project and to TNACI for allowing us to be a part of bringing this amazing facility to the Southeast.

In addition to TNACI, the project team included Franklin Architects, WM Whitaker & Associates, IC Thomasson Associates Inc., Miller McCoy, Bennett & Pless, and Compass Commissioning and Design, LLC.

The EMJ team included Executive Vice President Clint Dean, Senior Vice President of Construction Jack Bowen, Project Manager Steve Totzke, Lead Superintendent John Rudez, Senior Vice President of Preconstruction James Tyson, Project Engineer Chad Marler, Project Engineer Matt Holder, and Accountant Michele Cheresnick.

EMJ completed FedEx Ground’s 235,000-square-foot distribution facility in just over eight months. The automated, build-to-suit station consists of a pre-engineered metal structure set on continuous concrete stem wall. Over 300,000 cubic yards of earth were shifted across the site during the development of the 63-acre site. In addition to the on-site work, EMJ oversaw the installation of a new pump station and traffic signals along with the widening of a nearby interstate exit ramp to accommodate the anticipated increase in freight traffic.

“There are so many people that play a part in how these jobs get done. We just go everyday and execute the delivery part,” said Jack Bowen in accepting the Collaborative Building Award for FedEx. “Collaboration is really a testimony to everyone involved. We appreciate what everyone in this room does for us.”

Thank you to our partners on this project: owner Saad Development Corporation, Castles Design Group, Anchor Engineering Associates, and all of the subcontractors. We’d also like to thank the City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County, EPB, Norfolk Southern, the Summit community, Waste Water Treatment Authority, Tennessee Department of Transportation and more for their work in bringing FedEx Ground to Chattanooga.

Our EMJ team included Clint Dean, Jack Bowen, James Tyson, Director of Construction James Williams, Project Manager Chris Webb, Superintendent Rich Gliddon, Superintendent Richard Stone, Director of Preconstruction Alex Miller, Preconstruction Manager David McCallen, and Accountant Mindie Ogle.

Congratulations are also in order for our colleague Hugh Morrow of Ruby Falls, who received the Sustainability Professional of the Year Award for his continued efforts to preserve the historic Ruby Falls, and to Chattanooga Whiskey Co., who received the People’s Choice Award for Sustainable Business of the Year.  EMJ is currently working on an expansion at Ruby Falls and recently completed Chattanooga Whiskey’s new distillery. Read more about those projects below, and click here to read more about all of the BRIC honorees.

EMJ to begin construction on Ruby Falls expansion


EMJ supports Make-a-Wish on WFAA’s “Good Morning Texas”


EMJ has partnered with Make-a-Wish to grant the wish of a local child, and on Wednesday, the team was invited to attend WFAA’s “Good Morning Texas” with other local participating companies.

Since 1982, Make-a-Wish has granted wishes of more than 270,000 children with life-threatening illnesses in the United States, providing hope, strength and joy to them and their families.


The feature primarily promoted the North Texas Walk for Wishes, a multi-city 5k fundraiser on Saturday, April 1st. But there was more than the walk to celebrate.

EMJers set up at American Airlines Plaza in grass skirts and leis to surprise 11-year-old Anthony, a local Make-a-Wish sponsor child, with his wish: a trip to Hawaii to learn how to surf. Anthony has a cardiac condition, and two Dallas residents, Dennis Baird and Conner Samuels, made his trip a reality.

“As a parent, when your child goes through something traumatic, you never know the outcome,” said Rebecca, Anthony’s mother. “It’s a great thing to see how far he’s come.”

Next month, EMJ will present its sponsor child, Daisy, with her wish, a trip to Walt Disney World to meet Belle— a direct result of their fundraising efforts.

To donate to EMJ’s team and help fulfill more wishes, visit our fundraising page, and see more photos from the event here.



Connection Park team enhances client experience through collaboration

Phillip Crissman, Senior Superintendent, Matt Connors, Project Manager, Wesley Grant, Preconstruction Manager, and Joe Bethel, Project Engineer, make up EMJ’s team on Dallas’ Connection Park Phase II project. Our team is building the two-phase, 301,000-square-foot office development in collaboration with Stream Realty Partners.

The team began Phase II by proactively bringing all project participants together for an Envelope Coordination Meeting. Based on the principles of trade-specific meetings, which were recently outlined on the blog, the meeting aimed to align participants and encourage collaboration in the earliest phase of the project.

The team understood how essential this meeting was— not only for the project’s success, but also for the client experience. To prepare, they detailed discussion points, goals for the meeting and ways in which they could create a synergistic atmosphere.

Using C2C’s four steps, the team began the meeting by asking all parties to define their roles, then listening and thinking to clarify how one’s work could affect another’s responsibilities.

“Phillip coordinated the meeting so that the questions and answers became a flowchart of information,” said Brian Tiehen, EMJ’s Quality Manager, who attended the meeting with the team. “He would ask the installer a question, and the installer’s answer would bring up questions from the panel sub, and so on.”

Asking questions opened the flow of communication—to discuss what went right on Phase I of the project and what could be improved. This then led to action-items for each individual and unified goals for the project team as a whole.

“Everyone understood that they were accountable for their piece of the project,” said Brian. The meeting proved to be a success, and Connection Park Phase II is already on a track to deliver unique value to the client for an exceptional construction experience.

“It takes everyone’s buy-in,” said Phillip. “A successful project is not just about each party understanding his own responsibilities, but also knowing what the guy coming behind him has to do— how that could affect his product. And I think this meeting helped achieve that.”

Mentoring provides high return on investment

At EMJ, employees are encouraged to invest in others through servant leadership, and the organization’s Career-4-Life program provides opportunities to serve through mentoring, collaboration and training.

EMJ’s one-on-one mentoring program pairs leaders within the organization for nine months. Ben Milner, Senior Vice President of Preconstruction, was paired with mentor Jay Jolley, EMJ Chairman of the Board, for the inaugural mentoring class.

The two began having monthly meetings and focused on developing trust and openness with one another.

“We did it simply by tearing down barriers,” says Jay. “I shared my life story—the good, the bad and the ugly—and the hope was in doing that, [he] would be able to respond in a similar way by sharing with me [his] life story.”

Just as with business and client relationships, the key to mentoring is listening. “A lot of mentoring isn’t telling people what to do. It’s listening to what their problems are and trying to relate your experiences to what they’re going through.”

Ben’s experience with Jay has led him to incorporate servant leadership and mentorship into his own career. Now, every Friday, Ben sits down with an individual employee for two hours for a coaching and training session.

“When you have the opportunity to really pour into an individual and see that lightbulb go off in their head, I think it brings more satisfaction to me than probably the employee sitting across from me,” explains Ben.

One of the big takeaways Ben learned from his time with Jay was how to reorganize and prioritize his schedule to make time for coaching and training others. Though the Friday training sessions require him to work more here and there to make up the time, Ben considers the sessions well worth it.

“There is a dividend that pays off in the future,” Ben says.

Watch the video at the top of the page to learn more about Ben and Jay’s experience in the mentoring program. 

Looking for a company that invests in your growth and learning? View EMJ’s open positions here.

EMJ celebrates inaugural one-on-one mentoring class


6 things to look for in a construction company

Landing your first job out of college can be overwhelming. Resumes, cover letters, applications, interviews and even personality tests—how do you stand out from the competition? And how do you find the right fit among so many construction companies?

EMJ Corporation’s team of recruiters and career counselors weigh in on key components to look for in a company for a fulfilling career that lasts.

1. Growth Opportunities



High-quality companies provide opportunities for employees to excel and grow into leadership roles. Not only that, they encourage personal growth by investing in resources that allow employees to learn and develop skills that interest them. Visible growth opportunities motivate employees and give them purpose to create tangible long-term goals. Visit a company’s website and social feeds to browse for continuing education, mentoring or learning opportunities provided to employees.

Sample questions for recruiters:
“What are my potential career paths if I assume this role?”
“What kind of development opportunities does the company provide?”
“How does the company recognize success?”

2. Work/Life Balance



The transition from a flexible schedule of college classes to an 8-5 job can be challenging for recent grads. The company that you choose should be one that values its employees’ time outside of the office walls as much as inside them. If possible, reach out to an employee at the company to ask about the company’s culture of work/life balance. Check social media feeds and view reviews on to make sure the company will value and respect your time away from the office.

Sample questions for recruiters:
“How does the company ensure that employees have work/life balance?”
“Would I be able to speak to someone in that role currently and discuss their daily schedule and responsibilities?”

3. Culture


About one-third of a person’s life is spent working—that’s why a positive company culture is so important. If you love what you do but are surrounded by people who are unreliable, bring each other down and complain, all of the money in the world is not worth staying at that company. While benefits packages or company incentives may be appealing, an organization’s work environment is the greatest factor in whether or not you will be happy in your role. Look for companies that have team-building events, volunteer together and do things outside of work as a group.

Sample questions for recruiters:
“What is a typical day like at your company?”
“How does the company promote a positive culture and work environment for employees?”
“What was the company’s last team-building event?”


4. Values & Philanthropy



Does the company support the community, give back to charities and donate time to worthy causes? Though it may not seem relevant during an initial interview, philanthropic efforts reflect a company’s values. Think about what values are important to you, and look for a company with similar values. Most companies have a mission statement on their website, and you will feel “at home” working for a construction company that doesn’t push you to contradict your ethics. Join an organization with principles that you not only respect, but also believe in.

Sample questions for recruiters:
“Does the company support or participate in any local organizations?”
“What values are most important to the company, and how does it exhibit them?”


5. History



Companies with tried-and-true history allow employees to diversify their experience, work with accomplished mentors and tackle large-scale projects with the support of a knowledgeable team. Accomplished organizations lead with their experience and provide confidence that your job will be stable—even with fluxes in the economy. Research the company for signs of growth, such as expanding markets and affiliate companies, as well as developments including social media and updated web presence. This reflects that the company is not stagnant and evolves as the industry transitions.

Sample questions for recruiters:
“What is the largest challenge that the company has encountered, and how does it impact its work today?”
“What would clients and other companies say about the company?”

6. Strong Leaders



Often overlooked by potential employees is the importance of a company’s leadership. Strong companies have leadership within the organization who mentor, advise, instruct and encourage their employees. Not only does this impact the culture, it strengthens the company as a whole. Research the company’s leadership, discover what causes they’re involved in, and find a role under a seasoned individual who is passionate about their work.

Sample questions for recruiters:
“What values are important to the company’s leadership?”
“In what ways does leadership mentor and motivate employees?”

At the end of the day, finding a job is a two-way street. Employers know what they want; it’s important that you know what you want, as well. Be self-aware of your personality, skills and weaknesses, and be honest about them—you will be sure to find the perfect match.

EMJ Corporation prides itself in providing an environment that encourages and encompasses all of the above. From promoting a culture of servant leadership to our mission of delivering unique value to everyone in our sphere of influence, we truly believe that our employees are the best in the industry.

If you’re interested in a workplace that values you and your growth, learn more about what it’s like to work at EMJ or view our available positions.