Author Topic: Showing circuits on job interview  (Read 5517 times)

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Offline tomvleeuwen

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Showing circuits on job interview
« on: October 11, 2010, 08:06:30 pm »
Hi Dave,

You mentioned (again) that you should bring any projects to a job interview in AH 10. I'm having a bit of a dilemma with this.

For the Formula Student car (Formula SAE in US and Australia) of my university (Delft), I designed several PCB's, but those were my first large PCB designs and although I am proud at the results since everything was working perfectly at the competition, I am not so proud at the layout of these boards. I used the auto router since the dimension constraints were huge and the design time constraints were minimal (and EEVblog #93 wasn't out...).

Later, I designed some PCB's for myselft without autorouter, but these projects are still work-in-progress (Software will not be finished soon, but hardware is finished).

What is your opinion? Should I bring the ugly but perfectly functional Formula SAE boards or is it better hide their ugliness and only tell about the wonderful results?

Thanks,

Tom
 

Offline armandas

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Re: Showing circuits on job interview
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2010, 09:52:47 pm »
Choose the one that has more things that you can talk about. If it's the Formula Student board, why not bring the new project just to show your advancement.
 

Offline Rhythmtech

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Re: Showing circuits on job interview
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2010, 01:17:43 am »
I believe the problem would be how you present the boards. Most engineering type people tend to want to show their designs by pointing out all of their mistakes.  If you basically say what you've said here, something like - I am proud of these because they are functional, I've learned a whole lot by doing it and have also come up with several improvements (point out improvements you would make). Then say something along the lines of - I have been trying to keep my chops up and keep learning and improving my skills by working on these personal projects. 

Try to focus on the positives of your designs, what you would improve not what the problems are, and how much better you are now that you've done it.

Of course it is also very important to know that if you are talking to a HR person during an initial interview or something and not an engineer, you're probably going to be talking jibberish to them.  Talk about the weather, sports, or something else...
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Showing circuits on job interview
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2010, 07:55:42 am »
I agree with RhythmTech on all but the last point. It's actually even better with HR people. First you wow them with the "Hey, I made this". In that case you can leave out the autorouter. Instead, talk to the HR people using the STAR method (http://www.mit.edu/~career/guide/star.html), they love that stuff. It's basically nerdy storytelling. Use the board as a launching off point as to what you learned. The ability to recognize mistakes and correct them without being told is a rare and valuable trait (doubly so if you catch them before any money is wasted...and tell them how much your roughly saved).
 

Offline Rhythmtech

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Re: Showing circuits on job interview
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2010, 05:13:17 pm »
I guess more HR people are becoming techies now? I can definitely see where I went wrong, HR does not always equal non engineering person depending on where you are interviewing at.

The last interviews I did, the HR person was very much a non technical person, so my plan worked that time. I found out later though, she was a sit in for the normal HR first interview person ;)
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Showing circuits on job interview
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2010, 05:03:06 am »
I think the ability to describe stuff in layman's terms to an HR person is a skill unto itself. If you can get them interested in it, you're really doing well. I'm not saying you have to dive down in, moreso just saying "Hey, look, I can DO stuff, I'm the real deal."
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Showing circuits on job interview
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2010, 08:58:43 am »
It's probably best to leave out the autorouted.

It shouldn't matter if the board has lots of modifications as long as the soldering isn't too bad.

Make sure you've designed the PCB in accordance with good design practice, i.e.. avoiding acute angles, tracking too near the edge of the board, loops etc. I've seen plenty of PCB designs posted on forums which look horrible and full of design faults which wouldn't have been tolerated where I used to work. Follow the design guide linked below and you should be fine.
http://www.blackstick.co.uk/pcb%20tips.html
 

Offline Neilm

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Re: Showing circuits on job interview
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2010, 05:44:12 am »
One thing to be aware of is any confidential or proprietary information. If you go into too much detail you might make the interviewer think that when you leave you will be happy to pass on the information.  This is very unlikely in your position but some people do  think like this.

I have to note I have only really had 2 jobs. One out of uni and one after being made redundant when the first company closed. My problem then was having to go into interviews and say “Yes I'm a good engineer to employ” but not being able to give any real details as what I worked on was classified.

Yours

Neil
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe. - Albert Einstein
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Showing circuits on job interview
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2010, 07:59:41 am »
That's why you talk about all of the cool stuff you do in your non-work time. I've started asking about this to every person I interview. While hobbies outside of electronics are ok (I have them), if you work on electronics after looking at them all day, I probably want to hire you.
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Showing circuits on job interview
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2010, 09:11:08 am »
One thing to be aware of is any confidential or proprietary information. If you go into too much detail you might make the interviewer think that when you leave you will be happy to pass on the information.  This is very unlikely in your position but some people do  think like this.
I don't see the problem providing you make it clear that it's a hobby project or come course work. If they're still suspicious then perhaps should should ask yourself whether you want to work for someone like that?
 

Offline Zad

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Re: Showing circuits on job interview
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2010, 02:37:14 pm »
One thing that isn't obvious to the digital/software generation is amateur radio. Because I went the conventional A-level Maths/Physics/Computing route at 18 rather than the college diploma, I felt there was something lacking in my education. So I took a night class that lead to the amateur radio exams. I have always been into radio, so it seemed an obvious thing to do. I don't have the time or money to do "proper" amateur radio now, and to be honest it seems to be mostly people spending cash on multi thousand pound setups, but I always put it in my CV (that's resumé to the colonials). More often than not, someone interviewing me will be qualified too, so you have common ground and it instantly puts you on their "side". Even if the aren't qualified, because so little RF is taught nowadays, there is instant respect that you can do "the difficult stuff" which is increasingly akin to black magic. The question you really want to hear is "oh do you make your own gear?" - that lets you steer the interview your way.


Offline Time

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Re: Showing circuits on job interview
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2010, 05:30:00 am »
I have a CV (curriculum vitae) and a resume (I am American).  Depending on who you are depends on which one you get.




One thing that isn't obvious to the digital/software generation is amateur radio. Because I went the conventional A-level Maths/Physics/Computing route at 18 rather than the college diploma, I felt there was something lacking in my education. So I took a night class that lead to the amateur radio exams. I have always been into radio, so it seemed an obvious thing to do. I don't have the time or money to do "proper" amateur radio now, and to be honest it seems to be mostly people spending cash on multi thousand pound setups, but I always put it in my CV (that's resumé to the colonials). More often than not, someone interviewing me will be qualified too, so you have common ground and it instantly puts you on their "side". Even if the aren't qualified, because so little RF is taught nowadays, there is instant respect that you can do "the difficult stuff" which is increasingly akin to black magic. The question you really want to hear is "oh do you make your own gear?" - that lets you steer the interview your way.


-Time
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Showing circuits on job interview
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2010, 08:51:45 pm »
The resume vs. CV debate in my mind goes like this:

CV -- You're an academic. You want to show off your publications and other non-workplace, yet hopefully relevant information.
Resume -- You're showing off past workplace experience and possibly some of the specific tools you have used in the past.

I didn't realize it was a geographical term.
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Showing circuits on job interview
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2010, 04:55:56 am »
I thought they were the same thing: CV is UK English, resume is British English.

I don't think employers should care but if you're applying for a UK based job, use a British spell checker and avoid Americanisms and if you're applying for a US based job use a US spell checker.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Showing circuits on job interview
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2010, 05:32:42 am »
it is probably also a thing with what is fashionable now, it is probably and age thing too
https://www.simonselectronics.co.uk/shop
Varied stock of test instruments and components including EEVblog gear.
Also, if you want to get ripped off: https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/simons_electronics?_trksid=p2047675.l2559
 

Offline Time

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Re: Showing circuits on job interview
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2010, 07:06:44 am »
My CV is 2 pages, my resume is 1 page.  My resume changes depending on the position I am applying for.  My CV is a comprehensive breakdown of everything I have done.
-Time
 


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