Author Topic: Interviewing People  (Read 10823 times)

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Offline the_raptor

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Re: Interviewing People
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2011, 02:10:37 am »
For kicks, make sure it's RPN!

You are an evil bastard dave  :P

That might actually be a good test of analytical skills though. Time them to see how long it takes them to figure out the calculator is RPN.
 

Offline Excavatoree

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Re: Interviewing People
« Reply #26 on: March 25, 2011, 02:13:31 am »
2400 watts.

I can't use anything but RPN calculators.  If I have to use a "regular" one, I start using bad language.

 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Interviewing People
« Reply #27 on: March 25, 2011, 02:31:20 am »
For kicks, make sure it's RPN!

You are an evil bastard dave  :P

That might actually be a good test of analytical skills though. Time them to see how long it takes them to figure out the calculator is RPN.
Ability to figure out a new piece of equipment is a very important job skill, so an entirely reasonable test....
Maybe another would be to give them a scope with all the knob labels removed and ask them to figure them all out...
 
I really like the one Dave mentioned in an Amp Hour- give the candidate a board and ask them what they can tell you about it.

Here's a good one I thought of for prospective embedded C software candidates : "Explain the meaning of the volatile keyword, give two examples of where it would be used and the possible consequences of its incorrect use"

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Offline tweek

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Re: Interviewing People
« Reply #28 on: March 25, 2011, 02:57:55 am »
For kicks, make sure it's RPN!

You are an evil bastard dave  :P

That might actually be a good test of analytical skills though. Time them to see how long it takes them to figure out the calculator is RPN.

The "missing" = button would probably give away most RPN calcs even w/o picking it up to use it.
 

Offline Russel

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Re: Interviewing People
« Reply #29 on: March 25, 2011, 06:06:55 am »
2400 watts.

I can't use anything but RPN calculators.  If I have to use a "regular" one, I start using bad language.

Me too! If I try to use a standard calculator it drives me nuts! It usually takes me three trys.

1) That's can't be right...Oh, no RPN

2)Darn it! My fingers are to fast for my brain!

3)OK...slow and steady...
 

Offline insurgent

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Re: Interviewing People
« Reply #30 on: March 25, 2011, 06:23:46 am »
If they aren't wearing a homemade reproduction of Dave's Calculator watch, you probably wouldn't want to hire them!  ;D
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Interviewing People
« Reply #31 on: March 25, 2011, 06:24:18 am »
to be honest I hate these attitude and personality type interviews. Usually they are done from a single point of view and are so mechanical it begs beleif. Talk to the guy and get to know him, then decide
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Offline oPossum

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Re: Interviewing People
« Reply #32 on: March 25, 2011, 11:06:02 am »
You are my best candidate yet! .... And aren’t you in the west Michigan area?

Yes, I am in Holland (near Grand Rapids). A technician job would be below my pay grade, but I could do contract engineering if you ever have a need.

One question I would ask a tech would be:

Why is every measurement you make wrong?

They should explain how the input resistance of a DMM or capacitance of a scope will change the characteristics of the circuit. Bonus points for talk about the problems of in circuit measurement of components and how to mitigate it.

Another question would be:

Why is there a ground lead on the scope probe? Why is it so short? Where should it be connected?

If they seem to know the basics, ask something a bit arcane:

What is foldback current limiting? How would you determine if a bench supply has foldback limiting?



 

Offline Zad

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Re: Interviewing People
« Reply #33 on: March 25, 2011, 03:34:40 pm »
Interviews in general are a whole can of worms. Not least because they are very culturally dependent. Not just between countries and continents, but between different "flavours" of engineering.

You need to be clear about what sort of person you want for the role, and what their abilities need to be. I have never been asked to bring a calculator to an interview, and I have never had an interview that assumed I would have one with me (my Casio CFX200 is way too valuable now to wear regularly!). I have only been asked for my CV once, which was ironically the only occasion that I didn't have one because it was at short notice and half way down the country. As a matter of course, I tend to make sure I have a ballpoint, a fine drawing pen and a mechanical pencil with me, mainly because I get a bit paranoid that one or another won't work. I wouldn't necessarily expect an engineer to carry a pen about their person anyway these days as a habit anyway. A pen would indicate a lack of preparation, but I would give no more weight to it than I would, say, to a crooked tie or less-than-shiny shoes.

What I would expect, however, is that they could give me a ballpark figure for some value or other. Your candidate should certainly have been able to give a value for your Ohm's law calculation, but they may have got flustered by something previously. Not long after graduating, I went for an interview with a set top box manufacturer near here. After reporting in, I had been sat for 15-20 minutes in a freezing entrance lobby, waiting for my interview. After a very short chat, the guy interviewing me wrote down some numbers and asked me to cross-multiply them. At that point, my brain totally forgot how to do that simple thing. I probably hadn't done it since school, and it just wouldn't come back to me. He continued to press and press and press, when it was abundantly clear that I couldn't do it. It wasn't a stress test, it had just become bullying. He didn't find out a thing about my analogue, RF or digital design ability, what I had done in the past, PCBs I had made, or anything relevant to the job. All he had found was that I couldn't cross multiply. At the age of 23 or whatever, you just sit and take it, at 33 you don't.

This probably answers one of your questions, but if an interviewer is getting anally retentive about me not having a pen or a calculator, then I really don't want to work there. I hate wastes of time so there is no point continuing the interview.

Accidental bullying happens an awful lot. Usually from engineers who are getting into what Jeri charmingly terms a pissing contest. Who can piss highest up the wall. The trouble is, you are on their ground, they choose the subject, and the chances are that they can find something that you just haven't even heard of. They are probably looking for reasons not to employ you, having already selected who they really wanted from the application CVs (Resumes). For an example of accidental bullying, see one of the engineerblogs here http://engineerblogs.org/2011/01/interview-questions-on-transistors/ even now he doesn't realise that's what he is doing.

Had the guy without a pen arrived late, looked scruffy and given a couldnt-care-less attitude then I would have cut the interview short after 10 minutes. There is no point wasting both your and his time. Personally, I might have gone with the "tell me a bit about what you do" and then asked relevant questions, maybe steering it around to Ohm's law. One of my favourite interviews was, as Dave suggests, a populated PCB. They handed it to me and said "tell me about this". Unfortunately I did too well on that test, it was for a technicians job and I was giving engineer level answers. I guess it did the job for the employer though, which is really what it is all about.

If you want to test maths and physics, set a written 30 minute exam. If you timetable interviews correctly then it can be done as an overlap with the previous candidate. You will probably find out a little about their standard of written language, drafting and presentation skills too. This can then form the basis of the interview.

As an aside, be aware that they may not know (or at least commonly use) the same term that you do. I use Kirchoff's Current Law regularly, but because I don't need to name it, it was embedded behind all the other rubbish in my brain and I just couldn't remember what it did! Honestly! I mean, that was probably not just week 1 at uni, but day 1 of Physics at Sixth Form College. I guess that shows the value of written questions for some people. I guess I'm just getting old and the stuff I don't use is getting pushed out by new info!

Mike

Edited to add: I still use the HP-28S I got for uni, but this is resident on my iPod (also runs on iPhone etc)



« Last Edit: March 25, 2011, 03:44:06 pm by Zad »
 

Offline Jimmy

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Re: Interviewing People
« Reply #34 on: March 25, 2011, 08:29:34 pm »
I don't interview very well at all. The job that I am at now was the easyiest job ever my boss said while reading my resume " I don't know what all this means but you have got the job if you want it"
 

Offline Strube09

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Re: Interviewing People
« Reply #35 on: March 25, 2011, 11:49:56 pm »
You are my best candidate yet! .... And aren’t you in the west Michigan area?

Yes, I am in Holland (near Grand Rapids). A technician job would be below my pay grade, but I could do contract engineering if you ever have a need.

One question I would ask a tech would be:

Why is every measurement you make wrong?

They should explain how the input resistance of a DMM or capacitance of a scope will change the characteristics of the circuit. Bonus points for talk about the problems of in circuit measurement of components and how to mitigate it.

Another question would be:

Why is there a ground lead on the scope probe? Why is it so short? Where should it be connected?

If they seem to know the basics, ask something a bit arcane:

What is foldback current limiting? How would you determine if a bench supply has foldback limiting?




Check your PM's
 

Offline Strube09

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Re: Interviewing People
« Reply #36 on: March 26, 2011, 12:28:32 am »
To be fair everyone on here suggest having them tell you about a board and just seeing their observation about that PCB.... and also asking them to tell you about themselves.... Look at a schematic and tell me what you see.

I do all of that too, unfortunately telling me about himself included a lot of excuses to not knowing / remembering his electronics and how he currently works in a machine shop and not having any outside interest in electronics.

I then asked him some very simple questions on a series circuit and after struggling with a (2 resistors in series (600 and 400 ohm)) circuit and not being able to identify proper current I didn't feel like wasting much more time.  Oh but he did figure out that the resistance was 1k…. He only had to figure out the current from there… Guess he got one right?!

After all the phone rang twice, he wore jeans with huge holes in them (Which I am sure he bought that way), Smelled like he hadn't showered in a week.

I am sorry but I feel like I can get someone a bit more professional who can actually calculate current in a simple resistive circuit. After all our technicians have to troubleshoot write reports that eventually go to our customers.

If you ask me it wasn't too much to figure out a basic series circuit.

Strube

 

Offline Simon

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Re: Interviewing People
« Reply #37 on: March 26, 2011, 12:40:46 am »
yea he failed big time
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