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Showing circuits on job interview

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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?



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.

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...

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 (, 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).

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 ;)


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