Author Topic: Advices for the Job interviews  (Read 1124 times)

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Offline mzdenkov

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Advices for the Job interviews
« on: June 21, 2021, 12:34:23 pm »
Hi there,

Well here is the case. I have problems with social anxiety sometimes mostly when i meet new people.
On Thursday, last week, i went for my ->first<- job interview and i totally screwed it up.   Because i was
nervous i slept only for a 2h that night. When questions from the employer came to the table, i totally blocked out.

Can you give me some advices to bypass this problem?  I'm good in what i do(or i think so) and Electrical Engineering
is some sort of love for me. And i wouldn't like to waste my knowledge that I gained during all this years at college.

Thank you,
Best Regards.
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Online tggzzz

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2021, 03:00:18 pm »
Everybody screws up job interviews; you will get better with practice. Plan on having several "sacrifical/practice" interviews before one that counts. That will enable you to understand what they are looking for and have appropriate answers.

Have many interviews with different companies. That will enable you to understand why you don't want to work in some places, and to know when you have a place you do want to work.

Remember that
  • this is your chance to show off what you have achieved. Any projects beyond the standard coursework are very helpful
  • you are interviewing them and their company just as much as they are interviewing you, Think about what you want in a job, and questions you can ask to determine whether this job is right for you.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline DrG

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2021, 03:09:09 pm »
Hi there,

Well here is the case. I have problems with social anxiety sometimes mostly when i meet new people.
On Thursday, last week, i went for my ->first<- job interview and i totally screwed it up.   Because i was
nervous i slept only for a 2h that night. When questions from the employer came to the table, i totally blocked out.

Can you give me some advices to bypass this problem?  I'm good in what i do(or i think so) and Electrical Engineering
is some sort of love for me. And i wouldn't like to waste my knowledge that I gained during all this years at college.

Thank you,
Best Regards.

I'm sorry you are dealing with that.

My unprofessional opinion: Why look for "advices to bypass this problem?" on a public electronics board? Why not go to actual professionals; like mental health professionals and counselors and the like. Ask people with training and expertise in that area...find one that you can work with to improve the situation.

Also, if you do go to a mental health counselor, don't ask them for advice on your electronics design - get what I am saying?
- Invest in science - it pays big dividends. -
 
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Offline mzdenkov

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2021, 04:26:29 pm »
Plan on having several "sacrifical/practice" interviews before one that counts.

That cant be done because in my area (50km radius) we dont have a lot of companies that work in EE.

Why not go to actual professionals.


Well i asked, but queue for professional help is so slow here... Due the Co*-19 stuff, you have to wait for a few months to see the professional.
But i get your point.



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Offline penfold

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2021, 09:23:46 pm »
Are you approaching the companies directly or going through a recruiter? If you're going via a recruiter, ask them for a bit of a practice session and they should be willing to at least do a run-through of possible "non-technical"/HR/"what are your career goals?" type questions, which, I assume for most technically minded people are the harder answers to conjure up.

If its questions like "design me a boost converter right now this instant" where you jam up, just relax, take a breath, if you can't remember the textbook answer that you revised, tell them "I can't remember exactly, but I do know that V=L.di/dt, I=C.dV/dt, when the switch is 'on' the voltage at this point is zero..." and take it from that direction. Tell them what you do know, accept your limitations, take a moment to think about things and don't rush. Engineering isn't about quick-fire questions, it's about working through problems methodically, asking questions and seeing advice to verify you're doing things correctly and every application is different - people who rush into things and blurt out answers are invariably wrong or haven't understood the problem fully.

Any interviewer should appreciate that you'll be a bit nervous and, to be honest, should appreciate your humility in being a little intimidated. So just don't let it wind you up, I can guarantee the interviewer won't have the same perception of you as you do of yourself so don't even bother thinking about it.
 

Offline tszaboo

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2021, 12:17:49 pm »
Plan on having several "sacrifical/practice" interviews before one that counts.

That cant be done because in my area (50km radius) we dont have a lot of companies that work in EE.

Why not go to actual professionals.


Well i asked, but queue for professional help is so slow here... Due the Co*-19 stuff, you have to wait for a few months to see the professional.
But i get your point.
You can go to job interviews online nowadays, especially because of covid.
So don't restrict your search and application geographically.
If they ask how would you go in, just say you are willing to move. If you don't have enough jobs in your area, you might want to do that anyway.
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Offline Refrigerator

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2021, 06:49:09 pm »
Pretend to be confident and went your anxiety when you go back home after it's all over.
Eventually you get used to it.
Personally i deal with it like this:
My kind of anxiety is sort of a positive feedback loop where fear of failure causes anxiety but anxiety causes failure.
Therefore i must not let my anxiety trip me over.
To be calm and confident is seen as a key to success therefore i try my best to act calm and confident even if i'm not.

Getting started is the hardest part, i'm sure you'll get over it eventually.  :-+
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Online AndyC_772

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2021, 07:34:29 pm »
The thing to bear in mind is that the person interviewing you wants to offer you the job.

Recruitment is hard work, it takes a lot of time and effort and is a major distraction from their normal daily activities. They want the process to be over and done with, and you could be the person who makes that possible.

A good interviewer will recognise that you're nervous, and that's completely OK. The worst candidate I ever interviewed was overconfident; he knew his stuff technically but would have been absolutely impossible to work with.

Confidence comes with experience, surprisingly quickly.

Tip: if you haven't already done a reasonably substantial project outside of your academic career, start one now. It doesn't matter what it is, provided it's something you can talk about with enthusiasm.

Offline Bud

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2021, 08:01:23 pm »
It helps if you approach interview process from the perspective of you go there to "share information" rather than to "answer questions".
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Offline mzdenkov

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2021, 08:35:18 pm »
All i must say is: Thank you for the good advices.
Soon ill have another interview  and we will see.

Wish you all the best!
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Offline tom66

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2021, 09:26:41 pm »
My suggestion is to have a few things memorised for the common questions;

"What makes you want to work for <ACME Incorporated>?"  --> Well, you are applying, so hopefully you know!   Why would you want to work for a company you don't like?  Hint, the answer is never 'for the money' or 'to have something to do' ...

"Give me an example of a challenge you have had professionally or personally and how you resolved that" -->  This is a common one and I don't think there's a right answer.  Just choose a moment in your life that's vaguely relatable about a time you had to compromise with someone else and solve a problem.  It's a silly question about team-building but frankly it doesn't filter for anyone decent.

"What is your biggest weakness?"  -->  Give some vague answer like how you're too hard working and sometimes miss the big picture,  but you've been trying to do better at that.  Again, another stupid question that comes up far too often and I'm not convinced it filters for anyone other than class-A bullshitters.

"What are your strengths?"  -->  Hopefully you have an idea of where your skills are best applied, so just give an honest appraisal of these and talk about things you're learning.

"How did you start in engineering/what gets your interest in engineering?" -->  Many people started early in engineering or did internships beforehand, so talk about these.  If not, you probably still have some reason you did engineering in college or you're doing it as a career, so mention that.

"Do you have any other questions?"  -->  ALWAYS, ALWAYS have questions after the interviewer has asked theirs.  In the ideal world, you thread your questions in with theirs, but I appreciate this is harder to do for a first few interviews.  But an interview should be a conversation.  You are interviewing them as well,  because you are going to potentially spend years with these people.

Of course, you will also have common engineering ones, like, here is a circuit diagram, how does this circuit work, what is wrong with this circuit,  how do I do this with <X> parts?  So you should practice and understand common circuits and designs.
 
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Offline coppice

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2021, 09:39:51 pm »
Its highly likely you will screw up your first attempts at being interviewed, whether you are confident or not. You just don't know what to expect, so however much you prepare things will still take you by surprise. Good interviewers should make allowance for your nervousness, so you might think you've screwed up, and still get an offer (unless they are specifically interviewing for a job that demands confidence in dealing with others, which is rare for an entry level job). If you know some experienced job interviewers it can be really valuable to engage in dummy interviews with them. Interviewers vary a lot in both their attitudes and the kinds of things they ask, so try more than one dummy interviewer if you can.
 

Offline rhodges

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2021, 09:41:36 pm »
Quote
"What is your biggest weakness?"

Filing trip reimbursement forms. I absolutely HATE doing that.
Currently developing STM8 and STM32. Past includes 6809, Z80, 8086, PIC, MIPS, PNX1302, and some 8748 and 6805. Check out my public code on github. https://github.com/unfrozen
 
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Offline RJHayward

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2021, 07:52:52 am »
Tom66 have a good answer, regarding always have questions for your interview.
For that, I don't think it's bad if you have a short little paper sheet, having a brief list...
Say to the interviewer: "I had jotted down a couple brief questions, about Suthlam Fridge-Tech. Just let me get that, OK ?"
  Then you have a tidy paper, unfold and ask, plus mention why: "Just so I don,'t miss something".
Do that right, and it doesn't look stupid: it can convey that you are careful (about a possible hire-relationship.)
   And maybe keep that little manuever brief: I mean like 90 seconds. (Plus it demonstrates you did some prep, for an important potential relationship, for many future years.

   I think a recruiter (that you trust) could mention you a little nervous initially. That kind of talk is often 'off the record'.
  "He was nervous, but then we got a coffee, downstairs. I was amazed what he said about working at INTEL / etc etc."
So you want to be ready for some short, appropriate invite to "grab a donut, downstairs in cafeteria"
(As long as appropriate / and not pressure for some personal favor not associated with a hiring process).

Love to hear more about Eastern Europe job scene!
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Offline Psi

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2021, 09:30:08 am »
Yeah, most people screw up their first one. It's normal.
I screwed up on my first one too.

Ideally bring something in with you, something to show off your design skills and talk about. It can be a hobby project. Ideally something physical, plus maybe a print out of it's schematic and PCB etc.. or a section of interesting code you wrote, if it has code any. (Don't print out all the code, just any cool bits)

This helps in a few ways.
- It demonstrates that you actually have technical ability and puts you ahead of people who show up with nothing.
- You can show it off to them and explain how it works in detail because you know it very well.
- You will find it much less stressful to talk about something that you know well and be less nervous talking about it.
- It uses up interview time on something that you know and reducing the interview time where they might ask you questions you don't know.
- Instead of being asked random questions they ask you questions about the thing you brought in, which are usually much easier questions to answer. You are controlling the topic and making it an area you know and are interested in talking about.

If you're lucky, you will just sit there for the entire interview time talking with their engineers about your product, how it works and what decisions you made when designing it and problems you encountered and how you fixed them.
There won't be any time left for anything else.
Usually the engineer interviewing you is just as annoyed about having to come up with general questions to ask you as you are annoyed about having to answer the questions.
So having something to talk about makes their life easier too and they will like that.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2021, 12:21:18 pm by Psi »
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Online tggzzz

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2021, 09:58:02 am »
Yeah, most people screw up their first one. It's normal.
I screwed up on my first one too.

Ideally bring something in with you, something to show off your design skills and talk about. It can be a hobby project. Ideally something physical, plus maybe a print out of it's schematic and PCB etc.. or a section of interesting code you wrote, if it has code any. (Don't print out all the code, just any cool bits)

This helps in a few ways.
- It demonstrates that you actually have technical ability and puts you ahead of people who show up with nothing.
- You can show it off to them and explain how it works in detail because you know it very well.
- You will find it much less stressful to talk about something that you know well and be less nervous talking about it.
- It uses up interview time on something that you know and reducing the interview time where they might ask you questions you don't know.
- Instead of being asked random questions they ask you questions related to the thing you brought in, which are usually much easier questions to answer.

If you're lucky, you will just sit there for the entire interview time talking with their engineers about your product, how it works and what decisions you made when designing it and problems you encountered and how you fixed them.
There won't be any time left for anything else.
Usually the engineer interviewing you is just as annoyed at having to come up with general questions to ask you. So having something to talk about makes their life easier too and they will like that.

All very true.

IMNSHO a hobby project is good, since it demonstrates that you like the subject so much that you want to do it. By inference you will enjoy working on the company's projects.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
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Offline Psi

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2021, 12:22:00 pm »
Engineers tend to like physical things, taking them apart and seeing how they work.
Showing up with something cool instantly makes all the engineers at the company prick up their ears and become interested to see what it is and how it works and they will remember your interview over their interviews with other candidates.

OR,

You may find that an HR person is doing all the interview and not engineers.
However, if an engineer notices from the other side of the office that you have some circuit or device with you they may come over to see what it is.
This gets you an important advantage that the other candidates may not have had, a way to bypass HR
« Last Edit: June 28, 2021, 12:23:32 pm by Psi »
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Offline mzdenkov

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2021, 05:25:09 pm »
   I think a recruiter (that you trust) could mention you a little nervous initially. That kind of talk is often 'off the record'.
  "He was nervous, but then we got a coffee, downstairs. I was amazed what he said about working at INTEL / etc etc."

Few years ago, when i was more stupid than i am now, i screwed up one interview, but that was the best interview i had in my life.
Casual engineering talk, HR person gave all people in the lab small glasses of schnapps, and well i didnt keep the contact after because
hard exams came. -> job offer failed.

Worst question is "what payment level do you expect", because i have no XP in working sector, i must say " i dont know, i have no XP in workong sector " which is unprofessional  IMHO.
Most engineers keep their payment level secret. -> cant say "ill be your slave for minimal payment".

I like to share my knowledge (for free), and if i could chose, more productive way would be to talk about that, so HR person can decide what i know and if that fits them.
And its bad that HR person is an electrical engineer(person form the beginning of the topic) but acted like some manager(still its not an excuse from my perspective, for my faults ).

Thanks you for the examples of Q&A. Most of them were presented to me, and i think i gave the wrong answers because im an ultra HONEST person.

« Last Edit: July 01, 2021, 05:32:27 pm by mzdenkov »
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Online tggzzz

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2021, 06:07:33 pm »
"What pay do you want?" Easy :)

Offer me wt I am worth to you. If you pay me much more than your existing employees, they may become unhappy. If it is less than I think I am worth, then I would be unhappy if I accepted the over.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline Refrigerator

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2021, 02:16:33 pm »
"What pay do you want?"
"how much do you consider too much?"  ;D
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Offline tszaboo

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2021, 05:28:18 pm »
"What pay do you want?" Easy :)

Offer me wt I am worth to you. If you pay me much more than your existing employees, they may become unhappy. If it is less than I think I am worth, then I would be unhappy if I accepted the over.
It is none of their business, how much another engineer is earning. Just dont talk about it with coworkers, ever.
Besides, usually the highest earners are not the best engineers but the best negotiators.

Worst question is "what payment level do you expect", because i have no XP in working sector, i must say " i dont know, i have no XP in workong sector " which is unprofessional  IMHO.
Most engineers keep their payment level secret. -> cant say "ill be your slave for minimal payment".
Ask others. You have alumni at university, get someone to talk to you, they will help you.
There is a statistics that people who switch jobs every 3-4 years earn 50% more than loyal employees. Loyalty, is not awarded, and you are not there to make friends.
Try to get their offer first. If they low-ball you, the correct reaction is: "I assume this is after taxes, right?"
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Offline coppercone2

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2021, 05:51:36 pm »
realize you are literally the only guy excited to go to that place and relax, most people sleep 2 hours so they forget the work day and get out of working

find something uniquely relevant to the company and learn it, usually in a work place when you start doing 'high level' useful work (from their universe) its mostly unrelated to any 'hot bragging skills hot shot stuff' that you might be anxious about. Companies are ultra slow and methodical when it comes to their designs. There is usually a very particular and established product line that does something very specific for their market that might look like a stupid nuance but its going to be the only thing that matters. (this can be seen as 'doing one thing very right')
« Last Edit: July 02, 2021, 05:57:57 pm by coppercone2 »
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2021, 09:31:53 pm »
"What pay do you want?" Easy :)

Offer me wt I am worth to you. If you pay me much more than your existing employees, they may become unhappy. If it is less than I think I am worth, then I would be unhappy if I accepted the over.
It is none of their business, how much another engineer is earning. Just dont talk about it with coworkers, ever.

One of the best companies I've worked at, a multidisciplinary contract R&D house with ~150 employees, had an official anonymous scattergram of age vs salary posted on a noticeboard. You could see where you were relative to others, and could guess the identity of outliers.

That removed any anxiety over salary, and allowed people to enjoy the work.

Quote
Besides, usually the highest earners are not the best engineers but the best negotiators.

Worst question is "what payment level do you expect", because i have no XP in working sector, i must say " i dont know, i have no XP in workong sector " which is unprofessional  IMHO.
Most engineers keep their payment level secret. -> cant say "ill be your slave for minimal payment".
Ask others. You have alumni at university, get someone to talk to you, they will help you.
There is a statistics that people who switch jobs every 3-4 years earn 50% more than loyal employees. Loyalty, is not awarded, and you are not there to make friends.
Try to get their offer first. If they low-ball you, the correct reaction is: "I assume this is after taxes, right?"

Only works for the first job in some industries.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline mc172

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Re: Advices for the Job interviews
« Reply #23 on: July 05, 2021, 12:55:05 am »
"What is your biggest weakness?"

This question (and this kind of question in general) really annoys me and is complete bollocks, I don't recommend doing it but I call them out on it any any questions like it. I point out the ridiculousness of the situation - I'm trying to come across as the strongest candidate but you want me to admit weakness? Even more bizarre is that you're supposed to have a prepared answer to that exact question, therefore what is the interviewer actually gaining from that question? Why even ask it if it's some pre-cooked bullshit?

It's never failed me but again, I don't recommend doing it unless you're happy to live with it!
 
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