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General => General Chat => Topic started by: Strube09 on March 23, 2011, 04:31:11 pm

Title: Interviewing People
Post by: Strube09 on March 23, 2011, 04:31:11 pm
I have to give an interview to someone today. Is it stupid of me to expect them to bring a calculator to and Electronic Technician interview?
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: the_raptor on March 23, 2011, 04:42:29 pm
In general never rely on people to do what you would do. It would IMO be a bit rude to refuse a candidate just because the thought of bringing a calculator slipped their mind.
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: allanw on March 23, 2011, 05:01:56 pm
I definitely wouldn't bring a calculator to an interview
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Strube09 on March 23, 2011, 05:25:52 pm
Okay,

Just had one of the interviews.... Lets see... Would you at least bring a PEN!!?!?!
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Bored@Work on March 23, 2011, 06:09:13 pm
I would not expect someone to bring a pen. I mean, serious, do you want to hire a technician, or do you want to screw with them and fuck their minds? Give the guy a pen, dammit. If your company can't afford lending someone a pen then applicants are better off not working for your company.
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Strube09 on March 23, 2011, 06:13:45 pm
Serious... I am the bad guy here?

The man came in with 1 copy of his resume, no writing utensil, no paper to write on, no work or hobby examples, and couldn't answer any ohms laws questions (FYI did you know 5V across a 1k Resistor has a current of 1.2?) His phone rang twice during the interview and still didn't mute it.

Maybe you are correct... Maybe I should cut the guy some slack and hire him.

Strube
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: oPossum on March 23, 2011, 06:40:48 pm
My iPhone wouldn't ring because it has no service (use Skype instead). I could use it as a calculator, but don't need a calculator to tell you that 5V / 1k = 5mA. I can give you several URLs for hobby projects.

I don't carry a pen or wear a watch, but always have at least one flash drive in my pocket.

If there is any interesting electronic gadget on your desk, I may pick it up, examine it, and maybe try to disassemble it.

Do I get the job?
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Strube09 on March 23, 2011, 07:32:16 pm
My iPhone wouldn't ring because it has no service (use Skype instead). I could use it as a calculator, but don't need a calculator to tell you that 5V / 1k = 5mA. I can give you several URLs for hobby projects.

I don't carry a pen or wear a watch, but always have at least one flash drive in my pocket.

If there is any interesting electronic gadget on your desk, I may pick it up, examine it, and maybe try to disassemble it.

Do I get the job?


You are my best candidate yet! .... And aren’t you in the west Michigan area?
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Zero999 on March 23, 2011, 10:21:12 pm
Just give them questions which they should be able to answer using mental arithmetic and be forgiving if they've got the formulae correct but made a simple arithmetic error.
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Strube09 on March 23, 2011, 10:40:34 pm
Just give them questions which they should be able to answer using mental arithmetic and be forgiving if they've got the formulae correct but made a simple arithmetic error.

I do.., 5v / 1000 should be easy enough... the harder questions are more about "How would you calculate" questions.

Strube
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: ShiftPlusOne on March 23, 2011, 10:58:31 pm
I kind of have a 'mode' I get into for these things, so if I came into an interview I would probably be expecting "tell me about a time when you..." questions. If you threw a basic question like "what's Kirchoff's current law?" I'd probably be able to answer it, but if you threw maths at me I'd be a bit caught off guard and panic then spend the rest of the interview thinking "dammit, I am screwed". Also, working with decimal places in my head can be a bit of a pain sometimes, so I usually use a calculator even for basic questions like the one you asked.

I guess my point is that it's hard to get an accurate idea of what the person would actually be like on the job from 1 interview, especially if they have been through wankey HR and group interviews. You may catch people off guard and make them look stupid and feel self conscious about things they wouldn't normally have trouble with.

Thanks for this topic though, it is interesting to get the perspective of the guy across the table.
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 23, 2011, 11:37:49 pm
I definitely wouldn't bring a calculator to an interview
Me neither, unless I'd designed/built it myself
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Psi on March 24, 2011, 02:25:36 am
I definitely wouldn't bring a calculator to an interview
Me neither, unless I'd designed/built it myself

Wheel in a big trolley. A 1 meter high calculator you made entirely out of relays and diodes :P

Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Hypernova on March 24, 2011, 02:53:17 am
My standard load out in a fishing vest I wear when ever I go out:

-Victorinox cybertool 42 - Lets me take apart anything even if they use torx screws.
-Extend-able pen that also have LED light and laser pointer at the back.
-Another combined LED+laser pointer on my keyring.
-Green Tritium tag on the key ring.
-CC sized solar calculator.
-Compacted emergency rain coat.
-Local city map.
-Phone
-(before I got a phone that had a camera) P&S camera
-Some tissues
-Wallet
-Attached to the out side on a retractable hook, employee tag and RFID keycard.

I also wear a solar recharged watch with compass and barometer.
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Mechatrommer on March 24, 2011, 03:59:04 am
interviewer bring anything that they expect interviewee to bring, if they dont bring, interviewer can lend it. but those interviewee who bring by themself will get extra marks. even if company give anything to workers but if they dont have a habit to bring it everytime when outstationed (leaved on desk), then its no good. one with much prepared in any condition is a better person. my 2cnts.
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: EEVblog on March 24, 2011, 06:58:46 am
I have to give an interview to someone today. Is it stupid of me to expect them to bring a calculator to and Electronic Technician interview?

I have  ;D But I'm not normal  :o

You'll have to provide one. For kicks, make sure it's RPN!

Dave.
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: ShiftPlusOne on March 24, 2011, 07:12:30 am
Lol, I had to look up what RPN was. Well if someone does that, I'll be ready now.
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Hypernova on March 24, 2011, 09:25:45 am
Lol, I had to look up what RPN was. Well if someone does that, I'll be ready now.

Just so others don't have to google:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_Polish_notation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_Polish_notation)

Damn thing is pure evil!
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Strube09 on March 24, 2011, 11:47:58 am
I did provide him with a calculator and a pen. But I am sorry even under pressure you should know the basics of ohm's law. I didn't even get to the hard questions before he failed.

Moving on to the next person
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Simon on March 24, 2011, 12:44:32 pm
not sure what the job is but as nevous as i get at these sorts of things (I hate tests, I never show my true self in them) I'd tell you straight off that 5V/1K is 1mA I mean cmon we all know that trick V=mA when dropped over a 1K resistor
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: ShiftPlusOne on March 24, 2011, 12:53:10 pm
I'd tell you straight off that 5V/1K is 1mA.

I'd hope not.
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Simon on March 24, 2011, 12:56:27 pm
yea course 5mA waas getting ahead of myself - still I can't figure where he go 1.2mA from
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Simon on March 24, 2011, 01:00:59 pm
anyway sounds like the guys whole attitude was wrong, I mean to let a phone ring once, but twice ??
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Strube09 on March 24, 2011, 01:02:37 pm
yea course 5mA waas getting ahead of myself - still I can't figure where he go 1.2mA from

I didn't say 1.2mA.... I he just said 1.2... A, mA, uA??? Either way it wasn't even close.
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: ShiftPlusOne on March 24, 2011, 01:04:04 pm
Maybe 1/5+1 for some reason...
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: the_raptor on March 24, 2011, 03:10:37 pm
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.
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Excavatoree on March 24, 2011, 03:13:31 pm
2400 watts.

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

Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: mikeselectricstuff on March 24, 2011, 03:31:20 pm
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"

Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: tweek on March 24, 2011, 03:57:55 pm
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.
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Russel on March 24, 2011, 07:06:55 pm
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...
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: insurgent on March 24, 2011, 07:23:46 pm
If they aren't wearing a homemade reproduction of Dave's Calculator watch, you probably wouldn't want to hire them!  ;D
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Simon on March 24, 2011, 07:24:18 pm
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
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: oPossum on March 25, 2011, 12:06:02 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?



Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Zad on March 25, 2011, 04:34:40 am
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/ (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)

(http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd237/Zadpics/IMG_0010.png)

Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Jimmy on March 25, 2011, 09:29:34 am
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"
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Strube09 on March 25, 2011, 12:49:56 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
Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Strube09 on March 25, 2011, 01:28:32 pm
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

Title: Re: Interviewing People
Post by: Simon on March 25, 2011, 01:40:46 pm
yea he failed big time