It has been a long time since I last interviewed a new grad, i.e. fresh graduted student. Lots of people like to ask technical questions to see how many things a candidate knows. I also like to see how many things the candidate knows, but more about himself, not technically. I believe that as long as a person is good enough, most of the things can be trained at the job. I like to hire those who know what they want, and know how to say it.
This interview earlier this week was a very interesting one. It was arranged by my co-worker. I didn't even know about it until last minute that this guy was considered a candidate for my group! Among all the 100 plus resumes I received, I have not set up any on-side interview yet. How could this guy be invited? so far, none of those 1/4 candidates my team's pre-screened passed. So, this one came as a surprise. I figured that he might used his network or connection to get the interview. To me, if the hiring manager does not arrange an interview, it usually does not send a good message to the hiring manager.
The objective line of the resume read as:Looking for a career in the area of VLSI design where my qualification and analytical ability can be used in developing a new technology through innovative research.
First guide line for the new grads: Do not send a identical/standard resume to every company! You need to show respect to the person/company you interview with, at least show them you know what this job is about!
First impression of mine was that, how many people are doing innovative research in the industry? I did not have a innovative project in my division at all. How comes this guy is looking for such job, as a fresh new grad? By the way, the only position opened in my division is for TME, Technical Marketing Engineer. There were a few more people interviewed this guy before me. So, his answer to my question: "Which job do you think fit with you the best?" His answer was Technical Marketing Engineer. Surprise, surprise! Some one in my group tipped him. The next question I asked was "Please define a TME position."
He told me a TME is a interface between blah, blah, blah, a standard anwser that my TME's would tell people. This actually killed half of his chance to work for me. I like people who are able to speak his own words, not to repeat other's words. I asked again. "Please define a TME in your own words." He was hung in front of the whiteboard.
Lesson #2: Be consistent with your resume. If you want a job that is innovative, research, don't tell me you are looking for a TME position. Please say you don't know if you don't know. Also, go to the basic if you try to answer. Technical Marketing Engineer, how hard is it to define? An engineer doing marketing job with technical aspect, something like that would be better than trying to tell me what my team tell you. I am the one define the job function, and I knew those descriptions were not even close to what my team are working on and what I was looking for. I like to have someone who could know better than me in defining the job in the future. Expect to see how I grilled this guy. Evil me!
Immediately, I started to feel guilty. How could I become a cold-blooded person without any mercy after all these years in the industry? So, the interview turned a little bit warmer after that, or at least I tried to. Technical questions were about to come, but I need a transition. "Please introduce yourself in two minutes." Now it was a standard question in interview, he must be prepared, right? Wrong again! "I am a digital designer, and am looking for a job in that area." As shocked as me, I have no way to get myself out from this interview. We are in analog-mixed-signal area, and this guy replied me the least interesting part of himself.
Lesson #3: When you introduce yourself, make sure you tell people about your background, like I graduated from XXX university with MSEE background, and interesting in XXXX area, and am looking a positin that would help me to establish my career ,etc.
Since he replied to me with that answer, I had to go with him. So, "Could you tell me what you can do in digital design? "I am a digital designer!" He gave me that answer again. What an easy way to do interview, one answer for all. This is like my Zen philosophy. All the questions comes to a single answer. The question raised in my mind, does he really knows anything about digital design? "What kind of digital circuits did you design?" I toned down quite a bit because I had zero interest on this guy, but I had to the good will to end it in a good way. "Just any kind of digital designs!" "Hum, this guy would never learn.Anyone knows how complicated digital circuit design is? It takes a lots of procedure to design from system level to implementation, to silicon. And he was telling me he could do any digital design??? "Ok, tell me how to design a digital TV." The question went out before I even realized. "So the electrical signal need to go through a electrical component then go through a optical component." After about two minutes, he drew two boxed on the board. "That's it?" I talked to myself in such disbelief. "There is no need to continue. Now, my good will showed up and try to help this guy do better in his next interview. God bless him if he get one.
"Could you tell me your best accomplishment in your life?" I asked politely. "My best accomplishment was getting into the college, which was the top college in India." and "I studied really hard, and got in with special honor."
Lesson #4: If your best honor was something happened seven years ago, you have wasted your life.
Come on! MIT does not buy you a job, NTU, or whatever education can not be your best accomplishment. We need someone who knows what to do and push for making progress. Innovative research? Be honest with you, not that many such jobs are available in the job market. Even R&D such does not exist anymore. It has to be either research or development. It is hard to find a job that allow you to research and develop in IC industry.
For anyone who might have interview opportunity, please be prepared! Don't get me wrong, I really respect everyone who works with me................... Just as much as he/she respects him/herself.