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Preparing for EE Job Interviews

  1. Feb 23, 2007 #1
    I'm almost into my senior year to get my EE degree, I was looking to get ready for my job interviews by reviewing my old courses, I was thinking of purchasing one or more book that will simply review(just for me to remember)
    topics in EE that can be asked in an interview, I heard the art of electronics is a good book, does anybody have any advice............
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 23, 2007 #2
    most engineering job interviewers won't ask you anything technical, and if they do it's going to be something relatively simple or something really really obscure that you eon't get out of a textbook....at least this is what I have been told.

    Many engineering interviewers actually require you to write an essay on the spot about something non-technical...such as an article in the constitution....the soft skills are often more important than the technical skills in this day and age.
  4. Feb 23, 2007 #3
    From my experience, the first job interview is just basic, do you have any communication skills, do you have a life out of being an engineer, what are your activities, interests, what skills can you bring to our company?

    Then the 2nd-3rd-4th interview or how ever many are required they are going to give you things to make sure you know what your doing.

    So the first interview, don't be too worried about technical skills, just make sure you make a good first impression so you can get to the next stage to show your technical skills.
  5. Feb 23, 2007 #4
    DIdn't you save your books from your classes? I have not thrown out any of mine. They will become my reference desk until I am capable of remembering everything in my field! LOL You might look at Amazon.com to see if they have the books you want or need! Its a good idea to also check out www.Monster.com they have a great section on getting ready for job interviews etc. Good Luck and Congratulations!
  6. Feb 23, 2007 #5


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    I need to disagree with leright. Even on initial interviews at schools, we'll ask a few technical questions. The immediate goal is to see if the candidate has absorbed and understood the technical material of their courses, or has just gone through the motions without really "getting it".

    Here is a recent thread where chroot and I offered some suggestions and thoughts about interviews, from the perspective of people like us (who work in the R&D lab EE environment in the Silicon Valley area):


    And yes, The Art of Electronics is a good basic book, but it is just that, basic. I'll ask you fairly advanced digital and/or analog questions in the first interview, and if you get called in for the 2nd round of interviews, each interviewer has their favorite questions that they ask each candidate, in order to be able to compare candidate-to-canditate, and to be consistent year-over-year with their interviews.
  7. Feb 23, 2007 #6
    Just how advanced is advanced ?
  8. Feb 23, 2007 #7


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    I also have to strongly disagree with this statement. You're almost always going to get at least a few technical questions at an interview for an engineering position. If they don't ask you any technical questions, be wary, in fact.

    They're not necessarily looking for you to come up with the answers in 30 seconds -- sometimes the problems have the sort of solutions that you could only find through a long, deep process. Instead, they're looking to open a dialogue with you, and see how you think. Discuss the problem with interviewer. Talk about the different approaches you might be able to take, and talk about the pros and cons of each.

    I have never heard of such a thing, even once, anywhere, and strongly doubt it has ever happened. Sure, the company needs to make sure you have decent communication skills, but your conversation (and perhaps a few examples of your prior work) is enough to satisfy most interviewers. Trust me, no one in industry gives a damn about your essay skills, nor would they learn anything relevant at all about you by asking you to write an essay on the constitution, of all things.

    - Warren
  9. Feb 23, 2007 #8


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    It depends on the position we're interviewing for, and what the candidate's background is.

    If I've been asked to interview a candidate for a Technician or Manufacturing Engineer position, the questions won't get very complicated (unless the candidate wants to bring up complex stuff that they are familiar with).

    If I'm interviewing a recent graduate who doesn't have much experience yet, and if it's for a position in our R&D Lab, then I will be looking for how well they understand the coursework that they've done, and if they've done some practical projects where they put that learning into practice. So this would be some typical stuff I'd ask a recent grad for a mostly-digital position:

    ** What do you need to be careful about when bringing an asynchronous digital signal into a synchronous state machine? What is the circuit block that you use called, and how do you make it? Why does it help? What can happen if you don't use this interface circuit?

    ** What logic families are you familiar with? What can you tell me about the differences between them? Compare HC, HCT, AC, AS, VHC, etc. When would you use one versus another?

    ** Do you know what a Z-lead oscilloscope probe is? When would you use it, and why?

    ** It's common to show a logic circuit with some combinatorial logic and some flops, and ask what the behavior is. One example of this is a circuit that a friend of mine uses that has a problem with it. The candidate is expected to show the behavior, realize that it is bad, and be able to show how to fix it.

    ** I'll typically show the candidate one of my schematics of a fairly complex PCB assembly, and show them the physical board itself. Then I'll ask them to walk me through the schematic and board and explain what each of the parts is being used for. My boards are typically mixed signal, so I may ask a few basic analog questions along the way through this.

    For more advanced digital candidates (those with a few years of relevant experience), I will go into more detailed questions, and I will try to get a feel for how they work on projects and what tools and skills they use to debug and troubleshoot the inevitable bugs and problems that come up in product development. Here would be a couple examples:

    ** Tell me about this 256-BGA part right here on the board -- what is it, and what is it used for? (answer -- Xilinx Spartan II FPGA, being used to emulate the digital portion of a new ASIC that we just finished.) Now, it turns out that this same chip is available in smaller packages than the 256-BGA. Can you tell me why we chose not to use the smaller size packages? Hint -- the only difference was in the number of Power and Ground connections, not in the number of IOs available.

    ** I'll typically go into more detail in the example schematic and board at this point, both in terms of how the external memories are hooked up, how the JTAG string is used and what for, and in terms of how the FPGA is being programmed and used. We'll probably walk through some of the Verilog code, and I'll try to get a feel for how well the candidate can get their head around the design. I'm no expert in Verilog, though, so I leave the detailed Verilog questions to our digital specialists.

    For Analog or Mixed Signal candidates, we'll spend some quality time in the s domain, and discussing things like modulation schemes, filters, ADCs and DACs, noise issues, stability issues, and any other fun stuff I can think up. :biggrin:
  10. Feb 23, 2007 #9
    It depends on the prominent industry in the area. The companies in the auto industry (detroit) seems to do what I said they do. Silicon Valley, for instance, is likely a lot different.
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