applying for good job, could use a few pointers

Hi all,
I have been doing contract design work for a *really* small start-up
firm since I graduated last year. The job is ending, because the firm is
running out of capital (which sucks, b/c they could be a great company,
but this is a familiar tune I know).
I now have an opportunity to interview with a large company for their
R&D dept for what *could* be my dream job, in the field that most
interests me. This is a large, old, venerable tech. co that we all
recognise as one of the first- it was started way back in the 40's actually.
I feel confident that since they have called me back for a second
interview that they are sincerely interested in me.
However, I've been told that the interview will contain a lot of
"technical" questions though they will mostly be "general, like
sophomore and junior level engineering and physics".
Well, that covers a LOT. I don't know what to review! I am confident in
my engineering abilities, but I also know that for some areas
(structural statics, for instance, or circuit theory, or rotational
dynamics) I would surely have to look up formulas and equations. For
this position, I know they will ask about my heat transfer, fluid
mechanics and microfluidics knowledge, and that's fine. But I really
don't know what sort of things they will ask, or if I'll be required to
solve numerical problems on paper, for example, or if they just want to
see my problem-solving ability.
If any of you have had interviews of this sort, (companies like HP,
Intel, MS, etc do these apparently) can someone give me a bit of a
heads-up for what to expect?
I have confidence in myself for the HR part of the interview, as I am
well-spoken and have experience with people and problem-solving. I just
don't like going into something as blind as I feel I am doing with this
spectre of "technical" questions that could conceivably cover my entire
soph and JR years of college.
TIA, if anyone's been there!
regards,
k wallace
Reply to
k wallace
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Relax, and stay relaxed but alert. Try to think out of the box. Be amusing if you can. Where you can't answer a technical answer in a technical mode, you can find other ways of responding. "I don't recall how that one is addressed, but I remember that..." and so on. Look pleasant. Look smart. If you are wearing a suit and tie, make sure the tie is tidy and the shirt is crisp.
Boring but true: interviewers look at applicants' shoes. Act accordingly.
Good luck!
Brian Whatcott Altus OK
Reply to
Brian Whatcott
Hmm. I never would have thought about my shoes, but I'll find a can of polish and make them look good. I realize that what I'm asking for is opinion, but for an R&D engineering position, I am wondering if slacks & matching jacket or a skirt suit, low heels, pantyhose (the whole "business formal" look) is more appropriate for me (female). My current position? Khakis and polo shirt; every day is casual Friday. I'd always thought of skirt suits as more 'businessperson' wear, like bankers and marketers etc. But I can dress that way, if it's appropriate, as well.
Luckily, thinking outside the box is a skill I have, and I think on my feet pretty well. I've also been advised to 'think out loud', as they want my thought processes as much or more than the correct answers.
I am still wondering what to review: 2- and 300 level physics, statics and dynamics, thermodynamics, general fluid mechanics...that's a lot of review stuff. I don't want to stress myself out or go nuts on this, b/c as I said, I have a decent amount of confidence in my engineering skills; however, I also don't want to drop the ball if they ask me something and I draw a total blank b/c I haven't looked at whatever it is in a few years. (solving circuit diagrams, for instance; I haven't thought about capacitors,etc in quite a while, just b/c I never deal with electrical stuff. )
Thanks! regards k wallace
Reply to
k wallace
Dear k wallace:
...
How did you dress for your first interview?
Do some research. Find out with whom you will be interviewing.
Will your position be hands on?
At the company that is folding, or the prospective place?
You will not be expected to sh*t a correct answer in minutes. A day, yes.
Know where to look for answers. They want to see how you handle "stumpers". Because if the answer is already known, it isn't engineering.
My opinions above. I don't expect answers, but I recommend you know them.
Good luck.
David A. Smith
Reply to
N:dlzc D:aol T:com (dlzc)
k wallace wrote in news:8uadnfDJPIBuatLYnZ2dnUVZ snipped-for-privacy@comcast.com:
I don't think recalling things from memory from early college classes is what they are after. I think they are trying to see how you go about solving the problem. It is most likely about the process, not the answer. Do you know what type of formula you may need to answer the questions? Review your basic math. We have been searching for a Mechanical Engineer for quite some time, a full 75% flunk the *very* basic math test. Not by a little either.
Reply to
Anthony
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Prepare something snappy for these questions:-
What do feel you can offer our company? (You will have researched the company's products, history, and "vision" ahead of time, of course.)
Where do you want to be in ten years? (If you can think of a good response, you'll be doing better than me - I never could.)
If Eng R&D is your bag, you can answer questions about what you enjoy about that kind of job with enthusiasm, looking them straight in the eye. About the projects you made when you were a kid.....
Depending on the people, it often helps to share your community efforts, perhaps even some inkling of your religious affiliation. (For susceptible interviewers, this is very confidence-building. They then have some reason to think you will be steady, not get drunk at work or run off with the company assets etc., etc.)
If you could drop some hint that you can run a linear programming app on Excel to optimise a production mix, or run a regression on factors bearing on customer acceptance of a product or can work a return on Capital Investment, a discounted cash flow, even read a balance sheet, you might set the pinwheels whirring on the interviewers' eyeballs... It usually doesn't hurt to offer more than they thought you had.
Don't start talking salary first; let them introduce it.... You should not be giving out numbers on your prior salary either.
Brian Whatcott Altus OK
Reply to
Brian Whatcott
...
slacks, buttondown shirt, matching jacket. My first interview with them was at the school from which I graduated; an "engineering day" and career fair for grads, students, and alums. For this coming interview, I will be touring their facility, attending lunch with a group(they are also hiring a few CS people), meeting several teams, and having two individual interviews.
I am trying to find that out.
Partially, yes, but as far as I know not primarily.
The "think out loud" advice is a snippet I got from a person I worked with at the university who has seen this company hire a bunch of our grads. I assume that any engineering dept. would want folks who, while they know "the box", can think well outside it.
...
Good.
I have no problem saying "I don't know that off the top of my head, but I know where to find the information I need to solve the problem".
Thanks. Karinne Wallace
Reply to
k wallace
Dear k wallace:
Do some spying at lunchtime. Do not outdress anyone you see. Do not underdress anyone you see.
OK.
OK.
I hope you get this job. The one I have now, wants no solution that is not from the box.
But you will need to feel confident in your abilities... not so much to "do", but to "locate".
Watch how you say this, especially in an interview. You don't want to leave them with the impression that you will learn your stuff from a book... after you get the job.
Keeping my fingers crossed.
David A. Smith
Reply to
N:dlzc D:aol T:com (dlzc)
Anthony, What sort of problems are on your basic math test? I have been active as a private tutor in general math for years; hopefully I could pass a basic math test. That does depend, of course, on what you consider 'basic'. General differentiation and integration? Algebra and logarithms? Statistics? Differential equations? (I'm assuming you don't mean more basic than that stuff. )
thanks, Karinne
Reply to
k wallace
k wallace wrote in news:oLydnQhXhJdTz8_YnZ2dnUVZ snipped-for-privacy@comcast.com:
Actually, I do mean mostly more basic stuff than that. The test consists of: A few problems of addition/subtraction, etc, of positive/negative numbers. A few regarding measurments in metric (changing units, reading a dial, calculating max/min dimensions given a tolerance, finding a nominal dimension from a toleranced dimension, etc). There are no conversion to/from inch/metric questions since we are 100% metric. A couple of algebra problems. A couple of trig problems. One 7 answer statics/trig problem. A log problem A couple of stats problems (average, median, etc) That's it, IIRC there are either 20 or 25 answers total and you are furnished a calculator to take the test with. Another interesting note about this, it doesn't seem to matter much the age, years on the job - or lack of, or area of the country the applicant is from.
Reply to
Anthony
hey, thanks for your answer. Made me realize I should review my GD&T stuff; I haven't thought about tolerances in a while as I haven't ever had to use them for stuff I've done. I know I need to review statistics basics, as that's another one I haven't used in a few years. Other than that, I'm in good shape. :) thanks again.
Besides that, I have a few "people who know people", and I've been networking with some folks that already work there. From my connections at my old university, tomorrow the head of the whole R & D dept is giving me a call; he's on an industry-university partners committee I did some volunteer work for (just meeting and luncheon setup, but I did meet the guy once), and he's offered to answer any q's I might have about the company. Needless to say, I REALLY want to impress this guy! He's also an ME; though he's involved in management AFAIK he has stayed involved in the R & D side (as evidenced by his page where are listed his patents pending).
So, I need a list of good, concise questions about his company; I need to be calm and collected (not sound as nervous as I am :/ ) and somehow within my asking him about his company impress him as someone he wants to have on his team. I'm working up a set of questions, and doing indepth research on the company tonight.
I *really* want this job!
regards Karinne
Reply to
k wallace
k wallace wrote in news:M76dnfec0_ee88_YnZ2dnUVZ snipped-for-privacy@comcast.com:
Just relax and be yourself. I'm sure you will do fine. If you dwell on trying to impress, you run the risk of overdoing it.
Reply to
Anthony
update- got the job. Offer was *quite* competitive for this area. I'm completely happy about it. Thank you, all who gave advice. The 'study and review' ideas I received here and elsewhere were useful, as were the HR-interview type tips. Glad to be working for someone else now- it's going to be quite nice to have benefits again and work on a team excited about R & D in my field.
regards, k wallace
Reply to
k wallace
k wallace wrote in news:QKGdnVY6-NncP8HYnZ2dnUVZ snipped-for-privacy@comcast.com:
Congrats, hope it works out well for you.
Reply to
Anthony

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