Looking for interview advice

Thread Starter

SaineshSolanki

Joined Mar 4, 2018
10
Hello All! Let me just give a background story, I was recently employed at my previous company for 3 months. Things were going great, I was gaining skills, knowledge, and most important of all, being part of a collaborative environment where I feel like my contributions meant something. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 struck the nation and many governments, including the state I live in, has issued a shelter in place. Because of this, this has affected the company that I worked at negatively. They had to make the unfortunate decision to lay off people and I was one of the unlucky people. I am out on the job market, and I can always get recruiters to contact me and always get an interview with no problem. The problem is, I can never get through interviews and I seem to struggle on how I can communicate effectively. How can I demonstrate value and ensure the hiring manager can trust to hire me? I am having a real hard time on how to handle that in interviews. I feel like I have enough skills to do that. Maybe I am not addressing things clearly or maybe I am underselling myself? I am not sure. Any guidance on this would be of great help. It is so hard to find resources on how to tackle hardware engineering interviews. I tried glassdoor, indeed, LinkedIn and I feel like I am getting point in all different directions. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,074
You aren't giving us much to go on.

Where are you located? What kind of jobs are you applying for? What's your degree(s) in? How much experience do you have?

These usually greatly affect the type of interview you can expect.

What kinds of interviews do you normally receive? Technical, non-technical? What are some of the more common questions you have been asked? How have you answered them?

Many colleges offer mock interviews in which you get feedback on ways that you might improve your interview results. Often these are only available to current students and alums, but some colleges offer them (sometimes for a fee, which is usually pretty tame) to the general public. You might look into that.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
10,108
The problem is, I can never get through interviews and I seem to struggle on how I can communicate effectively.
What sort of questions?
I tried glassdoor, indeed, LinkedIn and I feel like I am getting point in all different directions. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
There is a disadvantage to having your name/resume posted too widely. Some might view that as a person who is desperate for a job, which may raise a suspicion of whether you were let go for poor performance and Codvid-19 was just a convenient excuse.

These are definitely usualunusual times. Can you offer yourself as an independent contractor? That would bring in some money and the company would not be making any commitment at a time when the future is so uncertain.
 
Last edited:

ci139

Joined Jul 11, 2016
1,680
What kind of an interview - it's always good to show up at employer's and ask/answer questions (show your interest) on site - more doable with the small business . . . . then when they show up / hint the slight interest you should show up at their place until they are convinced to hire you - not to let them have time to consider other alternatives (well if you are sure you "want" / are ready for this particular job)

the shows that they set up at giant companies do go beyond the common sense - you likely need to pass a special theatre course for
 

Thread Starter

SaineshSolanki

Joined Mar 4, 2018
10
What sort of questions?

There is a disadvantage to having your name/resume posted too widely. Some might view that as a person who is desperate for a job, which may raise a suspicion of whether you were let go for poor performance and Codvid-19 was just a convenient excuse.

These are definitely usual times. Can you offer yourself as an independent contractor? That would bring in some money and the company would not be making any commitment at a time when the future is so uncertain.
I was only at the company for roughly 3 months which is hardly enough time for them to evaluate me and let me go. My boss did not want me to go but unfortunately it was not his choice. And I am not applying to any position, just Hardware Engineering roles. I have been struggling for many years to gain that type of experience and it's just been disappointing. I have done PCB design (unfortunately not high speed like DDR or USB, etc), I have done DFM reviews for Circuit Boards, Design Reviews for circuit boards, documentation control for ECAD designs, parts research & obsolescence mitigation, ECO processes, working with contract manufacturers to resolve DFM issues, working along with people from various backgrounds including mechanical, manufacturing, firmware/software, and etc. It seems to me that the engineering community does not care to teach young engineers the ropes. They want them to be microwave ready. I was told that back in the 90s, this was not the case. Companies would love to have you come on board and train you. I have learned a lot, but I always feel like I haven't learned enough and it's not fair that I have to suffer when I know many people lie to get into jobs they shouldn't have. I have been trying to take classes, do personal projects or self learning on how to do certain designs. But no one wants to invest in me.

I have considered contract roles and been looking at other companies where they are not too stringent in their hiring practices so maybe I can make my way into their and start learning something. I don't know, it's been a struggle and I need career advice and guidance.
 

Thread Starter

SaineshSolanki

Joined Mar 4, 2018
10
What kind of an interview - it's always good to show up at employer's and ask/answer questions (show your interest) on site - more doable with the small business . . . . then when they show up / hint the slight interest you should show up at their place until they are convinced to hire you - not to let them have time to consider other alternatives (well if you are sure you "want" / are ready for this particular job)

the shows that they set up at giant companies do go beyond the common sense - you likely need to pass a special theatre course for
Oh I have. I try to show as much enthusiasm as I can. I try to invest the time to understand their products, their customers, and their market. I always try to keep a positive head. I guess at the end of the day, it's a numbers game and eventually someone will take a chance on me.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
10,108
I was only at the company for roughly 3 months which is hardly enough time for them to evaluate me and let me go. My boss did not want me to go but unfortunately it was not his choice.
I did not mean to imply that was not the case, only that a resource officer (person interviewing you) might go in with suspicious bias. Probation periods vary by company. 90 days was standard at places I worked. Some are longer; some are shorter. So, be sure to point out that it was a Covid-19 reduction in force (RIF). In the US (you have not said where you are), RIF's typically cut mid-level supervisory and new employees. As the number of employees diminishes, less supervisors/assistant supervisors/leads are needed. And of course, employees with the least tenure are also cut. The catch is that "ratcheting down" is very frowned upon. Therefore some mid-level employees with long tenure may get cut too.

You still haven't given examples of the questions that you found problematic.
 

Thread Starter

SaineshSolanki

Joined Mar 4, 2018
10
I did not mean to imply that was not the case, only that a resource officer (person interviewing you) might go in with suspicious bias. Probation periods vary by company. 90 days was standard at places I worked. Some are longer; some are shorter. So, be sure to point out that it was a Covid-19 reduction in force (RIF). In the US (you have not said where you are), RIF's typically cut mid-level supervisory and new employees. As the number of employees diminishes, less supervisors/assistant supervisors/leads are needed. And of course, employees with the least tenure are also cut. The catch is that "ratcheting down" is very frowned upon. Therefore some mid-level employees with long tenure may get cut too.

You still haven't given examples of the questions that you found problematic.
My apologies, I should had clarify that I reside in the United States and yes this was a reduction in force due to COVID-19. I am very much familiar with what that is.

Some of the questions are in regards to my circuit design or front-end hardware skills. Most of my skills are in regards to back-end which is PCB Design, DFM reviews, documentation checks, working with CMs to mitigate any DFM errors, BOM analysis, etc. I have tried to show them what I have learned outside of work, but most hiring managers want actual work experience. I have done some circuit design but not extensively to qualify me so I have been looking at lesser roles or roles where the requirements are not too high.
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
6,535
It would probably benefit you to not sell yourself as a "one size fits all" engineer, but concentrate on a particular skill, field of endeavor or market. Concentrate you work and studies in that area and you will become more and more desirable. Sometimes these things take time. Be patient and keep plodding in your chosen direction.
 

Thread Starter

SaineshSolanki

Joined Mar 4, 2018
10
It would probably benefit you to not sell yourself as a "one size fits all" engineer, but concentrate on a particular skill, field of endeavor or market. Concentrate you work and studies in that area and you will become more and more desirable. Sometimes these things take time. Be patient and keep plodding in your chosen direction.
I think you are correct. I am trying to sell myself way to high when in reality I have a better understanding of backend hardware design. Most of my focus so far throughout my 7.5 years has been ECAD library management, ECAD BOM analysis, parts researcher, PCB designer (mostly done low speeds like low 100 MHz, but I have done 4 to 8 layer board designs), PCB DFM analysis, and ECO Process Engineer. So I do have quite a bit of technical skills. So I guess the question is, should I strictly pursuit roles that are PCB Design and Manufacturing centric, and grow from there?
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
25,269
I agree with Dick.
Concentrate on where your most experience is and why you are good at doing that.
You can mention the other things you've done as a backup to your experience, but companies are usually interested in someone who is skilled at the work that they want done, so emphasize that.
Once you are on board, you can then gravitate towards other areas, if that is your desire.
 

Thread Starter

SaineshSolanki

Joined Mar 4, 2018
10
I agree with Dick.
Concentrate on where your most experience is and why you are good at doing that.
You can mention the other things you've done as a backup to your experience, but companies are usually interested in someone who is skilled at the work that they want done, so emphasize that.
Once you are on board, you can then gravitate towards other areas, if that is your desire.
Thank you! I think I know what positions I need to apply for now and what I need to market myself as. I greatly appreciate all the help and advice.
 
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