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Be prepared for interview questions

Posted in Hiring, Job Interviews and Resume Resources, Technology by engtech on May 02, 2006

When going on job interviews, keep in mind that if it is on your resume, then they will ask you questions about it. Have a friend with a similar technical background take a superficial glance at your resume and say what stands out. During the interview process you will most likely have someone who is only glancing at it and will only ask the questions that most readily jump out.

The corollary to this is that if you are listing your achievements based on perceived importance rather than chronological order, then they you will get asked questions about something that was not fresh in your mind. Either be prepared by reviewing these older achievements, or by gracefully redirecting the question to a more recent projects (which might be unlikely to happen in a nervous situation).

Another common theme is that they are going to ask you questions from 10,000 feet. On large projects where you may know the specifics of one area very well, they will ask you overall questions where you had better be prepared to say something to explain the general and work the way down to the narrow features you are comfortable with. Keep in mind that when you are being interviewed by someone, the focus of their interview will most likely be on the areas THEY are comfortable with, not the areas that you are comfortable with.

If you are going through a cyclical interview process you may start with a technical interview with someone in a similar position and then work your way up the hierarchy of command. As you move up each level, the questions will be more general and you have to be prepared to discuss things at a higher level than what may be specifically required for your job position.
Some questions for ASIC Verification positions that have thrown me for a loop because I wasn't prepared:

  • Describe the interfaces on project X? Have to explain it from a systems point of view.
  • What process geometry did you use with your last project? Have to understand the big picture and the general flow of semiconductor manufacturing.
  • What fab did your company use with your last project?
  • If the company is a start up, be prepared to answer some questions about why you want to work for them.

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