Friday, July 11, 2008

Interview Do's and Dont's

So I'm recruiting for a design methodology engineer and have been screening resumes and doing interviews. This experience leads me to want to share some advice that not everyone seems to know.


  • Send your resume in PDF (Acrobat). I know that .doc (Word) is the de facto standard, but I've seen some really strangely rendered resumes coming across in Word. In PDF, it really is what you see is what you get.
  • Check spelling and grammar carefully. I mean, duh! For a document this important, isn't it worth the extra effort? You should also have another person (preferably an English major :-) proofread it.
  • Keep it concise. As you go describe long-ago experience, you don't need to detail everything you've done. The classic guidance is to fit your resume on one page. I know that's difficult, but once it gets to three pages or more, you're probably including too much.
  • In an interview, pay attention to your "talk/listen ratio". I just made that term up. It's important to make sure you understand the question and get periodic feedback that you're on the right track before launching into a soliliquy about all that you know.
  • Assume the (first) interview will be non-technical. Some companies interview easier than others. But for the case where you really get grilled, you better have done your homework. Better safe than sorry.
  • List project specs or customer names (non-public information) on your resume. I'm pretty sure this is technically in violation of some employment agreement or NDA. I'm surprised at how specific some resumes are, listing the customer name, content and specs of chips they've worked on. You can "sanitize" this information and still convey the complexity of what you've done.
  • Make incredible claims for your contributions. I understand that you want to put your best face forward, and maybe even puff up things a big. But when I read that you "architected, developed, and implemented" a major feature of a tool in eight months, ...


John said...

This topic could go both ways... how about "Interviewers do's and dont's" from the other side of the table? Like,

"do know the answer of the question you just asked"

"don't quiz me on your master's thesis"

"don't try to probe further into a subject I just told you I knew nothing about"


"don't try to get competitive information from me"

John said...

Touche! That's fair game.