I'll have the last job interview this week, this time with an engineer.
They make and sale instruments which determine components at molecular and
They want me at two areas, networking administration and technical
services.(U$S 1000, 8hrs, Argentina)
In that last interview they will give me a PCB board (15"x7") with this
"What would you do, if the problem is here".
I have a glance of one of many boards last week, (very short glance), and I
68000 microprocessor, a lot of buffers like 74C244/5, 4 very populated
connectors, and 4 or 5 PALs.
I want to know if this is a normal interview, just because I have a nephew
who is magician.... Perhaps he can do the job better than I can.
I would appreciate any comment.
Dennis Crawley wrote:
> 68000 microprocessor, a lot of buffers like 74C244/5, 4 very populated
> connectors, and 4 or 5 PALs.
> I want to know if this is a normal interview, just because I have a nephew
> who is magician.... Perhaps he can do the job better than I can.
Maybe just a check for "psychological attitude" :-)
They gave you a very good question.
A few years ago I repaired a Kodak laboratory equiped with 4 or 5
pieces of 68000 processors which communicate between over a time
multiplexed serial bus.
I haven't complete documentation and the guy who service the tool
asked to the owner an equivalent of $3000 for exchanging the damaged
I've sit (really sit on the floor) two fully days with an
oscilloscope, a sheet of paper and a pencil. After two days the
problem was solved with only $800.
I admit my nose help me always with those problems.
So the question was good and the answer could be:
1. drop it to the garbage, it's time for new devices here
2. pay me enough to reverse engineer the board and find the schematic,
then I'll be able to solve your problems.
On 1/14/07, Dennis Crawley <usa.net> wrote: dennis.crawley
On 1/14/07, Dennis Crawley <usa.net> wrote: dennis.crawley
> Hi all.
> I'll have the last job interview this week, this time with an engineer.
> They make and sale instruments which determine components at molecular and
> atomic level.
> They want me at two areas, networking administration and technical
> services.(U$S 1000, 8hrs, Argentina)
> In that last interview they will give me a PCB board (15"x7") with this
> "What would you do, if the problem is here".
Here the answer would be "install a replacement board."
Seriously, they are asking a network admin to do component-level board repair?
You think that it is a secret, but it never has been one.
- fortune cookie
William Chops Westfield
On Jan 14, 2007, at 8:41 AM, Mark Rages wrote:
> Here the answer would be "install a replacement board."
> Seriously, they are asking a network admin to do
> component-level board repair?
That's my immediate reaction as well.
Of course, it's one of those trick questions where they haven't
given you all the data. When an engineer asks a sort-of open-ended
question like that, they may not have a "right" answer in mind, but
just be trying to get some insight into how you treat problems.
It's relatively common for an engineer to have some sort of "see how
they think" question in their interview question list (in which case
"replace the board" is not a very good answer without additional
IS a replacement board available? (soon enough? Cheap enough?)
(note that in many circumstances, the $3000 board cost someone else
mentioned is small change compared to the money you're losing by
having the network down. Though it is a different class of money.
Perhaps the first part of the answer is to bring the network back
up using "other resources" before you start poking at board-level
Check the board for obvious wrongness. Big burnt spots. Little
burnt spots. Bent pins on connectors or socketed ICs. Re-seating
connectors and ICs might not hurt. Do you HAVE replacement components?
Do you HAVE electronic test tools? Do you have access to people who
know how to use them? Do you have access to the people who build and/or
assembler and/or test the board? Being effective at a job means making
good use of the resources available to you, which includes the rest of
the people working there, not just your own skills...
William Chops Westfield wrote:
> Of course, it's one of those trick questions where they haven't
> given you all the data. When an engineer asks a sort-of open-ended
In my mind, yes, it's mainly a trick, made to test you!
Anyway, as somebody pointed out on a forum, in an interview people may
want to ask you "if you ever developed boards in your spare time... i.e.
when you were not asked to do them".
You can of course answer "no" (it means you also have a life :-) )
but the person interviewing you has the interest to know how
"appassionate" you are in your work. He does not care about your
personal life, so, if you reply "I create PIC boards at night" you're
probably going to gain some points!
So, asking a Network admin how to replace a board or repair it, does not
mean he has to be able to... but in case he can, the better!
|Dennis Crawley wrote:
First, good luck on the interview.
I know this question and I can give you an idea of the best way to
answer it. I ask and have been asked this same type of question more
times than I can remember and how you answer can be important. I am a
computer programmer and I specialize in design and architecture and
software testing. When I ask a question like this I am looking for the
1. Thought process - so talk out loud as you think about the
2. Confidence and grace under pressure - I often hand a programmer a
circuit board, piece of equipment or something else that is out of that
persons core area and ask them "how would you test/fix/learn about this?"
3. Attention to detail - Use paper or a white board if you can, jot down
ideas and TALK with your interviewer, don't just answer the question.
My most successful candidates and my most successful interviews have
always been when I stopped acting like an interviewee and started acting
like an engineer. This part should probably be under #2.
4. Stand up for yourself - There may be no right or wrong answer. It's
how professionally you defend your position that counts. Depending on
the job and candidate I may disagree with the candidate and deliberately
make a WRONG statement. I want to see if he will call me on it.
Anyway, I'm short on time this morning and have to run but I hope these
Again, good luck. New jobs are always fun! I just noticed that you
posted this three days ago so I hope you see this in time to help.
Actually they are more happy than me to see me inside,... but the
interviewer ¿? has go away on vacation. So I have to wait two more weeks.
Thank you very much for your inputs and wishes.
> Actually they are more happy than me to see me inside,... but the
> interviewer ¿? has go away on vacation. So I have to wait two more weeks.
> Thank you very much for your inputs and wishes.
> Dennis Crawley
A reprieve! Depending on how you think about it, you have more time to
prepare or more time to worry. I never know which one I'll do. Anyway,
hope it goes well.
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