EDA Careers Corner
Mark has been involved in EDA recruiting for over 12 years. He is Founder and President of EDA Careers, but started his career in EDA as executive Vice President at EDA Jobs. Mark was also VP of Marketing and Business Development in the beginning of the Internet revolution and has been a … More »
OBAMA!…How was DAC this Year…The ABSOLUTE DO’S and DON’TS of INTERVIEWING…Next, MY Exclusive with Aart De Geus…
June 11th, 2012 by Mark Gilbert
I had to add this after seeing the posting from my bud/guru Dan Nenni on Obama, since I think my story is way better. As we depart the gate at SFO, they tell us we are pulling over to the side to “wait” because of weather in Dallas, (I knew I should have done as I usually do…gone through LAX and wrote this at Chili’s). An hour later, the Pilot announces Obama’s Air Force One has everything shut down for his departure from SFO. Just then, cool as can be, right out my window rolls POTUS. I look on in amazement as AF1approaches the runway and suddenly jumped and said “ S#*^…..I have to get this on camera”…. way too loudly, I might add. Since phones were on because we were sitting in a holding pattern, I fumbled for my phone and scrambled to film this once in a lifetime video. By now AF-I with it’s entourage has turned from the taxi-way onto the active runway. I have seconds…the icons on my phone seem so miniature…AF-1 starts rolling. I hit the camera icon…the camera opens, I point and shoot…and all I get is an empty runway…nothing, nada, missed it all. You don’t want to know the next words I yelled…First class asked me to please act accordingly
So I figured I would alleviate a few hours worth of answering the same question by writing what everyone will ask me in the coming weeks… “How was DAC”? Now I can simply say, “read my darn column”.
Let’s start with the obvious…the DAC floor footprint (layout). The exhibit hall was considerably smaller than we have seen at DAC over the years. Fact is, there is no longer a Magma, and the other 3 (you guess who I mean) took much smaller booth space. That compounds the expected crowded image because the less booth space, the less number of people needed to man them. That traditionally has meant that a lot of exhibitor company people are standing/walking around. So right there the floor traffic looks considerably less and adds to the “it did not seem that crowded” perception. And that is reflected in all the other booths. Most took less booth space, hence making the smaller footprint and less people walking around.
The question that begs asking is, does size matter? For meeting who you need and talking to whom you want, no it does not. Like I have said before, those that have tangible product ready and did the appropriate planning, came away with great results. Overwhelmingly everyone I talked to walked away with a feeling that this DAC was worth it and more importantly, (at least for me), I scored a great exclusive interview with CO-CEO of Synopsys, Aart de Geus. Anyway, back to DAC. Everyone agreed that EDA is back from the dungeons of recent past. Everyone was impressed with the strong EDA industry Q4 results and strong October-to-October increases. As for the barometer I use… I walked away with a lot of new job reqs and a few new companies as well. DAC did what it was suppose to do, as it always does…it brought friends and colleagues together to figure out how to do business and that is what it will always hopefully do…Austin will certainly be the next test.
Now as promised… What you need to know just in case you’re getting ready to or ever might interview.
Should you get the chance to interview there are absolute DO’S and DON’TS! I cannot begin to tell you how even the smartest, most skilled folks make the simplest of mistakes in what they say. After preparing hundreds, if not thousands of candidates, I can assure you that there are comments and questions that you think are fine to say but most certainly are not!
So here are a few things to remember…
Most first interviews, not all, are done by phone. Every company has different expectations for the first call, so being properly prepared is essential. First, if at all possible, try your best to field the call on a landline and in a quiet area. Remember, you have one goal in the first interview, and that is to make sure they like you enough to give you a second interview. A clear line of communication is a great start. In the first round you need to make it all about “them liking you”. IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU LIKING THEM, at least not at this point. They need to feel your energy and understand your motivation for wanting to work there.
So here are a few other absolutes…
BE PREPARED…you should have thoroughly reviewed the companies web site and understand what they are doing and how they are doing it. You should know who else does similar work and how they differ from that competition. Read some white papers and do some research. Should the position be a Sales or AE position, look at the logos and be prepared to talk about your experience with those companies. (You better be darn sure you have a good relationship with whoever you mention because you can be darn sure the person you name will be their next call).
If you went in through a good recruiter, he/she should have set the expectations and understood the type of position and salary conditions from each of you and discussed this with both sides UP FRONT…there is rarely a reason to talk about salary or position in the early stages.
Do not ask about the company revenue, how they are funded, how many and who are their customers…all that comes after they like you.
Do not be confrontational…example, my way is right and your approach is not as good. (Overstated to make a point). This is where they find out if you are an easy person to work with and even more, how you approach solving a problem, and what kind of team player you are.
Remember to look directly at them and engage everyone in the room. One kibosh from one person might be all it takes to end it, so value each person you talk to.
Companies look for intelligence, willingness, and a commitment to learn. Show them you have several ways to approach a problem and you are always thinking of work-arounds (if appropriate).
Remember, everyone likes to be told their baby is beautiful and many take serious umbrage with the slightest negative comment about their tool or company…think before you talk.
Bottom line, always be prepared, enthused and motivated, especially in the early stages. If you do not do well in Round 1, there is rarely a Round 2. Just as they get to decide along the way, you do also, so keeping the ball rolling is your primary goal. I am always available for coaching even if I you did not go in to the company through me.
Next month you will read the most different article you have ever read about Aart de Geus …
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