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We are currently interviewing people for a few positions that either require LabVIEW experience or it would be a plus. I have been trying to think of some good questions to ask the applicatants and figured that other LAVA members might have some good ones to suggest. So, what is your favorite question(s) to ask a prospective employee to see what level of G skills they have?

If you don't want to post the answers, that is fine. I would assume the questions are not so hard that the answer is obvious to anyone with decent LV experience.

I suspose some people looking to get a LV coding job may read this so giving them the answers may not be the best idea, but I figure if they are smart enought to read LAVA, they should know a thing or two about LV already.

thanks for your help.

-John

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Back on topic: one question I like is to make a diagram (I have a standard one), remove all of the comments and most of the labels, and ask the interviewee to figure out what it does. More specifical

QUOTE (jlokanis @ Aug 18 2008, 03:26 PM)


In a previous life I had to interview and recommend for hire potential employees for our Mexico facility.

First of all if at all possible have them bring code that they have written.
If that is not possible then I would give them a small coding challenge to take home and email back to you.

It made a big impact in determining what level they were at. The verbal interview didn't always reveal their strengths or weaknesses.

Here is a list of Questions I used face to face

 

 


Most of these don’t have an exact answer but they help determine where the person is at.


Here is a simple coding test I used to used.
There is an avi file that demenstrats how program should run.
The demo vi shows them exactly how the vi should operate it's block diagram is locked so there is no cheating.
If they have any question they can go back the demo vi and get the answer.
The test vi has the FP items only.
You might want to add some documentation requirements also.

 

Skill Testing.zip

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When being hired onto my current position I had the best question I could have imagined.....

Show me how you would code this.

2nd part built off of first.

It was a 2 part coding mini exam. I feel that this really gave me the chance to show what I could do in a short period. (2 hrs I think)

And in retrospect, I would do the exact same to anyone I was looking to hire w/ LV experience.

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QUOTE (Michael_Aivaliotis @ Aug 18 2008, 08:12 PM)

I ask them if they are members of LAVA and how many posts they have. Of course this is purely academic since I would only interview someone who is a well known contributor on LAVA.

You beat me to it! I was going to suggest:

- What does HH stand for?

- Who is Alfa?

- Which LabVIEW Champion spells his name backwards?

;)

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It depends what you are looking for. If the job is creative it might be worthwhile putting in a question which will indicate creativity. A friend routinely asks really off the wall questions.

"Next week we have a conference exhibit and we need an elephant for our stand. Where do you think we could get an elephant from?"

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I once interviewed for a job as a lab manager. My first interview was the existing manager (Sam) who would be the lead lab manager. I then interviewed with his boss. The first question was "Tell me why you are better than Sam". I have no idea what my squirming answer was, but that was a great question to see how well the interviewee reacts to a tough situation.

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QUOTE (jbrohan @ Aug 18 2008, 08:16 PM)

It depends what you are looking for. If the job is creative it might be worthwhile putting in a question which will indicate creativity. A friend routinely asks really off the wall questions.

"Next week we have a conference exhibit and we need an elephant for our stand. Where do you think we could get an elephant from?"

From the refrigerator silly, and once you take it out don't forget to put the giraffe back.

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I always like to ask them when and why they would use a type definition, and then to distinguish cases where a strict type def might be more advantageous. I've had more than one supposedly "experienced" LabVIEW programmer respond with a blank stare.

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looong time ago (and many LV versions ago :) ) below coding test was given to me. Since then I've been in position to interview people and present my own challenges....At least from my experience you have to tailor questions to a position you are hiring for - senior / junior, developer or system engineer, etc. it seems that people who use LV are "jacks of bunch of trades" not just LV coders. Also particular industry experience is also handy - say that you are in telecom industry, it's beneficial if the candidate has experience working with specific instrumentation such as BERT testers, scopes, etc. I usually ask few LV questions to gauge domain knowledge, but then I'll try to work in questions to determine their problem solving skills, and way of approaching problems. I might throw in questions regarding Fourier transforms, or image algorithms, etc. depending on position.

Question that took me by surprise once ( but I've used it since :) ) was: " Tell me about the time you failed". If they never failed they are either lying or not trying hard enough - both not so good. Point of the question is too see how they react - both to the question and at time when things are not going so well....

LV coding test:

1. Create a VI that will take 2 numbers from the user…calculate the 2 numbers…produce and display the result for the following functions. Provide ONE button to select which function and another button to stop the program.

A. Multiply

B. Divide

C. Subtract

D. Add

E. Remainder

Save this VI as Calculator.vi…. Make the VI reentrant.

2. Using the GPIB Status function…Create a VI to extract a GPIB SRQ and display a flag when it's high.

Save this VI as SRQ.vi….. Use the Instrument I/O Thread

3. Create a VI for an Array of Hexadecimal integers. Check each element of the array to see if it matches Target number. If the element matches Target number, replace the matching element with the number 0x10. Display the radix of the array. Display the array continuously during program execution. The user will be able to select a Target number that eventually replaces all the elements of the Array with 0x10 until the entire Array has been replaced by 0x10.

The program will terminate immediately when:

A. The user pushes the Quit button OR

B. All elements in the array = 0x10 OR

C. A 10-minute timer expires

Target number is user defined

Array is user-defined (5 elements)

Save the VI as Target Array.vi… Make the VI print on execution completion.

4: Create a VI using VISA drivers that will find all GPIB and Serial instruments in a system.

Save the VI as VISA.

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Wow this is all interesting but as well quite specific.. Here in Switzerland (and it's more or less the same in France) a small company can not afford an experienced LabVIEW engineer, there are so few :o

I know 3 alliance member companies (with less than 20 employees), they generally hire engineer with short/no experienced looking for creative and fast learning people and then they teach them LabVIEW within the company.

The most common hiring process is to start with a 3-5 month internship right after university working. The new comer starts with NI trainings Basic I and II and then works with an experienced developer on a project. At the end of the internship you generally know if you want to hire him or find another one.

So for the intership intrview, questions about LabVIEW are more like "Have you ever heard of LabVIEW ?" If yes, what is the correct capitalization ? :laugh:

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I like to ask:

- What is the coolest thing you've done with LabVIEW?

- What is the hardest thing you've done with LabVIEW?

- What is an insane object? How do you deal wth it?

- (I echo Bob's comment) Ask about typedefs.

- Relative adantages/disadvantages of enum vs. text ring

- What is a functional global? Describe how it works to store data.

- What is a memory leak? Describe a process for detecting one.

My personal favourite:

- Explain how you could write a DAQ application which continuously acquires and displays the last X seconds of data in a graph, and dumps that data to disk when either a button is pressed or a user-specified minimum votage level is received. X is limited only by the processor and RAM.

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To echo Antoine, we're usually looking to fill positions requiring multiple task assignments such as electronics, photonics and oh, by the way, 3D CAD & LabVIEW programming skills. Working for government, we're stuck with asking the same 10 questions to every interviewee, so I found that asking about how one defines polymorphism is plenty to distinguish between an experience programmer, a casual programmer or someone who has just used LV programs written by others... If I can quickly detect with only one question in which category they fall into, then I'm happy. I hope they don't fall in the third one, but I've seen it happen!

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One of the best Q's I have heard was;

[Warning! The following question has been declared possibly offensive and readers are cautioned to read the following question at their own risk!]

"How did you finance your education?"

[End of possibly offensive question]

It lets you probe the candidates character and how they juggled demands of their time.

A question about Action Engines/LV2 Globals/Functional globals like "What is a an AE, when would you use it, and what alternatives would you concider?" will open up a lot of doors into the candidates knowledge of LV.

OH, and based on the results of the "Stump the Chumps" from last year's NI-Week, if they can name more than one Express VI,.... :rolleyes:

Ben

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An EE college acquaintance actually got this one in an interview. It isn't LabVIEW related but you might like it:

You are shown a circuit diagram and two black boxes, each with a pair of terminals on the top. One box contains an implementation of the equivalent Thevenen circuit of the given diagram and the other contains an implementation of the equivalent Norton circuit. You are not allowed to look inside the boxes but you can perform whatever other tests you wish. How do determine which box is which?

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QUOTE (neB @ Aug 19 2008, 08:58 AM)

One of the best Q's I have heard was; "How did you finance your education?"

That's a terrifically horrible question, and frankly none of the interviewer's business - I'd consider a question like that borderline discrimination.

If you really want to know more about the "candidates character and how they juggled demands of their time" then ask them direct questions about examples they can give to illustrate that. Being direct is the best route.

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QUOTE (crelf @ Aug 19 2008, 04:24 PM)

That's a terrifically horrible question, and frankly none of the interviewer's business - I'd consider a question like that borderline discrimination.

If you really want to know more about the "candidates character and how they juggled demands of their time" then ask them direct questions about examples they can give to illustrate that. Being direct is the best route.

I'm surprised... I was thinking this as a fair question, maybe a bit country specific because in some countries the best universities are almost free.

I was asked this question during an interview for an internship and I know that my father (who is running an alliance member company in France) often ask this kind of question, maybe not with these words but the same idea behind.

Why do you think this question is not direct enough ? :o

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QUOTE (crelf @ Aug 19 2008, 10:24 AM)

That's a terrifically horrible question, and frankly none of the interviewer's business - I'd consider a question like that borderline discrimination.

...

Seems like I struck a nerve with that question (and I wasn't even trying).

I am at a loss as to how that Q would be concidered descrimination. Could you please elaborate?

Ben

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QUOTE (neB @ Aug 19 2008, 10:54 AM)

Seems like I struck a nerve with that question (and I wasn't even trying).

I am at a loss as to how that Q would be concidered descrimination. Could you please elaborate?

Ben

I would have to agree with Chris.

Consider two extremes: you have a huge student loan debt or you are independently wealthy. Do you want your employer to know this when they set your salary?

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QUOTE (Ben Zimmer @ Aug 19 2008, 11:00 AM)

I would have to agree with Chris.

Consider two extremes: you have a huge student loan debt or you are independently wealthy. Do you want your employer to know this when they set your salary?

Thanks Ben.

It seems there are some other extremes as well, "I worked my Bu#@ off nights." or "I slaved for years saving evry penny to achieve my dreams."

I will volutarily delete the previous question if anyone indicates as much.

"Another Ben"

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QUOTE (neB @ Aug 19 2008, 07:54 AM)

Seems like I struck a nerve with that question (and I wasn't even trying).

I am at a loss as to how that Q would be considered discrimination. Could you please elaborate?

Ben

Many companies have started running credit checks on potential employees to get an idea of how responsible they are. The thinking is that people with poor credit tend to miss more work and are less productive than those with good credit - those with financial problems may be more likely to steal from the company and/or accept bribes in return for company secrets.

With all these stereotypes linked to poor credit, I think it is less intrusive to ask a question about finances in an interview. This at least gives the interviewee a chance to explain their circumstances.

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It's difficult enough dealing with real discrimination (race and age) you don't need to create new problems by asking irrelevent personal questions.

After reading through this post I'll offer a suggestion: stick to the technical stuff. :yes:

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QUOTE (Michael_Aivaliotis @ Aug 19 2008, 07:32 PM)

I always strict type def my clusters and enums. There are also some other instances like rings and of course customized controls. However, I see no point in a plain type def.

I never use strict type defs, unless I put them on a GUI I am going to show to my user.

I have always the feeling why use a strict type def? Could you enlighten me?

Ton

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