Finding a Good Applications Engineer

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I have an acquaintance who is having trouble recruiting for an
embedded applications engineer to support the auto industry in the
Detroit area.

How does one find an engineer with the right background (rich,
technically, in small embedded systems) and with the right personality
(medium to good with people, enjoys solving problems and supporting

Thanks, Dave Ashley

Re: Finding a Good Applications Engineer
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I don't think there's any magic Silver Bullet. You have to put ads out and
interview people. Put ads in the paper and at online sites like Monster, Dice,
and HotJobs. Talk to headhunter firms but make sure they understand what you
are looking for so that you don't get resumes from someone who has been doing
server development and has never had to consider CPU/RAM/disk limitations.

Another thing is to not be so specific so you will get candidates who could
pick up the knowledge required even if they don't know it now. There might not
be anyone in the area with the particular skills sought (although you'd think
automotive and Detroit would go hand in hand). I've seen ads from companies
seeking a certain specific type that have been around for months when they
could have hired someone who could have come up to speed by now.

Re: Finding a Good Applications Engineer
So, do you mean find an embedded apps engineer in the Detroit area ...

or do you mean find an embedded apps engineer to support auto in the Detroit

In other words, can said apps engineer live somewhere else (and continue

...The Bit Eimer     [remove keinewurst and reverse letters in domain to
email me]

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Re: Finding a Good Applications Engineer
On 22 Sep 2004 17:57:37 -0700, (David T. Ashley)
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Are you saying that there are few candidates or that there are plenty
of candidates but no good way to select between them?
If it is the prior, then the compensation is probably too low.
If it is the latter, then someone is going to have to check out the
candidate references.

The requirements are auto, embedded, and client experience.  Pick the
two out of the three that are the priority.

Re: Finding a Good Applications Engineer
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Most of the successful matches between employers and engineers that I
have witnessed or been involved with, are usually through interpersonal
networking instead of traditional recruiting techniques (paper ads,
monster, job fairs). Of course, you mileage may vary.

See ya, -ingo

/* Ingo Cyliax,, Tel: 812-391-0895 */

Re: Finding a Good Applications Engineer
Hi Dave,

Here is what I did most of the time when hiring: Present an actual
problem to the candidate. Not something that is confidential but
something that provides a challenge level similar to what the job will
bring. Then watch as he or she explains a strategy, how courteous they
are, their manners and so on. Contradict one or two of their ideas and
see their reactions, see how they take criticism.

Another trait that is most important in engineers is whether they are
able to learn on-the-fly. They have to be able to understand new
developments fast, know where to find that information quickly so they
are able to handle their expected case load.

Regards, Joerg

Re: Finding a Good Applications Engineer

If he wants to outsource R&D from low-cost country please
forward my whereabouts.
We have are succesfull record with US based company.


- -  control systems design and development
G.shdsl Focus 4.6mbps modems:
Progressive Jackpot systems for casinos:

Re: Finding a Good Applications Engineer

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As an Apps Engineer for >20 years, I've been involved with recruiting,
interviewing and choosing my colleagues many times. It's always tough,
and we've made many mistakes.

We usually use team interviews, where we invite one or more candidates
and they spend several hours shuffling from interviewer to
interviewer. We have all read the resumes ahead of time, and in many
cases done 20-30 minute phone interviews with each candidate as well.

Each of the interviewers has a specific job. Some work on the
technical skills and some on the soft skills. Sometimes that job
changes with different candidates. When we're all done, we meet and
discuss each candidate separately, then each interviewer gives a
yes/no vote and must support it. The candidate must get all yesses, or
at worst, one weak no, to get an offer.

My favorite interview happened a few years ago. We had told the
candidates that they would be expected to give a short whiteboard
presentation about one thing theya had recently worked on. One
candidate asked if they could bring slides. My job was to not let them
show the slides. It got very tense, very quickly, but it resolved well
  and we hired the candidate, who has been very successful. We
interviewed three people that day, and ended up hiring them all. One
was not appropriate for the positions we had open, but we knew about
another position that would be opening up, so we recommended them for
that position.

I wish that I could say we've been 100% successful in hiring
appropriate candidates. One of the other responders said that
interpersonal networking was extremely important. I'd have to say that
the best candidates we've found were customers. In most cases someone
in our company had worked with them multiple times over a meaningful
period. When the position became available, someone called them and
asked them to apply. The worst employees generally came from
recruiters. They were very well coached, and their job performance was
somewhat different than their interview performance.

I hope that this helps.


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