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idainc
 
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Background – 18 years in ID in corporations + 21 as a consultant. I saw an interesting ad on Core77 for an ID Director job with a small staff and a job description that read like it should. Consumer products/ able to use Solidworks (no specific year) plus Keyshot. I use it for design control files / renderings etc. But I’m an ID first and not a full time CAD jockey. It’s one tool of many including pencil and paper.

Interview – They fly me cross country and after short pleasantries they march me into an office and a person with 3 years’ experience who would be a subordinate. She instructs me to draw an existing part in Solidworks 2012. I use 2016 with customized menus. This person tells me that when I get done with this part then draw this other one. “You have an hour”. “Here’s a ruler”

I refuse the test and after a short discussion I leave. First, this wasn’t disclosed, second there is a whole lot more to running a design department than one CAD file, and as a measure of a company’s dedication to ID it just felt wrong on many levels. Not the least of which was a sense of immediate skepticism.

Appreciate any and all thoughts from similar level folks. Thanks.
Last edited by idainc on August 25th, 2016, 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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rkuchinsky
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Good you stood up for yourself. In any case, if this is how they run a company, and/or treat people, probably not the place you would want to be.

I've never had a test in an interview, but have had a potential new client ask me to do a "test" after a lot of back and forth briefing on a new project. Told them my portfolio speaks for itself, hire me or don't. They didn't.

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Generatewhatsnext
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Wow, what a horrible way to present their company to you - I agree fully with your position and that of Richard's. Thanks for taking a shot for all of us.

I doubt they learned a lesson regarding how to hire talent but they certainly deserve to have lost whatever $$ they spent on your flight, etc. And it looks like they don't understand 'big picture' vs 'task oriented' anyway.
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yo
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I'm not an opponent to trial projects, mainly to understand how someone thinks, but this brute skill level evaluation seems pretty unreasonable, especially for a director. I wouldn't do something like that either. I have been asked to put together some thinking around a broad idea or problem and I had advance warning of the assignment.

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Mr-914
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Thank god you got that glimpse of the job during the interview and not your first day!

It's experiences like these that I wish I had when I started in the industry. This company obviously does not know what a design director is supposed to be doing. Sounds like they want a CAD jockey or CAD manager.
Ray Jepson

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designbreathing
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I'll present the other side for some perspective...

Somebody with your years of experience might need a skills test. If I am doing the math projections right you have 39 years of experience (18+21)which makes you at minimum 59 years old (graduated in early 20s near late 1970s), or if you were consulting while working your corporate gigs then you might be as young as 38 years old. Solidworks did not gain momentum in the market until the late 1990s when you were probably in your early 40s. Again, someone with your years of experience might need a skills test if you have been away from the drivers seat for a period of time. I was told by my physician after age 38 the vision begins to degrade , and from my experience, the stamina for long CAD sessions in front of the screen dramatically decreases.

Design direction means so many things to so many people these days, and with CAD it makes it even more complicated to evaluate a candidates knowledge and skills. It seems a bit odd to me that this kind of interview expectation was not sussed out over the phone by you before a plane ticket was purchased. I assume you had some sort of phone interview before the trip...no?

I've had a few skills tests in my career (including CAD). They felt odd at first because I was taught back in the day that portfolio is all that one needs to get a position, but with the level of fraud these days in all areas of business, these kinds of tests are necessary to evaluate talent before investing for the long haul. People can say anything as well as put anything in their portfolio which are all digitized now in 2016. It is also more efficient to some to do an interview skills tests rather waste time making reference calls before the interview as well.

I think if you'd have past their little test you might have gotten to the more familiar lines of questioning that you were hoping for. A lot of these skills test interviews also measure things like ego, flexibility and whether or not to proceed with serious inquiry. If the candidate can't or won't do the cad skills test then that tells both parties that it probably would not work out for either of you.

What this really reveals is that the demand side of the market does not understand design, designers and how they are valued. Computer skills are at the foundation level of any job these days. That is what they measure first when hiring resources. This is indeed short sighted and shows poor human resource hiring skills.
Last edited by designbreathing on August 26th, 2016, 2:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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MK19
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The first job interview I had after finishing my Master's degree I was given a SolidWorks test... told to draw a cube by someone with lower qualifications and experience than me. Rather patronising and pointless.

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Dan Lewis
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designbreathing wrote:I'll present the other side for some perspective...

Somebody with your years of experience might need a skills test. If I am doing the math projections right you have 39 years of experience (18+21)which makes you at minimum 59 years old (graduated in early 20s near late 1970s), or if you were consulting while working your corporate gigs then you might be as young as 38 years old. Solidworks did not gain momentum in the market until the late 1990s when you were probably in your early 40s. Again, someone with your years of experience might need a skills test if you have been away from the drivers seat for a period of time. I was told by my physician after age 38 the vision begins to degrade , and from my experience, the stamina for long CAD sessions in front of the screen dramatically decreases.

Design direction means so many things to so many people these days, and with CAD it makes it even more complicated to evaluate a candidates knowledge and skills. It seems a bit odd to me that this kind of interview expectation was not sussed out over the phone by you before a plane ticket was purchased. I assume you had some sort of phone interview before the trip...no?

I've had a few skills tests in my career (including CAD). They felt odd at first because I was taught back in the day that portfolio is all that one needs to get a position, but with the level of fraud these days in all areas of business, these kinds of tests are necessary to evaluate talent before investing for the long haul. People can say anything as well as put anything in their portfolio which are all digitized now in 2016. It is also more efficient to some to do an interview skills tests rather waste time making reference calls before the interview as well.

I think if you'd have past their little test you might have gotten to the more familiar lines of questioning that you were hoping for. A lot of these skills test interviews also measure things like ego, flexibility and whether or not to proceed with serious inquiry. If the candidate can't or won't do the cad skills test then that tells both parties that it probably would not work out for either of you.

What this really reveals is that the demand side of the market does not understand design, designers and how they are valued. Computer skills are at the foundation level of any job these days. That is what they measure first when hiring resources. This is indeed short sighted and shows poor human resource hiring skills.


Dude ..... WTF. This is the most condescending and insulting response I've read in a very long time. Idainc's response was absolutely correct. A skills test for a design director is ridiculous -- I'm sure if they had even hinted at it in a pre-interview the trip across country would not have happened.

Good for you Idainc!!!!!

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IDiot
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I like to think if I find myself in this position (with the benefit of thinking through it ahead of time thanks to you sharing your experience) that I would ask the subordinate how they might approach the challenge, give them any thought on how I might do it differently, ask them about their tools/menus (customization or lack there of) tell them how long I think it should take, and say I'll be back later to check their progress and help them through any challenges they might come across. Then ask the hiring manager or whomever I am interviewing with what is next on the agenda.

I think you did the right thing, I'd like to hear more about the experience and any fall out that ensued.


idainc
 
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Thank you one and all.

When I spoke to these people I noted that two bosses I had showed no evidence of being able to draw let alone use CAD. I am not a philosopher. I subscribe to the theory that those who cannot do teach. In my conversation with them I noted that my career was linear and all of the information on my resume and items in my portfolio were mine and easily verifiable in Google patents.

I asked them if there was anything they’d like me to bring or send in the interim and that was their opportunity to ask me to bring – but not leave – Solidworks files. An opportunity to look at a file with me there of an item with a patent with my name on it that's in the marketplace right now.
I pointed out to them that my references included three people who in one case I’ve known for nearly 30 years. All have used or purchased my files since the late 90’s.

There is no misrepresentation of any kind in my resume or work.

Due to the travel schedule, I had two short night’s sleep beforehand and it was 5AM my time when they dropped the test on me. I gave them as diplomatic a response as possible and instantly knew this was not the place for me so the conversation that ensued was unfiltered. I let it be known that if I was advised of this skills test beforehand I would not be there.

Anyone who would succumb to this could not effectively deal with their vendors which to me would require a sense of self and holding your ground.

They have lost 40% of their department since May according to LinkedIn.

Due to a maintenance issue on a return flight the entire experience took 58 hours door to door.
Last edited by idainc on August 27th, 2016, 8:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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cwatkinson
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Before i respond 2 quick questions:

1. can you provide the actual Job requirements/description? (without giving the company name
2. Was this test the very first thing upon walking into the start of the interview?


idainc
 
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Any more and it might be obvious -

"Director of Product Design, manage in house staff, drive NPD, collaborate w/factories, expand core competencies, Bachelor’s degree, 5-10 yrs, Solidworks a plus, travel, manage multiple projects, consumer product exp., various manufacturing processes and materials"

Yes, this was the first thing if you don't count getting handed a bottle of water and a paper job application stapled together.

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Mr-914
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Wow! That is weird. A paper job application? Was it MacDonalds? Maybe you went into the wrong office building.

It's weird that they ask you about SolidWorks in the interview and it didn't seem to be in the job description...that's what I find most troubling.

Having said that, I've worked with, and seen the results of, some outside firms on hiring. Sometimes the headhunter writes the job description based on their knowledge while the client had a completely different criteria in mind.
Ray Jepson

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yo
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MK19 wrote:The first job interview I had after finishing my Master's degree I was given a SolidWorks test... told to draw a cube by someone with lower qualifications and experience than me. Rather patronising and pointless.


The hilarious response here would be to say "this is how I draw a cube in solid works - you, sit in this chair, draw me a 10" cube in SolidWorks , render in brushed aluminum. I'll be in my office thinking about actual problems and solutions, come get me when you are ready for a critique. Once I review and approve the file, I'll want you to CNC it in actual material by the end of the day ... thats how I make a cube in SolidWorks."


idainc
 
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Dude ..... WTF. This is the most condescending and insulting response I've read in a very long time. Idainc's response was absolutely correct. A skills test for a design director is ridiculous -- I'm sure if they had even hinted at it in a pre-interview the trip across country would not have happened.

Good for you Idainc!!!!![/quote]



Thank You! :D

I always enjoy an arrogant pontification early in the morning. How pompous. Must be an “educator” of some sorts. :wink:

My wife and I went to Pratt and in one of her classes a teacher at an ad agency told her senior class – “You need to ask yourself how low you will stoop and how much self-esteem you’re willing to sacrifice because industry will help you find out”. And the same applies to ID I guess.

I found the parts in question on the offender’s web site and reviewed them with a trusted colleague who uses Alias. We came to the conclusion that with proper measuring devices each part would take about 4 hours each

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