Director level job – Solidworks test at interview?

Wow :open_mouth:

I don’t think I have met anyone who’s been in the biz for 40 years and does still direct ID on a day-to-day.
That is quite an amazing wealth of experience which any company should be excited to have.

I had to do a CAD test for an interview once. I was applying for a summer intern position during my second year of university. That was understandable for the job I was doing. I don’t blame you one bit for refusing to do this at your career level.

Thanks. Have to admit they really misrepresented the job as they really seemed to be looking for someone to only be very proficient in Solidworks and not running a design department. They could care less about content. I also have to admit I didn’t do a good enough job of interviewing them on the phone.

Including travel time and flight delays this took me out of my home for 58 hours - I was in their office for 20 minutes.

I can understand the potential rationale behind a skills test - if you are expected to direct and mentor people within a small team they’d probably want to make sure you aren’t bluffing. But to surprise you with it seems to be a bit over the top.

Sounds like it was just an early red flag, and like others said better to see it now rather than in a few months when they have you doing grunt CAD work.

It would be hard for anyone to have my resume and my portfolio and have there be even the most remote possibility that there was anything fraudulent in it. Just go to Google patents and type in my name.

They justified it by adding that since millennials misrepresent their abilities so freely that they have to carefully scrutinize everything. My career is older than a millennial.

Had to laugh when they had the most junior staff member they had escort me to a room to sit down and draw one part and “when you’re done with the draw this one”. Disrespectful event on all levels. But on a larger note, it seems that designers are partly at fault in presenting themselves as jacks of all trades and masters of none. Everyone uses every piece of software imaginable.

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I don’t think this is an age issue, perhaps an American cultural issue, but I’ve interviewed several candidates who represented skill sets on paper and then admitted they have not used, and would not recall how to use those skills in any significant fashion. And that is outside of the design career, it can apply to anyone.

For example: My old boss used Pro Engineer, but in the late 90’s. He too had 20+ patents to his name - if you asked him to open a modern version of Creo and sketch out a box with a hole in it, it wouldn’t happen. Did that make him a bad director? Not in any way shape or form - but having had a skill set and still having a skill set are not always the same thing.

Your treatment by said employee is not justified by any of this, but putting the shoe on the other foot, if I was hiring for a position and I knew that position would have to mentor and/or do tactical work, I would probably require some type of skills test or clear demonstration of what skills you had that were up to date. As an employer, you wouldn’t want to hire someone and then find out on the first day they can talk the talk but not actually execute the way they said.

Google is one of the biggest tech companies in the world and no one gets in the door with out some type of demonstrated design exercise - so it’s not to say exercises/tests are uncommon or frowned upon, but employers should be forthcoming with their expectations.

At some point you have to ask yourself how low you’re willing to go in life and these guys found that point for me real fast. If, after an extensive amount of phone time discussing my work, they thought it would be clever to cast doubt on all that then they can keep the job.

As fate would have it, they’ve downscaled the job to 0-3 years after probably having a real hard time treating director level people so poorly. Myopic as well. My portfolio is filled with brand name relatively complex products compared to their very simple ones.

idaine: I think I’m younger than you, but sometime around year 12-14 of my career, I stopped going low in life. I have options now, so why bother kissing someone’s behind for a CAD jockey job.

Keno: I agree that hiring creatives is broken in many organizations. Interestingly, 3 of the 4 people I hired DID NOT have the requested SolidWorks experience. Within a week they were productive and within a month they were amazing. If someone has learned 1 3D suite, they have the ability to learn another one rapidly. I think most HR departments don’t know this.

I have never hired a designer for their skills as it relates to tools. But always for how they think and solve and their desire and ability to grow. I can teach anyone to sketch better or to do 3d modeling… but i dont have time to teach them how to be a creative thinking…

It depends on how an organization sees the discipline. Is it value add or completing a task? A critical part of product definition or A side styling? A way the organization differentiates itself from the competition, or hey punk CAD this up?

As much as I like diving into the A side styling, it is gravy on the goose as they say… no goose? Not interested. I want to play a key role in what the product is, what it does, who it is for, how it is made. Then the topical styling part is easy. If you are handed a festering turd of a product concept and mechanical layout there isn’t much you can do. This is why car sketches always look hot but the end result is often a lumpy mess. The design function is divorced and in direct conflict from the part of the company that decides what it is, who it is for, and the mechanical layout. Atom smashing these disparate points of view together is rarely pleasant nor effective.

Adding to this, the people doing the hiring at this level aren’t designers. They are almost universally deliverable oriented. In school, we all made our own models and to a degree did simple graphics as a part of the curriculum.

The people doing the hiring now see designers as a deliverable source only and really don’t have nearly the appreciation of the subtleties and logic that goes behind a product. Now you’ll see job requirements that include CS6, Auto CAD, Catia, ProE, all manner of rendering and animation programs, product packaging and provide “help” on advertising digital 2D sketching, physical modelmaking and the list goes on.

ID may not have done itself a favor by being all things to all people and jacks of all trades and masters of none.

I think it can be like that in some companies but I would not generalize this to all.