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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil View Post
    We are going to interview a CAD guy for our small business. Does anybody have any suggested questions? Here are the ones I came up with.....
    Questions to Ask CAD Candidates
    1. How many years AutoCAD experience as it pertains to architecture and hence, cleanrooms?
    2. How many years 3D CAD or AutoCAD experience in relation to engineered/parts/assemblies/systems? Have you ever designed an automated or semi-automated machine?
    3. Imagine you just discovered a mistake you made in CAD that affects a part Bruce put out for bid. How would you handle that error?
    4. How would you describe your attitude?
    5. We are in crunch time right now and are a small company. Would you be willing and able to work longer hours and possibly Saturdays for a few weeks at a time until the end of September?
    6. How soon can you start?
    7. What CAD system have you used most recently? How about SolidWorks? How about AutoCAD?
    8. Are you handy? Do you have experience doing construction type work? Working on cars? Machine maintenance? Please describe…
    9. Can you read, interpret and use standards? Which ones?
    10. Are you experienced with business travel? International business travel? Do you have a passport?

    Some other things to consider:
    First and foremost question should be, why are you considering a new position?
    Six Sigma certifications or at least familiarity?
    ERP experience or familiarity?
    Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In ten years?

    The candidate should also be asking you about company philosophies, practices, growth, direction, atmosphere, etc. This partially demonstrates good analytic skills.

  2. #22
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    Thanks, everybody. I think an objective drawing test, one AutoCAD and one SolidWorks would make sense. The reason why architecture? We design and build premium modular cleanrooms. Why parts and assemblies, 3D? We are developing two R&D machines for pharmaceutical manufacturing. We are pretty diverse in our workloads, actually. Much of the cleanroom design is doors, floors, walls, ceilings, mechanical systems (special HVAC, HEPA, at floor air returns, etc, also electrical and plumbing.).

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    Surely you have to ask them about
    GDT,
    different materials for fab or machining and why choosec what,
    different plating and benefits of each for different materials,
    work out some pre-plate sizes for some holes,
    and then a thread
    holeshaft basis and why
    ???

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    I think you can ask more technical CAD questions, not in the first interview asking them to draw something but if they know say Solidworks, ask how they would approach a couple of different objects you might show them. It's more about how they think and talk and ask questions than if they are real experts. A lot of fit is about communication so you do want someone who you can talk to easily about technical stuff. I hire early career engineers mostly and while we do ask undergrad style problem questions, we also love to talk about their old projects as it gives them a platform for demonstrating they can talk about technical things.

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    Ask some basic problem solving questions. Dig up some problems your company has dealt with in the past, some that worked out and some that didn't, present the problems and ask how they would solve them. If their answer is to add a bunch of needless complexity, you don't want them. If they find a way to solve the problem by simplifying things, that's who you want.

    Here's another: "You designed and ordered some parts for a project. They came in to spec, but don't work reliably. You find you made a design error. You don't have time to have the parts redone without pushing out the deadline. What do you do?"

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    Wow, you guys must have a huge pool of applicants if you can ask such specific questions, and eliminate candidates based off of their responses. We look for the "soft skills" because you can teach the rest. But you can't teach honesty, loyalty, good work ethic etc. We use the 90 day probation period to determine who stays with us and who doesn't. We've got a lot of employees that have been with us 10, 15, 20 and 25 years. I'm over 30 years here myself. I think our hiring process works pretty well.

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  9. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil View Post
    Thanks, everybody. I think an objective drawing test, one AutoCAD and one SolidWorks would make sense. The reason why architecture? We design and build premium modular cleanrooms. Why parts and assemblies, 3D? We are developing two R&D machines for pharmaceutical manufacturing. We are pretty diverse in our workloads, actually. Much of the cleanroom design is doors, floors, walls, ceilings, mechanical systems (special HVAC, HEPA, at floor air returns, etc, also electrical and plumbing.).
    I forgot to mention a logic and reasoning test. A friend recently interviewed for a manufacturing engineer position with a company that manufactures aerospace and defense parts. They had him take an exhaustive logic and reasoning test. These tests generally demonstrate how smart a person is, not necessarily how much knowledge they have.

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    I'd hand them a drawing and have them walk me through how they would approach modeling it and why.

    When interviewing for machinist positions I did something similar - hand them a part and ask how they'd attack it.

    There are not necessarily "right" and "wrong" answers, but it shows their ability to think and apply their experience under a small amount of pressure.

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    I'm fine with a series of questions, but unless it's a job that offers compensation unobtainable elsewhere, aptitude tests and on the fly drawings are a non-starter. My resume speaks for itself and I have no reason to prove myself in such a desperate market. I think you'll find a lot of applicants have the same attitude.

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    I think looking for someone who can pass both a SW and AutoCAD test is going to severely limit you, or limit you people fresh out of school. Most CAD guys I know work either in the AutoCAD world or in the 3D parametric world. I use SW daily, but I haven't touched AutoCAD in almost 20 years; there's no way I'd pass a test. At the same time, if you took a really good Wildfire guy, he won't look impressive on a SW test, but he would probably pick it up really quickly and be good at it to.

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    Let them show you their work and talk about their interests.

    Go through your expected workflow, how you interact with CAD models etc. Then give the applicant something to model up. Have them talk you through the results. Have an open mind about the process. I never hire on a set list of questions. I hire based on a vibe and the applicant's attitude.

    A person with the right attitude can do amazing things.

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  18. #32
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    "You can't teach attitude"
    -Barb, the owner's wife.
    So true!


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