To add credibility to my answer, let me say that I have been there and done that before answering the question.
- Intel selected for Internship Interview in the first attempt
- Texas Instruments was selected for campus placement interview and written test (see the story Why is cgpa important in placements?).
- Qualcomm – passed written test but did not attend interview because TI results were already out.
Here are my thoughts and experiences from preparing for VLSI interviews and writing tests. My answer is more from the perspective of campus placement.
1. Groundwork: Learn the importance of VLSI job profiles
- If you are applying for a backend job, it may not be necessary to master RTL coding.
- If you are applying for a digital job, it is not necessary to be proficient in analog electronics.
2. Analyse: Get information from every source.
- Glassdoor allows you to search for experience in interviewing for this particular job in the company.
- Contact seniors if it’s campus placement.
- Google is a great search engine to find past interviewees.
3. Homework: Make a list of the most common questions you will be asked and then write down the answers
- You will see that you can make good analysis and you will often be asked questions (like STA).
- These FAQs will be helpful. Prepare to answer the question “What is the difference between A & B?” with an original or special example.
- If the question is posed, this will greatly help you. You can confidently answer it and make a good impression by sharing an interesting example.
4. Interviewing: The art of getting out of difficult situations.
- Answer the interviewer honestly. It’s a bad idea to lie.
- Interviewers often evaluate your ability to do what you believe you can do.
- VLSI is not for everyone. Some people are more comfortable with device physics. Some hate device physics. Some people are more comfortable with RTL code. One, another.
- I was asked questions about device physics, which I’m not very good at. Since device physics knowledge was not required in the “normal” jobs in industry, I admitted that I wasn’t good at it and had therefore not focused on the subject. I said that I focused on what I feel is useful in industry, which was RTL coding as well as Perl scripting. This was something I had done in my academic projects. They asked me questions.
- It is important to admit your weaknesses and then subtly redirect the discussion towards your strengths. Prepare rational justifications for any weaknesses.
Here are some general tips for preparation:
- Answer any questions you find relevant with a yes/no answer and then substantiate.
- Interviewers generally look at your confidence when you answer questions. Confidence in answering questions can be achieved by having good communication skills and language proficiency.
- Interviewers generally look at how you think and how fast you think. Interviewers will give clues if you don’t answer correctly to a question. Correct your answer immediately. You must speak clearly, even if you don’t feel confident, so they can understand your approach.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of an HR interview. Prepare your life scenarios (applicable for the question) that you can mention in answering FAQs such as “What motivates?” etc.