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(OP)
We recently had a young grad in our office to interview for an entry level mechanical engineer position.

Q: What type of systems would you like to work on / are you interested in?
A: HVAC! I want to design HVAC systems. I have a passion for it and want to do pursue my career in HVAC.
Q: What does HVAC stand for?
A: Heating, Ventilation,.. and.. err.. hmmm... I forgot!

I design aqueducts in a parallel universe.

No one has a passion for HVAC.

I try not to get hung up on individual answers but rather judge the candidate's experience and ability overall. My personal favorite bit about interviews was at a former employer that did onsite drug testing the day of the interview. Simply judging by candidates' reactions you knew 95% of the time whether someone would pass or not before taking the test.

The wizz quiz.

Good luck,
Latexman

To a ChE, the glass is always full - 1/2 air and 1/2 water.

"It says on your resume that you are familiar with NVTherm; what sorts of systems have you modeled in it?

"uuhhh, I actually haven't used it, but I watched someone use it." BBBZZZZZZZZZ

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

From my very first interview right out of college:

Interviewer: "What's your experience managing risk?"
Me: "Uhhhhh, I don't really understand the question."
Interviewer: "What levels of risk are acceptable? What thoughts do you have on reducing risk on a project?"
Me: "Uhhhh, I'm still not sure I understand the question."
Interviewer: "Let's move on..."

I was nervous and university gave me zero practical understanding of risk management, or at least none I recalled at the time. Strangely they offered me a job. Perhaps they still liked my other responses or they were just desperate. Looking back I'm guessing a little of both.

Professional Engineer (ME, NH, MA) Structural Engineer (IL)
American Concrete Industries

3
Interview I once had with Conoco Phillips:

Interviewer: What's the most difficult experience you have ever had and what did you do to overcome it?

Me: (After thinking about personal experiences that would be inappropriate to discuss)...Hmmm......Hmmm....That's a good question. I don't know. How about you? What was your most difficult experience?

Interviewer: Yeah, that is a good questions. I don't know either.

Did not get the job, lol!

Interviewer (Int): Would you be interested to work in troubleshooting?
Me: yes, it is definitely a field I find interesting and would.
Int: Stop. Do you think you are capable?
Me: Well, for sure I would need
Int: Stop stop stop. I say you are Not capable.
Me: What I meant is
Int: I dont want to be agressive but want to know what motivates you in life. You look so nice. What upsets you?
Me: Appreciate your question. Well I
Int: Do you have hobbies? What do you wake up for in the morning? Why dont you never get upset.
Me: Well, I dont say its always smooth, frictions can happen but the good thing it has always been on the subject and
Int2: I see you switched jobs quite often. So you are the kind if guy who stay for a while and then say f$off. Hahaha? Me: My last job was a fixed contract and Int: Hey we are just trying to shake you a little, and that is for the sake to obtain info from you. Int3: yes, and this will be sufficient. Should I drop the name of the company... I wont do that probably... Of course did not get the job. I brought 10 years of experience on the table on a highly specialized field. They did not give a damn. ### RE: Worst job interview answers Seems to me you failed a test to defend yourself against an aggressor. For that, you should not have been hired, but then again, you probably wouldn't have liked working for a company that required you to continually defend yourself. As Groucho Marx famously said, "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member." TTFN (ta ta for now) I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm ### RE: Worst job interview answers I was getting desperate, and interviewed for a supervisory job. It was a group interview, with all of my putative direct reports present. Usual pleasantries, then the direct reports got into a heated argument over some simple technical points. The DM later told me that I failed their synthetic test because I didn't intercede to calm the participants down. Hell, it was in TN; I figured they were all armed, and I was not. ... and I've seen more heated arguments eventually end in useful detente. ... and I wanted to see how the argument would be settled, but I think they just ran off the end of the script. My supervisory friends opined they had never seen or executed an interview like that. Mike Halloran Pembroke Pines, FL, USA ### RE: Worst job interview answers "you probably wouldn't have liked working for a company that required you to continually defend yourself" Yes. You made a good point. It was a way for me to take it with philosophy. Anyway, I don't think I failed the interview, I think I failed something else. As I hope I learned a lesson on another level. It is a JUNGLE out there, best protection in the first place, is do not fall in the jungle. There are some old/wise/experienced people in this forum (Zdas, Mike, and very few others). Plus of course orientations elsewhere, including this forum, certainly friends, family, etc. But people should listen VERY CAREFULLY to what these guys are writing down. I think this is where I failed at first place, and I am willing to learn a lesson. I choose not to learn the hard way, life is too short. I would like to make a point relatively to the OP, sometimes young or fresh graduate can have difficulties managing their emotional stress during interview and that might be a reason why the letters (HV) AC could not be defined. (Which by the way stands for Heating Ventilation &.... Ambient Comfort) - isn't it? :) ### RE: Worst job interview answers I've been a member of some interview panels and I can think of two interviewees that really stick out. 1. We were interviewing for an entry level position (this was at a county govt office before I got my engineering degree) that had really no room for advancement. We explained that we were looking for a long term person to handle daily tasks in our mail room/print shop. No matter what question we asked him, this guy kept saying that he was ready to be management, and he couldn't wait to become a manager, etc. I think he mentioned that at least 20 times. 2. We were interviewing an experienced engineer at one of the utilities I used to work at. We had an individual that looked FANTASTIC on paper. When she came in for an interview, you could tell she was extremely nervous. When she would get asked a question about certain experiences or instances to back up what she had done in the past, she totally locked up and by that I mean she literally could not get a single word out. I tried to help guide her or direct her to an answer by referencing some of the items on her resume, but even with that, she couldn't come up with anything. I've never seen an interview go any worse than that. On the interviewee side, I was a year out of school and interviewing for a large machinery manufacturer. The position was to have oversight of the production facility and some design work on machinery components. The interview starts and after some brief intros, they pull out a picture of a large portable construction light tower. Then said, tell us how you would design this in detail, from scratch, show free body diagrams for major components, calculations for the hydraulics that lift the tower, etc. Needless to say, I tried to work through it off the top of my head, but knew I was unprepared and after about an hour of them throwing curveballs at me and pointing out how wrong I was, I figured I wasn't getting an offer (which I didn't care about after that experience). ### RE: Worst job interview answers I was interviewing an applicant for a position with our company and I asked him why he wanted the position. His answer was "I want a job with benefits that I can retire from". Probably one of the most honest answers I ever got, but didn't leave me with the impression he would be a good hire. ### RE: Worst job interview answers coloeng, why? ### RE: Worst job interview answers #### Quote (TehMightyEngineer) From my very first interview right out of college: Interviewer: "What's your experience managing risk?" Me: "Uhhhhh, I don't really understand the question." ... At a recent interview, I was shown a GD&T specification and I was asked how I would correct it. It occurred to me afterwards that perhaps I was being tested for tact, rather than my knowledge of GD&T. Maybe they wanted to see how you would bullshit them. -- JHG ### RE: Worst job interview answers (OP) @rotw "I would like to make a point relatively to the OP, sometimes young or fresh graduate can have difficulties managing their emotional stress during interview " The kid looked like he just woke up after a night of playing video games and had a whatever attitude. Blood pressure = zero. I design aqueducts in a parallel universe. ### RE: Worst job interview answers 2 (OP) I have another entry-level candidate coming in today. What I'm hoping to hear when asked the question why he wants to work with us: "It's my first job, I want to gain experience and start making money so I can move out of my parents' house and live my life." Not some BS answer rehearsed in advance, where he says how great (my company) is and how he feels he's the right candidate. I design aqueducts in a parallel universe. ### RE: Worst job interview answers wroggent, As IRstuff indicated, he seemed to already be in retirement mode and didn't indicate that he would be very motivated to actually do the job. Not an age issue, he was probably in his early forties. The person we hired was in early fifties. ### RE: Worst job interview answers In 2011 when newer grads were still having trouble finding jobs, we had an entry level position open. The candidate graduated 6 months prior with no work history on his resume after graduating. An obvious question in the interview was to ask what have you been doing since you graduated. His response was that he has been playing video games. The interview didn't last much longer after that. In the same round of interviews, I found a candidate that was out of school for 1 year with no engineering jobs after graduation. He was working at a local store. Something on his resume caught my attention. He said he was doing some side work with a hobby of his. We hired him and he has been great. ### RE: Worst job interview answers For those who didn't know how to answer a question (likely because the point/purpose of the question was unclear)... I have begun answering those with "The question is a bit vague, but I'll try to answer it in a specific direction, so feel free to correct me if it's not the type of answer you were looking for...". The last time I started my response this way, the interviewer added at the end of my response "That's okay, the question was intentionally vague to see where you would go with it." In cases like that, I try to cover multiple directions from a 10,000-foot view, and the interviewer can lead me down a specific path for more detail, if that's what they desire. Sometimes a question is a test onto itself, and sometimes it's just a poorly formed question. Dan - Owner http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com ### RE: Worst job interview answers @Bernoulli31 Just some good natured needling, but If you should have the misfortune of finding a fresh graduate that DOES think your company is good and is interested in the industry you are a part of, what will you do? I would say that only someone that just wants any job would even venture to give such a glib answer - the stakes are too high from the candidate's side to do something so frank, especially if they are a fresh grad/new grad. ### RE: Worst job interview answers (OP) Well, of course, and my post was not meant to be taken 100% seriously. But it would be refreshing. I design aqueducts in a parallel universe. ### RE: Worst job interview answers Was invited by a headhunter from the corporate offices in Orlando to interview for a field engineering position headquartered in Pittsburgh. Didn't know the company, the position itself, but had been in power plant field construction and repair (hardhat & steel-toed boots engineering, never any calculations) for about 25 years at that point, so I figured it was worth the trip - and since they were paying for the trip, it was worth their money for me to spend it on me on my potential employment. Anyway, got to the Pittsburgh airport hotel lobby for the interview a little earlier than my future boss and his boss, and wandered over to look at an abstract welded steel design in the lobby. So, the first thing they see is me bent over looking at the bottom of a steel "tree" to see how the leaves and branches were bent, curled over and welded. They didn't have many technical questions after that - More like, "When can you start?", "How many days a year can you work on the road?" and "How much do you want?" If they had asked "design" questions, or beam and moment calculations, I'd have failed. I could have pulled out enough heat transfer and power plant theory from left-over nuclear power plant training to manage a little bit. But practical field safety, job site scheduling and coordination, welding and machining and technical supervision? Easy. ### RE: Worst job interview answers I was caught off guard once when I was asked "What is my sense of humor?" I thought it was a question that wouldn't really affect the process to begin with, so I gave a too honest of an answer. Needless to say, it was probably the wrong answer. ### RE: Worst job interview answers I sat in on this one: Guy giving the interview: "What is it you like the most about the position?" Candidate: "I like the fact you guys take Fridays off." Guy giving the interview: "Really? What kind of hobbies do you have?" Candidate: [100% serious] "Drinking. Getting Friday off lets me get the ball rolling early for the weekend." And believe it or not: they actually made him an offer. ### RE: Worst job interview answers It's like what I assume was a joke, about the guy applying for entrance to medical school. They asked him, "What do you you expect to be doing 10 years from now?" He answered, "Well, since it's Wednesday afternoon, I expect to be out on the golf course." John R. Baker, P.E. (ret) EX-Product 'Evangelist' Irvine, CA Siemens PLM: UG/NX Museum: The secret of life is not finding someone to live with It's finding someone you can't live without ### RE: Worst job interview answers #### Quote: In 2011 when newer grads were still having trouble finding jobs, we had an entry level position open. The candidate graduated 6 months prior with no work history on his resume after graduating. An obvious question in the interview was to ask what have you been doing since you graduated. His response was that he has been playing video games. The interview didn't last much longer after that. I got a bone to pick with this......the answer that guy gave is ridiculous, but a lot of times: so is the question. I've heard this one when I have been between jobs for a grand total of a month. (And about all I've had a chance to do is maybe get some CEUs.) And for a lot of people (for just about any length of time) it's hard to do anything because money is tight. In my case I've been lucky: I'm financially well off......and one time when I was between jobs I was a part-time grad student so that allowed me to focus on that 100%. But for someone who has finished their education and is licensed......what the heck are they supposed to do? Especially in a indeterminate period that you really can't plan around. If you (for example) took a on-line course that required 8 hrs a day attendance.....guess what? You might have to drop it if they guy who asked you that question offers you a job! Silly question. Another time a guy asked that and I just told him the truth: took a vacation, got back in the weight room more regular, and got some outdoor work done. And I'm simultaneously thinking: if you don't like that answer.....too damn bad. ### RE: Worst job interview answers "the answer that guy gave is ridiculous but a lot of times: so is the question" Not really, it weeded someone who should have answered with, "I sent out 1573 resumes, but got no responses." Someone who couldn't come up with the correct answer for a ludicrous question shouldn't get hired. TTFN (ta ta for now) I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm ### RE: Worst job interview answers #### Quote: Not really, it weeded someone who should have answered with, "I sent out 1573 resumes, but got no responses." Someone who couldn't come up with the correct answer for a ludicrous question shouldn't get hired. And guess what? The "I sent out 1573 resumes..." reply isn't the correct one either. (At least from what I have heard.) The correct answer is something about improving yourself and your job skills. But for someone for whom money is tight.....that can be a tough to do considering the facts I discussed above. ### RE: Worst job interview answers Either would be still be better than the playing video game response. Few gamers are playing without Internet, so the respondent could have taken advantage of lots of MOOCs. TTFN (ta ta for now) I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm ### RE: Worst job interview answers #### Quote: Either would be still be better than the playing video game response. No argument there. ### RE: Worst job interview answers I think the notion that one would immediately recognize that they're off the air for a long enough time to start thinking about job-improvement classes is a bit far fetched. At any instant in time, an optimistic person is thinking they're going to get a response and return to work soon; it'll be months before one realizes that nothing is going to be happening soon. TTFN (ta ta for now) I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm ### RE: Worst job interview answers Here's one: Interviewer: What's you dream car? Me: 1st generation Toyota Tacoma Interviewer: **laughs obnoxiously long** Guess I was supposed to say some sort of luxury car... 5 years later...I didn't get that job offer, but have my 1st gen Tacoma...life is good ### RE: Worst job interview answers JMO but I couldn't give a dam less what someone does outside office hours so long as its legal, but nice to know those holier than the rest of us. Personally I respect honesty more than the drivel most would claim, those that need to bs in interviews tend to be very poor in technical matters. ### RE: Worst job interview answers I was interviewing for a job I knew I didn't want after the first hour. Technically it would have been interesting, but in that first hour, they pretty much said 10 hour days for 6 days a week...salaried. During lunch, the general conversation part of the interview, the topic of movies came up. I said my favorite was "Falling Down". I didn't get an offer. ______________________________________________________________________________ This is normally the space where people post something insightful. ### RE: Worst job interview answers 2 CWB, would you have preferred if the guy said he masturbated? There's a time and place for everything, and while you shouldn't BS, telling the whole truth isn't much better. I have no doubt the guy played video game sin his off-time... I would to... but if his first inclination is to go to video games rather than some self-learning exercise, then he probably didn't do much learning. If there's not some modicum of self-teaching during a time when you have no job, I take that as a sign of how they'll use their down time while still at work. Dan - Owner http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com ### RE: Worst job interview answers Years ago, I interviewed a kid for an entry level position as a construction inspector. He had two questions: 1. What time is lunch? 2. Plans, What are these for? ### RE: Worst job interview answers What do you you expect to be doing 5 years from now? Celebrating 5th anniversary of this conversation. "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert" Arthur C. Clarke Profiles of the future ### RE: Worst job interview answers Perhaps the answer about playing video games was born of cynicism after not getting a job for so long. But he could have been a decent guy that might have been a fine employee. It's hard to believe someone with an engineering degree would be so inept, but I guess anything is possible. I'd probably probe someone a little if someone gave me a response like that if only out of curiosity. Maybe it he was trying to be humorous and just made a bad joke. Got too scared to clarify after it bombed... ### RE: Worst job interview answers Interviewer: Explaining basic responsibilities of the position. Me: "What position are you interviewing me for, because that description is not what I applied for and what your HR invited me for." Interviewer: "Uh. Hold on...." ### RE: Worst job interview answers When asked about why certain decisions were made on a previous project they brought up as an example demonstrating their skills they gave the answer "that's the way we have always done it". When pressed further for analysis or reasoning there was none. That candidate had 10 yrs working in the same, very narrow, capacity in their previous company doing the same type of work and had never tried to understand "why" or improve on performance. ### RE: Worst job interview answers The mid-late career engineer who was interviewing internally for a promotion. Less than a quarter of this exchange is imagined. Could you tell me what you're proud of having done in your current job? Well, I've been part of a team that's responsible for...... That sounds interesting. What did you actually do as part of that team? So the process the team worked worked with was divided into stages which .... Oh yes, I know that process. So what was your own contribution to that work? Ah. Well I was involved in .... If I were to press this little button here, making your chair fold away and drop you into a small tank of hungry piranhas, how long do you think it would take you to muster up enough initiative to start climbing out? According to the procedure, responsibility for dealing with that situation would lie entirely with the ....... team. A. ### RE: Worst job interview answers zeusfaber - Don't know if your pulling our leg(s) or not, but that was funny. ### RE: Worst job interview answers MacGyver, even if that extreme of an answer was given with a straight face I'm not sure I'd care. Some folks enjoy video games, personally I enjoy working with my hands on old houses/cars/tractors/etc. IME most engineers do other things during layoff, not classes or other engineering fluff, they do fun things they enjoy and/or whatever necessary to pay the bills. I'd much rather someone be honest and tell me they read Tom Clancy, was busy with their kids, got a part time job bc they needed money, or most anything else beside the lil bs lies. ### RE: Worst job interview answers (I've been told) for "normal" people... they are. (I've been known to run a calc or play with an arduino for fun... and I'm here on my own time after all). ---- The name is a long story -- just call me Lo. ### RE: Worst job interview answers 2 I'm sorry for posting a totally frivolous item, but considering the topic being covered by this thread, when I saw this I couldn't resist: https://vimeo.com/239050403/cdd07b248e John R. Baker, P.E. (ret) EX-Product 'Evangelist' Irvine, CA Siemens PLM: UG/NX Museum: The secret of life is not finding someone to live with It's finding someone you can't live without ### RE: Worst job interview answers John....that was all too accurate and hilarious! ### RE: Worst job interview answers John, ditto what Ron said. Here's another video along the same lines from a TV series called Baroness Von Sketch Link ### RE: Worst job interview answers 4 I'm waiting for the video showing the old folks with an outdated skillset, no knowledge of modern technology or practice, and a thoroughly entitled attitude pushing their work off on junior employees, coasting through lackluster careers into retirement while griping about "lazy" millenials. The only thing more ironic is when they call their peers in government thieves while pushing for social security increases, enjoying a pension or two, and the 401ks they traded future generations' pensions for. Unfortunately younger folks today are too busy working to create much less post this garbage. JMO but THAT is closer to reality today. ### RE: Worst job interview answers @CWB! how about calling your video "A Day in the Life of Bridgebuster"? ### RE: Worst job interview answers #### Quote: CWB1, This might be what you're looking for: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2... I hate to get into this generational squabble.....but this article is a little silly. (And I'm a Gen Xer.) Boomers "chewed up resources"? What generation hasn't chewed up what is available? You think (for example) strip mining started in the 1960's? Ran up debt? Check the debt after WW II. But probably the most ridiculous part of this is: "[boomers were] born into some of the strongest job growth in the history of America, gobbled up the best parts, and left its children and grandchildren with some bones to pick through and a big bill to pay." That's just beyond silly.....first of all: what about the job market in the 90's? That's where I got my (professional) start. And secondly, what "parts" of that market were not supposed to be "gobbled up"? Is the author here saying that if Boomers had not taken certain jobs......they would still be there.....and there would be no "big bill to pay"? Silly. ### RE: Worst job interview answers I was in the defense industry until right after the gulf war when a president who will not be named here cried " Peace in our time." and the industry expecting fat contracts to replace all of the stuff used in the gulf war found itself with nothing. All of a sudden , guess what no job. That was the job market in the 1990s. B.E. You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do. ### RE: Worst job interview answers #### Quote: I was in the defense industry until right after the gulf war when a president who will not be named here cried " Peace in our time." and the industry expecting fat contracts to replace all of the stuff used in the gulf war found itself with nothing. All of a sudden , guess what no job. That was the job market in the 1990s. I would think anyone would see the writing on the wall (with the end of the Cold War) that there would be cuts in defense spending. (The "Peace Dividend".) I certainly did: I thought about going into the military right out of high school....but realized I would likely be part of a downsizing force. (By the way: "Peace in our time" was Neville Chamberlain....not Bush 41. You may be thinking of his New World Order statement.) ### RE: Worst job interview answers Since I've graduated from college, there have been numerous recessions and military wind-downs. When I graduated from high school, we had a massive recession from the end of the Vietnam War, where PhDs were driving taxis because there were no jobs. This "soaked up a lot of economic opportunity" is baloney. There weren't any millenials, or Gen-X/Y, so how was anyone supposed to "preserve much for the generations to come?" Were they supposed to go jobless and become hobos? "the generation that was born into some of the strongest job growth in the history of America, gobbled up the best parts, and left its children and grandchildren with some bones to pick through and a big bill to pay" is more bullcrap. Look at the wealth growth in the past 40 years, it wasn't the people that got the factory/mining jobs that no longer exist; it was the already rich, who go substantially richer. The author misses Oregon; he should go back to it. This is real fake news. TTFN (ta ta for now) I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm ### RE: Worst job interview answers @CWB1 - here's a TV commercial that may be prophetic when you become one of us old folks: Link ### RE: Worst job interview answers bridgebuster - Oh No! I related to the commercial! ### RE: Worst job interview answers Not to one-up everyone, but I get up at 4:50. --Scott www.aerornd.com ### RE: Worst job interview answers swertel, I get up at 5A and have no problems being 10 minutes more rested than you. I've enjoyed more than a few nasty interviews. One ended with a job offer, which I declined. I don't like being pushed in an interview just so someone learns I really am a professional. I've talked with some HR friends about stuff like this and heavy handed interviews rarely accomplish what the heavy hands want. It can give them very false readings. Most talented HR people don't use heavy handed tactics to interview because of the false results. You also never know who has something to prove or an axe to grind. These things usually come out in interviews, sometimes they make no attempts to hide them, and it's best to walk away, quietly. Life is too short to fix management's problems on an engineer's salary. Pamela K. Quillin, P.E. Quillin Engineering, LLC NSPE-CO, Central Chapter Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php ### RE: Worst job interview answers bridgebuster, thanks for both giggles. Hopefully I take the good from my parents and not too much of the bad. I realize time and life's realities harden folks, but when I hit senior citizen status hopefully I wont joke about social security paying for my hobbies or any other such crap as I often hear from the "its my money" crowd. I believe the bit about job growth and bones is a veiled reference to US manufacturing. From the peak in 1979 employing ~12% of Americans we're now down to ~6%. Others can point to a wide variety of causes but IMHO it all stems from taking the industry for granted in most every manner possible, sucking out as much value as possible and leaving little for the future. We developed a greedy Walmart mentality through the 80s-early 2000s - pay little and expect a lot. I've heard many arguments against US manufacturing since I was a kid in the 80s, IME boomers are pretty against US manufacturing as a whole. Good = third world labor = cheaper prices = less pollution = "not in my neighborhood" = higher corporate profits = higher dividends = rising stock values = higher retirement account balances. Nevermind supporting your neighbors' jobs, they should've gone to college. In many like my hometown, manufacturing was the fallback for the poor, the less able, and those whose plans failed otherwise. Now its gone in many areas and the only fallback left is either Walmart or BK. The value sucked out of manufacturing didn't go to make the 1% richer, it paid for most folks' selfishness and demand for cheap. Its much like social security today, how many of today's seniors do you know not collecting? Last I knew we had more than 1000 millionaires collecting. JME, but many of the "greatest" generation I knew never collected including my grandfather, he worked til he died at 77. ### RE: Worst job interview answers "Good = third world labor = cheaper prices = less pollution = "not in my neighborhood" = higher corporate profits = higher dividends = rising stock values = higher retirement account balances." The problem in this chain of thought is that consumers do not control off-shoring, profits do. Walmart, if you recall, used to advertise "Made in the USA," until their price cutting strategy to put other retailers out of business crimped profits and forced them off-shore to maintain profits. "value sucked out of manufacturing didn't go to make the 1% richer" And yet, today, the top 3 Forbes billionaires are richer than the bottom 50% of the US COMBINED. The entire Forbes 400 have more wealth than the bottom 64% of the US COMBINED. So, the bottom 50% might have been lured by lower prices, but do not kid yourself into thinking that the top 1% didn't profit. TTFN (ta ta for now) I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm ### RE: Worst job interview answers #### Quote (Not to one-up everyone, but I get up at 4:50. ) get up at 4:50? At 4:50 I've already been on the bus for 40 minutes. Yes, I know I'm stupid. @CWB1 - I'm glad I could give you a laugh. Sure, life hardens some people and some of us learn to put life into perspective and take it in stride. Back in the 70's, I took a management course (back then studying management was the big fad); the professor said within 20 years we'll go from being a manufacturing economy to a service economy. He was right. Who was running the world, sure wasn't baby-boomers? A lot of the older boomers were still detoxing from all the drugs they did in the 60's. Look, when George Westinghouse invented train brakes a lot of railroad people lost their jobs (unfortunately, before he invented brakes, a lot of railroad people lost their jobs the hard way.) Keep it in perspective. ### RE: Worst job interview answers "get up at 4:50? At 4:50 I've already been on the bus for 40 minutes" Hah, my son does have a long bus ride (~1 hr in the morning), but it's a company bus, and he doesn't get on it until about 9-ish. TTFN (ta ta for now) I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm ### RE: Worst job interview answers SWMBO gets us both up in the 3:50-4:00 range... I'm at work before 5 :-/ Dan - Owner http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com ### RE: Worst job interview answers I thought I was bad getting to work at 6:15. ### RE: Worst job interview answers #### Quote: I believe the bit about job growth and bones is a veiled reference to US manufacturing. From the peak in 1979 employing ~12% of Americans we're now down to ~6%. Others can point to a wide variety of causes but IMHO it all stems from taking the industry for granted in most every manner possible, sucking out as much value as possible and leaving little for the future. It (the loss in manufacturing employment) might also have something to do with advances in automation/technology. After all, production hasn't fallen off. (I remember reading somewhere that the United States manufactures as much (in inflation adjusted dollars) than ever.) We just do it with a lot less people. To blame that on any particular generation is silly. It would be like me blaming my grandparent's generation for the fact we no longer pick cotton by hand or dig ditches with shovels. Nothing stays the same. ### RE: Worst job interview answers Alright, we all get up early but who stays up late? I regularly wake at 6:40 AM and go to bed at 12:30 AM. :P Professional Engineer (ME, NH, MA) Structural Engineer (IL) American Concrete Industries https://www.facebook.com/AmericanConcrete/ ### RE: Worst job interview answers Too much importance is put on interviews. A good interviewer doesn't always equal a good engineer and vice versa. I've seen several cases of a less qualified candidate get a position because they "interviewed good". All I know is P/A and Mc/I ### RE: Worst job interview answers 4:30 and 9:00 +/- 30 minutes for bed time. But 5 to 5.5 hours a night is just nuts. ### RE: Worst job interview answers Yeah, I don't know how many more years I can keep up the whole 6-7 hours of sleep thing. That said I often sleep in heavily on weekends to "catch up". Somewhat more on topic, I wonder if it's more of a younger generational thing to stay up into the wee hours and sleep in? I actually postulate it is much more a younger generation preference due to our pervasive use of bright digital screens at night. I know that I pass right out if I read a book but can stay way up into the AM if I'm playing some video games or reading eng-tips.... kinda like what I'm doing right now! Whether this less sleep actually makes me more or less productive is definitely up for debate. Probably less I would guess, as I'm a zombie until the first cup of coffee is finished. Professional Engineer (ME, NH, MA) Structural Engineer (IL) American Concrete Industries https://www.facebook.com/AmericanConcrete/ ### RE: Worst job interview answers Wow, I post a link to a boomer-bashing video, and I come back a day later to see a whole bunch of geezers moaning about how knackered they are. Retire already! Uh oh, didn't mean to offend. In these days of extraordinary political correctness, I think it will become more and more common to bash on groups with higher status, like boomers. So get used to it. Anyway, let me please bring this back on topic: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/spark/tell-us-about-the-wo... Looks like somebody in the media needs Eng-Tips. STF ### RE: Worst job interview answers Here is the classic viral stupid answer... Miss Teen USA 2007 - South Carolina answers a question Note the idiotic question she was asked. How would you answer this question? As a beauty contestant, you have to be sweet, so insulting the moron who asked (and/or wrote) this question is right out. -- JHG ### RE: Worst job interview answers Sparweb, Get back to work and let the geezers pontificate. ### RE: Worst job interview answers If I could, I'd get up between 7 and 8, then go to bed much closer to midnight. I work MUCH better later in the day, assuming I am allowed to sleep in on the days following up to it. But my wife gets up early, which means IIIII get up early. Dan - Owner http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com ### RE: Worst job interview answers Quality sleep is so important to having a good life. Wish I got more of it. Have been intentionally going to bed earlier lately to improve my life. Any time I get to sleep by 10pm or sooner is a big win for me. ### RE: Worst job interview answers 6+ hours of sleep/night? Sounds like a boring work week, I wouldn't get anything done at home. I'm a 2a-6a guy, the rest of the day needs to contain a formal breakfast and dinner with the wife, 8-10/day at the day job, 4+ on my home/side projects, an hour in the gym, and a couple hours reading or I'm rather unfulfilled. I enjoy coffee regularly but not for the caffeine, I find better effect in eating healthy, plenty of exercise, and looking forward to projects at both home and work. Probably doesn't hurt either that I grew up on the farm and was in the military, not sure I could sleep more if I tried. #### Quote: It (the loss in manufacturing employment) might also have something to do with advances in automation/technology. After all, production hasn't fallen off....To blame that on any particular generation is silly....Nothing stays the same. You're correct, there are other reasons why US manufacturing employment has dropped and yet production has become more efficient and risen as it should over time. I simply question whether or not more could've been done to positively affect employment. You're also correct in that nothing stays the same, however the fact remains that the rest of the world has been catching up in terms of output over the past few decades, China has surpassed us, and the US' leadership in world manufacturing is no longer what it once was. To me that's simply reflective of bad stewardship of the industry. TehMighty's point that boomers weren't in the majority of top seats yet in the 80s and 90s is valid, however IME middle management (as boomers should've been at that point) has more of an impact upon companies and industries than the execs being the true thinkers and do'ers. ### RE: Worst job interview answers #### Quote (CWB1) TehMighty's point that boomers weren't in the majority of top seats Thanks for the credit but I don't believe I made this comment. Professional Engineer (ME, NH, MA) Structural Engineer (IL) American Concrete Industries https://www.facebook.com/AmericanConcrete/ ### RE: Worst job interview answers #### Quote: You're also correct in that nothing stays the same, however the fact remains that the rest of the world has been catching up in terms of output over the past few decades, China has surpassed us, and the US' leadership in world manufacturing is no longer what it once was. To me that's simply reflective of bad stewardship of the industry. It reflects cheap labor as much as anything. All the first world economies have gone through this. For all the talk about manufacturing in places like Germany and Japan....what percentage of their economies does it take up? 29 & 27% respectively. (Vs. about 40% for China.) Not that far off from our 19%. In the UK it is also 19% of their economy and in France it's 18%. You see this within out own borders. Many southern states now have manufacturing taking up the same percentage of their economies (in some cases exceeding) as many states in the Rust Belt and Northeast. Show me a cheap labor market.....and I'll show you a lot of manufacturing. That being said, I think we could do some things better. ### RE: Worst job interview answers #### Quote (Retire already!) we can't; we have to support our children who can't find decent jobs because we screwed up the world. ### RE: Worst job interview answers #### Quote: Quality sleep is so important to having a good life. Wish I got more of it. Have been intentionally going to bed earlier lately to improve my life. You guys ought to take a nighttime sleep aid. I've been taking acetaminophen & diphenhydramine for years. (Typically in the form of something like Excedrin PM.) It helps. Let me warn you though: you get to a point where it is hard to fall asleep without it. ### RE: Worst job interview answers Come on folks - the pontificate comment was in jest. ### RE: Worst job interview answers the pontificating comments are in jest; lighten up. take life in stride ### RE: Worst job interview answers #### Quote: we can't; we have to support our children who can't find decent jobs because we screwed up the world Seems like a circular reference... ### RE: Worst job interview answers I'm a Boomer and I don't mind the humor. I've found each decade of life has its own flavor, which accounts for a lot of stuff. A friend emphatically stated years ago that "he" wasn't going to get old. He was going to fight it every step of the way. I'm older and had already shifted some gears so I just listened and nodded my head, while telling him it sneaks up on you. Twenty years later, it sneaked up on him. The Waltons have a combined wealth of nearly$297 billion. I'd say they made a lot of ol' Sams "Made In The USA" slogan. From what I've read, you just about have to sell your soul to do business with them.

I've been researching income inequality/wealth a lot this year. The CBO has some data and presentations. Saez and Piketty, Krugman, Sachs, Stiglitz, et al. I've listened to attorneys, historians, etc. Reading about it. It's a real problem, in my mind.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

Well, American manufacturers don't have to worry about that anymore; they're almost exclusively doing business in Asia. I've heard similar to the extent that WM will come in and demand a 10% price reduction and you either figure it out, suck it up, or die.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

#### Quote:

I've been researching income inequality/wealth a lot this year. The CBO has some data and presentations. Saez and Piketty, Krugman, Sachs, Stiglitz, et al. I've listened to attorneys, historians, etc. Reading about it. It's a real problem, in my mind.

There was income equality in East Germany and the Soviet Union.....that didn't turn out too well. The concern about America becoming an oligarchy is possibly a valid one.....but it misses something very important: most wealthy in this country are first generation wealthy. (I.e. if the rules are being rigged, they are being rigged to allow in a lot more players.)

The other thing missed here (and since you mentioned Krugman, I had to make this point): it's not because of taxes either. In the era of high taxes (say pre-1980's), the wealthy did not pay much more (effectively) than they do now. This is in spite of the fact the top marginal income rate has been cut nearly in half since that time. What he has always failed to get is: if you want to talk about a rigged system.....it was the tax code prior to the 1986 reform act. (I.e. it protected he rich while stopping the would-be rich.)

The fact is: wages are tied to skills at this point. Unskilled labor is dead.

Well, the proposals in Congress right now are designed to make sure that the current rich remain rich and that their heirs stay rich as well.

Back when marginal tax rates were near the 90% level, the one thing that it did do was encouraged corporations to invest their excess profits in the business itself rather than pass it along in multi-million dollar compensation packages to their executives.

As for the that comment about the "first generation wealth", don't let the Walton's or the Koch brothers hear you say that not to mention the Ford's, DuPont's, Bush's, or for that matter the Trump's.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

#### Quote:

Back when marginal tax rates were near the 90% level, the one thing that it did do was encouraged corporations to invest their excess profits in the business itself rather than pass it along in multi-million dollar compensation packages to their executives.

That's one of the biggest myths running. They had expense accounts and all sorts of ways around the code at the time. Venture capital has exploded since then. There is no lack of investment.

#### Quote:

As for the that comment about the "first generation wealth", don't let the Walton's or the Koch brothers hear you say that not to mention the Ford's, DuPont's, Bush's, or for that matter the Trump's.

Sure there are dynasties out there.....but again: I am talking about the norm here. (Read The Millionaire Next Door, by: Stanley & Danko.)

And theoretically, there should be no DuPont, Bush, etc dynasty out there if what I have been saying isn't true. The fact is, people like that had an army of lawyers and accountants that knew how to play the system. It's like Milton Friedman once said: high taxes don't hurt the rich.....they hurt the would-be rich.

#### Quote (http://www.epi.org/publication/ceo-pay-continues-t...)

The CEO-to-worker compensation ratio was 20-to-1 in 1965 and 29.9-to-1 in 1978, grew to 122.6-to-1 in 1995, peaked at 383.4-to-1 in 2000, and was 295.9-to-1 in 2013, far higher than it was in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s.

Also:

#### Quote (ibid)

Over the last three decades, CEO compensation grew far faster than that of other highly paid workers, those earning more than 99.9 percent of other wage earners. CEO compensation in 2012 was 4.75 times greater than that of the top 0.1 percent of wage earners, a ratio 1.5 higher than the 3.25 ratio that prevailed over the 1947–1979 period (this wage gain is equivalent to the wages of 1.5 high wage earners).

This latter conclusion includes us, the skilled work force.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

No one has said (including me) that CEO pay hasn't skyrocketed.....the question is: would it (instead) wind up back in the company/go to the employees? There is no reason to think that. It defies common sense.

If (for example) you raised the effective tax rate to 70% on any amount of compensation over 1 million.......would Mr. CEO really put the entire amount (over 1 mil) back into the company.....or take the 30% home? My money is on: take the 30% home.

I'm not arguing that, but certainly, dropping the tax rate isn't going to help anyone but the already rich.

The previous tax cuts resulted in where we are now; to expect a different result from the same action is definitively insanity.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

#### Quote:

The previous tax cuts resulted in where we are now; to expect a different result from the same action is definitively insanity.

And I can't argue with that. I don't take issue with the rates as they are now.....I just feel compelled to set the record straight sometimes with some of this wealth "inequality" stuff that's out there.

"The Millionaire Next Door" really just describes the "poor" wealthy, or what might be the upper middle class. Most engineers can achieve that status, given sufficient discipline and frugality. They are in no way in the same class as what is commonly referred to as the 1%, even if their household income reaches the supposed threshold to be in that 1%. That's really how skewed income inequality has become.

Amusingly, that same level of inequality seems to apply to the Forbes 400, referred to in an earlier post. Forbes made a sad comment about the fact that you now need to be a 2-billionaire to qualify to be in the Forbes 400 in 2017, while you only needed $75 million in 1982 to break in. TTFN (ta ta for now) I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm ### RE: Worst job interview answers Yes, but what is the definition for the "new wealthy"? My wife and I, we DON'T feel wealthy, but I suspect that some people might say that we are. Now today, what does it take to be considered "wealthy"? Is it a 'net worth' of$1 million, or do you have to reach $2 million first? I've always read where you can't call yourself a 'millionaire' until you actually have a million dollars in the bank, meaning that you can't include real-estate or any other hard assets when you do the calculation. Well if that's true, I guess my wife and I are members of the club. In fact, our net worth just broke two million. Not bragging, just making a statement. And before anyone asks, between the two of us, our total inherited "wealth" has amounted to less than$50K, and we've already collected all that we ever will. Does this make us part of the 'new wealthy'?

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

Three pensions make you wealthy in my book.

#### Quote:

Does this make us part of the 'new wealthy'?

It does. Would you rather not be part of it? That's my point. The code prior to the 1980's had rates exceeding the top marginal rate today hitting middle/upper middle income people. And they didn't have the shelters to get out of it like the "old" wealthy.

That's why when people start going on about the good ol' days of (supposed) income/wealth equality.....I feel I have to say something because I don't think they realize what they are advocating.

#### Quote (wroggent)

Three pensions make you wealthy in my book.

I guess that settles it. I retired almost two years ago with three defined-benefit pensions plus a well funded 401k that was converted to an IRA which has been growing like a weed ever since. With that and our Social Security checks, I guess we're in pretty good shape, eh?

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

By the way (back to the main topic for a moment)......I forgot to mention this one....(this may actually be a best job interview answer ever). I didn't see it first hand but everybody was talking about it for weeks: I was working somewhere where they interviewed a piping designer. This guy was just as sick as could be (had the flu). They insisted he come in anyway because they needed someone soon and they really wanted the guy.

Ok, since he was so sick they kept a trash can by his side just in case. He gets through just about the whole thing ok......but at one point, they ask him about a place he use to work at. It was the usual "how was it working there?" type question......well, right then he just yakked up everything. And as he's hurling the hiring manager brought the house down by saying: "That bad huh?" Even the designer himself started chuckling.

The guy still got the job. (I guess they figured his timing was excellent.)

"This millionaire next door drives a 10 year old car and has never bought a new one. I think the concept of millionaire is a bit tarnished."

There is a book that explains that most millionaires do exactly that Greg (i.e. either buy 5-7 year old used cars and sell them 5 years later to buy another, or buy new cars but drive them for 10+ years).

Wife's car is 12 years old now, passing 200k miles on the odometer.

My pickup, purchased new, is now old enough to go to bars on its own.

"This pickup drives into a bar..."

#### Quote:

"The Millionaire Next Door" really just describes the "poor" wealthy, or what might be the upper middle class. Most engineers can achieve that status, given sufficient discipline and frugality.

That phrase was also coined a few decades ago when being a millionaire actually meant something serious. Today it doesnt in many cases. Many advisers suggest that folks nearing senior status without a defined pension today need to be a millionaire simply to retire.

#### Quote:

That phrase was also coined a few decades ago when being a millionaire actually meant something serious. Today it doesnt in many cases. Many advisers suggest that folks nearing senior status without a defined pension today need to be a millionaire simply to retire.

And someone who needs that much to retire has got a real spending problem. I know people who have retired on a [tiny] fraction of that.

"And someone who needs that much to retire has got a real spending problem."

Not necessarily. If you assume a 4% draw from your 401K, that's only $40k/yr, which is only slightly more than the maximum SSA monthly benefit. Additionally, serious expenses such as assisted living will have to come out that same pot. TTFN (ta ta for now) I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm ### RE: Worst job interview answers #### Quote: Not necessarily. If you assume a 4% draw from your 401K, that's only$40k/yr, which is only slightly more than the maximum SSA monthly benefit. Additionally, serious expenses such as assisted living will have to come out that same pot.

So if you've got a couple drawing (say) 30k in SS and 40k from their 401k....that's 70k a year. The vast majority of this country lives on less than that.

Medicare helps out with assisted living. I know people who have been living in assisted living for years with no help from relatives and they are nowhere close to being a millionaire.

Ergo it's completely silly to say anyone is going broke (or) can't retire on 1 mil. If (by chance) anyone wants to make the cost of living argument (next).....my simple answer: move. Seniors do it all the time.

I don't know. We live a modest life, albeit in SoCal. I drive my cars an average of 10-12 years (current car is nearly five years old and going strong). And while we take in nearly $77K/year from my pensions and our SS, it would be impossible to live without a monthly draw from our IRA. John R. Baker, P.E. (ret) EX-Product 'Evangelist' Irvine, CA Siemens PLM: UG/NX Museum: The secret of life is not finding someone to live with It's finding someone you can't live without ### RE: Worst job interview answers WARose, Check your math: 1,000,000 / 70,000 per year = 14 years. People (often forced to) retire at age 65. Median age of death in USA is about 84. Longer for women. Assuming no growth of the pension's value in those 14 years, the cash runs out at 79. Actually it will grow, but most people's corporate pensions grow so slowly that it only extends the pension by a few more years. It's barely enough. What I think you MIGHT actually mean is that people are too spendy for their means, even when retired. There, I would agree with you (my folks get by just fine, on half that.) But put yourself in the financial adviser's seat, and picture the reaction you get if you told a happy couple of baby boomers that when they retire, they should cut their spending to 40k per year. I think that would cut the meeting short. STF ### RE: Worst job interview answers #### Quote: We live a modest life, albeit in SoCal. There's your problem right there (in red). Although I'll be the first to say: I love dry, warm weather. ### RE: Worst job interview answers Without income you can't retire on a million. You can survive till you die. IMO ### RE: Worst job interview answers #### Quote: Assuming no growth of the pension's value in those 14 years, the cash runs out at 79. And that's presupposing something [in the case of a 401k] that's not likely to happen. #### Quote: It's barely enough. Sorry but that's garbage: my grandmother hasn't worked for 30 years now. (She's 97.) She has no pension and a modest investment income. (The total of which (combined with her SS) doesn't even clear 50k.) Her assets put her nowhere near being a millionaire .....and she gets by just fine. Either someone needs to move or they spend way too much. That simple. ### RE: Worst job interview answers Sure, my dad lived and retired in San Francisco until he passed this year at 97. BUT, his house was paid for, his property tax was only$1000/yr, because he bought the house in 1971 for $30k, and California and San Francisco provided an aide that came for 2 hrs a day to cook his meals and do some light housework, and all he had was SS. BUT, he didn't travel and didn't go out. So, yeah, he "got by just fine." If that's the "retired life" you aspire to, that's great, but I think there are many of us that expect substantially more than to simply exist. Building a warchest for retirement will allow us to travel and do things that we passed up during our careers. TTFN (ta ta for now) I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm ### RE: Worst job interview answers Granted, SoCal can be expensive to live, but in 30 years the value of our house has gone UP better than a factor of FOUR, and due to Prop 13, our taxes are based on what we originally paid for the house, and while the taxes do go up a bit each year, I'm paying on an evaluation based as if the house was valued at about 45% of what it is. Our cost of utilities are reasonable (our cable/internet bill is more than I pay a month for electric/gas/water) and while we do live in a gated community with an HOA and hefty monthly dues, we do get privacy and security as well as a pool, Jacuzzi, clubhouse and tennis courts. Granted, income and sales taxes are high and annual auto registration is pretty steep, but the weather does make up for a lot John R. Baker, P.E. (ret) EX-Product 'Evangelist' Irvine, CA Siemens PLM: UG/NX Museum: The secret of life is not finding someone to live with It's finding someone you can't live without ### RE: Worst job interview answers #### Quote: Sure, my dad lived and retired in San Francisco until he passed this year at 97. BUT, his house was paid for, his property tax was only$1000/yr, because he bought the house in 1971 for $30k, and California and San Francisco provided an aide that came for 2 hrs a day to cook his meals and do some light housework, and all he had was SS. BUT, he didn't travel and didn't go out. So, yeah, he "got by just fine." If that's the "retired life" you aspire to, that's great, but I think there are many of us that expect substantially more than to simply exist. Building a warchest for retirement will allow us to travel and do things that we passed up during our careers. By "got by just fine" I don't mean never travel or "go out"....the person I am referring to has done both. ### RE: Worst job interview answers Most advisers recommend not planning for investment growth beyond the couple percent necessary to offset inflation. That matches pretty closely with the experience of my parents and many of their friends who've been retired 20+ years. The folks who retired assuming they could get 5%+ annually to offset only a few hundred thousand invested either lost everything or nearly did so during the dot-com and housing bubbles. When your investment drops 50% for a few years and you're actively drawing from it to live, the balance depletes quickly. Counting on medicare to pick up the tab for assisted living or final expenses is a similarly bad idea unless you have nothing relatives or friends might want to inherit. Unlike SS your heirs must pay it back in full shortly after your death or your estate forfeits assets at the govt valuation (roughly half of their worth) until its paid. My brother got a steal on his neighbor's farm in this manner, and its also the reason my folks put everything in our names years ago. My shop and home have enough things acquired at living estate auctions the past 20 years that personally I wouldn't risk retiring early until I was positive my wife and I could live comfortably and were taken care of long-term without gambling, planning for large unexpected losses over time bc they will happen. Retirement has a parabolic expense curve, getting far more expensive over time. ### RE: Worst job interview answers Talk about good timing, my wife and I met with our "wealth manager" yesterday and even taking into consideration the monthly draw which we've been taking from our IRA, the value of our IRA has gone-up over 10% year-to-date. And with the markets hitting new highs yesterday, we also had him go ahead with several transactions, which will be completed before close-of-business today, including moving money from our investment account into our 'cash' account that will cover our expected withdrawals for 2018. And looking right now at what the market indexes are doing, the DOW down 200+ points, NASDAQ down 130+ points and the S&P 500 down 25+ point, I guess we picked a good day for our meeting John R. Baker, P.E. (ret) EX-Product 'Evangelist' Irvine, CA Siemens PLM: UG/NX Museum: The secret of life is not finding someone to live with It's finding someone you can't live without ### RE: Worst job interview answers By the way.....forgot to mention this before.....just did bills for December. (Which means the money is finished going out for the year.) Looking back, I spent a little less than 28k this year. And that includes 2 vacations (that involved flying, hotels, etc) and the fact I eat out 5-6 times per week (and I'm not talking Burger King either). And no, my house isn't paid for. So anyone who needs 70k+ a year to make it......needs to (like I said) re-think their spending or move to a different location. (Or both.) ### RE: Worst job interview answers Sounds like your household expenses are somewhere in the bottom few percent of the US. Assuming mostly modest Applebees’ish eating out and cheap vacations you’re looking at ~$15k of restaurants and vacations alone. For those with one, average mortgage payment would eat up the rest of that $28k by itself, those without one still pay most of that in taxes and insurance alone, nvm other bills. ### RE: Worst job interview answers I hate derailing this thread even further, but I feel I need to back up WARose. I live in one of the most expensive areas of the country. My salary would be above average for my (low-mid)experience level in many non-coastal parts of the US, but still not completely unheard of. Despite that, I'm able to save over 40% of my gross income. I rarely eat out, but I do take vacations including at least one overseas trip each year. I'm never bored or lack money to do the things I want. I could save even more money in rent ($100's/month) if I moved <10 miles in any direction, but I like having a really short commute to work. I hear (single) people all the time talking about how you need to make at least 6 figures to barely scrape by where I live. They don't realize that they likely have neighbor families living literally a stone's throw away that live on a combined income of much less than that. I could almost retire without even moving just on the interest generated by one million dollars(@4%). Granted, if you're supporting two people, you'll need more money.

And if someone expects to have $2300/month mortgage payments throughout retirement, they bought way too big of a house (that comes out to a$420,000 house bought just before retirement with no equity. The actual average payment in the US is around $1100/month). I'm not saying that it's impossible to spend$70k/year, or even that you're financially irresponsible if that's what you're planning for (I'm sincerely not judging anyone's lifestyle), just that it is much higher than what is actually required to have a comfortable retirement.

Assuming mostly modest Applebees’ish eating out and cheap vacations you’re looking at ~$15k of restaurants and vacations alone. Try 9k. #### Quote: For those with one, average mortgage payment would eat up the rest of that$28k by itself, those without one still pay most of that in taxes and insurance alone, nvm other bills.

Imagine the situation without it....that what I was getting at.

But be careful: Paid off the $1140.00/month mortgage in May this year. Then needed a 9800.00 roof replacement in August. 8<) Have both cars paid off. Then needed a 1240.00 seat belt sensor replacement last week. Your prudence is admirable - Keep it up. ### RE: Worst job interview answers House payment is easily$1,000/month for most people. Taxes and insurance is a third to half of that. So, figure on $4,000/year on taxes and insurance each year, even if your house is paid off. Then, most people will have around$3-400/month in combined utilities (incl. cell phone), another $4,000/year. Food and house supplies probably around$300/month for retired couple, another $3,600/year. Eating out - at least$2,000/ year. Cars...well, this depends, but even if your car is paid off and you drive it to the dirt, you'll still need to replace it. Only the luckiest of people will pay anything less than about $5,000/year for all auto related costs (including the auto even if its paid off - you'll need to buy another one before you die unless you're already very old). So that is a total of$18,600 just to survive assuming a paid off mortgage, perfect health and no unexpected expenses. I'd say another good $30-50,000 per year on top of that would make for a life with some moderate travel, some modest toys and health. So, it doesn't seem unreasonable to expect to need about$50-70,000/year in today's dollars to have a decent retirement. But damn, how boring would it be to just sit around the house doing nothing just to save money? I had a boss that once said, "You're either making money or your spending it." This was what he would tell us when we wanted a day off, but he also knew we were money motivated. To a large degree, I've found him to be correct. Though the older I get, the easier it is to occupy myself around the house. Still, more than about a day without going out to do something leaves me a little stir crazy.

#### Quote (WARose )

Looking back, I spent a little less than 28k this year.

Are you single? I spent about 2/3 that amount on my wife's graduate school tuition and my daughters' dance and gymnastics alone.

Pfft... my monthly property tax is in the $1k/month range. There goes nearly half of my$24k budget

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

#### Quote (IRstuff)

I've heard similar to the extent that WM will come in and demand a 10% price reduction and you either figure it out, suck it up, or die.

WM isn't the only one that demands 10% reductions. One plant I worked in lived through that and it was rough. So, we put pressure on our suppliers to reduce their prices. Some did. Some didn't.

I appreciate all of the banter and ideas about income and wealth inequality. I read the Millionaire Next Door many years ago. When it comes to trusting the research of Nobel laureates in economics, Ivy League economists, Ivy League historians, the CBO, etc. or an engineer, or even a group of engineers, on income inequality and wealth inequality, you can guess whose research will take precedence in my mind. With all due respect to engineers of all types, there are very smart people in other walks of life.

I have lived my life debt free and very conservatively. I saved and could see a nice retirement on the horizon. Then I got laid off and it's been up and down ever since. Many things in life occur that are beyond our control and have substantial impacts, positive and negative. Ten years ago I would never have believed I would be where I am today. This is not the place to elaborate but it's not a good place to be, at my age. A lot of luck goes into everything in life, from my experience. I didn't hold that view three years ago. I certainly am a strong believer in it now. I don't think anyone has bragging rights about success without recognizing how much luck goes into life.

Experiences over the last few years have changed my mind on a range of topics and softened some of my previously harsh opinions. Many will not understand my journey until they have to walk it themselves. Even then, it's hard to comprehend. Ultimately, I wouldn't wish my experiences on anyone including those who hate me. It isn't easy but I keep putting one foot in front of the other and hope it all works out.

Analyze your position and all the steps you've taken that are right and realize there are others that pursued the same path but unforeseen events changed everything. No one has a crystal ball worth a plug nickel.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

Many people close to me are walking that same path. Good luck.

STF

Not disparaging anyone's remarks, but this is starting to seem alot like the telephone game in elementary school. When the teacher tells a student a secret and they pass it down the line and see what the last person in line thinks the original secret was.

Last student: How much is a typical monthly mortgage payment.

Interviewer: How would you calculate the moment on the wood joist?

Interviewee: Just take the shear and multiple it by the member depth.

The interviewee did not get hired.

ash060, I like your gentile segue back to the original topic. :)

I went to a job interview for a smallish international company and everything went well. The offer was reasonable and the position seemed interesting, but I wasn't ready to decide that day so I told them I would think about it. As I was driving back to the airport I received a call from the head of the company and he just said that he would really like for me to join the team etc. I thanked him and (thought I) said that it sounds like a good position and I'll think about it. I received a call a few minutes later from the recruiter congratulating me on accepting the job. The guy from the company who called me was not a native-English speaker, and I think I was trying to be too kind in my response and he misinterpreted it as me accepting the job. So I had to make the awkward call back and explain that I didn't mean to accept the offer. And the story doesn't even have a "we can all laugh about it now" ending because I decided to turn it down to go back to school. This may sound like a humble-brag, but it really is by far the most embarrassing interview experience I've had and when I think about it I still feel a bit dumb for not choosing my words better.

Scholarship interview for a structural engineering society:

Question: What do you want to do when you graduate?
Answer: Become an Aerospace engineer in a different state

She told the truth- but didn't get the scholarship

"ash060, I like your gentile segue back to the original topic. :)"

swimfar, apologies in advance, I just had a good chuckle. Versus the Hebrew approach, presumably?

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

"Because you haven't done Y in a few years, I don't think you're really interested in Y." After multiple layoffs in Y, it's perfectly acceptable to try something else for awhile. This was said to someone close to me recently and it upset me.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

Two interviews stick in my memory...

We were going through a redundancy phase and I was asked to be an interviewer for some practice interviews. The idea was to ask an opening question and "drill-down" from the answer. One candidate's interview went like something like this...

Me: Can you give an example of a decision you have made that affected others?
Interviewee: I don't make decisions, I'm only a clerk.

Oh dear!!

The lady, who was in her fifties, had never taken an interview in her life and had been happy as a typist for 20 years, then her job was changed to being a filing clerk. She had no ambition, but was happy to turn up, be told what to do, and to go home to her successful knitting business where she made custom knitwear for cats. We didn't know about the knitting until the debrief.

After some coaching...

Me: Can you give an example of a decision you have made that affected others?
Interviewee: Yes, I run a knitwear business from home and ...

- Nailed it

The second was when I was interviewed for a promotion. On the training course, we were told that we had to ask the same opening questions to each candidate. I just imagined the look on the other candidate's faces if they were asked the same as my first technical question...

Interviewer: Can you give an example of an equipment database that you have designed and manage that is used throughout the company?

I was tempted to say "No", just to see the look on my boss's face, but I played the game and got the job .

An old German interviewed me once and asked if I could work with anyone. I said yes. He then asked if I could work even with the French. Given WWII and his dim view of France that was a creepy question.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

I once interviewed a candidate, we were looking for an engineer that was good with linear motion and controls. His resume indicated he designed a laser marking system with +/-.002" positional repeatability. When I asked him to describe his device he started using sounds effects.

"The laser unit would driven into position 'whirrrr' and stop based on a position sensor 'eeert'. The laser would then mark 'zzzzzat' the bags with a serial number."

He didn't get the job, but he was persistent. Continuing into the second month after the interview and our denial of a position with the company, he resorted to mass emails of his "updated" resume.

"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating."

Have you read FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies to make the best use of these Forums?

He didn't once mention a linear guide?

So in other words, he didn't design the laser marking system. He was on a team that designed it and he got their coffee for them.

--Scott
www.aerornd.com

I'm cracking up right now, Mango, imagining this "kid" making his sound effects during the interview.

Did he even get into the details of HOW his system made positional repeatability, or even how he measured said accuracy/repeatability?

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

lacajun,

A colleague told me that when he was servicing equipment in France, they did not have a torque wrench. One of the Frenchmen assured him the bolts would be torqued "German tight".

--
JHG

I once interviewed a candidate, we were looking for an engineer that was good with linear motion and controls. His resume indicated he designed a laser marking system with +/-.002" positional repeatability. When I asked him to describe his device he started using sounds effects.

"The laser unit would driven into position 'whirrrr' and stop based on a position sensor 'eeert'. The laser would then mark 'zzzzzat' the bags with a serial number."

I can imagine the whole interview was very similar to this (even down to the look on your face at the end!) ...

Or in this case, where an individual is being interviewed by the people who will be making the recommendation as to whether he will be 'hired' or not for a guaranteed, life-time position. Note that the questions being asked are directly related to the day-to-day responsibilities and tasks that this candidate will have to be acutely knowledgeable about in order to fulfill the expectations of the job he's being considered for. Furthermore, his ability to perform his job will have a direct and intimate impact on other individuals to extent that their life, liberty and/or property could be inappropriately placed in jeopardy if the candidate failed to perform his job in a professional and informed manner:

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

I do like how that is done in public hearings in the USA. Many countries don't do that (like mine). Some say that these hearings get very political, but the nominations are political to begin with, so a public airing of the political choice by the loyal opposition makes a lot of sense to me.

STF

Also keep in mind that the US Senator asking the questions is a member of the same party as the executive who's trying to make these appointments. In other words, this was NOT a member of the 'opposition'. However, in all fairness, this particular Senator had a reputation of being an experienced and dedicated attorney before running for office as well as being a former law school professor, so you can see that even if he might have been expected to 'go easy' on one of his own party's nominees, his integrity as a member of the legal profession got the better of him. Too bad others haven't shown the same level of concern for the welfare of the nation.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

It was pretty clear the senator was trying very hard to make a point, given that he was referring to the written answers provide by the applicant during the questioning.

The converse is that this applicant KNEW what questions were being asked, given that he provided written answers beforehand, and FAILED MISERABLY at doing even the most minute amount of preparation. I almost think he really didn't have any interest in the appointment. Almost anyone could have spent an hour or so looking up Wikipedia or a number of legal info sites and aced those very questions.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

I'm from a different part of the world and don't know the applicant concerned - but I suspect a bit of canniness around that apparent lack of preparation.

If he'd looked the questions up beforehand and aced them in the hearing, he would only have ended up looking stupid in the face of some TV interviewer with new questions a couple of days further down the line. Without being insultingly in your face about it, this performance has a bit of a feel of the "I don't know and neither do most of the people watching this hearing - nor do they care all that much: Many are maybe thinking that rubbish has more to do with 'The Law' than it does with true justice - and I can ride a fair way on the back of that sentiment".

Let's face it, after the opening barrage of "I have nots", a masterful exposition of the ins and outs of the Daubert Standard was unlikely to shift the panel's opinion a great deal, so it made sense to accept a bit of carefully calibrated embarrassment and get it all out of the way at once.

A.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't know exactly what a lot of Presidential appointees do (especially in the cabinet level positions; a lot of people think they do, but I suspect most don't). But there isn't much denying the whole process has a lot of canned questions asked for effect rather than reason.

A case in point: Betsy DeVos. I remember watching some of it on C-Span.....she certainly didn't come across as the most qualified person in the world, but the questions put to her were ridiculous. Elizabeth Warren asked her (among other things) had she ever run a bank or overseen a trillion dollar loan program.

How many people (period) have overseen a trillion dollar loan program? Dick Riley (Clinton's secretary of education) certainly never did (prior to getting the job). Neither did Arne Duncan. (Obama's secretary.) Neither had ran a bank either. That puts some perspective on some of Warren's ridiculous questions.

Furthermore, exactly what makes a good one? As someone who lived/lives in South Carolina while Riley was governor, I saw his EIA program first hand. And what it did was raise the sales tax and didn't improve the state's education one bit. Duncan oversaw the mess known as the Chicago school system.

DeVos, at best, will only last as long as Trump is president. The applicant in question was up for a LIFETIME appointment as a federal judge. From what I've heard, the main test was whether he was sufficiently "conservative" enough, and the lack of any tangible in the judicial level at any position is probably a good thing, for him.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

#### Quote:

The applicant in question was up for a LIFETIME appointment as a federal judge.

I'm aware of that. I was commenting on the process of these hearings. (And how they can become a partisan show with misleading questions.)

#### Quote (IRstuff)

...the main test was whether he was sufficiently "conservative" enough...

And lest not forget the other requirement, that he was a young white male.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

Oh I forgot this one (actually may fall into the best answer category).....I recommended this designer and (ergo) was asked to sit in on the interview. This guy was semi-retired, had just turned about 60 and wanted to come back for part-time work. Ok my boss had these questions that he asked no matter who he was talking to.....he just read them off every time. Well we've all heard this one....but gotta love the reply:

Boss man: "So where do you see yourself in 20 years?"

Guy being interviewed: [without hesitation] "Dead."

We all got a good chuckle out of that one. (My boss immediately inquired whether that was expected anytime soon.)

#### Quote:

He got hired and left on his own. So it's ok.....but you are right: my boss should have left out the follow up question.

Yeah, that was about 90% tongue in cheek, 10% observation of just how easy it is to ask those sort of questions completely unintentionally. Interviewing is a dangerous sport!

In response to my question about how other junior level employees advance within the company, meaning do they tend to stay in engineering for the product line they started with, bounce between product lines as a technical resource, go to management, etc. the hiring manager told me "I don't really know, people do what they want around here"

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