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    Optical Design Engineer/Process Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Santa Barbara, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Santa Barbara, CA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 5 daysinterviewed at Invenios in January 2014.

    Interview Details

    I applied through the website for an Optical Engineer opening and was called in for an in person interview a few minutes after sending my resume. It was scheduled for a few days later with the CEO and VP of engineering. Upon going in for the interview only one of them showed up and spoke to me about the work going on, a few of the exciting projects in the pipeline, and then went on to explain that the position I was applying for had been filled, but that I could begin working as an entry level process engineer. The details of what the work would entail were not clarified and it was simply an open ended, "we can find a project for you". It was mentioned in the interview that they are expanding and hiring a lot of people, so much so that they didn't have any available seating because of the expansion. It was somewhat of a surprise that there was no real plan discussed regarding the process engineer position, and it sounded like they just needed more people to help out.

    We then went around and took a tour of the office and lab areas. The engineers all sat in one open space in what resembled a computer lab, with each engineer only having a little bit of elbow space and a computer to work on. It was explained that it is company policy to promote an open and very "tight" working environment, and that I might even have to share a computer. According to them this was all ok, however, because the engineers spend all of their time in the lab, and little to none on a computer. Looking around, the environment seemed like it was very high pressure and stressful.

    The lab area seemed exciting, a lot of different things going on, and a very productive yet busy culture. They described some of manufacturing operations, and the technology seemed indeed very cutting edge and unique. I found this to be by far the most intriguing part of the interview, and could tell that there was a lot of interesting work going on.

    We then went back to the conference room and went over more of the culture of the workplace. It was explained that there is a lot of work expected, and many long hours in the lab and on the job. It is also expected that the lunches are kept short (something like 30 minutes). There was an anecdotal remark made that one should eat pizza with one hand, while working with the other. Additionally, there would be weekend work required because the engineer must ensure the equipment is always up and running for production. It was mentioned in the interview that when working during the weekend the time would be re-comped and allowed as time off in the future. However, when I later asked the HR manager if this is true they directly and quickly responded that it is absolutely not true at all and there is no company policy for this.

    Next, the interviewer explained to me that the company also did not pay good salaries, and that I should think about whether or not I want to work there, and if I do, to simply talk to the HR.

    I spoke to HR to inquire about the benefits, and received very short answers. When I asked about approximate employee contributions to the plans, they refused to give any numbers or ranges on what the cost of the plan is. Overall, the benefits were very poor, perhaps the worst I have ever encountered in my professional career. Lastly we discussed salary. I asked whether or not they at least make up the salaries for all the extra long hours and weekend work expected and found out that they do not, and that they offer at best average salaries. The discussion ended here, when I immediately decided this would not be the right place for me.

    All in all I found them to be working on some very unique and exciting things that will not leave you bored. However, the work environment and culture seemed very high stress, with poor benefits, long hours, and low pay.

    Interview Questions
    • There were no questions asked about my professional history, no technical questions, or any interest in my background. They didn't even care to ask what I was currently doing or why I was leaving my job. The entire interview was centered around the work going on there and why I should work there. It seemed very much like they just needed engineering bodies to work on random projects.   Answer Question
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