I applied online and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Synapse Product Development in October 2013.
Interview Details –
Submitted my application and heard back from HR within the week and was scheduled for a phone screening interview a few days later. The online application had me submit a coding sample and I had an opportunity to submit a writing sample as well.
The phone screening wasn't difficult. I had an online coding problem to solve with one of their Senior Software Engineers. This problem was quickly solved through a simple brute force method. It was basically finding the center of gravity of an array. After the simple solution was done the conversation about optimization and it's big O difficulty.
I received a phone call scheduling an in person interview the following week. I drove to Seattle, was given a tour of their offices in downtown Seattle and had a 2 hour interview split into two shifts. The first hour with one team of engineers, including the one I interviewed on the phone with, and the second were another pair of engineers that I found out later were the heads of the project that was hiring.
Each section followed the same pattern. A series of conceptual questions about large topics, such as how would you draw the layers in a real time embedded system. Each had a coding problem to solve as well.
The first was a problem involving convolution within a two dimensional array. I quickly solved it through the simple method while noting the optimal solution. I just didn't write the code to do so.
The second was to implement a stack. It was straight a simple straight forward problem.
There were discussions about my previous projects and things problems I had encountered within different places. Such as things that are particular to small embedded systems.
I interviewed on Wednesday, the goal from HR was to contact me by Friday. Due to unexpected meetings they did not call till Monday. By Monday afternoon however I had received a verbal offer.
Time start to finish was just less than 3 weeks.
Interview Question –
Honestly there wasn't anything that was terribly difficult or unexpected. This was everything I expected to have thrown at me for an embedded systems software position.
Questions about operating systems, problem solving, hardware, abstraction, interrupts, communications. Answer Question
Negotiation Details –
There wasn't much of a negotiation from my side. The offer was reasonable from the start which made the negotiation part unnecessary.
I had received other offers in the preceding weeks and this was much better than those.
I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Synapse Product Development in August 2013.
Interview Details – Applied online via their website and received a response back by email a month or so later. Set up an initial phone interview with an engineering manager. Pulled up a schematic of a circuit that they ask all participants apparently whether they're interns or senior engineers. Consisted of a lot of parts including an op amp, transistor, etc.. Asked what it's overall function was. The diagram was a bit confusing so study up on circuit schematics and fundamentals.
Interview Question – What does an op amp follower do? View Answer
I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Synapse Product Development in June 2013.
Interview Details – Was walked through the building by HR, who explained the layout and some of the projects they are working on. Got a bit awkward when I was highly encouraged to have a glass of tap water. The interviews were rather vanilla and I felt a bit disengaged. Honestly, one of the executives I interviewed with made me feel very out of place and awkward.
Interview Question – Tell me how you would grow our Nike account. View Answer
Interviewed at Synapse Product Development
Interview Details – Phone interview+one full day interview
Interview Question – No difficult questions. A lot of questions are vague. They show the tear up of their Nike fuel product with a non-standard antenna design and ask where the antenna is Answer Question
I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Synapse Product Development in September 2012.
Interview Details –
Applied via emailed resume. Received request for Phone Interview after a a week or so. The Phone Interview was a week later. The week after that, was invited for an Onsite Interview. Flew out a week later, flubbed the interview, and was sent home.
The request for a phone interview came from their HR department. They offer you a few days, and ask you to supply preferred times. You'll need to be near a computer with internet access, and be in a quiet location so you can communicate easily.
The Phone Interview is more of a screening than anything else. The questions aren't difficult, and barely touch on the basics of schematic reading and simple circuit analysis. This is mostly a check to make sure you're not wasting their time. It should only take 5-10 minutes, but they ask you to allocate 30 minutes.
The on-site interview request was also painless. They offer days and times, and are very accommodating if you need to travel to attend. The Per Diem is quite comfortable. I have not received my reimbursement yet, but given the process so far, I'm not worried.
They require you to sign an NDA for the on-site. As such, I won't go into certain details in this review.
The On-Site Interview is broken up into various sections... 2 panel interviews with a pair of people, covering various technical questions. From my perspective, these were completed in order of increasing difficulty. That said, none of the questions were complicated or difficult.
Make sure your ALL fundamentals are solid, and easy to recall. Be able to work through the proofs of some of the equations you use from memory. Touch up on flip-flops; they use them in the interview even though they know they're mostly not practical. Review a recent product you've worked on, and be able to block diagram it and explain it in detail. Don't be afraid to offer up an example of a skill where you are comfortable; chances are they'll take you up on it. Learn to estimate. If you've worked on Reg Testing, make a quick review of common techniques, issues, and resolutions. Know how to handle pcb planes and the issues that arise, especially when it comes to ground paths. Do a quick review on the analog aspects of your digital communication interfaces.
If you've read other interview reviews on Glassdoor, you may have seen the Encoder Question. They will likely ask it. Treat it as an integrity test, and let them know you've seen it. Go ahead and solve it, so they know you can do it, but speak up first so it doesn't look like you're trying to cheat. I solved it and was honest afterwards, which was likely a point against me.
After these 2 sessions, I was let go. In theory, I would have had lunch with a department manager, then spent the afternoon in their behavioral interviews... which I have a sneaking suspicion is mostly a hang-out session.
They were very polite on the way out, and went out of their way to make me comfortable for the rest of my stay.
Overall, it's not a difficult interview unless you make it one. I did not receive an offer, but it was a good time regardless.
Interview Question – I was surprised by a quick embedded software question at the beginning of the first session. It involved function calls and the stack. Not difficult, but also didn't seem to count for much, so don't worry about it if you mess it up. Answer Question
I applied through an employee referral and interviewed at Synapse Product Development.
Interview Details – Phone interview
Interview Question – Sent a basic op amp circuit. Was asked what it did. View Answer
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Synapse Product Development in January 2012.
Interview Details – Extensive but diligent selection process involving several in-person visits to meet with a cross section of disciplines, including HR staff, the hiring manager, senior management, people currently in the position I was interviewing for, and other key internal partners. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many members of the team and each of the conversations we had. Communication and follow up throughout the process were excellent.
Interview Question – Most interviews were more of a conversation than a traditional interview or behavioral Q&A. More like, "Let's put a 'live' problem on the table and whiteboard some ideas for how you might approach it." View Answer
I applied online and the process took 5 months - interviewed at Synapse Product Development in October 2011.
Interview Details – This interview was a joke, and I don't know why it happened. I applied for the job back in May, and they sent me a request for an interview in September. Then the interviewer didn't know what job I was interviewing for. I hope the co. isn't as bad.
Interview Question – What job are you interviewing for? (asked toward the end of the interview) View Answer
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Synapse Product Development in April 2011.
Interview Details – Synapse was quick to respond to my application and scheduled an interview a few days later. The first one-on-one interview encompassed a discussion about company direction, business needs, and opportunities for communications solutions. The group interview focused on what-if scenarios and culture-fit with representatives from each department including the CEO.
I applied online and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Synapse Product Development in December 2010.
Interview Details –
Initial pre-screen was on the phone, where the emailed me a circuit schematic and asked me to analyze it. This seemed like a simple and effective way to test that the person interviewing knew what they were doing. At the same time, it was easy if the example was in the area you dealt with all day, but would have been difficult if you were spending your days designing PC's and they were asking about LED's. The circuit was based around something the founder has a bunch of patents in, so it was something they cared about, but this is a company that prides themselves on doing a huge range of things.
The in-person interview didn't go as well. They were not ready for me at all, I waited, and then the guy I talked to on the phone was busy and walked in much later. They went straight to targeted, hard, technical questions. Seemed to care very little about experience, what your current job was, or what expertise you had. They had a set of specific circuits they wanted you to draw off the top of your head. These again are easy if you either remember them from college or work on them every day, but require some real struggling to re-derive on the spot if you need to. I didn't remember these as well, and I knew that was the end of my chances there- it was pretty clear their interview process was like a final exam, with defined questions with correct and incorrect answers. They weren't looking for thought processes. I actually am pretty sure that I got 80% of their questions right, but they needed 99%.
In the end I consider the interview process a failure since I basically do in my current job what these guys at least described they wanted in the description, and I am very good at what I do. It sounds very stuck up, but I have been a top engineer at many companies. So if they found me insufficient for the job based on the fact that I slipped up on an Op-Amp circuit I haven't seen in a decade, that's not really finding engineers that will succeed.
Plus, in a bad economy filled with lots of laid off people, the job was still open 9 months later.
Interview Question – Design a circuit to indicate what direction a encoder on a rotating shaft is going without using a microcontroller. Answer Question
Collaboration is a value, and an expected fact
Brilliant engineers who are creative and know there disciplines
Open office plan where projects are quickly and easily co-located
Wednesday company lunches and Beer:30s – Full Review
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