You are on page 1of 23

INST 205 (Job Prep I)

Recommended schedule
Day 1
Presentation: Resume and cover letter writing
Independent activity: Work on resume and/or cover letter
Day 2
Presentation: Searching for jobs
Independent activity: Research job search engines and open job listings
Day 3
Major topics: Workplace safety and OSHA
Homework questions: 1 through 10
Independent activity: Work on resume and/or cover letter
Day 4
Guest speakers: Round-table discussion with employer representatives (varies per quarter)
Independent activity: Work on feedback questions
Day 5
Homework questions: 11 through 20
Independent activity: Work on feedback questions
Feedback questions: 21 through 25
R
esum
e due at the end of the day (no spelling or grammatical errors)
Cover letter due at the end of the day (no spelling or grammatical errors)
Feedback questions due at the end of the day

INST 205 (Job Prep I)


Credits/hours: 1 credit = 30 clock hours
Prerequisite: INST 200 (Introduction to Instrumentation)
Course description: Preparation for employment including resume preparation, cover letter writing, job
search engine use, and interviewing skills.
Program outcomes addressed:
(1) Communication; Communicates and expresses thoughts across a variety of mediums (verbal, written,
visually) to effectively persuade, inform, and clarify ideas with colleagues.
(2) Time management; Arrives on time and prepared to work; budgets time and meets deadlines when
performing technical tasks and projects.
(10) Career development; Researches and seeks opportunities for promotion and job advancements in
work and career settings.
Instructor contact information:
Tony Kuphaldt
Desmond P. McArdle Center
Bellingham Technical College
3028 Lindbergh Avenue
Bellingham, WA 98225-1599
(360)-752-8477 [office phone]
(360)-752-7277 [fax]
tkuphald@btc.ctc.edu
Required materials:
Socratic worksheet: INST205 sec1.pdf
Download at: http://openbookproject.net/books/socratic/sinst
Lessons in Industrial Instrumentation, By Tony R. Kuphaldt. Useful for all three quarters of instruction.
Download at: http://openbookproject.net/books/socratic/sinst/book/liii.pdf
Instrumentation reference CD-ROM (free, from instructor). This disk contains many tutorials and
datasheets in PDF format to supplement your textbook(s).
Student performance objectives:
Assessment legend: [A] = Assignment, [F] = Feedback questions

Mastery (must eventually be demonstrated without error)


[A] Completed resume with no spelling or grammatical errors
[A] Completed cover letter with no spelling or grammatical errors
[F] Print at least three open job descriptions for instrument technicians, from at least two different
sources
[F] Identify safety hazards, handling procedures, and personal protective equipment for specific
substances, all from researching an MSDS document
[F] Answer specific questions through researching a portion of OSHAs Recordkeeping Handbook
[F] Identify at least five difficult questions you may expect to answer during a job interview, and how
you would honestly answer each of them
[F] Identify at least one career path (e.g. biopharmaceuticals, power generation, petrochemical, etc.) in
the field of instrumentation you think you would like to pursue

This is a pass-fail course. The only criteria for passing is successful completion of all mastery
performance objectives. Completion of a jobshadow work experience may take the place of discussions
and feedback questions, so long as a cover letter and resume are still submitted.
2

file INST205syllabus

Sequence of second-year Instrumentation courses

Core Electronics -- 1 year


(or equivalent)
1st quarter
INST 200 -- 1 wk
Intro. to Instrumentation

INST 205 -- 1 wk
Job Prep I

INST 242 -- 3 wks


Analytical
Measurement

INST 260 -- 3 wks


Data Acquisition
Systems
Spring quarter

INST 251 -- 4 wks


PID Controllers
and Tuning

3rd quarter
INST 206 -- 1 wk
Job Prep II

INST 250 -- 4 wks


Final Control
Elements
Winter quarter

Fall quarter

INST 240 -- 4 wks


Pressure and Level
Measurement

INST 241 -- 4 wks


Temperature and Flow
Measurement

2nd quarter

INST 252 -- 3 wks


Process Optimization
and Control Strategies

INST 261 -- 4 wks


Programmable Logic
Controllers

INST 262 -- 4 wks


DCS and Fieldbus

continuing students
(after completing all three quarters)

GRADUATION !

file sequence
4

General student expectations


(Punctuality) You are expected to arrive at school on time (by 8:00 AM) every day. One late arrival
is permitted during the timespan of each sequential course (e.g. INST240, INST241, etc.) with no grade
deduction. The grade deduction rate for late arrivals is 1% per incident.
(Attendance) You are expected to attend all day, every day. Each student has 12 sick hours per quarter
applicable to absences not verifiably employment-related, school-related, or weather-related. The grade
deduction rate is 1% per hour of absence in any course. Each student must confer with the instructor to
apply sick hours to any missed time this is not done automatically for the student. Students may donate
unused sick hours to whomever they specifically choose. You should contact your instructor and team
members immediately if you know you will be late or absent. Absence on an exam day will result in a failing
grade for that exam, unless due to a documented emergency. Exams may be taken in advance for full credit.
(Participation) You are expected to participate fully in all aspects of the learning process including
independent study, lab project completion, and classroom activities. It is solely your responsibility to catch
up on all information missed due to absence. Furthermore, you shall not interfere with the participation of
others in the learning process.
(Teamwork) You will work in instructor-assigned teams to complete lab assignments. Team membership
is determined by accumulated attendance and punctuality scores: students with similar participatory trends
are teamed together. Any student compromising team performance through frequent absence, habitual
tardiness, or other disruptive behavior(s) will be expelled from their team and required to complete all
labwork independently for the remainder of the quarter.
(Preparation for theory sessions) You must dedicate at least 2 hours each day for reading assignments
and homework questions to prepare yourself for theory sessions, where you will actively contribute your new
knowledge. Graded quizzes and/or work inspections during each theory session will gauge your independent
learning. If absent, you may receive credit by having your preparatory work thoroughly reviewed prior to
the absence, or passing a comparable quiz after the absence.
(Feedback questions) You must complete and submit feedback questions for each section by the specified
deadline. These are graded for accuracy and recorded as a feedback score. Plagiarism (presenting anyone
elses work as you own) in your answers will result in a zero score. It is okay to help one another learn the
material, and to learn from outside sources, but your explanations must be phrased in your own words and
with your own work shown.
(Disciplinary action and instructor authority) The Student Code of Conduct (Washington
Administrative Codes WAC 495B-120) explicitly authorizes disciplinary action against the following types
of misconduct: academic dishonesty (e.g. cheating, plagiarism), dangerous or lewd behavior, harassment,
intoxication, destruction of property, and/or disruption of the learning environment. Furthermore, the Code
states Instructors have the authority to take whatever summary actions may be necessary to maintain order
and proper conduct in the classroom and to maintain the effective cooperation of the class in fulfilling the
objectives of the course. Distractive or disruptive behavior such as (but not limited to) unauthorized
telephone or computer use, disrespectful comments, sleeping, and conversation that either impede your
participation or the participation of others may result in temporary dismissal from class with attendance
hours deducted.

file expectations
5

Methods of instruction
This course develops self-instructional and diagnostic skills by placing students in situations where they
are required to research and think independently. In all portions of the curriculum, the goal is to avoid a
passive learning environment, favoring instead active engagement of the learner through reading, reflection,
problem-solving, and experimental activities. The curriculum may be roughly divided into two portions:
theory and practical.

Theory
In the theory portion of each course, students independently research subjects prior to entering the
classroom for discussion. At the start of the classroom session, the instructor will check each students
preparation using one of several methods (direct inspection of work, a pop quiz, targeted questions, etc.).
Students then spend some class time working in small groups coordinating their presentations. The rest of
the class time is spent interacting Socratically with the instructor in a large-group dialogue. The instructor
calls students (or student groups) to present what they found in their research, questions that arose during
their study, their solutions to problems, and any problem-solving techniques applied. The instructors role
is to help students take the information gleaned from their research and convert this into understanding.

Lab
In the lab portion of each course, students work in teams to install, configure, document, calibrate, and
troubleshoot working instrument loop systems. Each lab exercise focuses on a different type of instrument,
with a eight-day period typically allotted for completion. An ordinary lab session might look like this:
(1) Start of practical (lab) session: announcements and planning
(a) Instructor makes general announcements to all students
(b) Instructor works with team to plan that days goals, making sure each team member has a clear
idea of what they should accomplish
(2) Teams work on lab unit completion according to recommended schedule:
(First day) Select and bench-test instrument(s)
(One day) Connect instrument(s) into a complete loop
(One day) Each team member drafts their own loop documentation, inspection done as a team (with
instructor)
(One or two days) Each team member calibrates/configures the instrument(s)
(Remaining days, up to last) Each team member troubleshoots the instrument loop
(Last day) All teams answer lab questions, one team at a time, with the instructor
(3) End of practical (lab) session: debriefing where each team reports on their work to the whole class

file instructional
6

Distance delivery methods


Sometimes the demands of life prevent students from attending college 6 hours per day. In such cases,
there exist alternatives to the normal 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM class/lab schedule, allowing students to complete
coursework in non-traditional ways, at a distance from the college campus proper.
For such distance students, the same worksheets, lab activities, exams, and academic standards still
apply. Instead of working in small groups and in teams to complete theory and lab sections, though, students
participating in an alternative fashion must do all the work themselves. Participation via teleconferencing,
video- or audio-recorded small-group sessions, and such is encouraged and supported.
There is no recording of hours attended or tardiness for students participating in this manner. The pace
of the course is likewise determined by the distance student. Experience has shown that it is a benefit for
distance students to maintain the same pace as their on-campus classmates whenever possible.
In lieu of small-group activities and class discussions, comprehension of the theory portion of each course
will be ensured by completing and submitting detailed answers for all worksheet questions, not just passing
daily quizzes as is the standard for conventional students. The instructor will discuss any incomplete and/or
incorrect worksheet answers with the student, and ask that those questions be re-answered by the student
to correct any misunderstandings before moving on.
Labwork is perhaps the most difficult portion of the curriculum for a distance student to complete,
since the equipment used in Instrumentation is typically too large and expensive to leave the school lab
facility. Distance students must find a way to complete the required lab activities, either by arranging
time in the school lab facility and/or completing activities on equivalent equipment outside of school (e.g.
at their place of employment, if applicable). Labwork completed outside of school must be validated by a
supervisor and/or documented via photograph or videorecording.
Conventional students may opt to switch to distance mode at any time. This has proven to be a
benefit to students whose lives are disrupted by catastrophic events. Likewise, distance students may
switch back to conventional mode if and when their schedules permit. Although the existence of alternative
modes of student participation is a great benefit for students with challenging schedules, it requires a greater
investment of time and a greater level of self-discipline than the traditional mode where the student attends
school for 6 hours every day. No student should consider the distance mode of learning a way to have
more free time to themselves, because they will actually spend more time engaged in the coursework than
if they attend school on a regular schedule. It exists merely for the sake of those who cannot attend during
regular school hours, as an alternative to course withdrawal.

file distance
7

General advice for successful learning


Reserve a time and a place for study
Schedule a block of time every day for study and make it a priority!
Create or join a study group, and help each other commit to regular study time.
Keep the environment of your study place ideal: whatever music (or no music) helps you concentrate,
whatever time allows for the least number of distractions, etc.
Plan to arrive at school at least a half-hour early and use the time to study as opposed to studying late
at night. This also helps guard against tardiness in the event of unexpected delays, and ensures you a
better parking space!
Who to study with
Classmates with similar schedules.
Classmates who are serious about their education.
Note that the intelligence of your study partners is not a significant criterion!
How to make time for study
Rid yourself of unnecessary, time-wasting gadgets: televisions, video games, mobile phones, etc. I am
not kidding!
Avoid recreational use of the internet.
Bring a meal to school every day and use your one-hour lunch break for study instead of eating out.
Carefully plan your lab sessions with your teammates to reserve a portion of each days lab time for
study.
Cut off all unhealthy personal relationships.
Make efficient use of the time you have
Do not procrastinate, waiting until the last minute to do something.
Dont let small chunks of time at home or at school go to waste. Work a little bit on assignments during
these times.
Identify menial chores you can do simultaneously (e.g. house cleaning and laundry), and plan your
chore time accordingly to free up more time at home.
Take responsibility for your learning and your life
Obtain all the required books, and any supplementary study materials available to you. If the books
cost too much, look on the internet for used texts (www.amazon.com, www.half.com, etc.) and use the
money from the sale of your television and video games to buy them!
Make an honest attempt to solve problems before asking someone else to help you. Being able to
problem-solve is a skill that will improve only if you continue to do work at it.
If you detect trouble understanding a basic concept, seek clarification on it immediately. Never ignore
an area of confusion, believing you will pick up on it later. Later may be too late!
Do not wait for others to do things for you. No one is going to make extra effort purely on your behalf.
Seek help for any addictions. Addictions wont just destroy your chance at an education they can
destroy your whole life!
. . . And the number one tip for success . . .
Realize that there are no shortcuts to learning. Every time you seek a shortcut, you are actually cheating
yourself out of a learning opportunity!!

file studytips
8

Creative Commons License


This worksheet is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, version 1.0. To view
a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0/ or send a letter to Creative
Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA. The terms and conditions of this
license allow for free copying, distribution, and/or modification of all licensed works by the general public.

Simple explanation of Attribution License:


The licensor (Tony Kuphaldt) permits others to copy, distribute, display, and otherwise use this
work. In return, licensees must give the original author(s) credit. For the full license text, please visit
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0/ on the internet.

More detailed explanation of Attribution License:


Under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution License, you may make freely
use, make copies, and even modify these worksheets (and the individual source files comprising them)
without having to ask me (the author and licensor) for permission. The one thing you must do is properly
credit my original authorship. Basically, this protects my efforts against plagiarism without hindering the
end-user as would normally be the case under full copyright protection. This gives educators a great deal
of freedom in how they might adapt my learning materials to their unique needs, removing all financial and
legal barriers which would normally hinder if not prevent creative use.
Nothing in the License prohibits the sale of original or adapted materials by others. You are free to
copy what I have created, modify them if you please (or not), and then sell them at any price. Once again,
the only catch is that you must give proper credit to myself as the original author and licensor. Given that
these worksheets will be continually made available on the internet for free download, though, few people
will pay for what you are selling unless you have somehow added value.
Nothing in the License prohibits the application of a more restrictive license (or no license at all) to
derivative works. This means you can add your own content to that which I have made, and then exercise
full copyright restriction over the new (derivative) work, choosing not to release your additions under the
same free and open terms. An example of where you might wish to do this is if you are a teacher who desires
to add a detailed answer key for your own benefit but not to make this answer key available to anyone
else (e.g. students).

Note: the text on this page is not a license. It is simply a handy reference for understanding the Legal
Code (the full license) - it is a human-readable expression of some of its key terms. Think of it as the
user-friendly interface to the Legal Code beneath. This simple explanation itself has no legal value, and its
contents do not appear in the actual license.

file license
9

Questions
Question 1
Identify the meaning of the acronym OSHA, explain what its purpose is, and how it came to be.

file i00713
Question 2
How wide is OSHAs jurisdiction?
responsibilities apply to?

In other words, who does OSHAs regulations, rights, and

file i00714
Question 3
Explain what an OSHA Recordable incident is, and identify the criteria used to classify such an incident.

file i00715
Question 4
Research the specific form required by OSHA for the recording of work-related injuries and illnesses.
What does it look like and what sort of information is entered into it?

file i00716
Question 5
Suppose an employee is asked to do a job in an unsafe manner. Is there any protection from OSHA for
a worker who refuses to do a job unsafely? If so, what is this protection, exactly?

file i00718

10

Question 6
Explain what whistleblower protection is as defined by OSHA regulations, where it is applicable, and
what steps must be taken to benefit from it.

file i00717
Question 7
What is an MSDS database, and what is it used for? Also, list the URLs of some MSDS databases
available on the internet.

file i00734
Question 8
Work environments where flammable or explosive substances exist should have a system in place for
authorizing work in those areas when heat, flames, and/or sparks are likely to be produced. This usually
takes the form of a hot work permit, authorizing heat/flame/spark-related work in a potentially hazardous
area for a limited period of time.
Explain how the hot work permit is issued, and what condition(s) will revoke it.

file i00735
Question 9
What is a confined space as defined for industrial work environments, and what is the proper procedure(s)
for entering one to perform work?

file i00736

11

Question 10
Describe the difference between a respirator and a self-contained breathing apparatus, or SCBA. What
does each form of personal protective equipment (PPE) protect against?
Identify which of these two PPEs would be appropriate for protection against the following hazards:
Carbon monoxide gas in the air
Paint fumes in the air
Asbestos dust in the air
Hydrogen sulfide (H2 S) gas in the air
file i00737
Question 11
Suppose an interviewer asks you a technical question that you have no idea how to answer. Perhaps
the anxiety of the moment makes it too difficult for you to recall the answer, or perhaps you never knew the
answer to this question. Either way, you are stumped. Identify a good way to respond to this scenario, and
explain why it is preferable to some alternatives.

file i00738
Question 12
It is not unheard of for an interviewer to ask the interviewee an impossible question. This may be a
technical question that has no solution, or a soft-skill sort of question that has no (good) solution. Why
would an interviewer do this, and what do you think your best response would be?

file i00739
Question 13
What should you do in an interview if the person interviewing you makes a factual error? For instance,
I was once interviewed by someone who asked me to answer a technical question I considered rather easy.
After I did, he began to correct me, and in doing so revealed that he had a fundamental misunderstanding
of circuit theory. In other words, he was wrong in his correction, and I was actually right in my original
answer.
How would you respond in a situation like that? What do you think would be the best approach?

file i00740

12

Question 14
An instrumentation student once interviewed for a company, and at the end of the interview decided to
ask his interviewers for any helpful suggestions they had on how he could have interviewed better. Judging
by their collective response (a long, awkward silence), it was a bad thing to ask. Explain why.

file i00741
Question 15
A challenging question sometimes encountered in interviews goes along the lines of this:
Tell me about an incident on the job where you made a mistake, and also describe what you
did to correct it.
Explain how you would handle such a question, and what positive attribute(s) would be revealed about
yourself in that answer.

file i00745
Question 16
A common soft-skill sort of question that interviewers ask is for the interviewee to describe one of
their weaknesses. Explain a general strategy for answering this sort of question.

file i00742

13

Question 17
A very common interview strategy is to ask the interviewee to describe in detail experiences relating to
practical soft skills such as conflict negotiation. Examples include:
Describe a situation where you had to solve a challenging problem.
Describe a situation where you ended up changing your stance on an issue, and why you did.
Describe a situation where you disagreed with a someone about something important, and
how you resolved that disagreement.
Questions such as these are especially disconcerting to young interviewees, who lack the experience of
older people who may have already spent years employed in positions of responsibility. Students who are
just graduating from college after having transferred directly out of high school may think they have nothing
to reference when asked one of these questions. That, however, is not true.
Explain how a young, inexperienced person should answer questions such as these, and to do so with
maximum relevance to the job sought.

file i00743
Question 18
One of the more interesting questions I have encountered in an interview is when the interviewer asked
me if I had any recommendations for classmates of mine who were also applying for this same job. How
would you respond to this question?

file i00748

14

Question 19
The following list of questions are often asked of interviewees applying for computer programming
positions at the Microsoft Corporation:
How are M&Ms made?
If you had a clock with lots of moving mechanical parts, you took it apart piece by piece without keeping
track of the method of how it was disassembled, then you put it back together and discovered that 3
important parts were not included; how would you go about reassembling the clock?
If you had to learn a new computer language, how would you go about doing it? Translating this
question into instrumentation terms, if you had to learn how a new type of instrument worked, how
would you go about doing it?
You have been assigned to design Bill Gates bathroom. Naturally, cost is not a consideration. You may
not speak to Bill.
If Microsoft told you we were willing to invest $5 million in a start up of your choice, what business
would you start? Why?
How would you explain how to use Microsoft Excel to your grandma? Translating this question into
instrumentation terms, how would you explain your chosen career (Instrument Technician) to a small
child in such a way that they know what kinds of activities you do at work on a typical day?
Suppose you go home, enter your house/apartment, hit the light switch, and nothing happens no light
floods the room. What exactly, in order, are the steps you would take in determining what the problem
was?
Why is it that when you turn on the hot water in any hotel, for example, the hot water comes pouring
out almost instantaneously?
Explain a scenario for testing a salt shaker.
Interviewer hands you a black pen and says nothing but This pen is red.
Choose any one of these questions, and try answering it as best you can. Also, identify the most difficult
question on this list and explain why it is difficult for you to answer.

file i00747
Question 20
Suppose you were given the task of interviewing candidates for a technical position. What attributes
would you be looking for in your ideal candidate, and how would you determine whether or not the various
applicants possessed these attributes?

file i00746

15

Question 21
Print at least three open job descriptions for instrument technicians, from at least two different sources
(online or otherwise). You may simply attach the job descriptions as separate papers, rather than re-write
them here.

file i00719
16

Question 22
Research the MSDS documentation for one of the following chemical substances, and attach the
documentation to your homework:

Anhydrous ammonia
Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK)
Benzene
Methyl alcohol (methanol)
Hydrofluoric acid
Sodium hydroxide

file i00722
17

Question 23
Answer one of these questions in your own words, based on OSHAs Recordkeeping Handbook. Be sure
to document the section of the Handbook you found your answer in:
Why are employers required to keep records of work-related illnesses and injuries?
How is a new case determined, according to the OSHA definition?
How is discrimination against employees prohibited in the Handbook, and what does this discrimination
specifically apply to? In other words, what sort of employee action is protected by this Section?
What is the OSHA Form 301 used for, and what sort of information is entered into it?

This is a graded question: you will be graded on accuracy and originality (no plagiarized answers!).
file i00723
18

Question 24
Identify what a TWIC card is, and which industries require one for employment. Also, identify how to
obtain a TWIC card for yourself (including cost).

This is a graded question: you will be graded on accuracy and originality (no plagiarized answers!).
file i00720
19

Question 25
Identify three different companies you would like to jobshadow at over the next available school break.
Choose two from the following list of locations (where BTC Instrumentation graduates have gone before),
and then identify one more company not on the list where you would consider jobshadowing:
Genentech pharmaceutical (Vacaville, CA) paid
Genentech pharmaceutical (San Diego, CA)
Conoco-Phillips oil refinery (Ferndale, WA)
Tesoro oil refinery (Anacortes, WA)
PCE Pacific valve rebuild shop (Bothell, WA) travel costs paid
Emerson valve rebuild shop (Ferndale, WA)
Williams Pipeline (Sumas, WA)
PACCAR Technical Center truck R&D (Mount Vernon, WA)
Suncor oil refinery (Commerce City, CO)
Pacific WoodTech (Burlington, WA)
Intel (Hillsboro, OR)
Ideas for your third choice include power generation, water treatment, food processing, manufacturing,
incinerators, pulp & paper, air separation (specialty gases), pipeline operations, etc.

file i00721
20

Answers
Answer 1
Ill let you research this on your own at the following internet website:
http://www.osha.gov
Answer 2
Private sector businesses only. I will let you research the details on this (and yes, I do want you to find
out specifically who is covered and not covered!)
Answer 3
OSHAs Recordkeeping Handbook specifically identifies six (6) general criteria for classifying new, workrelated injuries or illnesses as recordable events. Ill let you find them all!
Follow-up question: what sections of the OSHA Recordkeeping Handbook list these criteria?
Answer 4
It is called the OSHA 300 Log.
Answer 5
I will let you research the answer to this! I suggest researching OSHAs Employee Workplace Rights
document.
Answer 6
I will let you research the answer to this! I suggest researching OSHAs Employee Workplace Rights
document and OSHAs Fact Sheet on whistleblower rights.
Answer 7
A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is listing of the properties of a chemical substance related to
personal and environmental safety. Databases exist which hold thousands of MSDS entries for quick and
efficient cataloging of substance hazards.
Answer 8
A safety inspector will test the atmosphere and surrounding area for the presence of flammable
substances. If such substances exist, steps must be taken to prevent combustion before the hot work permit
is issued.
Answer 9
Ill let you research the answer to this question!
Answer 10
Respirators are nothing more than filters for breathing air. SCBA gear, on the other hand, is a lot like
SCUBA (underwater) gear, except designed for above-water use.
SCBA gear is appropriate protection against all forms of chemical hazards in the air, while filter-style
respirators can only filter out particles of substance large enough to be caught in the filtration elements.

21

Answer 11
Honesty is always the best policy: say I dont know. However, you probably do not want to end on
that note. You can redeem yourself by explaining how you would begin to work through a solution, or where
you would go to find an answer to that question. It is also appropriate to tell your interviewer(s) that you
can get back to them later with an answer. If they accept, and you do get back with a correct answer, it
will demonstrate perseverance and the ability to learn new things.
Answer 12
Impossible questions are not asked for the sake of obtaining a concrete answer. Rather, they are asked
with the intent to expose the interviewees thought processes. In other words, they test the interviewees
problem-solving skills, assumptions, biases, and (in some cases) values.
Answer 13
Ill let you discuss this one with your classmates!
Answer 14
This is a good question for discussion between yourself and your classmates!
Answer 15
Ill let you discuss this with your classmates!
Answer 16
As always, tell the truth! You certainly do not want to fabricate an answer, nor do you necessarily want
to present yourself as a liability. A good, general strategy for answering a question like this is to state a
weakness, then follow up with a description of how you have overcome (or are overcoming) this weakness.
No one is perfect, and your interviewers know this. What they want is an employee who is willing and able
to improve, which is the real point of asking a question like this.
Answer 17
An immediate response might be to answer such questions by relating experiences with family and
friends, but that is not necessarily what the interviewers are looking for. They want to see how you handle
challenging situations in a work environment or something close to it, not how you handle situations at home
or amidst the company of friends.
It is easy to forget that your educational experience in college is filled with many job-like situations, where
you must solve challenging problems, work through disagreements with others (e.g. classmates, professors),
and the like. What kinds of experiences can you think of in your college life that might apply to questions
such as these, specifically experiences involving the same sort of technical context you will experience on the
job? Hint: keep in mind lab exercises, projects, teams, and committees you may have been involved in as a
student.
Answer 18
Ill let you discuss this with your classmates, who you may or may not be recommending for jobs later
on!
Answer 19
Discuss these with your classmates, with an eye toward practical answers as well as figuring out what
the interviewer is trying to determine with each question.

22

Answer 20
Of course, the real purpose of my asking you this question is for you to take stock of your own attributes,
and how you might improve yourself to become the best candidate for a technical position! Discuss this with
your classmates.
Answer 21
This is a graded question no answers or hints given!
Answer 22
This is a graded question no answers or hints given!
Answer 23
This is a graded question no answers or hints given!
Answer 24
This is a graded question no answers or hints given!
Answer 25
This is a graded question no answers or hints given!

23