This is a short overview of my impressions from companies I interacted with during my job search of 2015, before leaving Qualcomm. Unfortunately the search did not last long, after the first 4 interviews I was left with 3 offers so I didn’t get the opportunity to interact with very many companies.

Samsung (SCSC)

The thing I liked straight away about Samsung was a questionnaire I was asked to complete as part of my application. It contained some very interesting questions regarding a while range of topics such as debugging, testing and software design. That immediately gave me the impression that this manager knew what he was doing.

The second stage was a Codility test. Although I scored 100% on all the assignments, I really really hate this kind of testing with hard, to-the-second deadlines and automated machine marking. It doesn’t help that Codility adds requirements such as “maximum input length 200,000 items” and then only allows ~1000 character input for user tests. In the end I guess Samsung need a way to filter out the 100s of people who apply without knowing a thing about programming and I can’t really blame them for that.

The final stage consisted of a series of face to face interviews taking up most of the day. The interviews were interesting and were mostly open ended, discussion type questions however many of the coding questions were merely gimmicky trick questions which I thought were a bit pointless (yes I noticed the subtle syntax error you planted in the code after staring at for 3 minutes, woohoo).

What I particularly liked was how open they were when answering questions about the company and internal processes (although the interviewers did pause and double check before talking about potentially confidential information). Regardless of the details of the answers, the way they answered made me feel confident that these guys were well organised, knew what they were doing and were aware of their limitations which was a very positive sign.

Unfortunately Samsung does have a very bad reputation for things like work-life balance and overtime, which was confirmed to me by several of the interviewers, one of whom was actually in the process of working weekends for that particular month. Although apathetic they were at least upfront about this being one of the downsides of life at Samsung.

Overall I was very happy with everyone I met and very confident that I would have enjoyed and learned a lot from working at Samsung. If it was the only company I had applied to I would not have hesitated to accept a position there however on this occasion there was another company I preferred.

Netronome

Netronome are a smaller (~200 global employees) company specialised in high performance network cards. The interview process consisted of a phone interview, homework assignment and full day face to face interview.

The major thing that made me hesitate was the fact that it was an American company. Working for Qualcomm has left me rather horrified and disgusted my American corporate culture. The most visible artifact of this from Netronome was their personal open source policy essentially requiring employees to ask permission before writing code in their free time. Although it was not as ridiculous and far reaching as Qualcomm’s process it’s still very shit in principle.

Overall though I was very happy with the engineers I met and the details of the position itself at Netronome. Depending on how the open source policy turned out I might not have minded working there.

Imagination Technologies

My impression of Img is very negative.

Things started out well with the phone interview, a very involved homework exercise and a lengthy technical interview. I was getting on very well with the manager, we were having interesting two-way discussions related to the interview questions, the homework exercise and the job in general. At the end he made it clear that we wanted to make me an offer as soon as possible and for me I was seriously considering the position.

Unfortunately the 1 hour phone interview, 7 hour homework exercise and 3 hour technical interview was not the end of it; I then had a 30 minute interview with a human resources representative.

This person was incredibly rude and unprofessional. She started the interview by announcing that she was going to put my application through as a Graduate Engineer on account of my age (23). When we got to salary and benefits they were very uncompetitive relative to the position I was planning to leave nevermind the 3 other job offers I was also considering at the time.

The worst part of the whole experience was that, right up until the final 30 minutes I was very keen, and the engineering manager was clearly very interested in me. Obviously the technical side and the HR side had a conversation afterwards and with regards to the decision on weather to make an offer: the technical side said “yes”, the HR representative said “no” so the final answer was “no”, with absolutely no feedback on what I did wrong.

I thought Imagination Technologies was a cool company. I am very shocked and upset by how badly I was treated. My advice to any engineers reading this is don’t even bother applying.