I got home from Houston last night after a very good interviewing trip. The company is a long-established (over 100 years) oil-field tools company (primarily down-hole equipment) with a Well-Known Name, and they’re growing.
Flight down wasn’t particularly full, so I had an entire exit row to myself (well, the D-E-F seats). Had to wait for the hotel shuttle, which took us to a hotel I won’t stay in ever again that was tragically next door to a hotel (Hilton Garden Inn) that I frequent in my own travels, and which mocked me.
Caught a cab (as per instructions) to the company. If you are in the Houston area and have need of a taxi during the day, call Yellow Cab and ask for Roy McQueen to come pick you up. An excellent driver with a clean and well-maintained Dodge Caravan, he knew how to avoid a fair bit of the freeway traffic mess and I arrived right when I needed to.
There were 6 of us interviewing. All of us were from the Detroit area, and all were in or from the automotive industry. We were told that the company was targeting the auto industry for product engineers, and specifically experienced ones (unsaid but understood by me, at least, is that there’s an awful lot of talent up here that’s not working. If you are an employer looking for engineering talent, the Detroit area is a target-rich environment). Which means they are readily acknowledging that there will be a learning curve on the products themselves — that was one of my concerns, that there would be an expectation that I would have to know everything right from the start.
We had something of a round-robin of 30-minute interviews; and they were friendly, conversational interviews — I’ve had some that were very confrontational, and made me uncomfortable. This was quite the opposite — they clearly wanted to put me at ease. We had a nice catered lunch (mmm, fajitas) and one of the interview sessions was with the HR supervisor to discuss benefits, present the relocation plan, etc. (I have to read that through again). As it happened, I initially had 2 "blank" spots in my dance card, but they were filled with follow-up interviews — one a "meet the team", the other a one-on-one with the senior manager who is running that team. Then we had a tour of the facility, notably the test labs and machine shop, before heading back to the airport and our flight home.
It went well. Very well by my assessment. It remains to be seen if it was "successful" (i.e. I get a solid job offer), but I was comfortable in the environment. The offices had the right "feel" to them, and it is a place I would find enjoyable to work in. The people are friendly, and based on the number of 20+ year veterans I met, it’s clearly an environment that inspires loyalty. I like that.
It also didn’t hurt that it was sunny and in the mid-70s there yesterday. 🙂
So, time to write some thank-yous and do my scans of the job listings. I’m still unemployed.