Texas Instruments (abbreviated as TI through the article henceforth) is the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturing firm and a highly coveted company to work at for Electrical Engineers around the globe, India included. It goes without saying, that the TI recruitment process is a tough nut to crack and requires more than a fair bit of preparation and domain knowledge.
In conversation with Gunvarun Singh, an Analog Design Engineer at Texas Instruments and one of TapChief’s top Career Coaches, we get his two cents on the TI recruitment process and how candidates can best prepare for it. Gunvarun, a BITS Pilani Alumnus (Go BITSians!), completed his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering to join Texas Instruments in 2015.
Since joining the TapChief Community of Experts, Gunvarun has empowered numerous students to achieve their career dreams by providing them step-by-step guidance on the recruitment process and the right career advice. He was nice enough to enlighten us on the complete TI recruitment process and what candidates can do to crack it right out of college.
Getting right to it…
Hi Gunvarun! Can you begin by telling us a bit about the various modes of landing a job or internship at Texas Instruments?
Gunvarun: Currently, all the hiring that Texas Instruments does across all roles can be broadly divided into two categories, off-campus and on-campus drives.
For Internships, TI exclusively hires from on-campus drives. That is to say, TI hires via the placement committees of select colleges.
For the full-time roles, TI usually hires via all routes, namely off-campus applications, on-campus drives and promising talent from the internship pool as well.
The off-campus process is opened to applicants in the month of December or January and ends by July when the new batch in inducted into the ranks. The HR department post jobs on the Texas Instruments Careers page periodically, subject to openings across various teams. Apart from the native careers page, you will find professionals evangelizing TI openings on LinkedIn, encouraging eligible candidates to apply.
The exact distribution across these various modes is not fixed and differs from one hiring cycle to the other.
For example, when I joined TI, in 2015, they hired extensively via the off-campus route. But last year, hiring numbers were met with on-campus drives putting a stop to most off-campus applications.
Alright. In your opinion, what is the best means for aspirants to apply to Texas Instruments?
Gunvarun: For anyone looking to apply to TI off-campus, I’d suggest two simple hacks.
Keep a close lookout on the company careers page
Follow the Texas Instruments Page on LinkedIn
Apart from these two pointers, I’d say the most straightforward way to land a job at Texas Instruments is via a referral.
Applicants coming with a referral are treated with much more legitimacy than any other application and can even be considered superior to them. In some cases, applicants who are referred may be fast-tracked to the interview round, bypassing the written test altogether. This, obviously, is contingent on the strength of the applicants’ resume and profile he/she is being considered for.
“A referral is the most convenient way to land a job at Texas Instruments via off-campus placements”
Talking of the second means, that is on-campus placements, it’s pretty simple. Just look out for the placement window when Texas Instruments is visiting your campus and prepare well.
Oh yes! Talking about on-campus placements, can you highlight the key differences between the TI recruiting drive on and off campus? Also, how should students go about preparing for it?
Gunavrun: The primary difference between the on and the off-campus recruiting process is the resume shortlisting. TI has an additional round of resume shortlisting for off-campus applications because of the sheer bulk they receive. For on-campus placements, the process directly begins with an online test. Any undergraduate student with a Bachelors or Masters in Electrical Engineering may appear for the test, provided they clear the CG cut off.
The CG cutoff for the Texas Instruments Test is usually set at around 7 on a scale of 10.
The test is divided into 3 sections.
- Aptitude: The test has 15–20 questions which are MCQ based problems with negative marking.
- Analog Section: 20 questions based on the Analog based courses taught in college. Again, with negative marking.
- Digital Section: 20 MCQ-type questions pertaining to the Digital Design part of Electrical Engineering courses.
The performance of the candidates in the Analog and Design section is used to gauge their affinity towards the Analog and Digital Design profiles respectively. Candidates who clear the cutoff for both profiles are afforded the freedom to sit for both the profiles.
The test cutoffs aren’t set very high to shortlist a hefty number of candidates, around 30–40, to move on to the next round of the recruitment process, the technical interview.
Ooh sounds interesting. Can you tell us a bit about the technical interview round?
Gunvarun: Hehe, sure. The Technical Interview round is conducted across 2–3 interviews, depending on the performance of the batch.
For Tech Interview, one interview is dedicated to the basics of circuit theory and the kind of analog projects that a candidate has on his/her resume. Another round is centered around the candidates’ knowledge of Op Amp (Operational Amplifiers for the uninitiated) based designing and their knowledge of the same. A third round is conducted on a provisional basis, as and when required. It’s a mix of MOS and Op Amp level designing along with RC circuit based questions.
Once the technical rounds are done with, an HR round of interview is conducted. The HR round involves some basic level questions along the lines of:
Why do you want to join the Analog profile as against the Digital Design profile?
Where do you see your career going 2 to 3 years in the future?
Another major focus of the HR round is to take stock of the retention of a potential hire. A question that is often posed to B.Tech. students, particularly the ones with a high CGPA or the ones with a strong profile, is their possibility of going for a Masters Degree a couple of years down the line.
It’s fairly commonplace at TI, as is the case at most Grade-A core companies, to see a high employee attrition rate a couple of years down the line because of them pursuing a Master’s Degree.
Given that this question puts most candidates in a sticky spot, how would you suggest they tackle it?
Gunvarun: As a general rule of thumb, candidates shouldn’t take a hard stand with their aspirations or the lack of, pursuing a Masters Degree in the future.
Lean one way, and you run the risk of coming of as someone who is going to jump ship soon, lean the other, and you sound unambitious.
The best approach to answering this questions takes a diplomatic yet honest stand. Your answer could be
I have given a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering a thought, but before I start working towards it full steam ahead, I’d like to get a better understanding of how it is actually have worked and grown in the domain, both professionally and as an individual.
Off the top of your head, what topics do you think should take the forefront when it comes to preparing for the TI interview and kind of questions to expect of the same?
Gunvarun: Off the top of my head, the three topics that are essential for the TI interview are
- RC, RL and LC Circuits: The questions revolve around predicting the output of a circuit (both mathematically and intuitively) when the voltage or current source is provided. The interviewers will start with relatively simple circuits and progress towards increasingly complex ones. Questions can also be in determining the time constant of the circuit or plotting the time response under different conditions.
- Op Amps: Questions will revolve around negative and positive feedback of operational amplifiers, filters (Low and High Pass), designing circuits using the same. Calculating gain, plotting frequency response, Bode plots, are also common areas referred to when this topic comes up in an Interview.
- MOSFETs: While interviewers won’t expect an in-depth knowledge in MOSFETs from candidates, but it’s essential that they know the basic concepts and operation, it’s behaviour in the three regions (linear, cut-off and saturation). Questions on this topic are largely theoretical.
Expert Pro Tip: Always keep the interviewer engaged. The goal of your exercise, is not much getting to the right answer, but walking the interviewer through the method and approach to the problem.
That’s it folks, all you need to know about the Texas Instruments recruitment process from an Analog Design Engineer working there. If you are looking for additional insights to crack the TI recruitment process, get on call with Gunvarun on TapChief → Sign Up Now