I mentioned that I had my ham radio license during a job interview...

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KE0JJG, Feb 14, 2018.

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  1. AG6QR

    AG6QR Subscriber QRZ Page

    I work in computer software, not directly in hardware or electronics. But I have a blurb on my LinkedIn profile under "volunteer activities" that says

    Public Service Radio Volunteer
    Set up radio equipment and provide safety and related communications for various charitable organized hikes, bicycle rides, and races in rural areas that lack cell phone service. Train new amateur radio operators and administer FCC license examinations. Diagnose and repair malfunctioning radio systems, using multimeters, oscilloscopes, signal generators, and other electronic test equipment.

    I've only had it on my profile for one job hunt. I don't think it made a difference, and nobody brought it up during interviews. But I was kind of proud to make the point that I know some technology not directly related to my work. I almost applied to a company that did a combination of software and hardware, and while I would have worked on the software side of things, the fact that I know my way around oscilloscopes and such might have allowed me to claim I know how to speak to hardware people, at least a little bit.

    Whether ham radio is a positive, negative, or neutral is going to depend a lot on the position you're applying for, the interviewers, and how you spin it. I've sat on the other side of the interview desk, talking to many job candidates, and I've recommended some for hiring. But normally, by the time we get around to discussing hobbies, if we ever do, my mind has already been made up for a while.
    K2LCK, N2SUB and W3MMM like this.
  2. W2AI

    W2AI QRZ Lifetime Member #240 Life Member Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The MOST important aspect, Jim; was that YOU have a degree in marketing and are experienced in sales. This is what the company you are seeking employment is looking for. However; They are also aware you are approaching retirement age and are in the workforce for a short term. At age 58, you should be thinking of retirement in the near future and whether you have sufficient funds to sustain yourself if and when you do decide to retire. Good luck!!
    W4IOA likes this.
  3. WZ7U

    WZ7U Subscriber QRZ Page

    No fair peeking at your application Charlie! :p
  4. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    The weird thing is, in the two way radio industry, a ham license can have a negative affect when shown on your resume. That's because most people in the industry are familiar with what it is, and are sometimes turned off by it, especially if they don't have a ham license. Hams are sometimes perceived as being too hobby oriented, wanting to do projects on company time, or borrowing test equipment or tools to do home or club projects. Depending on the employer, this can be a problem.
    WA3VJB and KY5U like this.
  5. G3YRO

    G3YRO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm sure it made a BIG difference when I brought it up at my Interviews for University ! (I went to 3 different ones I had applied to)

    The interviewers were very impressed when I mentioned I had built my own SSB Transceiver, which I had pretty much designed (using standard circuit techniques) . . . asked me to draw some of the circuitry on the blackboard !

    I remember one being very interested in my efforts to make the VFO stable (I guess most of these Academics had no real practical experience)

    But having said that, when at subsequent Interviews for jobs as a Presenter in Broadcasting, I avoided mentioning it like the plague !

    Roger G3YRO
    N6HCM, N2NH and W0VRA like this.
  6. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have exactly the same experience.

    Managers in these industries sometimes have a very dim view about radio amateurs, and the exact words above could as well have been said by the CEO of my previous employer when he wanted the radio amateurs fired first when the company had to downsize due to a lost major contract.

    I was lucky to quickly find a new position as a consultant in a related field, and, I did not mention my amateur radio background in the interview...

    N2NH likes this.
  7. W3MMM

    W3MMM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think it goes like this:

    In a completely non-technical job, such as laying down asphalt, it is probably a waste of time to mention it.

    In a job that is partly technical but not radio related, it is probably OK in passing. So a job working at a PC, or in IT, or the like...it might show that you enjoy technology as a hobby.

    In a job that is pretty close to ham radio, say, the broadcast industry or mobile radio sales...you should probably hold off until after you get the job, as the hiring team has probably worked with hams in the past and may have a dim view based on some bad apples.

    In a ham radio field (such as working at ARRL HQ or DX Engineering) of course you have to mention it.

    I *think* the net is that generally, it is ok to mention it. In the example above where a hiring manager might have had some bad experiences with hams...well, maybe it’s ok to not get that job anyway. By mentioning being a ham up front, you get de-selected and avoid a (possibly) bad work experience. You wouldn’t want to get in there, have the boss find out you’re a ham, then turn on you and make life miserable.

    So, the net is:
    Sure, mention it to stand out, but don’t let it detract from the experience and other value you offer.
    K3XR likes this.
  8. K1TGX

    K1TGX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Brings back memories of my college application days (a seriously long time ago). One of the interviewers asked what my hobbies were (I was applying to the engineering school). When I told him ham radio and photography he started to drill down with questions: did I do my own developing? what did I like to shoot? What kind of ham radio equipment did I have? did I build any of it myself? did I build my own antennas? He seemed very knowledgeable in both areas and asked a lot of questions which I guess showed what I really knew and didn't know about the subjects. In any case, although I didn't apply for early decision my acceptance came very early. To this day I am convinced that's what got me accepted - it certain;y wasn't my mediocre high school grades.
    NL7W and WU8Y like this.
  9. AD5MB

    AD5MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I mentioned in a job interview at an electrical contractor that I was a pilot. Guy said "We don't do a lot of that around here"

    So, you can't find a use for a guy who can operate a complex piece of machinery in a 3 dimensional environment, navigate, communicate, interact with other traffic all going at least 125 mph, on a schedule and within a budget.

    I found an employer who understood that and worked there for 38 years. The electrical contractor was a carpet store next time I saw the building.

    The lesson of the story is: That job interview goes both ways.
    KD4MAX, N4AAB, KI6IPO and 10 others like this.
  10. NE1U

    NE1U Ham Member QRZ Page

    My interview in Motorola Communication Group (back in the day) was greatly improved when I mentioned I had a ham license to the hiring product managers (Micor and Mocom 70). This was the division that built 2-way radios and systems. Having an understanding of RF propagation AND the concept that building electrical circuits does require bench time in addition to analysis ... were priceless to getting a great job in product engineering.
    NL7W likes this.

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