Answer by Ramdas Mozhikunnath:
Most of the VLSI companies like Qualcomm, Intel, Freescale, Broadcom, ARM, Nvidia and many others hire fresh graduates from campus either as direct employees or as interns. VLSI companies may also conduct offline recruitment drives for fresh graduates as well as consider candidates through employee reference. The hiring process can vary based on candidate experience – may include written tests for entry level engineers to several rounds of technical interviews as well as a behavioral interview.VLSI is a broad spectrum of technologies and there are several sub categories of jobs that companies hire for which can be broadly in three categories1) Front end design (RTL design, microarchitecture, Functional Verification, Synthesis etc),2) Back end design (Floorplanning, Placement and routing, Timing and Clock Tree synthesis etc) as well as in3) Silicon Validation and Testing (HW and SW framework and test generation for silicon testing in lab)A lot of the interview topics – be it for written tests or for interviews – are common and for entry level engineers and needs preparation of fundamentals of VLSI technologies. These can include following topics in general:In addition if a candidate is experienced in a specific domain, then the interview process will focus more deep into his specific area of expertise.Digital Electronics/Digital Logic/Computer Architecture: This forms very important part of any VLSI interview and can include questions related to Combinational/Sequential circuits, logic design using Gates, State machines, etc. Since more digital designs are trending to System on Chip designs, computer architecture is also a related subject and needs preparation in terms of Processor and Cache architecture, knowledge of different Bus Protocols and Architectures etcProgramming Basics/HDL: For a front end design or verification job, software skills are becoming increasingly important as hardware skills. There can be questions related to basic programming concepts and Hardware Description languages like Verilog, SystemVerilog, C and Object Oriented programming concepts. Level of difficulty can very based on experience and for front end jobs and may vary from basic concepts to programming questions or design implementation , verification methodologies and scripting languages like Perl/Python etc.MOS Transistors/Circuits/Cloc
k Tree: For a backend design job, it is important to understand the MOS transistor theory, process technologies, cross talk and transmission line effects, Clock Tree and Power distribution mechanisms, Timing analysis, buffer modelling etc.Logical Reasoning/Aptitude: Test of problem solving skills. Sometimes Aptitude and programing questions are combined and candidates are asked to solve a aptitude question using a program.Behavioral: In addition to having strong technical skills , behavioral skills form an important part of any company's work culture and hence this also need some basic preparation. Questions like your interests and passions, strengths and weakness, short and long term career goals, your ability to work in teams and handle conflicts etc are judge in this round.In terms of resources, your course text books are the best to refresh and make your fundamental concepts thorough while for sample questions and answers, there are a lot of materials online in terms of interview questions or quizzes etc.Hope this helps and Good luck in your preparation and interviews and have a great career !You might also want to read my related answer on a similar topic –
How do I prepare for interviews in VLSI profile companies like Qualcomm, Freecale etc?