Shockley’s Weird Recruiting Process

William Shockley had weird ways of recruiting people as one of the Fairchild 8, Vic Grinich, recalls.

In 1956, looking at the job ads in Proceedings of the IRE, Grinich noticed an ad in code.

“It was a very simple code and didn’t require very much time to decrypt it and it was a job ad working for Shockley Labs,’ Grinich tells former National Semiconductor Charlie Sporck in an interview for Sporck’s book SPINOFF.

“When we got together he proceeded to give me a oral quiz as if I were a PhD candidate and I guess he felt he had to stump me, which he did,” recalls Grinich.

He was offered a job at $700 or $800 a month. “”It was considered a princely sum,” says Grinich.



  1. It’s a wonder he wasn’t greenish with pointy ears.
    Live Long & Prosper.

  2. Schockley had a number of wierd ways – just read his biography. They were all part of a mind that worked in a logical fashion – but to its own set of logical rules. Start from a premise, follow through the logic and then act on the result. But he had zero empathy – so it didn’t matter if the result of this logic upset other people. “The logic is that this is so, so why are you whinging?”
    But one could argue that he is just at the extreme end of engineering behaviour and anyoone in electronics has worked with more than one person that tends towards this view point.

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