Sat, Feb 26, 2011 - Page 13 News List

Bean picking as agility test

A woman applying for a position as a technician at a major semiconductor company picks up red beans and rice grains with a pair of tweezers.


Photo: Hung Mei-hsiu, Liberty Times 照片:自由時報記者洪美秀

To become a technician at a major high-tech company in the semiconductor or silicon wafer fields, you must first test your prowess at picking up red beans and grains of rice with a pair of tweezers. You must also have the ability to identify geometric shapes and decide whether characters are missing from a sequence!

Opto Tech Corporation in the Hsinchu Science Park orga-nized the first major recruiting event after the Lunar New Year break at the Hsinchu City Government last Tuesday. At the event, job seekers were asked to pick out red beans with a pair of tweezers. Among more than 50 applicants, about a dozen who did well were hired on the spot.

Major companies in Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park, such as United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), Vanguard International Semiconductor Corporation (VIS) and Opto Tech Corporation, often give applicants simple written tests in order to get a feeling for their responsiveness and agility. Opto Tech produced a box of red, green and soy beans and grains of rice, and asked applicants to pick out three red beans and three green beans with a pair of tweezers. The red bean challenge surprised several applicants who said they found the approach very unusual and hard to prepare for in advance.

Opto Tech said the test shows how steady the applicants hands are. Since Opto Tech is a major LED product company in the semiconductor and silicon wafer industry, technicians have to hold silicon wafers during the production process. If their hands are not steady enough, the wafers could be damaged.

In addition to the bean test, applicants must also do a simple written test related to the manufacturing process. They have to know the meaning of English words such as “war-ning” and “test,” and they also have to recognize geometric shapes and perform arithmetic as well as check whether cha-racters or letters are missing from a sequence. Anyone with a junior high school education should be able to answer the questions.


1. on the spot prep. phr.

當場 (dang1 chang3)

例: I fell for her on the spot, it didn’t even take five seconds.


2. get a feeling for v. phr.

為了解 (wei4 liao2 jie3)

例: I wanted to get a feeling for how good his English was, so I tried to make him talk a lot.


3. separate v.

分開 (fen1 kai1)

例: You have to separate them, men on the left and women on the right.


Opto Tech said some university graduates fail the test as they cannot separate the red beans from the green beans properly. However, most of those who do pass the test are attentive and alert, which is necessary to keep the percentage of wafers that have to be rejected to under one percent. Other major high-tech companies such as UMC, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and VIS also give preliminary tests to screen applicants.

The job fair organized by the Hsinchu City Government provided more than 3,000 job openings. Thirty-eight companies took part in that event. It is now a job seekers’ market.










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