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The Architecture Job Application: Hints & Suggestions from Potential Employees

Aug 13 '07 53 Last Comment
alias.wavefront
Aug 13, 07 8:38 pm

The Job Application Feature is a great thing. But, as someone who's been back and forth on the other side of that table a lot recently, there's some stuff I feel should be said from that POV as well.

The first, and this is a big one: If someone takes the time to seek you out, figures out how to get in touch, assembles and edits a portfolio sampler, writes a coverletter and an email ... you owe them, at minimum, a perfunctory email back. It doesn't matter who you are, or how many things like this you get, someone in the office should send a note back, at least to say 'thanks, but no thanks'.

I've been looking for a few weeks now, and I'm continuously amazed at how many places don't even bother to do that. Even places that have put up notices on archinect and elsewhere that they're hiring.

Send a reply. To ignore serious inquiries is completely unprofessional.

 

b3tadine[sutures]
Aug 13, 07 9:27 pm

Here's another one for the list;

If you go through the effort to contact me, set-up an appointment for an interview, don't send me a letter 1 week later saying we have no positions available, but will keep your resume on file. It will only cause me to call you and cancel the interview and call you an asshole for wasting my time.

mces
Aug 14, 07 1:32 am

I'll add the list:
- please read carefully the resume before u interview...
- please mention in ur ad if u want to pay below market rate salary, we are not magicians that can know how much you will pay..

Janosh
Aug 14, 07 9:51 am

I'm theoretically agreed with employers responding to every job inquiry, but I'm not sure it is possible. We are a small firm with 20 some employees. Architects review the resumes and conduct interviews, and we get probably 200 job inquiries a week. Most of them are total throwaways ("Dear to Whom it may be concerning" was a favorite, but the sheer volume makes it hard to be conscientious to everyone.

So here's mine: If you can't be bothered to at least look at the website of the firm you are applying to and customize your cover letter, you might also save time by not applying.

quizzical
Aug 14, 07 10:48 am
Jonash

.. I agree .. we routinely receive resumes with cover letters applying for a specific job we have advertised. 50% (at least) are not even remotely qualified and don't offer qualifications even remotely consistent with those enumerated in the job ad. If you're an interior designer and you're applying for a job that requires an architectural degree, you're just wasting my time. and you're demonstrating that you're not discriminating in your own personal judgments.

mces wants employers to read the resume before interviewing ... I do that, but I also say that candidates should pay close attention to what's in our job ad and not just fill up our in boxes with credentials that don't come close to meeting the stated requirements.

alias.webfront ... I also agree that candidates deserve a response (especially if they're responding to an ad) but there's a corollary behavior to that also -- if you post your resume on a public job board (such as AIA.org or Amazon) and an employer contacts you about an opening, give that employer the same courtesy you would expect if you had sent the firm a resume.

And, don't just keep your resume posted if you've already taken a job and are not seriously in the market for new employment. Nothing pisses me off more that contacting a candidate who's posted his/her resume, only to find out the candidate took a job 3-months ago, or simply keeps a resume posted at all times as part of a "fishing" expedition and really isn't all that interested in making a move right now.

Bloopox
Aug 14, 07 10:52 am

I do understand the point of view of the job seekers who feel that they deserve the courtesy of a reply. I do try to respond to most applicants. But they should understand that if a firm is hiring then most likely the firm is very busy. Larger firms may have HR departments or a person who has dedicated time for these tasks. But in a small firm that's not usually the case. And they should understand tha the hiring process can take several weeks or even a couple months, and that if they haven't heard in "a few weeks" that doesn't mean we're not considering them or that we don't intend to let them know.

Last time I put an ad out we got several hundred responses within two weeks. Many are basically spam - people saying "why hire when you can outsource to us in Moldova", people saying "I know you said you're only hiring people who are legally employable in the US, but let's cut a deal", etc. Then there's a category of people who are applying earnestly, but don't come close to fitting the requirements. I usually write back to those people pretty quickly with a polite but cookie-cutter response
The "we'll keep your resume on file" thing is pretty standard. We really are required by law to keep resumes on file for 1 year if they're sent in response to an advertisement (whereas if they're not solicited then firms can legally throw them away and have no obligation to even look at them). But beta: it sounds like there was obviously a miscommunication in your situation. It sounds like either two separate people were responsible for both scheduling an interview and saying "no thanks", or that one person is particularly disorganized right now. I'd call and clarify.

If you apply and you fall into the category of people who might fit our current requirements, then sometimes the reason you might not have heard anything is because you might be in the file of people we are considering interviewing. I understand that if you've been looking for a few weeks you feel anxious to hear from everyone. But for us it usually takes 3 weeks or so to put together a list of viable candidates AND to find the time to interview them. Interviewing is time-consuming (takes a lot of discussion time, checking references, etc. outside of the interview itself) and we like to try to do this in batches. So it can take more than a few weeks.
I don't like to send "no thanks" notes until we are sure we can't consider you. Please, give us time to get to that conclusion and time to get back to you and to everyone else who applied...

Erin WilliamsErin Williams
Aug 14, 07 12:00 pm

I agree with the "please read the resume" request. I submitted for an internship position (there was no ad to respond to, this was a cold call type of deal), and was called in for an interview half an hour later. So I drive 45 minutes to get to this place, to be told that they don't hire anyone with less than two years of post-graduation experience. Which was very akward, seeing as I stated very clearly on the resume that I was a third year architecture student looking for a summer job..... major waste of time for all concerned.

manamana
Aug 14, 07 12:19 pm

I don't mind not getting a response if I just cold-emailed or responded to an ad...But when you've had two interviews and told that they'll get back to you with a final decision in the next week/3 days/etc....stick to it, even if it's just to say you need more time. I'm AMAZED at the number of times myself or acquaintances have been left in the dark for weeks and weeks before being told no.

quizzical
Aug 14, 07 1:06 pm
manamana

- while I understand your frustration, it's easy enough to pick up the phone or send a brief e-mail to inquire about the status of your application ... do it in the guise of thanking them for the interview ... I can't imagine anybody would be offended or disturbed by your initiative ... an you can cure your own angst.

AP
Aug 14, 07 2:29 pm

quizzical, i have to 2nd to manamana's comment.

during my nyc job search, i had 3 types of response:

1. email or phone call with offer of employment (about half)

2. email to say "no thanks" (1 firm)

or

3. no post-interview response whatsoever (the rest of 'em)...

for most of my interviews, i followed up with the thinly veiled "thank you for taking the time to interview me" email. didn't seem to do the trick. still no response.

frankly, it didn't bother me too much because i had a few great job offers to choose from. more than anything, it was informative...now i know that's just how some people roll...

...

on replying to every resume sent...well, as stated by others above, it's just not a reasonable expectation for a job seeker to have...

*shout out to Henry Smith-Miller of Smith-Miller + Hawkinson, who replied to my cold-call email within 24 hours, complimenting my portfolio, and politely saying that they weren't hiring.

quizzical
Aug 14, 07 2:59 pm

well ... let's just chalk that up to Manhattan and poor manners.

Erin WilliamsErin Williams
Aug 14, 07 3:12 pm

meh, happens in CA too. I've had interviews where they said "we'll let you know by next friday", and when friday comes and goes, and I call and leave a message I get no response. And every time I call the person is magically "in a meeting" or, "on the other line" or something. And you really can only leave a message once, mayyybe twice, otherwise they get creeped out. But really, it would be better manners to just tell you the truth.

quizzical
Aug 14, 07 3:27 pm

While I definitely do not condone the behavior you describe, I expect what's happening is that the employer is still looking at a few other candidates, isn't quite ready to give you an offer yet, but doesn't feel like he wants to cut you loose yet either.

I find myself in this situation with candidates all the time -- I've always feel I just need to spell it out to the candidates, much as I do in the paragraph above. Hopefully, the candidate will be mature enough to accept the validity of that conundrum.

The truth is, candidates face the same problem, often juggling several offers while still waiting for that dream interview to come through. It's not uncommon for a candidate to "disappear" for a while, as they consider how their other options might play out. So, like so many other aspects of this thread, it's a two way street.

IMHO, candor always is the best policy ... even if the other party really doesn't want to hear what you have to say.

alias.wavefront
Aug 14, 07 7:32 pm

It doesn't take that much effort to have a file somewhere with a canned 'you're on file' response that you can copy/paste into a reply. Shoutout to LTL for doing just that. Very professional, y'all, thank you.

I think it's arrogance and bad manners to do otherwise. And, to be clear, I've got a degree from a top tier school and a lot of diverse professional experience: from executing real projects with local boutiques to the requisite dues-paying underpaid starchitect servitude ... english is my first language and I write articulate, customized coverletters to go with every inquiry. No false modesty: I'm qualified. Even if the process takes time, and I know it does, a 'thanks, we'll let you know' response is also appreciated.

To firms: you're losing touch with a lot of qualified people if you continue to ignore applicants.

A related issue to add to the list: don't create a whole employment section on your website, complete with an elaborate submission process and strict filenaming conventions, if your real hiring pool is exclusively former students. I understand the 'you gotta know somebody' thing, but if there's really no chance of even getting a message returned, don't waste my time.

digger
Aug 14, 07 8:07 pm

look - don't lump all firms together - the behavior you're ranting about is NOT universal - any more than the idea that all candidates are boorish, self-centered jack-asses (all recent evidence to the contrary).

file
Aug 14, 07 8:24 pm
alias.wavefront

- chill out, dude. you might have a slightly different attitude if you read through about 100 resumes each and every week - typically after hours, when you'd rather be home with your spouse and kid.

the fact is , most of what we read is simply crap - poor organization, lousy graphics, horrible spelling and grammar, not to mention no experience related to what we advertised.

if you want to get angry at somebody, yell at your generational colleagues who waste tons of my time and generally leave me with a sour taste in my mouth.

despite that, I still try to respond to all resumes within a week.

outed
Aug 14, 07 8:36 pm

i'll just 'amen' a lot of what quizzical and bloopox have said above ( being on the hiring end now) and simply say that firms are, like all people, very different. we try to handle our business upfront, tell people what the process is like (if we're advertising) and try to give everyone who sends something in at least an email reply. we've interviewed people when we were not actively hiring, but been candid about that in the reply setting up the interview. and most people, who are adults, tend to understand that.

one thing to all job seekers reading this: understand that everyone of us interviewing you has been in your shoes once upon a time. we've all had those anxieties and maybe those experiences have helped shape how we handle the process now (for better or worse). our first loyalty is to our firm, not you (no offense). we'd like to keep this whole thing as productive and painless as you do....

alias.wavefront
Aug 14, 07 8:45 pm

Serious respect to Bloopox, quizzical, file, laru, and everybody out there who has to wade through the incoming tide, I notice all of you have gone out of your way to say that you do reply to incoming resumes, bully for that.

But let me ask you all a question: do you work for someone famous, doing good, high profile work? How's the turnover?

Do you think that hiring based solely on networking, referrals, and former students has done you any favors? Or has it just got you a bunch of semi-qualified climbers and comers who are onto something else within a year? Ever wonder about the people you're missing in the pile? Ever get sick of retraining everybody in basic skills?

Again, this isn't me: 'the fact is , most of what we read is simply crap - poor organization, lousy graphics, horrible spelling and grammar, not to mention no experience related to what we advertised.'

I can spell, write, even design ...

And as for this: 'if you want to get angry at somebody, yell at your generational colleagues who waste tons of my time and generally leave me with a sour taste in my mouth.'

are there too many students graduating?

won and done williams
Aug 14, 07 9:10 pm

alias, calmly walk away from academia and all related practices, i guarantee all this tension and stress you are experiencing will slough right off. (and believe it or not, you can still do good work!)

outed
Aug 14, 07 9:18 pm

alias -

i'm a principal in my own firm. i'd like to think our work is good, but we are certainly not known (yet) beyond the confines of our own city.

turnover has been good - we've had people leave to go to school, etc., but none of the more 'permanent' hires have left. we've only had to let one person go who simply did not work out professionally.

hiring on referrals is something we've done, but also open casting calls. most of our full time, permanent (and i'm distinguishing between that and, say, a summer hire) hires have come from open job postings. all of our part-time or seasonal hires have been through referral. to explain - when we decide we need summer help, it's usually short notice (for us) and we rely on reliable people. knowing a person's skill sets (or having someone vouch for them) helps immensely, as does their personality.

hate retraining people, so, yes, having skills is a must.

as to 'are there too many students graduating'.... that is a very loaded question. the short answer is 'no'. however, what has changed rapidly (over the last couple of years) is that the rise of bim softwares, as well as the abundance of work firms have, is changing the job skills we're looking for. people that have some genuine ability and knowledge of how to put a building together are simply more valuable than those who do not. because, with revit (which is what we are on), i can't have you flailing around with near guesses on creating a wall section, or completely postpone that kind of decision until much later in the process. i need people who can 'get' that kind of construction knowledge very quickly to have the process retain any kind of efficiency. so, if my choice is to hire a recent grad, who is a maya whiz, or a 2-3 year person who knows something about a building, i'm going to pay the little bit extra and take the experience.(conversely, if there's someone who is cad dumb, but has 10 years experience and someone who has 5 years and is revit saavy, i'll probably take the 5 year). the single most coveted employee, nationwide right now, is the 4-7 years experienced person. there simply aren't enough to go around right now.

binary
Aug 14, 07 9:19 pm

the problem i have had over the years is that since i have been self employed for 8 years now, when i was looking for an office job, i was looked down upon for being self employed...... there were times where i needed to get back into the office but never happened..... i need IDP and want to get registered...wtf......

also, review my portfolio and not just my resume....sure i dont know viz/excel/photoshop to the highest degree..... but the fact that i can detail/shop drawings and have designed and built projects i think that has more weight than a damn program......wtf......


but i'm over it.....


drop me a line if you need a model.......or some design work/etc...


b

Bloopox
Aug 14, 07 10:09 pm

alias: no, I don't work for someone famous. I used to, and in that setting the hiring was a lot more connections-based. The famous firm also had a person assigned to resume screening duties (his nickname was Gatekeeper) who was an upper-level intern type who'd been there a couple years. The majority of resumes never made it past his desk. Think about that when you send things to firms - it's not necessarily the principals who are looking at your materials. You might even be screened initially by somebody who views you as competition for positions at the next level. That's another reason to submit flawless materials. You don't want that gatekeeper to have any reason to toss your resume.

I think my current firm does good work. Some of it is high profile, most of it isn't. Turnover is predictably high among younger, more entry-level people (they average about 18 months.) I don't think that's unusual - the average intern supposedly holds 4 or 5 jobs over the course of 3 to 8 years before getting licensed. More experienced people tend to stay longer - most have been here for 4 years or more.

I think that hiring based on networking, referrals, and former students is desirable, and when it turns up the right candidate with the right experience at the right time those people have usually worked out well. But we have to advertise sometimes, and that also turns up good candidates eventually. It's a lot more time-consuming, since it also turns up not-good candidates. But I don't think that the good candidates of either category are better than the other.

I tend to feel that we go to far in trying NOT to "miss people in the pile" by interviewing some people who are pretty iffy on paper. Way more often than not those people turn out also pretty iffy in person.

Yes, I get tired of training everybody in basic skills. But it's unavoidable if we hire people with little or no experience, and it's just one of those things that has to happen. I try not to act like I'm tired of it! People were patient with me and I try to be that way too.

I don't think there are too many students graduating. The numbers are supposedly somewhat lower now than they were 15 years ago.
I do think that there are too many brand new grads with NO idea what happens in a real firm, and many of them have an inflated idea of their usefulness to firms at that point in their careers. I think there are too many people graduating who have never had an internship or part-time job in an architecture firm, and too many with portfolios full of beautiful schematic drawings and renderings who can't draw a wall section.

quizzical
Aug 15, 07 8:55 am

alias ... I think you're railing against a process over which you have little control or influence. It's really not about whether your candidacy is highly differentiated from all the other cats and dogs ... it's simply that there's a whole lot of static inherent in the process and, despite what you otherwise may wish, you're just a small part of that ... firms are busy ... some pay more attention to the process than do others ... architects are not skilled managers and often can be rude ... there's lots and lots of unqualified candidates already vying for the same jobs you seek.

these are the background conditions ... I'm not going to say "get over it" but while getting angry might make you feel better, but it's not likely to change anybody's behavior and it certainly won't change the process in any material way.

you know what bothers you at your existing firm -- you know what bothers you in the job search process -- not all firm's are like that -- put your credentials out there in search of a firm that CAN meet your expectations -- THAT firm will respond to your resume and treat you with the respect you so desparately seek. Don't sweat the other ones.

alias.wavefront
Aug 15, 07 10:42 am

Yeah, I am definitely venting here, and maybe playing up my aggravation for rhetorical effect. The 'alias' in the name is not accidental, this was an account created to vent.

I think jafidler hits it on the head with his comment about walking away from all practices related to academia. That was the initial pool of firms that I contacted, and yes, the arrogance and flake factors have been extraordinarily high. Big surprise, right? One place, when they finally did get back, invited me to interview for an 'internship', thanks guys, but I was an intern back in 2001.

I want to believe that things we complain about here in the profession are overblown myths, and that there really are a lot of opportunities out there for someone who's engaged, with a solid background, and the willingness to work (very) hard. But my circuit through the academically connected starchitect scene in NYC has done nothing but confirm every worst nightmare: cronyism, petty intellectual turf wars, bad management, and outright indifferent rudeness. I've seen some things and heard about some other things that would make your hair curl (trading sex for references?), and it's really depressing ...

quizzical
Aug 15, 07 11:19 am

escape, my man, escape ... NYC ain't at all like the rest of the world.

Bloopox
Aug 15, 07 12:01 pm

I wouldn't get too upset about the "internship" title. Are you licensed? If not you're an intern and your job is an internship - unless you're more of a paraprofessional and not on the path to licensure, in which case you're more of a "technician" Intern is the correct designation in architecture, and a lot of firms will advertise an "internship" when they mean a job for someone with 2 to 5 years of experience. Yes, it sucks that in other professions interns are college students working for free, while in architecture they can have a professional degree and be salaried professionals with years of experience.
But most of the states don't allow anyone unlicensed to use "architect", "architecture", or "architectural" in their titles. A few states also regulate "designer". Insurance companies dictate to firms that they not use "manager" or "project" in the titles of unlicensed people. That pretty much leaves titles like "technician" and "intern" (see lots of other threads on that.)
I think you're being a little oversensitive.

won and done williams
Aug 15, 07 12:28 pm

quizzical, i don't think it's limited to nyc or la. petty academic cronyism happens everywhere. when i finished grad school, i felt very apprehensive about getting out of that loop, that the quality of the work i was doing would suffer. instead i found that there's a lot you can learn, about obvious things like professional practice and construction, that you will have a very difficult time learning within the academic/starchitect circles. it was an essential part of my education to get away from that insular world. i am looking for more of a balance these days between pure design and service professionalism, but i feel the time away from the academic world and the knowledge gained has only helped me as i move back towards work with more of a design emphasis.

Steven WardSteven Ward
Aug 15, 07 12:32 pm

just thinking about alias' circumstances and observations makes me sad. that's not who we are, is it? not seeing it here, anyway.

simples
Aug 15, 07 1:29 pm

imho, alias' views seem to be focused on "academically connected starchitect scene in NYC"...my advice mirrors some of the above: look for an architecture firm interested in producing quality buildings with a solid professional practice.

Steven...no, not us in the professional "trenches".



question to everyone, is it wrong to suggest that firms that are involved in unethical practices (hiring, professionally...such as "trading sex for references") be held accountable in non-anonymous terms. perhaps not in on-line forums, but maybe in a letter to your state licensing board and the aia.

quizzical
Aug 15, 07 1:33 pm

the aia has a well defined procedure for dealing with complaints related to possible violations of their Canons of Ethics ... see: Rules of Procedure

Formerlyunknown
Aug 15, 07 1:49 pm

The AIA has a well defined procedure, and every year the AIA "court" hears a bunch of cases. But the AIA has no actual regulatory powers, and the only things they can do are "censure" or "sanction" the member (which means the member gets written up in the annals of AIA decisions, and they get an official sanction or censure letter), or they can expel the member from the AIA.

These ceremonious AIA measures can be enough to shame an employer who does something like refuss to let a former employee take work samples with them, or fails to give a former partner or a collaborating firm credit for their work on a project that is published or used in marketing materials, or includes the resumes of people they haven't hired yet in a firm qualifications package.

But something like trading sex for references is obviously a criminal matter and the AIA doesn't have any mechanism to deal with that. It's obviously a matter for law enforcement and the judicial system. State licensing boards can suspend or revoke licenses of architects convicted of crimes, but they can't investigate this type of crime. The AIA can also revoke membership of those convicted of crimes.

alias.wavefront
Aug 15, 07 1:57 pm

@ Bloopox - that's exactly the first thing I thought, so I asked for clarification on their use of the term, pointing out that the usual title for people with my level of experience was 'junior architect' but they said, no, they were only hiring at the intern level, not looking for junior architects. I have 3 years professional experience, 2 degrees in architecture, and I've been out of grad school for a year ...

@ simples - I think another question for the AIA and licensing boards is the use of the term 'Architect' by people that aren't. There are so many of these places, all over the country but especially in the big east and west coast academic towns, that have no licensed architects at any level in the firm. As someone who's trying to contine to develop professionally, with the eventual goal of becoming a real (ie licensed) architect, wading through all the fakers takes a lot of time, there should be a big sign on the door warning people away: No IDP Available Here. That's a lot more prevalent, easier to verify, and legally actionable than sex for references about which I only know one example, and it's barely more than a second hand rumor, but I like it because it makes a nice capper to my own misguided attempts to submit material to this same firm.

@jafidler - I couldn't agree with you more, I'm so burntout on the academic set now, after so many years of swallowing the lie that this is the only place where 'things are happening', it's tough to do, but I'm ready to leave it all behind, too.

Formerlyunknown
Aug 15, 07 2:29 pm

3 years of professional experience is an intern. It's an "Intern III" according the AIA designations. Junior Architect is an invention of interns and employers who don't like the intern label. Some state boards will fine both the intern and the firm if they get hold of business card or letterhead with "Junior Architect" on it in reference to someone unlicensed (California, New York, and Pennsylvania are especially militant.) A few states specifically allow "Architect in Training" for those enrolled in IDP, but most don't.

As for "architect" used by people who aren't: if there are firms with that word in their name and they have no licensed people then the state boards will take action if they know about it. Some boards are more militant than others. Also the laws vary from state to state - for example in Massachusetts an architecture firm can be entirely owned by non-architects, while in most states 50%, 67%, or 100% of partners must be registered...

alias.wavefront
Aug 15, 07 9:34 pm

Formerlyunknown - I know that 'junior architect' has no legal standing, and that yes, NCARB would like us to call ourselves 'interns' even if we're 40 years old, but that's not the point. This place meant 'intern' as in 'one who is poorly paid and does low level tasks for long hours just to learn the ropes and pay dues and bask in our reflected glory' I asked them as much, and they said as much. It's insulting to even offer a person with 3 years (non-'intern') experience a position like that. This is a firm run by people who are not licensed in the US, by the way.

It just drives home the other point, that NCARB is chasing the people at the low end of the scale, while those at the other end, the end with the potential to do far more damage, use the term unchecked. I wonder what a list of all the unlicensed starchitects would look like? Maybe that's another thread ...

Bloopox
Aug 15, 07 9:46 pm

Actually NCARB is in favor of the "architect in training", "junior architect", etc. terms. The AIA has also voiced the opinion that young people should be able to use "architect", "architectural", etc. and a person with 3+ years of experience is called "Architect 1" in the AIA salary surveys ("Intern 3" is a person in their third year of fulltime work after graduation, "Architect 1" has 3 to 5 years experience with or without a license). NCARB and the AIA aren't chasing anyone over these title issues. It's the state boards that make those laws.

outed
Aug 16, 07 7:41 am

bloopox -

actually, the formal position of the aia is that interns be accorded one of the following two:

intern architect

or

architectural intern

which is exactly what ncarb refers to them as. aia has not (and absolutely will not) endorsed allowing non-licensed architects to be called 'architects' without a qualifier of some sort. and they are very picky about the qualifiers. what they do not want to happen is have someone be able to mislead the general public about their licensure status.

of course, almost every firm who realizes any better, tries to come up with other terms that get rid of the word 'intern', but doesn't flat out say 'architect'. 'junior architect', to me, sounds worse than intern architect. we stick with 'designer' or 'job captain' or something a little more authorial.

won and done williams
Aug 16, 07 9:32 am

oh boy, not the "intern/architect" debate again. i gave in a long time ago. i am an intern until i get licensed. all the semantic games seems like a waste of time and energy (unless employers are using this as a means of stiffing highly experienced people; even then why not bite the bullet and get the license?)

doctors go through an internship without it damaging their pride; why not architects?

archicleveland
Aug 16, 07 9:18 pm

having just gone through a (successful!) long distance job search, i have two helpful hints to employers:

1) if i put up my own money to travel halfway across the country to interview at your office then you owe me the courtesy of telling me that you are not interested in hiring me. i'd rather have a rejection letter than nothing at all.

2) considering i do not live in your city, do not ask me in for an interview if you do not have a job opening. need i say more?

and don't chalk the general employer inconsiderateness up to new york city stereotypes because it happens everywhere, specifically for me in washington dc and los angeles.

David CuthbertDavid Cuthbert
Aug 16, 07 10:44 pm

here's another and one that has recently occurred.

Don't interview me once, and then interview again the following week, telling me how much you want me to fill the post then take nearly 5 times that long to send me something official. It makes the sirens in my head go crazy, that this isn't the place to be because no matter what you won't take me 100% seriously.

David CuthbertDavid Cuthbert
Aug 16, 07 10:55 pm

For the applicants (like others I've been on both sides)

limit the amount of fonts used in your resume...if anything its hard to read, spell check everything, make sure you include your contact information, give an idea what we can expect from you by detailing your most previous employment, if you have none don't claim you know what you are doing - honesty beats a royal flush, when listing your personal activities think about it before writing it down, pass everything by a coworker/fellow architect - get their thoughts...more later

BlueGoose
Aug 16, 07 10:58 pm
"here's another and one that has recently occurred."

Don't solicit an interview with our firm, run us through several interviews, accept two lunches and one very expensive dinner, spend the better part of a week playing hard ball over the job offer, finally accept the offer verbally and then shop the offer to your current employer to extort a big raise.

The knife cuts both ways.

Fred ScharmenFred Scharmen
Aug 17, 07 9:21 am

Wow, that is some serious stuff, BG. Somebody out there really thinks they're a player ... when in fact they're a complete jackass.

Ms Beary
Aug 17, 07 10:51 am

the "intern/architect" debate! ha ha. I think the unlicensed 40 year olds SHOULD be called intern TO LIGHT A FIRE UNDER THEIR ASSES. Especially when you know they can pass the exam, they just don't do it for... who knows why?

now, that's gonna piss someone off...

stone
Aug 17, 07 11:26 am

the truth will set you free .... good post, straw ... maybe these folks need to get pissed off.

ryanj
Apr 24, 08 9:56 pm

As a soon-to-be graduate I had to bump this thread because it's been a big help in the early application process (I graduate in August). So BUMP, there is. Or maybe it's, whoop, there it is...nevermind.


A couple of quick questions in regard to the firms answers:

1. When they say that they prefer digital format does that mean in a pdf e-mail attachment (as someone seeking an interview)? or something else?

2. Are website links in anyway appropriate*

*I am currently finishing my master's design studio (thesis), thus this work is not included in the current portfolio. However, the work is posted to my website. Is it okay to say something like 'all previous work including in portfolio, for current design work please see website'.

3. What is the appropriate lead time to send out e-mail's with the purpose of requesting an interview? Is 3 weeks enough? (ideal, i'd interview mid/late may)

4. Can a well-crafted, personalized e-mail count in lieu of the cover letter? (Reason being, I think 3 attachments is a bit much for an e-mail, so when you're already sending resume/portfolio it may be better to integrate cover letter into e-mail IMO).

Thanks in advance for your help!

Apurimac
Apr 24, 08 10:31 pm

Does anybody else find job interviewing to be exactly like dating?

ryanj
Apr 24, 08 10:39 pm

" "Janice, I apologize to you if I don’t seem real eager to jump into a forced awkward intimate situation that people like to call dating. I don’t like the feeling. You’re sitting there, you’re wondering do I have food on my face, am I eating, am I talking too much, are they talking enough, am I interested I’m not really interested, should I play like I’m interested but I’m not that interested but I think she might be interested but do I want to be interested but now she’s not interested? So all of the sudden I’m getting, I’m starting to get interested… And when am I supposed to kiss her? Do I have to wait for the door cause then it’s awkward, it’s like well goodnight. Do you do like that ass-out hug? Where you like, you hug each other like this and your ass sticks out cause you’re trying not to get too close or do you just go right in and kiss them on the lips or don’t kiss them at all? It’s very difficult trying to read the situation. And all the while you’re just really wondering are we gonna get hopped up enough to make some bad decisions? Perhaps play a little game called “just the tip”. Just for a second, just to see how it feels. Or, ouch, ouch you’re on my hair."

treekiller
Apr 25, 08 9:48 am

4- an email is NEVER appropriate for a cover letter. keep the email to what is attached and what position you're applying for. attach the cover letter as a pdf. the cover letter should include why you are applying to that firm, skillz and experiences that make you a great candidate that don't appear on your resume, when you are available/graduate/visiting that city, and other pertinent details that can make you stand out.

3- three to six weeks between sending a resume and getting an interview is typically what I've encountered. on occasions I've gotten interview request the same day and over six months later.

2- why not. just make sure they have a good reason to visit with some teaser images. also keep the website simple, well designed, and NO music. an FTP site can also work with very clear instructions of how to access the site.

1- PDFs always work, also word files (though this can wreck havoc with image quality), or mailing a CD/DVD works. Keep the total attachments as small as possible. less then 5mb typically is fine, some places have smaller file sizes. Never ever send 20mb via email without prior consent in the current email regime.

Good luck!

quizzical
Apr 25, 08 9:56 am
ryanj

: a few comments about your questions ...

1. In every case, I prefer digital format (sent via e-mail) to mailed-in credentials because it's much easier to route such materials around the office for others to view. Increasingly, I'd rather NOT receive a CD -- hard to store and fool with. In the best of all worlds, the candidate's submittal will be a single PDF containing the cover letter, the resume, and a few samples of the candidate's work. Some candidates obsess about sending super-high-rez images -- for the most part that's not necessary -- in our firm, most of the viewing (before the interview stage) is done on-screen -- high-rez is a waste of bandwidth and not necessary when viewing on a monitor.

2. I love to receive links to websites -- provided the website is well designed, functions as designed and is relatively fast. If it bogs down, I close it down and move on to something else. Websites are a very good way to supplement the few work samples provided with the resume. If I want to see more after reviewing the PDF, I will be motivated to open the website.

3. 3 weeks should be fine -- firms will tend to process applications based on a) their need, b) how busy the individual is who handles recruitment, and c) how easy your submittal is to review. Don't expect firms to drop everything they're doing simply to review your credentials -- this is a very busy time of year for people who handle recruitment (I receive about 30 submittals per week from March-June) -- respectfully, you are not the center of our universe and we'll get to your submittal as quickly as we can.

4. I prefer a well written e-mail to a cover-letter attachment -- especially if the candidate is sending multiple files -- I want to open as few files as possible to learn what I need to know about the candidate.

Of course, every firm is somewhat different as to their preferences -- these views are strictly my own.

Good luck -- hope this helps.

ryanj
Apr 25, 08 11:50 am

Thank you tk and quizzical for the timely advice.

I decided to send an e-mail with an attached resume and small portfolio of work samples (3 projects). Also, due to my final studio still being in progress, I also decided to include a link to my website. I agree tk, no music is good advice, I previous had a tune embedded, but it was bogging down the upload time!

I've been able to set up 2 interviews for the week of May 19th, which seems to fit the 3-6 week window. Thanks Q! I also decided to integrate the cover letter into the body of the e-mail, which thus far has worked favorably (2 responses, 2 interviews).

Thanks again for your words of wisdom!

Phillip CrosbyPhillip Crosby
Apr 29, 08 11:09 am

i'll add a new one...

BE SURE TO SPELL YOUR NAME CORRECTLY ON YOUR RESUME!!!

i reviewed a resume a few weeks ago where the person spelled their name two different ways on the same page... needless to say, that one was permanently filed in the trash bin...

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