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Interview "stories" - quirky ones

Mar 14 '13 48 Last Comment
observant
Mar 14, 13 3:04 pm

I started in commercial, went over to stick-framed (apartments, senior housing, houses), and went back to commercial.  Keep in mind, these occurred in "better times." Here are the quirkiest interviews I recall:

1. Went to an interview.  The guy was a graduate of a B.Arch. on the other side of the country.  He was very informal, which was good.  He then looked at the bottom of the resume and sees "Other info," showing some proficiency in additional languages.  He comments on it and says "Yeah, I had a Czech girlfriend recently, that f***ing b*tch cheated on me," as if we were at a happy hour.  I thanked him, and he said to call him when I got back from my planned 6 week trip to Europe.  I never did.

Same week (2,3,4):

2.  Went to an interview in a touristic area which is sort of drivable from this large city.  I didn't know what to think.  Both partners were friendly, with one being the businessman and the other the artist, who looked like a cross between Mickey Rourke and a hippie.  I liked the "artsy" guy's work.  He had a great hand.  The artsy guy left the room and the other partner wanted to make me an offer and alludes to the salary zone, about 10K to 15K LESS than the prevailing salary in the big metro area.  I told him I couldn't make an on-the-spot decision since I had other interviews scheduled.  He shook a pile of resumes at me, telling me how much others wanted to work there.  Not for the "scenic discount."

3.  Went to an interview with a firm that was/is borderline published.  They had postcards of their newish office (yikes) in the waiting area.  Considering the guy went to an artsy school, he managed to remain congenial.  This part freaked me out:  about 4 principals' offices were up on a stilted loft in the middle of this large volume, with a staircase that descended into the design/production area.  The interview ended with "I want one of the other partners to take a crack at you,"  which never materialized.  At any rate, the lofty perch above the other employees?  That spoke volumes.  Lofty indeed.

4. Went to an interview with a mid-sized firm that had been around for a long time.  My reading of them is that they would be very "bread and butter."  The partner (Cal Poly SLO) was having a hiccup about the unrelated degree to M.Arch. thing.  I sort of got pissed and said "Look, I finished with a 3.9, so I didn't skip many beats, and I'm licensed."  He then said, "Yeah, you're right" and proceeded to show me around and introduce me to people.  We sat down again and he started talking about the staff composition.  About interns, he said "Yeah, sometimes they're more damn trouble than they're worth."  His nearby assistant looked down in embarrassment.  I got an offer sent to me.  I called up his assistant and told her "I was interested because I liked the nature of the work, but didn't like his attitude."  She said, "Yes, I understand."

Another metro area:

5. Went to an interview where an unlikely  "alumni" link, given the geography, would have been in effect.  The interview was going well, in that it was informal.  The partner then got real informal: "How old are you?  Are you married?  I don't see a wedding band."  I was shown around the office and introduced but thought that, if moronic enough to ask that, I wasn't interested.

6. Major corporate firm.  Approached them the traditional way from within the area, upon graduating, upon interning, and upon licensing. Nothing.  I then got a call from a friend I had gone to school with who had been moved across country to work for them.  He had a modicum of experience in a sector they did, but it wasn't anything like "clean rooms" or hospitals.  Several years later, they got a hold of my resume and wanted me to come in, citing a blend of an architect and "mentor" position.  After all the pawing at their door over the years, I wasn't interested.

7. Good suburban firm.  From their work, their size, and their perceived personality, I was interested in them.  I sent out a resume before moving there, years before, and right after licensing, hoping to get a few interviews while on vacation in town.  I was not able to get an interview at this firm.  About 4 years later, when living in the area, they ran an ad for an opening.  I applied.  I went in and sat down with the principal who handled HR as well.  He pulled out my resume and cover letter, and then pulled out my resume from 4 years before, and remarked that he "had that one, too."  (So, I had to LIVE in town to be interviewed).  "I see."  That was a major turn-off for me.  Between that, and the combination of a pissy attitude and Vincent Price-alike vibe, I wasn't interested.

Question to folks:

In items 6. and 7., would you accept employment with a firm you had chased over an extended period of time when hiring had been going on during those years, or with a firm that was so provincial and wouldn't interview you from a not-so distant out-of-town location for which you would bear the freight to move?

Comment:

The most NORMAL interview I had resulted in the worst job I had - about 3 years at an A/E firm.  They were relaxed, professional, never trespassed interview boundaries, and did decent work that was getting better.  The problem, which was not detectable:  there was an entrenched culture of engineers hating architects, as if they were inferior to them, and it was either directly or subtly voiced.  So, you never know ...  I would say A/E firms are tricky and need to be studied carefully.

 

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Mar 14, 13 3:11 pm

I heard a story from an architect who said he had been interviewed by a bathrobe-wearing Philip Johnson, in the bedroom of Johnson's apartment.

observant
Mar 14, 13 3:14 pm

^

Ha.  With or without glasses?

med.
Mar 14, 13 3:17 pm

So what are you asking here?

Are you asking if we think that you are far too good and almighty to work at any of these firms?

observant
Mar 14, 13 3:25 pm

The operative word is SHARING stories.  It's great how, without a YouTube of the whole thing, people make assumptions.  In a nutshell:

- a cussing scenario and improper interview question (age, marital status)

- curmudgeon attitude toward staff and principals who design their newish office, placing themselves on a perch and not on the same floor as everyone else, when the volume was huge ... there was nothing under the stilts.

- a couple of firms who had ongoing personnel needs (even more junior levels) and then approach you a decade later ... or when you finally move to town (I was actually only asking about 6 and 7; as for the others, they would have been definitive NOs ... for you AND I)  The question is, per 6 and 7, how much of an ass-kisser or sycophant would you let yourself be?  You read the summary of facts.

stone
Mar 14, 13 3:27 pm

This sort of thing cuts both ways -- I once received a resume and cover e-mail from a candidate looking for a job. Both were very well prepared and I liked what I could see in those documents, so - via e-mail - I set up a time for him to come in for an interview .

The guy shows up at our office a) not speaking one word of English; b) with no portfolio whatsoever to show me; and c) wearing sandles, blue slacks and a white undershirt !

observant
Mar 14, 13 3:30 pm

^

Thanks, stone.  A productive comment.  That could be frustrating.  My "show up" was going to be the same on either visit.  Suit or coat/tie and zippered leather bound portfolio.

curtkram
Mar 14, 13 3:39 pm

regarding 6 and 7, i wouldn't hold either too much against them.  a firm doesn't know you from your resume or cover letter, so for them not to give you an interview based on that isn't something that should be taken personally.  i don't hold grudges to any company i've applied to whether they offered an interview or not.

same with the out-of-town thing.  might just be a situation they faced with people coming in too late and leaving too early or something like that.  could be something none of us could even guess at.  their decision reflects their view of geography and not their view of you as a person, so i think it's pointless to take it personally.

i think it's interesting that you didn't assume engineers 'hate' architects, or at least look down on us a bit, from the outset.  i started out in architecture engineering school, so i suppose i saw that a bit from the start.  architects tend to do the same to engineers (and interior designers).  that's largely because what we do is different.  looking from our perspective, what engineers do doesn't always help make better design.  sometimes it is simply a pain the in the ass when they demand more room above the ceiling or in the sprinkler closet.  from their perspective, we just screw shit up by not leaving any space in the ceiling.

that 'looking down' isn't there as much when you've worked with someone a while and they know you've thought about their trade and you work with them; on the other hand it will always be there if you don't work with them, you try to fight them, and don't plan around whatever their trade is.

med.
Mar 14, 13 3:42 pm

"The guy shows up at our office a) not speaking one word of English; b) with no portfolio whatsoever to show me; and c) wearing sandles, blue slacks and a white undershirt !"

 

lol

He probably thought that he was dressed up.

med.
Mar 14, 13 3:43 pm

BTW, interviews are rough for me.  I have a foreign sounding name so people always asume that I would require sponsorship which is a big fat no-no in these kinds of economies.

I was even asked up front once if I was "Legal."

observant
Mar 14, 13 3:50 pm

About 6, it was that a fellow alum who I thought was competent but not stellar got moved across the country, yet I was in the metro and they approached me much later.  The 7 dude was not likable as a person and may have been my boss.

Yes, I knew that the engineers can have this issue. I have no issues with engineers (especially structural, whose work fascinates me) nor with landscape or ID, work which would have interested me (I've had to design sites and intricate office lobbies, selecting flooring and wall finishes such as bases and bullnoses, as many of us have). 

The A/E tilt reportedly varies by firm.  If the firm was founded as a multi-disciplinary one, it works better.  If there are even numbers in the disciplines, with a proportionate number of principals, that helps, too.  It's when that is not the case ... well ...

curtkram
Mar 14, 13 3:59 pm

around here, we commonly use the term 'big E little a' depending on the makeup of the A/E firm in question.  if the firm's architectural division is noticeably less profitable than their engineering division, ultimately sound management will turn the firm into 'big E, little a.'  architects tend to be less profitable than engineers, so there you go.

observant
Mar 14, 13 4:07 pm

Yes, in some cases, the architecture is sadly and seemingly used as a "loss leader," and that it brings in a different multiplier than engineering doesn't seem to phase them, because it's sort of expected.

med.
Mar 14, 13 4:43 pm

I once worked at a Big A Big E firm and both were money-losers in the corporation.  Don't think engineers don't have the same problems we do.

observant
Mar 14, 13 4:47 pm

Again, like curt said, both can be profitable, one can be profitable, and, as you indicate, neither may be profitable.  If that was the case, I'd hope there are some other profit centers.

rationalist
Mar 14, 13 5:04 pm

Before I read down to your question, both 6 and 7 jumped out at me as scenarios where it seemed like you were being too sensitive. Having been on both sides of the interview table, I know both that it hurts a bit to have applied and applied at a place and only get interest at a much later date, and that the reasons I've overlooked applicants are so varied that it's not really reasonable to take it that personally.

There's such a confluence of factors going on in reviewing resumes--how long they've been looking for, how urgent the need is, who happens to be reviewing the resumes and what they are personally interested in, whether they happened to open the email at a time when they had enough time to devote to the task, whether something distracted them, whether the person who wrote the personnel ad was even the person who actually knew what the person reviewing the resumes was looking for, if there was anything they didn't explicitly ask for but considered a bonus, whether they happened to get a new project since they'd written the ad and what sort of project it was, whether they'd just lost a project and decided they could actually wait a bit longer to hire, whether they had already interviewed candidates, how good those candidates were, whether there was anyone who'd been personally recommended to them and got the quick pass to the front of the line... you get the point. So many factors. So few of them have anything to do with you.

rationalist
Mar 14, 13 5:11 pm

oh, and my bad interview story...

Summer after 4th year of undergrad, sent out my resume to all the local firms whose work looked good to me. A smaller firm with a very good reputation called me back almost immediately after receiving my resume, and I went in for the interview the following week. Almost as soon as I sat down (after driving 45 minutes to get there), the principal states that they have gotten a couple of new project recently, looking to add to the staff, etc. Goes on about how they only hire the best, how everyone there can be relied on, because they don't hire anyone with less than 2 years of post-graduation experience. So I'm like, "um. Well see, as I said in my resume (and here I actually pointed to the objective section of my resume), I'm a 4th year student, looking for a summer internship. So..." and he looked shocked. Apparently, he'd only read the experience section of my resume, where it showed that I'd worked for several other firms before. He'd completely skipped both the objective and the education sections, which would've shown him an "expected (future year)" date of graduation. He glanced through my portfolio for a couple of minutes, claiming he liked to 'keep current' by seeing the new work out there, but it was really over from the moment I sat down. 

I'm still shocked by the utter and complete waste of time on that one.

observant
Mar 14, 13 5:15 pm

^ True.  Yes, in 6, he had a friend who was a staff level employee who recommended him.  I don't even think that friend is around.  In retrospect, 6 would not have been a good fit, because it's glitzier than what I would have liked.  However, 7 was the disappointment, as it was a more sedate and small-to-medium practice.  I felt that he would have been amenable to interviewing me, or he wouldn't have kept the resume for that long.  He probably figured I'd find a way to move to town. Again, it was one of those things where I didn't like the principal shortly after we sat down.

accesskb
Mar 14, 13 5:25 pm

I've had two interviews where the interviewee were upper year students from my school..  I've seen their work and they suck xD  Needless to say, the interviews didn't last long and I never ended up working at the two firms haha

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Mar 14, 13 5:46 pm

Scene: my father's office in the early 80's. For the younger crowd, Reagan was president(!), it was the dawn of the internet and the height of technology was the brick satellite phone and the Commodore 64.

A recent grad showed up for an interview with a dynamite portfolio. Terrific renderings, some technical ability in residential construction and a really nice demeanor. The whole office got in on the interview. The kid was calm, thoughtful, had a good sense of humor and seemed to be a perfect fit. We all liked him.

At the end of the interview, my father handed the kid's portfolio back to him and said "I'll call you".

Unfortunately, my father had put the kid's resume in the portfolio before he gave it back to him, so we had no contact info for him. And as he never took the initiative to follow up, that was the last we saw of him.

Rusty!
Mar 14, 13 6:27 pm

"And as he never took the initiative to follow up, that was the last we saw of him."

Plot twist. Crushed by industry rejection, little Adolf moved back to Germany to start a different career. Hitler happened in the '80's right?

Steven WardSteven Ward
Mar 14, 13 6:34 pm

ouch, miles. that one's painful. poor kid, probably never realized.

miesian
Mar 14, 13 9:21 pm

Once in the eighties I had an interview at an office. Next thing you know the whole office is sitting in at the interview. The owner even had his son there, like it's some kind of monarchy. Can you imagine? Anyway, I tried to keep it cool and even cracked a few jokes to make light of the situation. The worst came at the end when I was leaving. The guy said he would call me, but didn't even bother to keep my resume. Needless to say, I never followed up with them.

bindunarayan
Mar 15, 13 2:10 am

All these interview stories sounds very practical for me, since almost all job seekers would certainly come across with this kind of interviews.

In my opinion, after finishing all your interview rounds, if the interviewer or someone from the HR department comes to you saying that they will get back to your regarding the result, you should think that you failed to crack the interview, as in most occasions they will never get back to you.

David ColeDavid Cole
Mar 15, 13 7:53 am

Chicago, 1998 or so: Smallish firm in River North, located in a loft building with huge south-facing windows with no shades or curtains on an unusually sunny day. My interviewers sat with their backs to the windows, while I sat facing them with the bright sun glaring right in my face. The glare was so bright I could barely even see my own portfolio. I felt like I was being interrogated by some government goons in Area 51, and with my squinting and obvious discomfort, the interviewers probably thought I was doing a Gilbert Gottfried impersonation.

Boston, 2000: My interview at a venerable local firm had apparently been rescheduled without my knowledge. When I showed up at the original appointed time, the receptionist rolled her eyes and sighed as if the mix-up were my fault, and disappeared into the office to dig up some low-level HR person to interview me. HR person, who was barely older than me (I was an undergrad interviewing for an internship), shows up and we find an empty conference room. We quickly flip through my portfolio, and her response to every project was, "ohhh!" or "that's pretty!" with saccharine, perky phoniness that you'd expect to find from a Hollywood talent agency who has no intention of ever calling you back. And they never did, which was just as well.

New York, 2004: I received a call from a smallish firm that I had sent my resume to. The very first question, before we even discussed my background or my potential role in the firm, was, "What kind of salary are you looking for?" I stammered a bit and gave a reasonable salary range, and she responded by trying to tell my that typical salaries for architects in NYC are lower compared to other cities like Chicago and Philly, which put me in the uncomfortable position of having to tell her she was flat-out wrong. Despite this, I was invited to come in for an interview. Upon my arrival, I was informed that she was running late, so I met with one of the associates. About 45 minutes later, the principal I had originally scheduled to meet with strolled into the conference room without so much as an apology, and then spent the rest of the time telling me how awesome she was, while barely letting me get a word in edge-wise about my own background or aspirations. The younger associate I had been talking with seemed like a nice enough guy, but had the look of an abused dog trying to suppress his instinct to hide under the conference room table when the owner arrived.

med.
Mar 15, 13 10:21 am

"New York, 2004: I received a call from a smallish firm that I had sent my resume to. The very first question, before we even discussed my background or my potential role in the firm, was, "What kind of salary are you looking for?" I stammered a bit and gave a reasonable salary range, and she responded by trying to tell my that typical salaries for architects in NYC are lower compared to other cities like Chicago and Philly, which put me in the uncomfortable position of having to tell her she was flat-out wrong. Despite this, I was invited to come in for an interview. Upon my arrival, I was informed that she was running late, so I met with one of the associates. About 45 minutes later, the principal I had originally scheduled to meet with strolled into the conference room without so much as an apology, and then spent the rest of the time telling me how awesome she was, while barely letting me get a word in edge-wise about my own background or aspirations. The younger associate I had been talking with seemed like a nice enough guy, but had the look of an abused dog trying to suppress his instinct to hide under the conference room table when the owner arrived."

HA!  This is amazing.  I think I may have interviewed at the same exact place in like 2006 and had the same EXACT experience....  Was the office on the top floor of the Empire State building?

ProjectNorth
Mar 15, 13 10:44 am

Straight out of school, in a 3 day span, I interviewed with 13 different firms. It was a lot, but I scheduled the first 4 or so interviews with firms that I was least interested in to use as my "warm up" interviews, which turned out to be a great idea.

One was a medium sized firm, and the principal was 45 minutes late to the interview. When he finally showed up, he flipped through my portfolio so quickly I wasn't even sure he actually saw anything. He literally probably spent less than one minute looking at it. He then proceeded to tell me what the job paid and what their benefits were. Then he thanked me for coming in and said that they still had others to interview and would be in contact. And with that, he was out of there. No discussion at all. No office tour. Nothing.

A few days later, I received a call from him offering me the job. When I told him that I had already accepted a position at another firm, he was flabbergasted. He started stammering and wanted to know what was wrong with his firm. When I told him truthfully that the interview made me feel that he wasn't interested in me, he went into a long pause before trying to get me to reconsider my decision. I do think it was a wake up call for him, as I think he was under the impression that anyone interviewing with them must have them as their first choice.

med.
Mar 15, 13 10:49 am

^^

Good you spoke up.  Some of these clowns have absolutely no idea how to be professional or treat others in such a way.

David ColeDavid Cole
Mar 15, 13 11:06 am

HA!  This is amazing.  I think I may have interviewed at the same exact place in like 2006 and had the same EXACT experience....  Was the office on the top floor of the Empire State building?

Wow, that's crazy. I almost mentioned the firm's location, but didn't want to get too specific. I remember the office being filled to the brim with little Empire State Building models, the kind like you'd find in touristy gift shops around Times Square.

med.
Mar 15, 13 12:10 pm

Incredible.  I heard that many people got that same interview experience there.  I ended up taking a job down at SOM because their pay was very very good (blew every other offer and number out of the water) and i had a decent credit card balance I wanted to pay off.

observant
Mar 15, 13 12:44 pm

Oh, yeah, these stories show how absurd some offices are.  The very first interview I had for a full-time job after graduating was with a firm that did health care and had been around for a while.  The principal  walked into the conference room, looked me over, and before even sitting down asks "So, how much do you want to make?"  I told him the prevailing market rate for a new intern in the metro area.  He then went on to schools, to let me know we were "alumni club" disparate, and then even got down to "What high school did you go to?" He tossed out a pay rate.  It was 80% of the small firm rate and 73% of the large firm rate.  I told him that that wasn't the prevailing rate, got up, we shook hands, and that was the end of it.

Anyone who does some research can find the salary rates for different experience levels in different markets.  Why they bother to insult someone is beyond me.

CrazyHouseCat
Mar 15, 13 1:20 pm

1. 2008, I interviewed with a small firm located in the industrial areas of downtown LA, claiming to do a lot of “exciting international work”, which turned out to be lots developer driven competitions in China.  The principals had his feet on the table through the majority of the very short interview. At the end, he offered me the job on the spot and offered to pay me cash under the table as part of the benefit.  I scurried out of there.  Told him I’ll consider his offer because I didn’t want to reject him and piss him off, since I somehow felt my life might be in danger.


2. 2008, small published firm with a good reputation.  First interview with junior associates in the coffee shop at the base of their building.  Second interview 2 days later with the principal went pretty well.  When he called to offer me the job, I told him it will take me a couple more days to decide since I still have other interviews.  He barked (yelled, no exaggeration) “let me teach you something, since you are obviously young and knows nothing.  You DO NOT tell a principal who is offering you a job that you still have other interviews/ offers.  Nobody wants to be told they are second best!”. I was shocked, and took a few seconds to squeeze out “umm, ok, thank you for the advice, it’s… um… enlightening”.  He then seemed embarrassed by his outbreak, and calmly said “we like you. Don’t let a few dollars sway you.  Let me know what the other places are offering, and I’ll match or top it.”  I thought “tempting, but no thank you.”


3. 2008, large corporate firm that does pretty good institutional work.  Their office is located in this building that is impossible to navigate, I was 20 minutes late to my interview, because… I got directed to use the fire stairs by the parking attendant, and was trapped in the fire stairs.  I was totally flustered after having to banned on this door for 10 minutes and was finally let out. 


4. 2008, a very small firm, published, does cool and innovative work.  I arrive at the location, it’s a house, I knocked on the door, a man appeared in his bathrobes, said flat out “I’m not buying ANYTHING!”.  I mumbled something to the effect of “I’m here for the interview?”  He rolled his eyes, marched out of the house (in his bathrobe), to a side gate, and signaled me to follow.  I hesitated, he said “her office is in the garage, in the back”…….
 

observant
Mar 15, 13 1:41 pm

Q: 

What does this one mean?  They tell you that they'd like to hire you, and are interested in making you an offer, but they have to pencil it out.  They tell you to call them if someone else makes you an offer.  Yeah, right.

Mr. Blue Sky
Mar 15, 13 1:49 pm

1.  2009, small firm, i was interviewed by a project manager.  He seemed nice, but informed me that the principal was out for the day.  The interview room had a large windows, so i saw the principal walk by at least half a dozen times during the interview.  Project manager calls me a few days later to ask me some follow up questions so they could narrow down the choice "the principal wants to know who your three favorite architects are, specifically from pre 1900, 1900-2000, and contemporary."   A year later, i found out that they hired on a few interns for a project that didn't go through, so almost everyone in the office got canned. 

2. 2009, large firm.  The first interview i had was with a project manager.  The second interview i had was with the same project manager and a principal, the third interview i had was with two principals.  The fourth interview i had was with all six partners.  Apparently they liked me, but were afraid to hire due to the recession. At least the didn't just add staff to lay off later. 

3. 2008, small firm,  principal and intern.  Principle goes on to tell me that the intern has a professional degree, but is too lazy to get licensed and has no ambition.  All the while the door is open and the intern is in the next room.

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Mar 15, 13 1:50 pm

"trapped in the fire stairs"

Who designed that building?

CrazyHouseCat
Mar 15, 13 2:10 pm

"trapped in the fire stairs".... In all fairness, I had the option of going back down 9 floors to exit back into the parking area, but then I would have been right back where I started... 

I was later informed by the 5th floor receptionist of a law firm that the correct sequence would have been, exit the firestair at level 3, ride the elevator to level 8 which is the front office of the arch firm, then a receptionist with the key will walk me back into the stair up to the 9th floor to the conference room where the interview is to take place.  apparently, I was not the first applicant to have been "trapped" in the firestair.

rationalist
Mar 15, 13 2:20 pm

observant: I believe that is roughly equivalent to "we're waiting for a contract to get signed on a big project any day now." They want you, but they don't really have their shit 100% together and want you to hang on for a couple of weeks in hopes that they can get it together. 

slippery pete
Mar 15, 13 2:39 pm

1. Firm emails me after receiving 300 + resumes during depths of recession. Sets up phone interview for “between 2pm-6pm”. They call at 6:30, me sitting at my desk on call for 4-1/2 hours. They ask 3 dumb questions that were evident from resume (so  , are you licensed…………..uh, yes). They have me come in for an interview and after 2 minutes with design principal its evident I haven’t done the work they are hiring for.

 

2. 6 months later, still out of work, at the invite of  a friend I contact the design director at  a large local firm. I send him my mini-folio and a link to my website. He responds and asks me for a 10 page pdf, one project per page, landscape format, so he can evaluate apples to apples. I oblige over a weekend to put that together, and an interview is scheduled for the day before thanksgiving. At 9pm the night before, I get an email from his assistant telling me the interview has been cancelled- they lost  some work. Gobble gobble.

3. I endure a 5 month, 5 interview process that sees a field of 150 candidates winnowed to 2 for a job with the local redevelopment agency. After weeks of waiting , and gently checking in, after being told yes, this week is when a decision would be reached, I receive a voicemail on a Saturday and am told I didn’t get the job. But first, this person had to complain to me, me who had been out of work one whole year, that she had to work on a Saturday. And the irony, as this is California, that had I gotten the job, I would now not have that job, as the agencies were eliminated.

 

4. A few months later, 2 interviews with a firm waiting on work, they are eager to bring me in, and “ I think we could do part-time contract thing to start- I’ll firm it up next week”. Check-in emails and phone messages not responded to. I hear from him 3 months later, and I now have  a job.

5. I interview with a guy who uses the entire interview to bitch  about his current staff.

 

6. I finally do get a job, a contract position, and in the span of 9 months there, all 10 employees in the office quit for various reasons. In the meantime , they scramble to staff my project with people working remotely. As the year goes on they hire new people, all as full-time staff, but I and the other contractor are asked whether we might work part-time going forward in CA, not sure of work flow. Suddenly, they get a new project, and then whisper sweet nothings in my ear. By this time, I have seen why the other 10 quit. I move on.

7. While at that firm, I plot my escape. I endure a 3 month 3 interview process with another firm, including one interview where the partner had the day wrong and didn’t show up. They finally tell me they want to “bring me on board” just need to confirm salary. I provide my requirements, and it goes quiet. Weeks go by, email follow up, phone message, not nagging , gently checking in. Never hear from her again. Finally , one of her employees emails 2-1/2 months later, “profoundly apologizing” for the oversight, you know , it was the holidays and all. I tell them to f off.

 

I now work for myself.

poop876
Mar 15, 13 3:05 pm

After my graduate school, I got hired by a temp agency to work for a very well known firm in Chicago. After few weeks HR manager called me in to offer a permanent position with the firm. Knowing my background, work ethics and recommendation from the senior principals I was working with, we immediately jumped into the money part. She asked me how much I wanted to make and I tell her. She shakes her head and says NO. At that point I'm thinking "shit, that's going to bite me" .....then she offers me about $15,000 more than what I asked.

Confused, I accepted, walked out and went to the nearest bar to celebrate. 

med.
Mar 15, 13 3:48 pm

^^^^

I like that story.  Well played!  :D

observant
Mar 15, 13 7:06 pm

^^

poop876:  that's the best post here.  What probably happened is that you had been "below market" before and this brought you up to speed, they really liked you and/or they're just plain conscientious.

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Mar 15, 13 7:58 pm

Interview (from the other side):

Applicant blustery, big talker, had some production ability but clueless in design and clearly unable to make a presentation. When asked about salary range, named an absurd figure and justified it with "I'm going to buy a new Corvette".

snooker-doodle-dandy
Mar 16, 13 1:05 pm

I started out my first job in an architectural firm  at the bottom.  There were three partner, one was a lot older than the other two. He spent most of his winter months in Palm Springs,  California. So the other two partners ran the day to day show. 

I walked in for an interview, and sat with one of the partners who happened to be European,and a miss placed person (kid) during world war two.  He ended up in the United States in an orphanage in New York City.  He later ended up in Iowa in architecture school, and after a year took a transfer to MIT.  He saw that I was from the high plains and after a few minutes offered me the job.  Shortly there after the other partner shows up.  He  says, to his partner, "I filled that position earlier today."  The guy interviewing me says,  " This young man is from out West where people know how to work.  Lets hire both of them and see who works out better  at the end of one week."

I was the last  young man standing. 

Actually became the Senior Partners,  go to guy when he was in town.  I learned a lot from him  about  people and architecture.  One year when bonuses were not to be given out due to the bad economy, he personally bought a plane ticket for me to fly home for the Christmas Holiday. 

gruen
Mar 17, 13 9:10 pm

Flew from Berlin to Seattle for an interview. First thing the interviewer says is "we don't actually have a job for you, we just wanted to meet you since you'll be in town."

As if I often do intercontinental flights just to chittychat with people...

Orhan AyyüceOrhan Ayyüce
Mar 17, 13 9:52 pm

Those days things like that were important to get a job and people were not necessarily PC. You needed to be a good draftsman who would "letter" in masculine ways worthy of construction site.

sameolddoctor
Mar 17, 13 11:53 pm

gruen, does the said firm's name start with a "C"?

I interviewed with them - they flew me out to Seattle (on their dime, thankfully) - where I hung out with them for a day and met about 15 people. The next day, they sent me an email saying "we will keep in touch". This was 6 months back.

gruen
Mar 18, 13 12:07 am

Nope it began with an S. but I wish they'd paid. It was out of my pocket. Lucky another firm in Seattle did give a good offer...

Nicholas CecchiNicholas Cecchi
Mar 18, 13 11:46 am

Gruen,

I did the same thing, but from New Orleans to Los Angeles. Get there and the design director is like wow, you are quite knowledgeable in detailing and structure for not having professional experience (this was near the end of my thesis year), you would be a great fit here, look how awesome our studio is, let's sit around and chat with all the execs and project managers, would you like an espresso from my personal espresso machine? Oh yeah, have you noticed it is 2009 and noone is hiring? Yeah, that means us, too. Bye.

gruen
Mar 18, 13 12:59 pm

Don't forget when you actually get a job and a couple of months in you realize that they didn't read your resume ...

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