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Looking for help/opinion on SOM&NBBJ interview process

architectless

Hi,

I'm an architectural designer with 2 years of post-graduate professional experience. I recently started job hunting and have interviewed with 2 firms so far. Want to get some advice/help on this.

1 - Interview with SOM new york

I interview with SOM new york office in early September, the interview went well because one of the interviewers who is also the design director literally told me the feedback is positive and ask me to start thinking about the start time at the end of the interview.

However, I kept following up with HR but still waiting for the final decision, this makes me feel uncertain... ironically, HR sent me a wrong interview invitation which was supposed to send to others last week, with the same interviewer. 

so my question about this interview is, should I still wait for the result, or keep following up with HR? Will SOM reply with the result no matter is positive or negative?

2 - Interview with NBBJ Seattle

I interviewed with NBBJ Seattle this week (9/20), and now waiting for the 2nd interview, their process is 2 rounds. They make the decision after 1st interview whether to continue or not.

The interview was good and one of the interviewers mentioned the 2nd round will be meeting the whole team and told me I should follow up with their HR. So I followed up with HR right after the interview, and he told me he will follow up with the next steps asap. 

My question for this interview is that, usually how long should I expect for the 2nd interview, I'm just so nervous.....should I send interviewers - the architects directly, like a thank you email, to mention to them who I am? or it's too much since I have followed up with HR already...

the content is long and thank you for reading!

I'm so nervous, and uncertain, looking for advice for these 2 interview processes. Any comments are appreciated!

 
Sep 22, 21 9:43 pm
architectless

anyone? help please !!!

thanks!!!!

Sep 23, 21 11:45 am  · 
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archanonymous

Just chill. After a week of not hearing would be an OK time to reach out to HR to ask them for an update. Don't contact your interviewers unless you have a pre-existing relationship (like professor or past coworker) with them.

Sep 23, 21 11:55 am  · 
2  · 
architectless

thank you! I contact them since I had a friend who work for them. However, didn't get reply, I feel like I've tried my best to present myself, followed up with emails. I kind of upset, but I have nothing to do.. 

Sep 23, 21 1:32 pm  · 
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chopshop

Hint: try not to come off as a desperate creepy stalker. Read the responses here and relax. Really, you are just one applicant and they have tons to pick from and may need time to decide. You don't need to ruin your chances by being the weirdo that bugs everyone and makes them feel uncomfortable working with you .

Sep 23, 21 2:57 pm  · 
2  · 
architectless

Thanks, your point totally makes sense to me, yeah, all I need is to relax, at least not being crazy/nervous/desperate...!

Sep 23, 21 3:18 pm  · 
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sameolddoctor

You could chill or be anxious, its all the same, cuz nothing is in ur hands. Both these firms are arrogant, slow-moving behemoths that churn through employees. And both are quite notorious for "ghosting" potential hires after interviews. That said, writing to HR after a week is totally OK.

Sep 23, 21 12:14 pm  · 
1  · 
architectless

thank you!! I know, nothing is in my hands, I've tried my best.. but still, this process makes me feel I'm not good enough. Anyway, just wait, no matter what result I will get... But ghosting is very annoying, I'd rather they tell me the result directly, so rude..

Sep 23, 21 1:33 pm  · 
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natematt

SOD is on the nose. Firms as a whole ghost people a lot. It's just what they do. Wait a week, follow up with HR. That's all you can/should do.

Sep 23, 21 7:18 pm  · 
1  · 
sameolddoctor

Yup, ghosting is very common, especially in corporate offices. The funny thing is that a lot of employers are complaining that potential employees are not getting back to them, which I find just comical in terms of Karma.

Sep 23, 21 7:41 pm  · 
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archanonymous

It's really hard starting out - you need all the luck you can get.

The odds of being hired without knowing someone on the inside are miniscule, even if you make it to the interview phase.


Best way to get jobs? Meet people. Go to industry events, learning opportunities, stay in touch with professors, classmates, coworkers, for a few years say yes to everything. 

You want to be the one walking in to the interview knowing that it is a mere formality, not one of the 4 or 9 other people they called in for interviews just to demonstrate that they were doing their due diligence before hiring the principal or studio director's former student. 

Sep 23, 21 1:55 pm  · 
2  · 
architectless

If that's just due diligence.....i don't know...

Sep 23, 21 2:38 pm  · 
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reallynotmyname

I have definitely seen sham "candidate searches" conducted for design-related positions in government and universities where there was a preordained person identified for the job before the search was conducted. People do want to hire their buddies.

Sep 25, 21 3:58 pm  · 
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reallynotmyname

Big firms often move really slowly when it comes to hiring.  It would not be wrong to reach out via a quick email to the design person at SOM that interviewed you. 

Sep 23, 21 8:06 pm  · 
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architectless

yeah, after consideration, I got their email address and send out an email directly last week, but didn't get a reply, that's all I could do at the moment... I would send another email to HR asking for updates...feel like it's the last shot (sign

Sep 23, 21 8:43 pm  · 
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reallynotmyname

FWIW, (and I don't know the reasons for your interest in large firms,) you could probably go to any US city of your choosing and get a job offer from a small to mid size firm in two weeks or less. The market is that good right now.

Sep 25, 21 3:45 pm  · 
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architectless

Thanks for reaching out again, yeah, there's reason behind it - I work for a domestic mid-size firm right after receiving my master's degree, because I've had experience in large firms as interns and thought I should try mid-size firms, to be more involved in projects, learn how to document projects. However, 2 years passed by, and I feel I'm doing the same thing, involved in similar projects, phases, that make me feel unsatisfied. I'm not sure whether it's because I'm a foreigner and it's hard for me to really get deep within that firm, I don't feel I'm growing. So I wonder if I should practice in larger firms, at least, there're more chances to work on different types of projects? (long reply, thanks for reading!

Sep 25, 21 7:42 pm  · 
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chopshop

Are you seeking sponsorship? A lot of bigger employers will use that as really cheap labor with promises of such and such but may not do so in the end. There's always a steady supply each year and should they sponsor a work visa, it's almost a good half-decade or more of control over a person since you are kind of stuck until a green card clears.

I wouldn't look to any firm or employer to solve your uncertain path forward in your career. Gotta figure out what and where you see yourself. Otherwise you can just be pigeonholed at a bigger company doing even less interesting things. Hard to say, grass isn't always greener on the other side. 

Sep 26, 21 12:01 am  · 
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architectless

Just want to update my status for these 2 job-hunting processes, if anyone is interested in these 2 companies or having a similar situation like mine.

1 - SOM: It takes over 1.5 months to get the final result, I don't think they have a professional HR team, at least, for the New York office. The HR reply is so slow and won't give you updates unless you send multiple follow-up emails. That makes me feel the culture is toxic, you were not considered as a talented individual but just labor that fill the immediate need. I wait for a while after HR told me that they will give me the final result within 1 week, but it actually took more than 2 weeks' silence, so I sent another email and they finally replied to me with a negative result, even I had positive feedback from the interview. Life! But I don't feel much disappointed because I don't think I can grow in such a toxic company.

2 - NBBJ: So I was first contacted by HR, had a brief call regarding my background and the interview process. After the call, they arranged the first interview within one week. I feel they have a much better, professional hiring team. After the first interview, it took about 2 weeks to hear back from them, so then I had a second interview, the hr even can provide me the feedback from the 1st interview before my 2nd interview, which is really helpful. I enjoyed communicating with the team, and HR. I'm now waiting for the final result, hope I'll get a positive result!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By interviewing with these 2 corporate companies, I feel nbbj has a healthier culture than SOM, which I think is quite important after you joined them.

Hope my experience can help anyone who has a similar situation/question.

Oct 14, 21 1:11 pm  · 
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sameolddoctor

Good, but dont be fooled by NBBJs "professionalism". The corporate culture may be slightly better than SOM, but watch out for your back if hired there. Lots of backstabbers and non-doers in that office as well

Oct 15, 21 11:46 am  · 
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architectless

Thanks!

Oct 15, 21 12:58 pm  · 
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zonker

I interviewed with NBBJ this last summer for a Job captain position. It was on Teams, with 3 principals. 1hr 1st interview. Yes, NBBJ is more friendlier than Skidmore, SOM is a tough neighborhood, but you learn a lot. It's not for everybody.

Oct 14, 21 6:15 pm  · 
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architectless

Right, agree that can learn a lot from som. Did you hire by nbbj after the interview? If so, how long did you receive the official offer?

Oct 15, 21 10:37 am  · 
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zonker

Sorry I did not get back sooner. They needed someone with more OSPD experience. I took a job with another firm. NBBJ recently contacted me again about tech facilities. Not all NBBJ offices work on the same type of projects. California offices are more into Health care, tech and related. Dependining on where you are located and what type you are are interested in. SOM has similar types in each office, except L.A., which is more TI or was

Oct 18, 21 2:09 pm  · 
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