Interview questions?


So I have been on several interviews w/ architecture firms. I show up well groomed & on time, I show the work, I answer the questions. And I continue to hear " we will call you." and of course no call or when i call, "we decided to hire some one else" (with less experience and less education).  So on my last interview, since architects like creativity, when we were wrapping it up, the infamous question came up "Do you have any questions for us?" I was seriously considering asking the interviewers in a serious but not scary tone "Look, are you guys going to hire me or not? I've done the song and dance, showed you the bells and whistle's, so do i have a job here?" I figured they probably have never been asked that in an interview before! i was 80% into it until i thought to my self, what if i have a chance of getting hired here ( i didnt, and i regret blowing my chance of asking above mentioned :( ]

(Bye the way, I was interviewing with the owner, his partner, and their in house construction manager. its about  a 25 person firm.)

Dec 13, 12 5:18 pm

Ask them about their office organization, amount of commissioned work, employee compensation benefits, mentor ship, room for personal contribution, office IT, the inspiration they have, the consistency of the work they do, if it's a calm or hectic place.

There's a lot of questions you can ask that will help you understand them and give them a window into your seriousness regarding the position.

Don't be too frustrated. If you're playing it safe then you are holding back telling them that you are a capable person. A lot of firms will expect 110% in their description of the employee wanted but will settle for someone adequate. All you have to do is make sure that they understand you an do everything as well as they need, why else would you apply if you weren't up to the job?

Dec 14, 12 4:13 am  · 

Why not asking a more polite question like "Do you think I'd fit in here in general" ?

I participated in a  view job interviews because my boss asked me to and I guess you're probably right with your assumption that they hired someone with less experience and education. (BTW how did you find out?)
I always argue in favor of those who I instantly click with. Don't get me wrong I totally expect basic professional expertise, but skills can be improved, attitude is quite another thing.

So take the opportunity and ask some of those questions thakopian mentioned. Maybe not because the answers are so interesting, but to initiate a dialog on your terms where you can show more of your "personality".

I personally would have loved the remark with "the song and dance", but that's only me and my preference for sarcasm. I have a feeling that doesn't normally fly with employers  though ;-)

Dec 14, 12 6:42 am  · 

Jadzia, through networking, I know 2 of the individuals who were hired at 2 of the jobs I interviewed for. I graduated 2years before them. I am starting to develop a 6th sense about these things. Both of the other candidates are natives of the state I currently reside in. I am originally from Chicago. I learned cadd in high school trade class and got a job by chance working for a local architect for about 3years. one day i was insulted with the statment "you are nothing more than a glorified secretary!" on that note i went got my ged, enrolled in junior college, transferred after one semester to a 4yr college out of state, finished  a M.Arch, took the first job that came along (which was working in a garage of a friends uncle who was an architect starting out) worked there 2years, (wearing about 5hats) quit when i felt i wasn't being valued, after going from a staff of 2.5 to 8.5 in 2years

Dec 14, 12 2:52 pm  · 

I think you need to have a 50 50 approach half of the time they talk half of the time you talk, half of the questions you ask and you see the trend here.


Don’t make the interview about you and how much you want to work for them because you need a job, and you think you are qualified.


Instead look at their work and their firm’s community connections and ask questions on how you can help land clients, where would you look for clients, what can and are you willing to do to help them get the work done on time, offer to be the team player who they can call in on Saturdays to get the project out the door on time.


I am confident that your attitude is not the problem the way you approach the interview is giving the employers a skewed picture of you. Try not to come off as needy or self-serving.


Also do not wait for them to ask you for questions, have your questions written on the note pad in front of you, take notes and ask questions during the interview not at the end, this shows them that you are listening and that you are prepared, if you cannot get one question off in the first three minutes of the interview you are not setting up a good impression of someone who is prepared and eager to learn about the firm. 


Not having questions sends the signal that you only care about the job any job. Show them that you care about this job, this firm, their strengths and weaknesses. If they have a sad website say so and mention how you would want to take time to fix it, if they do community centers but no day care centers ask them why. Ask them what markets they are strong in what markets they are looking to expand into and what markets they are withdrawing from. Then mention the projects you saw in their portfolio and flip to similar projects in your portfolio.


Find out where they are going as a firm early on in the interview and steer them to your portfolio and resume entries that demonstrate your abilities that can help to get them where they want to go.


If they ask you for questions you may not have impressed them with you research and interest in this specific position. Recovery at this point in a conversation is difficult. Be proactive an interview is not an interrogation have a conversation not an inquisition.


Peter N

Dec 14, 12 3:29 pm  · 
1  · 

Lets face it... If your portfolio sucks, you won't likely be hired regardless of where you're educated or what questions you ask or how you dress up.

Dec 14, 12 8:33 pm  · 

thakopian nailed it. if you're not asking these questions then that tells me a lot about you. but at the same time, accesskb makes a vaild point. your work sucks. plain and simple. your resume lacks the experience and although you might have a reasonable portfolio, you dont really bring into new to the table. at least for what the employer is searching for.

Dec 15, 12 1:46 am  · 

"Look, are you guys going to hire me or not? I've done the song and dance, showed you the bells and whistle's, so do i have a job here?"

If someone asked me that question, not only would they not get hired but I'd probably want to punch them in the face for just wasting my time.

If you actually believe that an interview is some kind of "song & dance" performance then you are missing the point.  Above all else, employers are looking for people who want to be there.  You need to have a sincere hunger for what the firm is offering and understand that interviewers can smell this out.  Of course they'll be polite in their rejections, maybe even flattering ("oh you're overqualified") but this is often a smokescreen.  If you're coming up short compared to others then it may be because they didn't feel you wanted it as much as others.

It's not an easy thing to fix either when you are frustrated but you need to dig deep, evaluate your values, beliefs and actions, make adjustments and try again.


Dec 15, 12 10:49 am  · 

First off guys / girls thank you for all the advice and input. some of you deserve an oscar for your insight wisdom & some of you well uuhhh.... Second of all, imho, all interviews are a dog and pony show. whether you are applying at an architecture firm or to clean up a pig stall. i am personally a firm believer that a great attitude is the most important thing a person can have! more important than you portfolio, college degree, ethnic backgound, how many zero's you have on your paycheck, etc. As far as my portfolio, its not in the top 10% but its not in the bottom 20 either and i have 3 projects that i designed and they are built.( 5,000 sqft daycare center, resturant, 6,000 sqft office bldg.) At this point i have made up my mind (due to my recent developing six sense) that i am going to finish my ARE exams and get my lic. and hire my self. the first thing i am going to do upon hiring my self is ask my self " Tmston2, are you going to hire yourself or not? well self, i will notify you via email." then send out a email to myself letting my self know i have the job!!! and to start Mon. morning working on those masonry spec.s

Dec 16, 12 9:37 am  · 

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