Economic Recovery Complete - Interns Bailing


There should be an intern confidence index to measure the recovery in the building industry...

Two of the three interns that we hired for the summer both reneged on their commitments this week(they were to start on the 19th) because...

1.) Accepted an offer at her first choice after being denied earlier in the spring. Whoever originally accepted that position chose somewhere else too. 

2.) Opted to waive the opportunity for professional experience to take classes this summer.

I'm sorry but two years ago people were beating down any/every door they could just to get an internship. We interviewed 12 candidates (4 for each open position), obviously denying other qualified candidates.

I guess they assume that jobs will be waiting for them when they graduate. 


May 8, 14 3:55 pm
pale shelter

1) This shouldn't be considering anything odd - she took her first choice - so would I. What's the problem?

2) I denied working thru the fall part-time with the summer office / internship I had completed... Why? because the idea of sacrificing good schoolwork with some temp job didn't seem like a good decision. In other words - I wanted an academic portfolio that would improve my chances of landing a top job upon graduation. The problem: real work experience is what matters (I realize this now 8 years later) .... but students find the realities of day-to-day job experience boring in comparison to theoritical no-limit school projects.... of which is a fundamental problem with our proffesion (descrepency between academia work and professionl work). In this case, perhaps the candidate did not find working at your office of higher value than doing schooling .... maybe he/she took a business class instead !!! ?

May 8, 14 4:28 pm

1.) When you commit to a job in March, go through the whole HR process, get drug-tested, re-confirm again, have us work out housing options for you for a three month lease, then quit less than two weeks before you even start...Insanely unprofessional.

 2.) You're right students live in an ivory tower where everything is sunshine and rainbows.

Worth noting that this would have been their first internship. The one who is committed has interned previously and knows the value of work experience.  

May 8, 14 4:39 pm

1.)  I've seen this happen in my office.  If another offer comes through with better money/benefits, it is not terribly uncommon.

2.)  Students exactly that.  They simply don't know any better.

May 8, 14 4:52 pm

Well, I was going to apply, but I wouldn't want to work somewhere that feels access to MY urine is THEIR right. 

May 8, 14 5:16 pm
jla-x the whole drug testing thing really necessary...

They completed school so Im guessing they didn't have the time for a meth habit.

May 8, 14 5:18 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

You drug tested them, they owe you nothing.

May 8, 14 5:24 pm

I take it no one has looked at the impact drug-testing has on liability insurance....Standard practice everywhere I've worked in the US, even for summer interns.

Heck, China screens you for HIV, tuberculosis & hepatitis as well.

May 8, 14 5:51 pm

Screening for infectious diseases makes sense. You want to drug test potential hires, you should have to drug test every employee and principal on a regular basis. Preferably with unannounced random spot checks and an occasional breathylzer after lunch. How about mandatory fingerprinting and DNA screening against the FBI database?

May 8, 14 6:05 pm

Just as a FYI, sometimes drug testing of employees is not something a firm voluntarily pursues -- some governmental contracts require employers to maintain a 'drug free workplace' and drug testing is the only realistic way the firm can know whether they are in compliance with that aspect of their contracts.

May 8, 14 6:54 pm
I drug test myself randomly too. Everyone should.
May 8, 14 7:01 pm

i have never taken a drug test.  not even recreationally.

lots has changed in the last couple years.  as you mention, it's largely from a bit of economic stability.  what you're finding is that when people are less desperate and have options available to them, they are choosing not to spend their time with you.  blaming them might not be the most healthy way to address this problem.  do you have any other policies that tells your employees that you don't respect them or their privacy, other than drug testing?  perhaps you search their private email, or lock down facebook, or something?

May 8, 14 7:27 pm

I'd be far more concerned if someone was an alcoholic than a pothead. But they don't test for that, you have to find out the hard way.

Oh, wait - alcohol use is legal. Which doesn't explain why states that have legalized weed still have people in prison for using it.

May 8, 14 7:58 pm

dude.  you just insulted half of the whiskey drinking forum.  not cool man.

May 8, 14 8:15 pm

Mandatory cavity searches by 2030 I bet.  

May 8, 14 8:43 pm

Sorry, but I really need to speak from the other side of the fence here - anyone in the earliest stages of their career is painfully aware of the current trend of giving incredibly-low pay for their work. Whether it is warranted or not is somewhat moot when the fact of the matter is, many firms are simply NOT offering a livable wage and still want to get people into the office at dirt-cheap margins. Fresh graduates need to survive too, despite what many senior people in the office might think. I've been fortunate to have been paid relatively well at my entry jobs so far, but even in that scenario it's tough to try to save up enough money just to pay the basic fees, apart from tuition bills.

I didnt exactly go into architecture for the money, but I didnt think I'd need to PAY for entry to the profession. Could this be the hump of the mountain?

Point being - want to be sure these people are truly committing to your firm? Offer them a package that isn't incredibly easy to walk away from. (Also - don't take that to mean adding more strings attached; give them real incentive).

May 8, 14 8:57 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

The drug test should be there to protect the individual from themselves and not the firm.  The drug test should  be for the senior architects, the ones with all the stress and liability.  You should probably test for anti-depressants as well, since those drugs tend to be the drugs school shooters on and the architectural workplace is full of bullies.

enough about irrelevant tests...

The best advice you can give any intern - take the better offer.  OP you may want to beef up your offers and get rid of the obvious lack of trust in your potential future.

Since you are into tests, maybe you should do an exit poll to get feedback on why someone bailed.

May 8, 14 10:20 pm

lol, Im guessing the OP didn't see this as an issue. In my last office, 4 of the 6 ppl I worked with had their red cards.

May 8, 14 11:52 pm

I can't believe how a standard practice at the vast majority of companies can get some people so amped up. Then again, same names repeat with the same perspectives(attacks) on many threads. 

I'm pretty proud of our intern program since I interned here twice before joining full-time. I mentored two interns last year, both are back again this year and I expect them to receive full-time offers before they graduate next year.

Also we don't do shitty offers...we pay our interns better than a lot of the numbers that get thrown around here for full-time offers.  

The difference(and the entire point of this thread) is over the past few years, the desire of applicants was higher. You got your shit together to land a "good" job and you were happy. Now, if you get a "good" job, you keep looking for a "better" job because you know firms are hiring again. Confidence is up and the quality of the product(intern/entry-level) is the same. When I was interviewing people there was a marked difference in their approach to the job search. 

May 9, 14 12:56 am

Well duh.  People were desperate and now they are less desperate.  Many Firms (not saying yours) have shown no loyalty to employees and now you are surprised that employees have no loyalty to the firms.  This is the culture that owners have created.  I know several people who were hired and then layed off once the task was completed or once a project fell through.   Same lack of professionalism from the top.  

May 9, 14 1:23 am


May 9, 14 1:35 am

So, Litz,, how much were you going to be paying them and in what city are you located? Also, could the trend be associated with the walking of employees to be let go out the door with armed guards and a promise to send personal items later when they get around to it?

May 9, 14 8:35 am

I can't believe how a standard practice at the vast majority of companies can get some people so amped up.

If the vast majority does it, it must be OK. Can I see your supporting data, please?

Those who sacrifice freedom for (the illusion of) security deserve neither.

May 9, 14 9:27 am

I worked my first job for about a year before I decided to go back to grad-school. I told my boss at the time that I would be leaving mid-summer to move and prepare for school in a new city. He was super upset and said that I was just becoming useful/profitable to the company, in addition, that I would go to school for 2 years and come out making less money than I was making right then. 

I was feeling pretty shitty, so I told a co-worker with more experience what my boss said and he replied; if you ever have the opportunity to better yourself through education take it and don't look back, work will always be there.   I went to school and it was the best decision I ever made, despite my bosses effort to shit all over it.  

In response to the OP, I understand your frustrations, but that is the reality of professional practice.  Your potential interns would be crazy to give up an educational opportunity of a lifetime to draw door jambs all summer.  People are struggling for jobs right now, especially at intern level, you should be able to hire others no problem.  It sounds like you just need to streamline your interview and hiring process, which currently takes from March to June to bring somebody on?  Another reason they probably passed on the job, that is way too much lag time to leave somebody hanging.  

May 9, 14 9:30 am

gruen, by "I drug test myself " you mean you test the limits of how well you can CAD while high, right?


Back to LITS4FormZ's initial intent, it *does* seem to me there are far more job postings and projects going on right now than there have been.  I don't know if your loss of two interns is a coincidence or not. While I don't support drug testing, it IS admirable that you help your interns get short-term housing, so huge kudos for that!

May 9, 14 9:32 am

Speaking from the other side, as well. I feel compensation in job offers has been decent (for a majority of offers, I've had some outrageously lowballed offers), although of course more is better. For me personally, I want to find a place that is enjoyable to work but that's been surprisingly difficult - either people in charge are not amicable towards interns or the work that the office does is uninspiring.

May 9, 14 10:44 am

One question to ask (and honestly i avoided most of the followup post since they seemed and endless drug testing rant) is was this a paid internship?

My first internship was 8 years ago for $12.50hr in Cincinnati, now factor in inflation and living in a city like new york; i doubt many interns could get that here (new york) today!

For everyone looking to hire interns out there just remember rent isnt cheap and neither is Architecture school. "learning experiences" have a way being trumped by the free market.

May 12, 14 2:06 pm

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