Invaluable Interview Techniques


This blog is slowly spinning down into a death-spiral of boredom. The following is Part 4 of a 5 part series to encapsulate every mundane experience… (train-of-thought trails off)

Unfortunately, I am not adept enough to create both informative and engaging content simultaneously. Perhaps after this 5 part series I will resume writing informative witticisms – maybe I should write a blog post on abstaining from making a 5-week self-imposed commitment.

However, in an attempt to create a short, informative, and mildly amusing post I will only impart upon you 2 invaluable Job Interview Tips.
1 Drink Water.
2 Say These 11 Words to Conquer Every Job Interview. (Unfortunately, you have to scroll down to find the 11 words of wisdom.) 

Drink Water

You have scoured LinkedIn and the company’s website, attempting to glean any tidbits into the working life of your dream company. You’ve compiled a list of questions (you do have prepared questions don’t you?) and now you are freaking out. Relax. Your interview needs to be a conversation. 

All architecture firms are super nice, and they always ask if you want anything to drink. I always ask for water.|1| One reason is because I get dehydrated and the water cleanses my mouth from the shot of whiskey I just took in the parking lot. However, architecture firms are sometimes like the dentist and make you wait on a vacant chair by the door; sipping water can distract you long enough from reading the crappy architectural magazines firms seem obligated to display – yet nobody reads.

After all your preparations, nervousness, and questions running through your head. You have to remember that your interview is a conversation. Moreover, your conversation starts the second you walk through the door.

The simple task of saying, “A water would be great.” offers your first shot at a pre-interview conversation. Then, when they return with your water, you can hone your conversation skills and make a quip of “Thank you. By the way, I love your office.”

At this point in time I usually imagine a fantastical story playing in my head of the receptionist sprinting into the hiring manager’s office and proclaiming how amazingly smart and witty I am, and that I should be hired immediately. “Brady.” The receptionist continues rambling on that I am dashingly sophisticated, and the greatest architectural designer since a young Remment Koolhaas. “Brady.” Then they beg the hiring manager to give me a job, and demand that they provide me a salary ten-fold of what I requested. “Brady! Are you there? They are waiting for you in the conference room.”
“Oh, sorry. I was day-dreaming.”

Ultimately, in your interview when they ask, “What is your biggest weakness?” You can pause, gather your thoughts, and then slowly take a drink of water to further form a thoughtful response before blurting out, “Well, that’s an insulting question, may I ask what your biggest weakness is? Perhaps it’s the inability to provide innovative interview questions.”

Subsequently, you can slowly drink your water again while deliberating your prepared response for the follow-up question, “What is your greatest strength?” 

The 11 Words to Conquer Every Job Interview

Drum-rolllllllllllllllllll. Bongo Drums. Booming crack of thunder. The cumulonimbus clouds depart – exposing a blindingly brilliant illuminance as the Heavens reveal the inscription on Moses’ missing third stone tablet…

Without further fanfare, I present to you the 11 most valuable words to say during every interview: 

“I can imagine myself working here for the next 14 years.”

Now it looks awkward in written form, but why 14 years you ask? 5 years or 10 years sounds like a convenient number.|2| And 15 years just seems like an unreasonable amount of time to remain with one company before seeking additional options or starting your own firm. But 14 sounds like you’ve deliberated on your ideal life circumstances to dictate a dedicated number of years you will serve this company. 

Architecture firms hate hiring new people. Not only can it be a tedious chore, but new employees often require more resources and time to produce comparable billable hours. Thus, they will be relieved that they can invest multiple years of training into you, and will be rewarded since you won’t depart after 18 months. Now, they believe you will be a dedicated employee for an incomparable 14 years, and the hiring manager will commence patting herself on the back.|3|

And just for reading this entire post I will offer a bonus phrase to say, “I regard myself as a generalist.”

All great architects are generalists, or they view themselves as great generalists, and this will allow you to both play up your strengths and allow for further developmental skills. Irrevocably, it will not pigeonhole you into a role of meaningless drudgery.

Happy job hunting, and stay thirsty.



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1 Yes, coffee and tea are adequate substitutes.
2 And this helps with the inevitable question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” – I’ll take your 5 years and give you 14!
3 And if anybody at my current firm, Pearson Design Group, is reading this post, I promise I have only said this phrase when I meant it.

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