I’ve been without full-time employment for almost a year. I had a few freelance and commissioned projects to keep me occupied during that time, which was good but I wanted to return to full-time work.
The job hunt was exhausting and discouraging. Even though there were opportunities listed in the classifieds, there were few call backs. The lack of response after I had submitted my resume was discouraging especially when the position I applied for was re-listed weeks later.
It is an employer’s market. The search for the right candidate has to not only be experienced with specific project types but they must be proficient with many computer software skills especially as it pertains to 3D modeling and BIM. Employers were also seeking candidates who did not require assistance or training.
I went on a few interviews that did not result in job offers. One interview turned out to be a freelance position with the possibility to become full-time even though the position was advertised as a full-time position. When I asked, he did not give me a duration of when the position would be offered as FT. Instead, the architect told me it would be a quick decision because it was about how people got on with each other. That made no sense to me and I had a feeling the architect was not being honest about the employment situation. The architect who i interviewed with explained he had joined the architectural practice (I was interviewing at), and was bringing in retail projects. There was a potential project that was coming in that he needed help with. What appealed to me about this position was the opportunity to work on diverse projects, which included new construction.
My last unsuccessful interview took place in the summer. The position was for a project architect that was experienced in hospitality, retail, and residential – particularly in new construction. The architect who I interviewed with seemed pleasant and sincere but the conversation that took place was discouraging. In fact, it was discouraging from the start when he sent me an email to set up an interview four months after i originally submitted my resume.
The architect explained why he was hiring and his expectations. He had relieved his project architect who he had hired three months ago. The architect claimed it wad a mutual agreement. He further explained the project architect could not handle the demands and stress of the job.
I was still interested in the opportunity after he explained the position and his expectations, and despite the conversation having turned into putting doubts in my head about what I wanted to pursue with my architectural career. I had vented about this on Twitter, and I appreciated those who paid attention and share their thoughts.
Two things annoyed me about that particular interview. I did not appreciate the architect making assumptions about my architectural career. Or rather, he did not appreciate some of my project accomplishments and career decisions. And although we discussed my professional history, and explained I wasn’t where I wanted to be career wise because of circumstances that were not in my control – canceled projects.
I also did not appreciate how he handled our conversation when it turned to salary requirements. I am aware that we are in an economic slump and the value of money is not the same. He even explained that clients are not paying architectural fees for the same services provided a few years ago. Fees are getting smaller but the amount of work is the same and it needed to be done in less billable time. I was prepared to take a salary reduction if the right opportunity came along. And although this architect had informed me he could not pay my salary request, he was not prepared with a figure of what he would be able to offer. It made me wonder if he had any intentions of offering me the position.
These are difficult times, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better any time soon. Just recently, a friend who is an engineer was made redundant. It’s not a good sign that people continue getting laid off let alone not being able to find employment in this terrible economy. Many recent grads are also having trouble finding work, too. In this market, we are over saturated with architects of various experiences.
It seems landing a job has more to do with chance, luck, and skill – in that order. You have to imagine that employers who list a position to fill are inundated with resumes in their emails. They have to print them and read through them. Sometimes they don’t even bother. When they do single out the few to interview, it’s because something in the resume caught their attention.
I was fortunate enough to have grabbed an architect’s attention.
…to be continued…