10 Common Interview Questions you Need to Nail

Last post, I mentioned some things to avoid in your portfolio and I hope that was helpful. Now that your portfolio is starting to take shape, you’ve selected some projects and started thinking about how best to show off those gorgeous projects, let’s take a moment to consider the kinds of questions you may be asked. ASLA’s Annual Conference is next week, and they have a Job Link Live event. What better inspiration for taking a sec to prepare for an interview even if you aren’t participating in the conference. I have been seeing a few more forum posts on Land8 lately where people are getting interviews, and have heard from friends all over that more interviews seem to be taking place… I sure hope that is true!

Anybody can google “interview questions” and find lists and advice on the subject that could keep a person online for the rest of his/her life. Go ahead and do that, I think it is important research to do before meeting a prospective employer. However, sometimes in this field, the questions are a bit more pointed and skill-set specific. I have listed my top ten Landscape Architecture interview questions below and I truly hope that you will add some in the comments. The questions below come from colleagues and experience, some of them are very industry specific, some aren’t. Those of us who are under-employed or employed at the wrong place can sometimes feel like we’re in the weeds, like things are just getting more mysterious and difficult every day… time to do something about that.

I recommend answering each of the questions below for yourself: write the answers down, and then step back and check a couple of things: that your answers are honest, and that they are not worded in a negative way. There are always ways to keep the wording of your answer on a positive note regardless of how awful the reality might seem. So without further delay, and in no particular order, here is my list:

  • Tell me about a specific contribution you made to your last employer.
  • Tell me about a recent team situation where you helped to alleviate some conflict within the group.
  • Why did you apply to this firm? What is it about us that you liked?
  • Why did you leave Mr. Bigshot’s firm last year?
  • Would you prefer to be self-employed or work for a company?
  • What kind of projects do you want to work on?
  • What was your contribution to this project?
  • How would you describe your work ethic?
  • What was the budget for this project?
  • How have you been spending your time since leaving Ms. Employer’s firm?

I will not be posting again until I come back from San Diego, so I hope very much to see you all there! When I do come back, I will have a list of questions that YOU should be asking of potential employers. Have a wonderful week!

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