Personality and Employment

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    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    I can’t help but wonder how much likability plays in job security and our ability to get hired as an employee. How much do the personalities of the individuals representing a firm play into landing design contracts over others?


    Do difficult personalities get left out in the hiring process? Are they the first to go when it is time to downsize even if their skill sets are otherwise superior to others?



    Pat S. Rosend

    I think this goes without saying.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    Well Pat, I toned it down and changed the title before posting which really killed the intent of the post. It fell victim to self inflicted political correctness as I tried to walk the fine line between being helpful and being the subject of the post.

    It was to be called “The chicken or the egg?”

    It was to ask if it was after losing their jobs or not being hired that the few very bitter posters have become that way , or if they were that way before and it has helped get and/or kept them unemployed or underemployed. That sounded a bit harsh and personal, so I toned it down to the point where it is warm and fuzzy and unrecognizable. I thought that between this thread and the one on communication, some might put two and two together.

    Hopefully, they will think, “damn, am I doing that?” and work hard to correct it and rid themselves of at least one of the obstacles to getting out of the unemployment line. I was helped out this way in the past and have hopefully gotten over it.

    It is just a boring uninteresting thread for anyone else.

    Trace One

    I think your first criteria for being hired is good-lookingness, closely followed by having a british accent , and third, what school did you go to, all snobishness and exclusionary precepts accepted (those who went to your school like you automatically, irregardless of national rankings – LA has not got that BIG that UC San Luis Obispo know wherof the east coast Universities are..and vice versa, as the three stooges would say..)..
    the last criteria is luck and chance..
    that’s it, in my opinion..

    Amy Verel

    Well, this bitch is going to decline to comment on the topic, teehee! 😀


    I don’t think you should try to censor yourself so much in the future, at least not for the sake of Land8. I think a little argument and heated debate is good for everyone, though so me of the comments lately have gone a little too far.

    I think there are a lot of folks out there, unemployed or otherwise, that feel a strong sense of entitlement and disillusionment with the profession (or industry), and rightly so perhaps. I think it stretches further than the landscape industry.

    So many of us worked our fingers to the bone in studio, racked up immense debt, and are now living as members of a society we can’t contribute to in a very fruitful manner and wondering if we’ll ever be able to climb out of debt.

    It seems like there’s little worse than feeling you are leading a completely mundane, ineffectual life. So what we do is comensate– vocalize our opinions and ideas at every opportunity (because those opportunities seem especially fleeting these days), stage arguments with our colleagues, etc..Just a fewthoughts.

    Tim Zhang

    I just want to say that I pretty much have all these attributes, in my opinion.

    Trace One

    @ Tim Zhang, I was going to point you out as someone who probably doesn’t even need to go to the interview, but gets hired immediately from just a photograph!

    hee hee – Sense of HUMOR, actually, is absolutely essential, with who one wants to work with..Essential!!!!

    Tim Zhang

    I agree with this, sense of humor is essential. Sense of humor recently got me a job. The interview process was over 3 hours long, because it was fun talking with each other when both parties are very sarcastic. I had to quit 2 part time design jobs since I got a new one, and both principals told me that if I didn’t like the new job, I can always go back and they’ll find me something to do. I’m actually horrible at my previous jobs, but I was easy to work with. So wherever you work at, don’t burn bridges!


    Personality is everything, skill sets can be tought, but likable can’t. I don’t care how talented you are if I don’t think you have the proper chemistry I will not hire you. By the way not everyone is cut out for client contact. I have individuals who work great with the staff, but do not do well with my clients.


    Hiring managers are emotional creatures too. My boss has outbursts and streaks of obnoxious behavior and so so I. We deal with it. He purportedly knew when he hired me that our personalities were vastly different, but he hired me because I produce lots of work and I have the ability to learn.

    Frankly, I find it refreshing when someone in the office or here for that matter implodes. It’s nice to know there’s a human in there somewhere.

    Also, humility is probably worth just as much as a sense of humor.

    Amy Verel

    and that’s how I learned that you can’t swear here. And knowing is half the battle.

    But seriously folks. Andrew, I do think you’re on to something. I don’t think it’s unique to our industry or even creative fields, but the creative nature of our industry does seem to magnify the challenge of creating a team where personalities can gel effectively. Fair or not, it’s more integrated into our work environment than others; I suppose it’s one of the prices to be paid for doing something that you’re (hopefully) passionate about.

    Long story short, while it’s always important (for work but also life in general) to take a harsh look at oneself and how your personality works for and against you, I think it’s also important to remember that the personality fit goes both ways and the same personality that can be considered difficult in one environment can be perfect in another. Obviously everyone is happy in the latter case – sometimes it just takes exploring a few different job environments before you find it.


    A good personality will get you in the door, but it won’t keep you in a position if you can’t deliver. At least that’s the way it should be.

    It all depends on the person making the decisions weather you stay or go. I’ve worked for large firms where there were people who were incompetent and totally unprofessional, but they just seemed to be able to charm their way out of every situation.

    For example I worked with a young woman who came to work disheveled and late every morning. She would have loud arguments on the phone with her boyfriend almost daily. Worst of all she goofed around half the day and would always need me and others to help her meet her deadlines. The landscape architecture department manager and one of the VPs witness this on a regular basis, but said nothing. I kind of understood why they tolerated her behavior; I have to admit she was a very likable person. She was a free spirit with a zany / “train wreck” kind of quality about her. But there came a point when I got tired of all of the distractions and having to constantly bail her out. So I talked to the department manager about the situation and I was basically told to lighten up. I realized that I didn’t fit in with the company culture and I submitted my letter of resignation one month after that discussion.

    In contrast all of in my previous positions; I worked for bosses who could careless about your personality. As long as you were creative, dependable, could crank out drawings, able to mind your own business and didn’t make any mistakes that cost them any real money, you were good. But if they could see that you were a problem, they would quickly get rid of you weather they liked you personally or not.

    Now that I’ve been on both sides of the fence as an owner/manager and an employee, I realize that it’s good to have all kinds of personality types in an office. Provided they have some social skills and are respectful of others. It depends on the person’s job. I probably wouldn’t hire a person that’s an introvert to work directly with clients, but that same person could be a great designer or CAD tech.

    But one type I would never hire is the “funny guy” comedian who wants to suck-up or B.S. their way to success. I think one positive thing coming out of the great recession is that companies can’t afford to keep people on-board that aren’t producing. This makes room for people who are serious about their career and profession. I’ve worked with enough “Landscape Talkatects” in the past that I know not to hire one. I’d rather have someone that’s a little broody, but produces, than a guy that doesn’t produce, but keeps me in stitches.

    Jay Smith

    With regard to the hiring end of this subject, how much can a potential employer really learn about a candidates personality in a 2 or 3 hour interview?

    First impressions are important, but they can be easily misconstrued too. In the firms I’ve worked in, I’ve seen many surprises. Sometimes it’s the more introverted/reserved personalities who ultimately are more successful at earning the respect of their clients and coworkers, while the more aggressive outgoing types often clash and struggle to be team players and earn the trust of the boss. Saying all the right things in an interview probably should not be weighed so heavily in the hiring decision process, but all too often, it is, and the company ends up spending extra time and money to train someone else 3 months later.

    I have never worked as an employer, but it seems one of the most challenging aspects of that role must be to try to cut through all the BS and figure out what is real and what is not when it comes to your employees. At every firm I’ve worked at, there was quite a bit of manipulation going on from employee to employer. Some employees were better at playing that game than others, and many people got away with putting up a false facade to the detriment of the overall business.

    Thomas J. Johnson

    In my limited experience, kissing ass trumps all.

    When that fails, throw your competition under the bus. Make them look like the bad guy when in fact it is you who comes to work late, leaves early, spends most of the day having irrelevant conversations, “isn’t into technology”, can’t manage a project to save their life, has to have every project delivered “urgent” via courier to the job site (@ $150 a pop), creates drawings that are nearly impossible to edit because of all the redundant nested x-refs, can’t draw, sounds embarrassing interacting with clients on the phone, draws over my work making it look like a kindergartner did it and then presents it to the principal as my work…

    Shall I go on…? I guess “it’s political”…

    Yeah, I’m a bit jaded. Like a first love, I don’t think one can ever regain that sense of youthful enthusiasm for the profession once it’s lost… it just becomes another job and you begin to understand why your coworkers viewed it that way and lacked a sense of passion. You become one of them… frowning, bitter, calloused… just another body in “the morgue”.

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