Questions to ask when Interviewing for an Entry-Level Position

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Questions to ask when Interviewing for an Entry-Level Position

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    Amit Pandya


     I just had a question as to what are some general and economy related questions to ask when interviewing for an entry-level landscape designer position.  I of course have project related questions as I have done research on the firm, but any feedback/pointers would be greatly appreciated. 

    The reason I bring this up, is that this may be a cross country move, and I would just want to have all basis covered as well as some of the finer details.  If anyone has made such a move or have been put in such a circumstance I would like to hear from you’re experiences and of course advice on making such a transition.




    Amy Verel

    Congrats on the interview! One question I like (and one that has worked for me in the past) is to ask ‘what are the main projects in the pipeline that I could expect to be working on?,’ which is a polite, wholly acceptable way of asking ‘why are you bringing on a new person?’  This simultaneously invites the interviewer to expand on a topic they like talking about (upcoming work the firm has won-even if you know about it, they will enjoy talking about it so let them) and gives you a good idea of what to expect day-to-day if you are offered/accept the position, all without having to ask the awkward ‘what would an average day look like’ type of question.


    To further address your legitimate economic concerns, you might probe further with follow-ups about what sort of time frame is anticipated for the upcoming projects they mention, and also what ongoing contract work you might also be assigned (pre-quals for large agencies, long-running project/clients, etc).   Best of luck to you!

    Wes Arola, RLA

    What is the structure of the office as far as how work is dispersed at different levels. Will you get to see any design work, or will you be a CAD robot who drafts other people’s design work. What is the promise for progression with the company as far as reviews and promotions. Will they pay for licensure, LEED, professional development etc…

    Their typical review process as far as performance as you work there for 6 months…a year…a year and a half..etc is important to know and establish an understanding/agreement to ahead of getting hired – lesson learned by me as I didnt and have struggled to get recognition for my efforts and exceeding my job title.

    Matt Sprouse

    You definitely need to know the structure of the company and how the ‘ladder’ works.  Don’t be afraid to talk money, benefits, or how often you are up for a performance review.  Ask if they had to let anyone go in the last downturn (if they saw one), and what types of positions were eliminated.  Ask why they like living there.  Ask why they got into the profession.  Ask if you can talk with some of the other employees.


    Normally, I would not suggest you be so brazen but to pick up and move cross-country is a major life change and a good firm will understand that.


    Good Luck to you.

    Thomas J. Johnson

    Question-1: Are you hiring?

    Answer: Yes.

    Question-2: When can I start?

    Jason T. Radice

    If you are to move so far, be sure to ask about the stability of work. In this economy, it is very dangerous to risk an expensive and disruptive move if the firm only has three to six months guranteed work. I know people who had gotten jobs only to have them disappear less than a year later. I had interviewed a few places myself, and several of the employers were very upfront about concerns over future contracts. There is so little work now, this should be the first question, not salary/benefits.

    Trace One

    “How can I help you and your company achieve it’s goals.”

    (From NYT business section interview with business person, what they want to hear from interviewees..”

    Never tried it myself.


    Rob Halpern

    Be sure you understand the cost of living of the new city and how your new salary will fare there. It might be quite different from what you expect. You can discover that on-line. For example

    It probably makes sense to try (I have no idea how though) to gauge the market for L.A.s there so that you are not making this move entirely in the hopes of succeeding at this one firm. If you can’t move up in the new firm, are there others to move to? I think you might ask how competitive the field is in the new area. I have moved across country for an opportunity only to discover I hated it and in the end moved back three months later.

    Mark Sanford

    You can always ask ” where can I see myself within the company structure in five years if I accomplish my goals within this company?”


    Make sure you can list your strongest assets and how you can hit the ground running for the company, what you bring to the table and how it will help their firm immediately and in the future. Make sure you know your weaknesses and how you working to improve them, or how you have over come them. Look for projects that are posted around the office and ask about them, tell them how you could of helped on that project.


    Overall just be yourself

    mark foster


    The two best questions a job-seeker has ever asked me:


    1.  At the conclusion of the interview, I thanked her and let her know I had several more people to interview and would get back to her blah blah blah. She said that she understood and thanked me for the opportunity, and then she asked “Is there anything from this interview that you think I should read or work on in preparation for this position”   She was not the strongest candidate I interviewed that day, but she got the job.

    2.  Toward the end of an interview, I had some reservations about the candidate–he had most of what we needed but not the whole package.  Apparantly sensing this he asked”  I believe I would like to work here and I know I could make a valuable contribution, but we don’t really know how this is going to work out– what if come to work for you for a couple of months and we see how it goes?  He got the job, and at the end of two months I gave him more $ than I offered him during the interview, and he stayed with us for 8 years.

    I hope this helps.  Congratulations and good luck!

    Amit Pandya

    Thank You All,

    This is some really good stuff to know and consider.  I found this site to be very helpful not only in job searches but other avenues of the profession as well, Land8 does a great job with current topics and issues and I am very happy to be part of such a distinct group.  And to have other professionals comment and give their insight is only beneficial to my professional growth and development.  So thanks again!!!


    Lorna Allen

    Hi Amy, Great advice… I hope you are still enjoying NY! Happy Holidays, Lorna

    Rob Halpern

    I agree.. that’s very important. If it feels like a good working relationship that earns you lots of “points.” Sometimes listening is more impressive than speaking (and a bit rare these days)

    Peter Graves

    great input….good to hear from actual interviews that went well.

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