What’s your favorite Job Interview Question?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE What’s your favorite Job Interview Question?

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    I am beginning a search for a new employee. I have several candidates lined up, but I’m looking for some good interview questions. I’ve searched the internet but most questions are very general, not very LA specific.

    I am the Sr. Landscape Architect for a City, and the job will be for an assistant LA.

    What are the best interview questions you’ve ever asked or been asked?


    Xpat Larki

    “What is your expected salary?” 🙂

    Helen Buckle

    At one interview I was presented with sheets of blank paper, coloured pens and pencils and asked: “pretend you have to describe a wheelbarrow and an ironing board to an alien.”

    I was slightly taken aback but on reflection I think this is a great interview question. Whether you choose to write a description, sketch a scenario, fold the paper into a model or draw a scaled plan, section and elevation I think reveals a lot about the mind of the designer. Are they more concerned with technical details or the bigger picture? How far out of the box do they think…? 

    Maybe you could make up your own version of something similar?


    If someone asked me that today, I would bust out my smartphone, Google Image it and show it to the alien. 10 seconds job done, no BS, quick and to the point, no money wasted 


    Hello Edward;

    I replied to your question last night….guess it didn’t go thru.

    Hey……if I may, I would like to “highly recommend” a job interview book to you called:  “HIRE ME” by Patricia Drain.

    I came across this book back in 2006…..fantastic book.  I believe this book is now in it’s 4th or 5th edition.  You can GOOGLE the name & author…..and you can down-load an E-Book copy for under $10.00. 

    And just an FYI…….No, I have no affiliation with the book’s author or the book.  But, when I saw YOUR question here on LAND8…..I immediately remembered this book.

    This book is about a 30 to 40 min. read.  EVERY LA Graduate should have a copy of this book.  The author explains everything you NEED to know to give a great job interview!  And, in today’s World, job interviews are just difficult to come by…..so, when you get one, you’ve got to be at your VERY BEST!  This book definitely prepares a person to give an outstanding “job interview”!

    In the back of this book (I no longer have my copy of this book)….there are about 50 excellent sample job interview questions…..I think these questions will be very helpful to you for interviewing job candidates.


    J. Robert (Bob) Wainner


    Well, Lao, I sort of disagree with you here.

    Unless maybe you’re responding to an AD – that posts the salary range…..I don’t believe “money” should come up in the FIRST interview.  But, in the SECOND interview for sure.  Two interviews before you get an “offer” is not all that uncommon.

    I remember many years ago, when my Dad owned his own Advertising Art firm.  He told me that he’d get young University graduates come interview with him for a job.  And, that the first things that some of them would ASK….were, how much vacation time do I get and how much will I get paid?  Those questions really put him off.  He was wanting to see their art portfolios and look for “potential”.  He wasn’t even all that concerned about their University grades or GPA, he wanted to know “if they could draw”.

    I responded above……to Edward’s question.  I highly recommend the job interview book “HIRE ME” authored by Patricia Drain.  She’s an expert on job interviewing.  I was amazed at some of the things I learned in her book.  For instance….she said, that EMPLOYERS will decide whether or not to hire you within “6 seconds” after they first lay eyes on you. So, I think the author is saying….YES, First Impression very much matter!  Also, in her book, she discusses how to shake hands, how to and not dress, things to say and not say, mannerisms, sample job interview questions (in the back of the book), etc., etc.  She goes over everything you need to know.

    Like I mentioned to Edward………EVERY LA Graduate should have a copy of “HIRE ME”…..because, you really have to “nail” those interviews….if you expect to have any chance for a job offer. 

    And, if at all possible…..if an LA graduate manages to get a job interview in a fairly large city.  You might make some calls to other LA firms in the area….let them know you will be in the city on a certain date for an LA job interview…..and that you would very much like to interview with their firm too…..if possible, while you are in town.  This way, you save yourself “travel expenses”….and increase your chances of getting a “job offer”.  I believe, in most cases, entry level or fairly inexperienced LA’s…..normally pay their own travel expenses to and from a job interview.  Senior LA’s (often times) will have their travel expenses taken care of by the LA firm who is interested in them.  I had a situation like that several yrs. ago with EDSA…well, didn’t get the offer as another very experienced LA (with major Resort Hotel design experience got that job offer)…..but, EDSA flew me to Ft. Lauderdale twice – at their expense.  I still remember how great they treated me – very nice accommodations – round trip from Dallas….and I learned a lot just from those job interviews.

    One last thing about “job interviews”.  The design “portfolio”. I don’t recall if the author of “HIRE ME” addressed this issue…..but, for designers (LA’s, Architects, Interior Designers, etc.), the portfolio is, I believe, a very important part of the job interview process!  It’s important to have a variety of outstanding “samples”…..of both computer software drawings & hand sketches or drawings.  But, ONLY include samples of your very best work…if the samples are NOT outstanding….they don’t belong in your portfolio.  This goes to the old saying “always put your best foot forward”.  LA firm Owners are searching for “potential”….and it seems like, these days, they are going after “the best of the best”.

    The problem for an LA candidate answering the question “What is your expected salary?”…is, if you don’t give the “appropriate response”, it could cost you the JOB.  This is a difficult issue, but I think an employer will (hopefully) make a candidate an “offer”…..and they would have to decide if they were OK with the “salary”.  I think I would tell a prospective Employer, “I’m not focused on the salary as much as I am on learning, getting professional experience and contributing to the firm in any way I can”.  Put a positive spin on it. 

    Kind Regards,


    Andrew Spiering

    I think that is brilliant!  Great way to engage and reveals a lot about a potential hire.

    Curious to know what you did with that piece of paper… 🙂

    Helen Buckle

    I did some quick sketches and wrote a limerick about a wheelbarrow. Then I attempted to fold a piece of paper into something that resembled an ironing board. I think the alien would’ve been baffled but it worked for me – I was offered the job 🙂 

    Liz Duer

    I have been on numerous job interviews and one of the questions was “What designer do you pattern your design aesthetics after?” I’ve also been asked “what type of work (civic, commercial, residential) I prefer better.”(kinda a trick question if applying for the city .. let’s hope they say parks and civic work :).  I’ve been given CAD tests and been asked “What I thought of the other companies I worked for.” Though I don’t recommend that question it is interesting how people will answer.

    Goustan BODIN

    In my sense, before you define the questions to ask, you should define accurately what duties you expect your applicant to be responsible for. What kind of skills are you looking for ? Which are the ones you really need and the ones that come second, or as a bonus.

    Andrew Spiering

    Haha… that’s awesome!  

    Deborah Christman

    When you conduct a POE, what is the most important thing you look for? 

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    What do you see yourself doing in the next year?

    (basically, what do you perceive the job being offered  to be)

    What do you see yourself doing 5 years from now?

    What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now?

    Ernst Glaeser

    Googeling, or Yahooing reveals the creative person.
    No fantasy, copying others had developed.
    Give the guys 5 minutes to sketch something, give everyone the same task but only 5 min. Give them another 5 min to verbally describe something but assess now the free speach and the structure of approach.
    Ask something technical like “what’s the diameter of the circle you draw for a specific tree in relation to an age (look it up before you f…-up yourself), ask something like “what will you do when a contractor falls behind schedule” Should he/she respond to the question he/she will be wrong – answer is to have acted before they fall behind.
    Ask something locally legal, I understand that you are the somewhat Council.
    And the stupid: Where do you see yourself in 5 years time!!

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