02 Apr 2019

Interview — Nervous Energy

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Sweaty palms, elevated heart rate, abbreviated respiration, dizziness. If you have these symptoms it’s time to see a doctor! Wait, these are also symptoms of nervousness, excitement and even preparing for a project interview.

Interviews are often unnerving and the first of any particular interview is more so, like my first project interview when I started my company, WishingRock Studio!

I was sitting in the new office and perceived everything had that “new car” smell even though the office was years old. After all, it was my first day as the company owner, principal architect, senior marketeer, project manager, drafts-person and janitor. I remembered my flip phone vibrated during an earlier meeting and reluctantly checked voicemail. There was a message from an unknown number.

I smirked expecting it to be yet another Bot trying to sell me a fake Google Ad listing or offer to fix my Windows computer (I own a Mac). Behold, it was a prospective client who eloquently left her name, contact info and a description of her guest house project. She also qualified she was interviewing architects.

Oh, how I love a good competition! I pressed the “Call” button but immediately redirected to her voicemail, so I left my version of an eloquent intro and the promise to forward an email with info about me, my company and preparatory questions. I crafted an expertly phrased email with all the marketing buzz words and a lengthy question list, but only if you consider 45 questions lengthy.

I crafted questions about site, preferences, finishes, schedule, finances and decisions.

At the time I thought my thorough email showed a genuine interest in her project but in actuality high-volume questions are overwhelming for clients. It’s more meaningful to ask fewer and broader questions in person.

We finally connected and scheduled our introduction meeting to review the existing conditions and discuss my version of War-&-Peace-Q&A. I arrived 15 minutes early, clad in my branded business attire, sporting my shiny service leaflet and new business card.

I had already sweated through the carton of antiperspirant I applied via trowel earlier that day.

After mild introductions, l launched into creative-selling mode describing vision and opportunities. I dashed around the space projecting loudly with my octave-challenged voice and expressive hands.

To an astute observer, my nervousness produced a few involuntary jazz-hands gestures. To the normal human eye, I was a blur of plum, jade and khaki (my corporate colors).

My exaggerated motion and enthusiastic speech combination was equal parts whirling dervish pantomime and holy spirit-infused minister.

I described the entire project, design process, fee structure, construction process, favorite things and my life history in 42 seconds. It was a blur.

This part was hazy because I may have lost consciousness, but I think I accidentally genuflected at the end of my presentation and flashed jazz hands.

I was winded, sweaty and disheveled. I recomposed and redressed myself. Between breaths I asked, “Do you have any questions?”

She said,”What??”

Luckily she forgave my tousled post-presentation appearance, appreciated my enthusiasm and embraced my design concept.

She hired me and launched my first successful commission at the helm of WishingRock Studio. I repeated the performance many times since with less drama, but more professionalism; with less perspiration, but more tact and equal success. Whew!

You’ve read my project interview story. Now follow the links below to learn about other architects’ first interview!

Architalks Entries

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Interview — Nervous Energy

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
“my first interview”

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
My First Interview – Again

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
My First Job Interview

Mark Stephens – Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
My first interview

Larry Lucas – Lucas Sustainable, PLLC (@LarryLucasArch)
My First Interview That Reconnected Me to the Past

Ben Norkin – Hyperfine Architecture (-)
My First Interview – Your Next Interview

Anne Lebo – The Treehouse (@anneaganlebo)
My First Interview

Architalks Credits
This is another entry in Bob Borson’s blogging brain-child titled, “ArchiTalks”. The #ArchiTalks goal is to inspire blogging architects with similar educational and professional requirements to opine on the same topic and simulpost their response so other architects and a broader audience can enjoy the rampant thought-diversity within the architecture profession Select the links in “Architalks Entries” above to read how architects responded to the “First Interview” topic. image/video credits:

About the Author

Your Architect is Eric Faulkner -- an architect licensed in Texas & Oklahoma with 32 years experience in design, construction observation and life.