The American Institute of Architects
The American Institute of Architects Interview Questions & Reviews
Getting an Interview
Associate Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a staffing agency and the process took 1 week - interviewed at The American Institute of Architects.
Interview Details – I met with HR first and then met with the two managing directors to whom I would report. I was informed within a week that I would be hired on as a temporary employee with the option to be hired on full time within 2-3 months. I was offered an official letter of employment after my first week of working, but sadly still needed to wait out the 2-3 month period as a temp employee. It was frustrating to have to wait close to 4 months for health insurance and other benefits.
Interview Question – As this was my first interview, everything seemed difficult. But in hindsight, both managers asked pretty standard fair interview questions. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – My first job, so I didn't have any concept of negotiating.
Director, Member Component and Strategy Interview (Negative Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at The American Institute of Architects in June 2013.
Interview Details – I had an experience that was similar to another person’s post about this organization; and I suspect it was with the same HR individual. When I applied for a position, I was sent a detailed 10-point series of questions to answer that were highly detailed and seemed best suited for an interview or discussion rather than a preliminary test of qualifications.
Nevertheless, I completed it and sent it back to the HR contact. A few days later, I got a message saying she wanted to set up a time to talk. I sent back a reply saying I would be glad to talk with her, but could she at least advise me of some additional details before we spoke so I could get a better sense of the position. Her response? “We can discuss that when we talk.” (So, I guess it’s okay for the company to grill prospects but not for prospects to ask 4-5 questions about the position?)
Cut to the chase: When I called, the woman was very terse and said that she would not discuss salary at this stage – I wanted to know so I could determine whether it was worth our time going forward with the entire process – and then asked if the company was interviewing internal as well as external candidates. She replied, “That is not relevant. We are looking at all candidates.” (Translation: Yes.) She went on to say that they have been trying to fill this position since November of last year, which I took to be another bad sign since I couldn’t believe in this job market with so many people desperate for work that they hadn’t been able to find someone in 8 months’ time. I told her that if they were considering internal candidates that I did not wish to proceed because it’s been my experience that internal candidates always have the edge and it’s normally not worth the time and effort to apply if that was the situation. She became irritated and said, “I did not say we were looking at internal candidates. I said, we are looking at all candidates.” I then told her if she could not answer me directly that it was not worth going ahead with the process. “Is that your decision to withdraw then?” she asked. I said yes, thanked her for her time, and hung up.
My advice: Stay away from any place that has an HR reputation as bad as this place. If this is reflective of the management at the organization and the kind of front-line impression they wish to give candidates, there are probably better places to work.
Interview Question – Please provide example(s) where you’ve had to reign in overly ambitious participants, without limiting the scope of discussion. Answer Question
Chapter Relations Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 days - interviewed at The American Institute of Architects in May 2011.
Interview Details – I arrived for an interview for a Manager-level position, and arrived about 20 minutes early. To pass the time, I began making conversation with the security officer. We joked around, exchanged stories, and were interrupted by the HR Manager who'd arrived to meet me. She seemed genuinely disgusted that I was making conversation with the man, noting, "I come to work to work, not to socialize". Great omen right off the bat.
In the elevator, I'd asked her how long she'd been at AIA, to which she replied in an even more disgusted tone, "Calm down. We'll get to that in the interview". Calm down? Since when is energy and enthusiasm a bad thing for an interview?
The people I met in the department itself were considerably more pleasant. I've never seen such a nasty tone set by an interviewer, and was stunned to see how such a reputable organization treats people who take time to interview with them.
Interview Question – What was your greatest success? Answer Question
Director Interview (Neutral Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied online and the process took 1 week - interviewed at The American Institute of Architects in February 2008.
Interview Details – Submitted application in response to online job opportunity listing. Initial communication with the organization is with the HR personnel, who provides a Q&A questionnaire that is job specific. This is completed first, before any discussion on background or phone interview. Upon submittal of the responses, the organization determines whether or not to proceed with 1 on 1 interviews. Although interviewed with many people, the overall decision is made by the hiring manager only, with likely little feedback from others that were included in the process. Other interviews were primarily informational.
Interview Question – What is your role in this organization? Answer Question
Negotiation Details – There is no negotiation process. Salaries are as stated with no movement and benefits are standard. If offer is received by a candidate, it is the final.