The largest architectural firm in Southwest Michigan, TowerPinkster was awarded the “Best Architecture Firm to Work For in the Nation” at the Zweig Group 2016 Hot Firm & A/E Industry Awards Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.
Mr. White explained to Mrs. Peterson’s students, that he oversees all of the firm’s 105 employees, with half under the age of thirty, and also leads the hiring process of each potential candidate.
While searching for new candidates, TowerPinkster seeks to employ individuals who are “Hungry, humble, and smart.”
“We’re searching for talent that is always looking to go to that next level- they’re constantly seeking improvement,” said Mr. White. “When I’m hiring someone, I’m looking for future leaders.”
During his presentation, Mr. White discussed several questions that he commonly asks his candidates, as well as appropriate responses to such questions.
Tell me about yourself. - Mr. White said that this is one of the most important moments of an interview. Depending on the response to this, “I will know if I’ve decided not to hire a person by then,” said Mr. White. The best response is prepared, short, and encompasses a candidate’s education and job histories.
Where do you see yourself in five years? – The best answers to this question express a desire to seek growth within the local area and company. Explaining your intentions to grow and develop within the organization indicate that you are a good, potentially long-term investment.
Tell me what you know about our company? - Do your research. He explained that in putting forth the effort to research the company, you are showing that you’re serious about the position.
What is your biggest weakness? – Mr. White suggested that the best way to answer this tricky question, is to follow it up with a positive. For example, if you’re biggest weakness is that you don’t know about a specific subject, or a particular software as well as you’d like, explain that it is something you’re researching more in order to more fully develop your knowledge on that topic.
Who is your hero? – Do not answer this question about your favorite DC or Marvel super hero! Mr. White said that with this question, an interviewer is trying to get a sense of what qualities you aspire to attain.
What do you do in your spare time? – This question is an opportunity for you to show your passion for self-improvement. Interviewers are not looking for answers such as “playing video games,” or “sleeping,” explained Mr. White.
Mr. White’s final suggestion for an outstanding interview was to come prepared with a list of questions to ask your interviewer.
The TowerPinkster senior director recalled that the most impressive question that he has been asked during an interview was, “Do you have any feedback for me?” Mr. White explained that this question opened an opportunity for him to follow-up on anything that may have been unclear during the interview, and also forced him to offer a gut-reaction about whether the interview went well, or not.
In addition to preparing the Gobles High School seniors for a professional interview environment, Mr. White also shared the story of a young man who came unprepared for an interview and was subsequently turned away. By showing up in jeans and a t-shirt, without his resume, a notebook, or even a pencil, Mr. White said that the then candidate showed that the interview wasn’t valuable enough for his full effort.
The bottom line- to do well in an interview you have to be prepared. Do your research, always present yourself in a professional manner, and set yourself apart.
For the full list of entry-level interview questions from Mr. White, see Mrs. Veronica Peterson.