“When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead…” — Grace Slick

Prior to The Great Recession of 2008, I was under the impression that people who recruit for licensed professions actually understand those professions.  I was wrong.  Very wrong.

Now I will find Architects to design buildings for Dinosaurs!  Rawwwr!

When I was looking for a firm, I heard from at least 3 headhunters/recruiters a week, it was pretty frustrating – when I would tell them what my position is in an Architecture Firm – they would ask, “What’s that?  Is that the same as Construction Administration?”  Clueless as to how an Architecture Firm operates, the different titles in a firm, not to mention, the different phases of a project, yet, we pander to these people and try to convince them that we are good at what we do and to, please find us a good position with good benefits – WHEN, in reality, they do not know the first thing about the profession!  Absurd.

Hey, who are we following? I am not sure.

Some of the people I talked to previously and those who continue to call me, wanting to know if I can recommend anyone to fill this position-or- that one, continue to amaze and confound.  How can one recruit for a Profession that they know absolutely nothing about?  They cannot. And that has become very clear to me in the last few months.

One local recruiter contacted me 8 months ago and wanted to know if I knew anyone who had, “restaurant experience”.   I gave him the names of some highly-qualified, highly experienced Architects with a background in restaurant design; 8 months later he calls, again, and asks how I am doing, how I like my position (at this point I am thinking he is going to either give me a commission or something… for giving him such high-end leads!)  and, then, asks me, AGAIN –If  I…”.. know any Architects with restaurant experience?”    I could not believe it!  I said, “Aaron? (name changed to protect the dim),  Didn’t you call the names I gave you??”  He hemmed and hawed and said, “Well….I talked to one and they did not mention that they had ever done an Italian restaurant…and my client wants to build Italian Restaurants.”    *Silence* on my end – The guy must have brain the size of an Italian Meatball!

“..But have they designed Italian Restaurants?”

I bit lip as I made a few whimpering noises and calmly explained, “Aaron…. from an Architect’s design standpoint – we are designing for the Kitchen to implement the Equipment, Freezer, an Air-Curtain from the kitchen for egress and a beefed-up HVAC system to make-up for the people  who give off more humidity and latent heat while dining; seating arrangement for pedestrian flow, accessible restrooms and server work and order areas,  (at this point my voice was starting to quiver).

BUT which TYPE of food you serve from that kitchen will be a matter for the Chef that the restaurant hires and the owner/investors – to discuss! And as far as Italian Decor Theme – THAT is up to the Interior Designer and maybe to the Architect for the Facade IF it is a free standing building.”  He said, “Really?  So have any of the people you recommended designed Italian Restaurants?”  I said, “Aaron, do you listen when people talk or do you simply use that time to think of your next question?’ (Which usually turns out to be one that he has already asked.)

Aaron also called another friend of mine – she was equally as frustrated with him and with his nonsensical, repetitive questions that have very little to do with what we do for a living.  She questioned his knowledge in the field – which is VERY low – yet, he feels comfortable that he could find qualified Architects, Interns and Designers, simply, by asking a series of questions on a sheet of paper.  How would he know what he is looking for, what a firm needs or talent from no-talent?

The problem is this: The skills needed to be competent in an area are the same skills needed for evaluating competence. This particular gentlemen knows NOTHING about Architecture, hence, he does not have a snowballs chance in hell of finding a candidate that does, either.   He will find a candidate for a firm that answers the question on his list “correctly”- -the list he has in his head — of what HE thinks makes a good Architect but as we just ascertained – He knows NOTHING about Architecture. He will end up presenting someone to a firm who is very green and talks about a lot of other points, other than the technical aspects of the profession – the aspects neglected – are the ones the firm actually needs in order to make money!

A candidate for a highly technical profession, like ours, cannot be found by a recruiter or by an HR person, these people simply parse resume’s looking for keywords and, again, end-up hiring people for every reason, except, the skills a firm needs to operate –at a profit.

The professional recruiter can be as much of a scam as anything else. Some are paid by the resume’ that they collect or by the number of people that they contact or,  as my last article stated, by the person they convince to go get trained on software “XYZ”.

One Architectural Recruiter asked if he bought me lunch, would I explain Architecture to him, demonstrating, that professions he has dealt with and worked at, himself, full-training can be conveyed in 1 hours time. I could not even dine at the same table as someone who is so ignorant to think that years-and-years of training and study could be transmitted in under an hour –  And to think I have colleagues that get-up on their hind legs and dance for moron’s like this – really turns  my stomach!

You know nothing about Architecture – but PLEASE find me the best position, for me.

Something tells me that the recruiter landed his job after being asked a series of questions… from a piece of paper.


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