Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling
Chapter 3: Interview
“What are you doing in the room alone?” Fu Xinhui, who heard the noises from the other room, shouted from the hallway.
“Ah, ah…” Zhang Siyi yelled and opened his door. While he was flailing his arms around in excitement, he went to pounce on him.
As his hands were full, Fu Xinhui maneuvered himself to avoid Zhang Siyi.
A voice suddenly came from the front door and asked: “What are you doing?” Jiang Hai held the key in his left hand while holding a convenience store lunch box in his right hand and looked at them with a strange expression.
Fu Xinhui: “…”
Zhang Siyi excitedly rushed to Jiang Hai cheering: “I received a response from a job inquiry! I am going to a job interview!”
“Really?” Jiang Hai followed him inside, smiling broadly and inquired: “Which company?”
“Boundless Architecture Design!”
The three of them gathered around the coffee table to talk. Since Jiang Hai had an arranged job, he wasn’t familiar with other architectural companies other than the domestic Design Institutes. He asked: “Is that place good or not?”
In thought, Fu Xinhui let out an audible ‘hmm’: “Neither have I heard of it nor did you hear back from them for so long. Doesn’t that mean it’s a bad company that nobody applied to?”
Zhang Siyi was so angry at his friends that he quickly set them straight. He showed them the background information of Boudless and its evaluation from critics online.
Jiang Hai said: “It sounds very good. When is the interview?”
With this reminder, Zhang Siyi immediately became anxious. He slapped his forehead and said: “It’s in three days. What should I do in the mean time? I am so nervous. What questions do you usually ask during an interview?”
Fu Xinhui chuckled and joked: “You look so handsome; it shouldn’t be a problem!”
Zhang Siyi: “Seriously?… that’s not funny.”
Jiang Hai scratched his head and said: “I haven’t interviewed yet so maybe ask Su Yuan for help?”
Su Yuan was one of the girls who returned home during the same period as them. Her professional achievements were considered the best among several people and her career path was nicely planned. While Zhang Siyi was still traveling around with Fu Xinhui after graduating, she had been offered a starting position with a British design firm in the Haicheng branch. They were not Chinese, but they were very friendly with each other.
Zhang Siyi slapped his thigh and rushed back to the room to get his iPad. He quickly made a video call to Su Yuan.
“Hello!” Once connected, Su Yuan’s passionate voice came from the other side. “Little Yi, what’s up?”
In the video, the girl wore a short black dress. She talked to them with a mobile phone in one hand and moved the strap of the chain bag in her other hand out of the way, revealing a mature intellectual beauty.
Before they became classmates, Su Yuan studied English for two years at a domestic university. Than, she transferred to an architecture program abroad and thus, she was two years older than Zhang Siyi. As a result, she usually called him by a nickname “Little Yi”.
At this time, another smiling face with beautiful eye makeup and a lip gloss, squeezed into the small window of the video. This was their other female classmate, Ren Mengyu. Upon her return, she also stayed in Haicheng. “Hello there!”
“What are you guys doing?” Zhang Siyi asked.
“Just after work, our classmate Xuan Xuan invited us out to go clubbing.“ Su Yuan laughed.
“Sounds like fun!” Fu Xinhui and Jiang Hai also came over to the iPad to say hello.
“Oh, of course, do you want to come out and have a drink?” Ren Mengyu warmly invited.
Thinking of his interview, Zhang Siyi quickly refused, indicating that he had a purpose to his phone call with her. He told her about the interview appointment with Boundless. Su Yuan was shocked: “Wow! I also sent my resume to Boundless but they never responded to me.”
Zhang Siyi glanced at the two ignorant buddies. See, I told you! This company was amazing. I wasn’t bragging.
After a few laughs, Su Yuan returned to the topic at hand: “In general, by scheduling an appointment, it meant they already recognized your work. If your portfolio presentation was good the interview goes well, there shouldn’t be a problem. Some overseas studios prefer to let a foreigner do the interview in order to gauge how good your professional English communication skills were. They already had an advantage.” Su Yuan shrugged. “In my opinion, going to the interview was just procedure. They will talk about your salary and work expectations, nothing else.”
Zhang Siyi was still very nervous. He wasn’t as composed as Su Yuan so naturally he couldn’t emulate her calm and professional disposition.
With encouragement, Su Yuan said: “Relax, you are a new graduate fresh out of school. Do you think they recruited you to be the backbone of the firm? No! What they want is cheap labor and the willingness to work hard. You’ve already knocked on that door, so just act like you can do anything. The most important thing for you is attitude! No matter what the interviewer asks you to do, you have to say ‘yes’, even if it’s something you rather not do. It’s important to express your willingness to learn. They are also taking a gamble on a new graduate from college. It will be up to your own power whether you will become a rock or diamond.”
Zhang Siyi was inspired by her words: “Yes, thanks for guiding me!”
Su Yuan waved her hand and smiled. “You’ll do fine. Don’t worry so much!”
Filled with inspiration, Zhang Siyi was so excited that he had a hard time falling asleep. Even though he eventually fell asleep in the early hours of the morning, he woke up early. He was sleepy, but thinking of the interview, he was determined to make a good impression. He quickly got out of bed and jumped into the bathroom to wash thoroughly… soap, shampoo, shave. For the better part of an hour, Zhang Siyi fussed with his hair and clothing choices. He wanted to make the best impression possible during the interview. The last time he spent this much energy on his appearance was two years ago when he went to meet a girl.
Finally, looking at the radiant and handsome young man in the mirror, Zhang Siyi whistled. His long-lost confidence bloomed from the bottom of his heart.Let’s do this!
The office was in the center of Haicheng City which was only 20 minutes away from his apartment by subway. It would be extremely convenient if he worked there in the future. Since this advantage made Zhang Siyi really happy, it made him look forward to his interview.
There were many people nearby all rushing to their destinations. Arriving at the building, Zhang Siyi looked up at the 100 meters tall facade. He could see the Boundless logo on one of the floors. Looking at the white-collar elite who rushed to the entrance, Zhang Siyi opened his arms, closed his eyes, and took a deep breath of the city’s dirty morning air. Soon he will become a member of these offices and work every day from 9 to 5. Thinking thus, Zhang Siyi was filled with happiness.
Because it was the morning rush hour, there were many people coming and going. The elevator seems to stop at every floor in the building. Finally, at the floor where the Boundless offices were located, the elevator door opened to reveal a large glass wall with a plant display.
Zhang Siyi was startled. The whole wall was built from glass creating a lattice frame and on almost every shelf, lay a plant. There were plants seemingly of every variety. Herbal plants, conifers, succulents, small sparse plants, fat fleshy ones… There wasn’t any particular pattern to them, but the plant display created a visually pleasing, modern art piece.
Through the glass and gaps between the pots, you could faintly see the internal office space. The neatly arranged beige tables were equipped with computers and at each of them, an employee in twos and threes, worked intensively.
… ah ah, it’s so cool!
After turning left, at the end of the green corridor, Zhang Siyi saw the awe inspiring, red logo of Boundless painted on pure white. Along the wide wall, straight to the end, Zhang Siyi saw small black words below the characters in a row: “The Pursuit Is Endless”
Zhang Siyi’s heart instantly soared. Looking so happy and excited, one would think Zhang Siyi was in love.
Further inside was the entrance to the office. Zhang Siyi regained his senses and approached the front desk asking about his appointment. The receptionist enthusiastically took him into a small conference room and poured him a glass of water and courteously said: “Please wait a moment. I will inform the personnel department.” Half a minute later, Miss Wang from Human Resources came over to greet him. She told him that one of the directors will be doing the interview and that he would arrive soon.
Zhang Siyi nodded and expressed his gratitude. While waiting for the appointed time, he thought about all that had transpired lately. He imagined which array of questions that the director would ask. Once again, he thought about Su Yuan’s words and desperately tried to encourage himself.
“Knock, Knock.” The sound of fingers tapping the glass door pulled Zhang Siyi back from his thoughts. He turned his head and saw a tall, thin young man standing at the door. Leather casual shoes, gray casual pants, white t-shirt, open cotton sweater…. Wait a minute, this…. this person looks familiar!
Ah… yesterday morning… in the cafe…. coffee … He seemed to be -that- handsome guy!
…Oao! Oao! Why was that person here!?!?
With a blank expression, he glanced at Zhang Siyi and slightly bowed his head in greeting. Then he gestured gracefully, as if they were only meeting for the first time.
… Has he forgotten?
“Hello, my name is Gu Yu.” The opposite young man took out a business card and offered it to Zhang Siyi. Then he officially took out a pen and said: “Introduce yourself.”
Zhang Siyi glanced at the words on the business card –
National First-Class Certified Architect
Creative Design Director
Compared with Zhang Siyi’s inner turmoil, the man sitting across from him looked very calm. He slowly opened the file in his hand and asked: “You are Zhang Siyi, right?”
“Uh, hello……. Director Gu?” Zhang Siyi couldn’t believe that this person was an architect. A fucking director, no less! He didn’t appear to be much older them himself. Why was the director so young?? At each title Zhang Siyi eyes bulged.
Zhang Siyi’s mind was suddenly full of his conversation with his ex-girlfriend from the other day. Because of the comments she said, Zhang Siyi assumed that he had left a very bad impression on the director sitting before him. Plus, the coffee……
For a moment, he saw his original dream job coalesce into a large bubble and float away only to ‘pop’ right in front of him.
If, last night, the Lord let him experience the joys of heaven, then now, Zhang Siyi deeply tasted something bitter, in the pits of hell. It only took a moment to fall from the clouds to the bottom of the valley. He suddenly felt like his job wasn’t going to happen.
When Director Gu looked at him, Zhang Siyi immediately sat up straighter, and stiffly said: “I, my name is Zhang Siyi. I graduated from the British Department of Architecture.”
Gu Yu used the end of the pen to point at the printed material on the table, that is Zhang Siyi’s resume: “I know. Tell me something else.”
“…” …. something else? Say what? The situation was a complete mess.
Gu Yu put down his pen, picked up his arm and leaned back on the chair. He looked at Zhang Siyi up and down. He commented: “You cleaned up.”
Zhang Siyi: “…” he really remembered!!!
Director Gu raised his eyebrows: “Why don’t you say something about your girlfriend?”
Zhang Siyi was now despondent and wondered if he was making a joke. But if that was the case, why didn’t his tone convey a joke at all?
Gu Yu waited for a moment, looked at Zhang Siyi’s helpless face and sighed. He asked another question: “Why did you study architecture? Why did you send a resume to Boundless without a clear goal?”