Embarking on an architecture career is a thrilling journey, and joining the right firm for your career goals and interests can lead you to exciting opportunities. However, one challenge stands between you and your dream job – the job application interview. Your skills and qualifications may get your foot in the door, but how you perform during the interview will ultimately determine your fate.
To help you make a strong and lasting impression, we’ve gathered these valuable tips for you. Refine your strategy with the top architecture job application interview advice from employers to find the job and firm that suits your goals and interests.
- Research Your Potential Employer
Just as architects meticulously study the terrain before designing a building, it’s best to delve into the background of the firm you’re applying to. Karin Payson Architecture + Design, an award-winning firm in San Francisco, recommends researching any firm’s website before sending an application.
Understanding their design philosophies, past projects, and work culture enables you to personalize your application, tailor your form letter, and demonstrate a genuine interest in the firm during the interview.
- Tailor Your Portfolio to Their Firm
Be honest about your core skills and experiences – they should remain constant and truthful. However, it’s a wise strategy to present them in a way that caters to the architecture firm you’re applying to.
Firms have their unique design styles, project types, and client preferences. Customize your portfolio to align with your potential employer’s specific strengths and preferences to improve your chances of standing out. Highlighting your relevant projects and skills can also help them understand better if you are who they’re looking for.
- Be Prepared to Discuss Your Past Projects
Whether you’re bringing design work you love the most or examples of built work, make sure you’re prepared to walk your interviewers through them. Be ready to delve into the details of your work, like the design process you followed and any challenges you faced. Employers appreciate candidates who can articulate their roles and contributions effectively.
With that said, you also want to be conscious of how you behave when your interviewers start scanning your sample work. Sitting silent while they review your portfolio may not be a good idea. Be ready to offer insight when appropriate to demonstrate your expertise and professionalism.
- Be Truthful About Your Skills, Career Goals, and Interests
Employers expect candidates to be truthful about their skills, career goals, and interests. For Los Angeles-based GRAFT, for example, authenticity and openness in job applicants are essential. The more they bring their authentic self to the interview, the better.
Architecture firms like NAC also value honesty and open communication in job interviews. Being candid about your abilities and interests, even when applying for slightly underqualified roles, can yield positive results if the firm sees your eagerness to grow.
- Ask Questions
A one-sided interview is rarely productive. In any job interview, it’s not just about your potential employer evaluating you, but you evaluating them as well. You want to ensure that the firm you want to join is a good fit for your professional interests and career goals.
For New York City architecture firm Spacesmith, here are some worthwhile questions to ask the firm – and yourself:
- Professional Interests: Are the projects they undertake in line with your interests? Do their approaches and design philosophies resonate with you?
- Career Goals: Is the position you’re applying for the one you ultimately want? If not, is there a clear path to reaching your desired role? Will the firm support your pursuit of personal interests within your career?
- Work-Life Balance: Understand the flexibility of the work schedule. Is it compatible with your lifestyle and commitments?
- Compensation and Benefits: What are the salary, benefits, and bonuses like? How are they determined and reviewed? Some firms have various payment schedules and include semi-annual bonuses. Don’t hesitate to ask about these details.
Employers appreciate candidates who actively engage in the conversation, so it’s a good idea for you to come prepared with thoughtful questions. Your inquiries show your interest and help you determine if the firm aligns with your aspirations.
- Show Enthusiasm
During the interview, express your genuine passion for architecture and eagerness to contribute to the firm’s success. Share what excites you about the industry and why you’re drawn to their particular firm. Your enthusiasm can set you apart from other candidates who might be equally qualified but less passionate.
Moreover, remember the power of a simple “thank you.” Winter & Company advises that after every step in the interview process, take a moment to reflect on the conversation and follow up with a heartfelt “thank you” email or note. Showing appreciation for the time and opportunity you’ve been given can help you leave a memorable impression on your interviewers.
Let Interior Talent Help You Put Your Best Foot Forward
Job application interviews are pivotal moments in your career. As such, we hope this compilation of top architecture job application interview advice from employers gives you clarity and confidence as you take a step closer to your dream job. With proper preparation, you’ll be well on your way to a thriving architecture career.
Interior Talent is here for you if you need an extra boost preparing for your interview. Our full-service agency can help you on the road to employment by guiding you through the best ways to present yourself and your skill set. Contact us today to get started!