As most of us know, the architecture and interior design industry is a competitive one. This means that attracting top employees can be a little challenging.
Once you’ve secured an interview with your frontrunners from your recruitment partner or with an inviting job description, the next step is to discover if they will be the right fit for your organization.
Anyone who has led an interview knows that it’s no easy feat to get to know someone personally and professionally in an hour (or even in a couple of hours, for that matter).
That’s why it’s so important to make the most of your interview time. Below, we have put together a go-to guide for employers looking to fill various architecture and interior design jobs.
Interview Guide: Employers Seeking Architects & Interior Designers
This interview guide is designed to hone in on some key interview tactics and industry-specific questions that will help you get the most out of your interview time.
Research Your Top Candidates
It is easy with busy schedules and moving parts at your office to just skim a resume and add them to the ‘yes’ pile, but researching each person you are meeting with is key. Deep dive into their portfolio, examine it and discuss it with other hiring team members.
Also, take a look at their social media profiles and see what else you can uncover about these potential employees before they step foot into your office. This research will also help you formulate individual questions specifically targeted to each candidate.
Prep Your Hiring Team Well
Once you’ve done your research, you can now share insights and thoughts around each candidate amongst your hiring team. Along with sharing these, be sure to convey specific details about the role you are hiring for.
Ensure each person on the interview panel knows what the role requires and the ideal type of person who needs to fill it. This way, you are all on the same page when choosing the best person for the position. Each person that is involved in the interview process should take research time themselves so everyone is prepared for the interview.
Don’t do Most of the Talking
While it’s easy to get excited when speaking about the specific role on offer or the company itself, interviewers should try and keep their talking time to a minimum. Always let the candidate do most of the talking.
A good rule to follow: the candidate does 80% of the talking, and the interview panel does 20% of the talking. Try not to interrupt a candidate’s answers or finish their sentences, and use open-ended questions that will help to encourage substantial and in-depth answers.
Demonstrate Active Listening
Active listening is another important element to consider when conducting an interview. Listen to each answer carefully, and try not to get distracted or focus on the next question. If you are a note-taker, please take notes during the interview to remember key points that were discussed.
The notes can be a great tool during a post-interview recap identifying the answers that aligned with the role or can uncover details you would like to get further clarification on from the candidate that might not have been covered during the interview.
On top of actively listening, make sure that your body language and facial expressions are in-check. Don’t look off into the distance, slouch in your chair, or fiddle with your pen. All these can make the candidate feel as though you are bored or uninterested. Instead, maintain good eye contact and offer encouraging non-verbal signs such as nodding and smiling. This will make candidates feel more comfortable and, in turn, provide a better interview.
Have a Project or Assignment Ready
We all know interviews can be nerve-racking environments for certain candidates. People are often nervous and may struggle to be concise and compelling in their answers. If you are having a difficult time making a decision, sending each of your top candidates a creative project or assignment is an added advantage in the interview process.
This way, you can compare each project, critique the best of the bunch, and use it to reach the best decision possible. Again, discuss each of the projects with your hiring team. And, if you are a small company, at least get a few different opinions from around the office.
Stick to Set Questions
Perhaps the most crucial aspect of a great interview is setting up a list of insightful questions. It’s important to tailor your questions to each candidate where possible, but you’ll obviously need a few key questions to use when looking to fill any interior design and architecture jobs.
It’s a good idea to divide your questions into sections. Below, we have included a few examples as a guideline:
1. General Questions
- Tell us about yourself?
- What attracted you to apply for this particular role?
- Why would you like to work for this company?
- Tell us about your previous roles?
- Why are you looking to leave your current position?
2. Role Specific Questions
- What are you good at, and what are you not so good at?
- How do you resolve conflict?
- Are you a good leader?
- What does company culture mean to you?
- What does a good day at the office look like?
3. Personal Questions
- Walk us through your design process?
- Is there a particular architect or interior designer who inspires you?
- Which project are you most proud of in your portfolio?
- Can you share a creative idea that positively impacted a job?
- Where do you get ideas/inspiration for new designs?
We hope that this interview guide helps you secure the best possible candidates for any architecture and interior design jobs you need to fill.
If you need any assistance, please feel free to contact our team at Interior Talent. We’re always happy to help.
Interior Talent is an architectural and interior designer recruitment agency. Since we started in 2003, Interior Talent has evolved into one of the leading talent recruitment and outplacement firms for the architecture and interior design industries.
At Interior Talent, we are able to provide specialized services geared toward each discipline. If you are looking to hire or for a new role, get in touch with us today.