The job interview is an important gateway to opportunities in the competitive world of architecture. It’s where ability and innovation collide. Mastering the architectural job interview is a skill that involves a combination of planning, real excitement, and efficient communication.
Like any other job interview, there are certain things that you can do to succeed in an architectural job. Similarly, some things should be avoided to increase your chances of landing the job.
With this article, you can learn everything you need to do and avoid during an interview. It will give you insights on what you can do to create an impression and hopefully, secure the job for you.
Interview Preparation: Things to Do Ahead of Time
Before entering the interview room, you need to make some preparations first. You start with researching the company to exhibit genuine interest and familiarity with it. Examine the firm's portfolio, learn about its design philosophy, and keep track of the latest projects.
You’ll also need to select projects to add to your portfolio that showcase your skills. Make sure to choose ones that are aligned with the firm’s purpose and style. You have to showcase all of your abilities and highlight your experience through your portfolio.
The Dos: Things to Do During the Interview
You want to score major points with the interviewer and create a lasting impression that increases your chances of getting the job. Here are some of the things you should do to maximize your chances.
1. Explain Your Design Process
It is critical to explain your approach to new challenges. How do you approach a new project when you first get it offered to you?
Share insights into your creative process, stressing problem-solving abilities and critical thinking. Use actual examples to demonstrate your thought process and how you've overcome design challenges in the past.
2. Showcasing Your Team Skills
Architecture is collaborative, and employers favor architects who can collaborate efficiently. During your interview, make sure to point out your effective collaboration experiences. Place a special emphasis on your role in group projects and the beneficial outcomes of teamwork.
3. Asking Informed Questions
Asking intelligent questions displays your interest in the firm and your knowledge of its work. When given the opportunity, Inquire about the company's current projects, objectives for the future, and design philosophy.
Asking these questions shows the interviewer that you've done your research and are truly interested in the position.
4. Expressing Enthusiasm and Passion
Passion is a driving factor in architecture. That’s why communicating your enthusiasm for the profession and the particular business is critical. Ensure that you express your excitement about working for the organization and how your interests fit its ideals and projects.
The Don'ts: Things You Should Avoid During the Interview
Now that you have a good idea about the things that you should do, it’s also important to talk about what you want to avoid doing. Here are some of the common mistakes that you should refrain from.
1. Avoiding Overused Clichés
Avoid statements like "I'm a perfectionist" or "I pay attention to detail." As everyone uses the same statements, hearing that might negatively affect the interviewer. Originality and authenticity are going to be more noticeable than tired clichés.
2. Overemphasizing Your Contributions
While highlighting your skills is crucial, avoid exaggerating your accomplishments. Emphasize the collaborative nature of architectural projects and describe how your efforts benefited the team and the project's overall success.
3. Being Unprepared to Discuss Your Portfolio
It doesn’t look good for you if you can’t discuss the projects in your portfolio properly. Familiarize yourself with the specifics of each project. If the interviewer asks you any questions, you must be ready to answer all of them. The ability to talk authoritatively about your job increases your credibility.
4. Disregarding Non-Verbal Communication
Nonverbal cues are just as significant as verbal clues in communication. Always maintain eye contact, pay attention to your body language, and present yourself as confident and engaged. However, to avoid appearing haughty, maintaining the appropriate balance is critical.
Some Common Architectural Questions
To help you get a bit of a headstart, here are some of the common questions you’ll get asked during an architect job interview. These are the answers you want to try to give to these questions.
1. Tell Us a Bit About Your Design Influences
Instead of giving a surface-level answer, you should try and get into a bit of the detail. Get a little personal and share some insights about what inspires your designs. Relate those to some of the work that you’ve done to answer the question.
If you have any renowned architects from Portland, ME, or anyone else you look up to, mention them in your answer.
2. How Do You Handle Constructive Criticism?
Focus on how you want to learn and grow from each feedback. If possible share some real examples of where you received constructive criticism over your work. Emphasize how that helped you improve in the end.
Get Ready For Your Interview
Mastering the architectural job interview requires practice, preparation, and self-reflection. Those who can negotiate the interview process with confidence and sincerity are the ones who are capable of getting the right job.
Every interview is a tremendous learning opportunity, so make sure to learn something from each one to use in the next interview. By leaving a lasting impression, aspiring architects can land any job in the dynamic field of architecture.