How to Get Through Any Architecture Job Interview
Once you’ve finished architecture school, it’s time to put together your portfolio and start looking for a job. You know that you’ll be competing against a host of other candidates who might have more experience and better connections than you, and you’re wondering how you can make yourself stand out as the perfect candidate. We’ve put together our best advice to help you get through even the most intimidating architecture job interview with ease and confidence.
Do Your Homework
Make sure that you research both the company and the person that you’re interviewing with. We recommend looking through the company’s project portfolio and reading their blog to get an idea of their style and to come up with a few talking points if they ask what you’d be interested in working on. It’s also a good idea to look up your interviewer on LinkedIn, to see if you have any contacts or schools in common that you can use to build common ground with them.
Use the Briefcase Technique
The ‘briefcase technique’ is the ultimate level of preparation you can do before a job interview. It involves you researching the company you’re hiring at, identifying any potential problems or areas of improvement, and preparing a proposal to bring to the interview that addresses those issues. An example of this would be if the firm you’re interviewing with doesn’t use certain new technology. You could prepare something showing how downloading certain apps onto the tablets or phones of their architects could save hours of administrative time later.
Appear Calm and Confident
Job interviews are inherently intimidating. However, it’s important that whether or not you feel confident and prepared, you act like you are. Simple tips to appear far more put together than you probably feel include sitting up straight, maintaining eye contact with your interviewer, speaking at a calm and reasonable pace, smiling, and not fidgeting in your chair.
Show Your Personality
While you want to appear professional and calm, you certainly don’t want to be boring or robotic. Letting a little of your personality show in the form of an appropriately timed joke or an interesting personal take on a response to a question will make you seem more human and will help build a connection between you and your interviewer.
Ask a Good Question (or two) at the End
At the end of every interview, the interviewer will inevitably ask you if you have any questions for them. “No, I’m all set” is the wrong answer. Asking questions at the end of an interview is crucial in showing the company that you’d be an employee who takes initiative. We recommend asking a question relevant to the firm you’re interviewing at and their style/practices, such as “What typical projects would I be working on?” “What do you like about working here?” and “What is the new build versus renovation projects percentage?” Another great question to ask is “Do you have any concerns about my application?” This gives you an opportunity to address any qualms they might have had about hiring you on the spot, rather than finding out later that something easily explainable cost you that position.
Send a Thank-You Email
At the end of your interview, if you didn’t get one at the beginning, get a business card from your interviewer. The next day, send them a simple email thanking them for their time and consideration, which could look like the below template.
Thank you – (job position) Interview
Mr./Ms. Last Name,
Thank you for speaking with me today about (job position) at (company). I enjoyed our conversation, and I appreciate you taking the time to conduct our interview. Your company was very (positive thing you noticed about the firm), and I hope to get the chance to speak with you soon about how I can use my skills for the benefit of (company) in the role of (job position).
The above email is short, friendly, and conveys that you are a thoughtful and genuinely interested person without sounding desperate or like you’re sucking up to them. Sending an email similar to the one above might be the deciding factor between you and a similar candidate who declined to take the time to follow up, landing you the job.