The architect interview is one of the more complex professional interviews. Architecture is a particularly demanding technical field, and competition in the industry is usually intense. There are also elements of business and legal knowledge involved, depending on the type of work involved in the positions.
Architect interviews subjects
Even at entry level, architects must demonstrate a range of competencies, knowledge and skills.
The core subjects are:
Technical skills: Planning skills, use of survey data, specifications, construction materials and issues, use of computer assisted design software (CAD). All these are academic skills, and applicants must be able to show documented proof of these skills. Note: CAD requirements for architecture can be particularly demanding. Check with the employer regarding their systems and the level of expertise required.
Problem solving: Architecture problems can be design issues, site problems, client issues, costs, and materials, among others. Candidates need to show their problem-solving skills as clear examples with direct relevance to the job.
Legal and statutory issues: These issues arise constantly during the approvals process. Architects need a good current knowledge base of issues and fixes for these situations. You may receive another “problem solving” question on this subject.
Design skills: Architectural design is both a technical and a business skill. Architectural designs are commercial business products. You will need to produce a portfolio of designs to demonstrate both your technical abilities and your commercial potential.
Business skills: For architects as employees, business skills involve working with contracts and clients. Your experience in these areas will be checked out in detail, and you will need to show examples of your abilities in these areas.
Communications skills: Working with business clients means explaining to clients about architectural issues, translating situations into understandable information. Your communication skills directly affect the employer’s responsibility and liability for contract issues.
Preparation for architect interviews
Your interview preparation needs to focus on each element of the subjects outlined above, dealing with the specific requirements of the position. You’re strongly advised to speak to the employer in detail about their needs well before the interview, so you can prepare properly. Try and get a good look at the practical issues involved in the job, and see the work being done for yourself.
Technical skills: Identify the essential skills. Find out what levels of documentation of skills are required.
Problem solving: Review your portfolio for examples relevant to problem solving. Use a “storyline” approach to your interview answer, explaining the problem, the issues, how it was solved, and the result of your solution.
Legal and statutory issues: Same approach as problem solving, but look for good matches to the job.
Design skills: Select your portfolio, including production drafts, finished plans, and mock up designs. Use good quality presentation techniques for best effect.
Business skills: The best examples of business skills are contract levels with clear dollar values to define your experience.
Communications skills: Proof of good client communications skills can be matched well with your contract work. You can produce a well integrated interview performance by using examples which complement each other and show consistently high professional standards.