Interview Tips and Tricks: 5 Basics
Every architecture or interior design practice is different, so is their interview process. Some design studios are very laid back with an emphasis on company culture and the social environment, others are very by-the-book and strict on meeting deadlines and their working style.
Regardless of the practice’s culture, there are key points you must cover when interviewing for your dream architecture or interior design job. Every interview is different, but every firm will require you to demonstrate certain character traits and skills. Here are a few interview tips to help you ace your interview!
Prepare and Research
One way to show your confidence and desire is to always be prepared before the interview. You should always invest time in researching the architecture or interior design company you are about to be interviewed by. Research their current and upcoming projects, including specific projects of interest to you, as this can be a point of discussion. Research the staff, their clients and the person who’s doing the interview. Find out what awards they have won, read their blog as this gives an in-depth look into the practices interests beyond business. All this will benefit your understanding of the company and its culture whilst demonstrating your enthusiasm.
Keep it simple
It’s simple really, get to your interview with plenty of time to spare and looking the part. Map the route to your interview a couple of days beforehand and keep referencing the route to check for transport issues. You don’t want the Northern line to have severe delays when you are rushing to make your meeting! Dress to impress, check the company’s website to try and get a sense of their style and dress similarly. If in doubt, always go smarter than you think you should. Finally, take your time. Get a glass of water and take a breath! Greet the interviewer with a big smile. You got this!
Try to keep the interview conversational and maintain a friendly, open manner. As part of this conversation, the interviewer will generally ask a series of generic questions that don’t have anything to do with architecture or design! Often, the interviewer is more interested in how you will interact with the team and whether you would be a good fit for the team and company. Interpersonal and social skills are just as critical to your aptitude for design!
Interviewers, particularly those in architecture and design, want to know you would be comfortable talking to clients, contractors and handling other aspects of a project. Being approachable and forthcoming shows confidence, likeability and can even put the interviewer at ease making the whole process much easier for both of you.
Always tell the truth
Always be honest, even if it means you have to admit to having no experience in something asked by the interviewer. If you are weak in a particular area or skill set, then acknowledging this is far better than disregarding it. Always put a positive spin on your weaknesses by explaining that although you don’t have experience with that exact skill or situation, you are keen to learn. The interviewer will most likely have asked about this on purpose, so prove you’re eager to learn and develop. Remember, the interviewer will likely have heard these ‘weaknesses’ a thousand times before. Some honesty mixed with a determination to better yourself will encourage them you have a realistic understanding of your own abilities.
Ask plenty of questions
During an interview, it doesn’t have to be you always answering the questions. Use this opportunity to investigate the business and decide if it’s right for you. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, preparing questions to ask the interviewer shows you are passionate about your own career direction, as well as your potential role within the company. It is always worth finding out who your interviewer is, that way you can find out more about the individual, where he/she went to school, their role within the company, interests etc. Just remember, an interview isn’t just to see how good a fit you are for the firm, it’s also an opportunity to see if the firm will be a good fit for you.
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