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Why this matters:

While some architects still use paper and pencil to draw up blueprints, most use computer-assisted design (CAD) and building information modeling (BIM) technology for their drawings. The candidate doesn’t need to have experience using every architecture software program, but ideally they’ll be able to use a few.

What to listen for:

  • Familiarity with common software, like AutoCAD, Vectorworks, or Revit
  • Experience with the programs your team uses to reduce the amount of training needed is ideal
  • Proven computer skills and versatility that will allow them to learn new programs quickly

Why this matters:

Architects have to make sure their projects are not only safe for occupancy but also compliant with local laws and regulations. Having a candidate who is familiar with building regulations and takes appropriate precautions while planning and executing a project will minimize costly errors and legal hurdles down the road.

What to listen for:

  • Knowledge of local zoning laws and building codes, as well as the steps necessary to procure required permits
  • Signs that the candidate exercises diligence throughout the building process, ensuring contractors use proper materials and techniques
  • Strong sense of detail

Why this matters:

A well-qualified candidate will be attuned to developments in the architectural field and be familiar with influential figures and their styles. How they answer this question will provide insight into their understanding of architectural history and a glimpse into the styles the candidate may gravitate toward in their own work.

What to listen for:

  • Mention of specific styles, periods, or techniques, pointing to a breadth of knowledge about the field
  • Indication that the candidate stays up to date with industry news and trends
  • Clear sense of their own style and how it’s been informed by others’ work

 

Why this matters:

In a creative field like architecture, it’s expected that a professional’s architectural style will evolve over time. The candidate’s answer to this question can provide insight into how they’ve honed their technical skills as they’ve moved further along in their career and the ways in which they may be hoping to grow in the future.

What to listen for:

  • Indication that the candidate has grown their skills, taste, and technical ability since their early projects
  • Signs that the candidate has used past mistakes as a learning opportunity
  • Accountability for any negative outcomes

Why this matters:

For the most part, architecture is a client-based field. Architects aren’t designing for themselves or the firms they work for but the clients who will be occupying or selling the building. It’s important that the candidate has the problem-solving and interpersonal skills necessary to appease the clients’ worries and meet their demands for the sake of business.

What to listen for:

  • A client-centric approach, including an eagerness to take clients’ perspectives into consideration
  • Willingness to address the clients’ demands within reason, asking for extra funds or extending the timeline if necessary
  • Strong customer service skills

Why this matters:

In building and construction, unforeseen issues pop up regularly. It’s helpful to have a candidate who’s capable of pivoting on the spot, devising creative solutions, and overcoming obstacles on the job. What’s more, the ability to think up innovative approaches can lead to ground-breaking, original design work.

What to listen for:

  • Ability to think outside the box
  • Flexibility and willingness to adapt when things don’t go according to plan
  • Strategic, practical approach to innovating that takes time and budget into consideration

Why this matters:

On any given project, architects have a number of moving parts to oversee. From ensuring that local code and regulations are met to checking in on construction periodically, the responsibilities of the job can quickly become overwhelming for someone who’s not organized, causing important tasks to fall by the wayside. As such, a candidate with good organizational skills is key.

What to listen for:

  • Specific tools or processes the candidate uses to stay organized, like apps, agendas, or calendars
  • Indication that the candidate values organization and professionalism
  • Keen attention to detail and strong time management skills

 

Why this matters:

Depending on the role, the candidate may have to manage a team of contractors, or work alongside the municipality’s building department, engineers, expeditors, subcontractors, and other professionals to complete a project. Their answer to this question can provide insight into how the candidate likes to be managed by supervisors, how they manage others, and their collaboration style.

 

What to listen for:

  • Indication that the candidate trusts direct reports and contractors to work autonomously, while still providing support and guidance when necessary
  • Sense that the candidate is a team player
  • Strong leadership skills and a willingness to take initiative

Why this matters:

Before the interview, the candidate should have thoroughly researched your organization and made sure it’s a good fit for their career path. If they aren’t familiar with a few of your projects, they won’t know whether their architectural style aligns with your team’s and they may encounter a disconnect between the work they’d like to be doing and the opportunities your organization can provide.

What to listen for:

  • Indication that the candidate has spent ample time looking through your organization’s portfolio
  • Signs that the candidate is inspired by projects your organization has undertaken
  • Excitement about the prospect of joining your team
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