Make your mark at interview

Rachel Hoolahan, Architect & Sustainability Co-ordinator at Orms and judge of AJ Student Prize shares five top tips for making an impression at an interview…

1. Streamline your portfolio – Being able to present your projects back is a key skill that you need as an architect and showcasing this at interview is important. The ability to articulate your designs is key and helps to represent your skills. Only include work that you have created because you need to talk in detail about the decisions you made for the design. Include the designs that you feel most passionate about in your portfolio as you will be able to talk more confidently about them.

2. Do your homework – It’s essential to research both the practice and the architects interviewing you, so you can talk about some of the projects they’ve worked on and ask questions about things you find interesting. Showing an interest in projects the practice has worked on in the past shows you have done your research and it makes your interview more relevant and memorable. Understand the types of projects the practice works on and try to compliment something that stands out to you. If you’re not sure who you’re being interviewed by, get in touch with them to ask so you can prepare.

3. Be open – Make sure you share why you want to work at that practice, what it is about them that stands out to you and makes you feel passionate about working there. Remember to be open about your skills too, we know that you are coming out of full-time education and have a lot to learn, no one expects you to know everything. Talk about your previous work experience, whether that’s internships or a part-time job while you were studying, it shows you work ethic and that you can hold down a job.

4. Plan your questions – You always want to be asking questions at interview, it shows you are engaged and interested. There will naturally be questions that you want to ask from the interview discussions but have some prepared in advance. Think about the things that you really want to know i.e. What’s the culture like? What’s the typical team structure? What type of projects will I be working on?

5. Show your enthusiasm - Make sure you’re showing your personality in the interview and be enthusiastic. Remember that practices are looking to employ a person not just a skill set, they want someone who will fit into their team who can be nurtured and developed to support the practice. You might not have experience of every programme they use but show the interviewers why they need to employ you.