October 30, 2013

Kiss of Death: The Recent Grad's Architecture Job Interview

I guess for the many architecture students that did not get career counselling help, or a thesis juror offering a job, or a school offering them an internship placement - many architecture graduates say things that can turn off prospective employers. Here's some of the "Kisses of Death" you must avoid in Architecture Job Interview:

Dishonesty/Fake it till you make it

  • (tactful and appropriate) Honesty in the interview does go a long way. If you are able to provide an accurate and detailed account of your weaknesses and strengths, and counterpoint my weak skills with my strengths to make it an advantage helps. In my job interivew, I had an accurate measure of my skill set and was able to convey it as a point of discussion in the interview.  The point I’m making is that you need to have an accurate picture of your strengths and skills and abilities that you can contribute to the firm.

TIP: I think it imperative that any student or recent graduate who looks at their own work carefully and accurately reflect upon their strengths and capabilities, their weaknesses – but turning them into opportunity. So you might not be a good renderer or never knew what Revit is, but what are you going to do or what are you doing? What alternative can you offer to your prospective job to ensure you can do better? You need to prepare yourself for an interview (lots of info on career websites)

 “I’ll work for free”

  • I get really irritated and pissed off when I hear architecture graduates say this...almost to the point that I feel that they are further dishonouring *cough* whoring *cough* the profession much more. On the part of the employer it does show that you are not committed to working for them in the long run and that you do not want to help them become profitable or help their business.  Even as a recent graduate you do have skills and technical acuity that should be paid when you provide your services to a firm.

TIP: If a firm does not want to pay you – it is probably a firm that does not value you or your services. They probably don’t even value your professional career and growth. It is much more likely that it is a firm that is not conducive or nurturing to young designers. This also has to do with a lot of graduates not realizing the preface that academia is about learning, and the real world is about job making a living. (yes, learning is life long in architecture, but you also have to do your part to contribute to any company's success) 

“I’m going to grad school, so I just need to work a year/a few months...and I want you to teach me!”

  • On the first day of work, I learned that a recent graduate is 30% proficient in the workplace – which was a mind opener. For small firms, it is quite expensive to take the time to train and pay a junior intern. In school, it is always natural to be entitled that your sole purpose is to learn.  While learning and professional development does continue after graduation – the issue of economics and profitability for a firm is just as important. You need to be a valuable contributing team player in the working world. Just think about it, to ask a small firm that you want to be taught means an extensive amount of their own time away from administrative and logistic responsibilities to operate the business. to train you to get up to speed and be profitable for a firm takes years and to see you quit even before the point of profitability means a great loss and disadvantage on their part in the long run. 
TIP: If you are just looking for a year or less to work, it is probably better to scope out the larger size firms that are able to handle the turnover of junior employers in shorter time spans. The operation and dynamics of a small firm is much more different because there is more effort for a smaller team to keep the business afloat. This means that a lot of small firms are busy, and when they hire a new member to a team they are willing to train on the condition that they are selecting a candidate who is committed to work for them for a few years.  Just keep this into consideration and be understanding when applying to small design firms. 


1 comment:

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