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Interview

The ABC's of Interview Prep

Ed Maunder Yorkshire Architecture, CV Writing, Architecture Jobs...

Interviews are daunting, whether it’s your 1st or 40th interview (hopefully you won’t have had 40 interviews trying to secure a role but if you have this blog may help you on your 41st interview!) you will always feel nervous no matter how much you prepare however there are simple things that you can do that will improve your chances of securing your dream role!

A Results Packed CV

As a recruiter I read a lot of CV’s everyday and one criticism I would have for the majority of candidates and the feedback I receive from a lot of hiring managers is that CV’s tend to list where the candidate works and their job title but they don’t generally tell the story of what the candidate actually does.  It is important when writing a CV to put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager and think if I was hiring for an Architect or Tech what would I want to see on their CV?

When putting your CV together it is important to list where you work, discuss the projects you have worked on and your specific role within that project.  Your CV should give a strong insight into exactly what you can bring to a project, the type of software you use and your achievements. Also send across a portfolio of your work to go with your CV, I have had candidates who I have been told will be offered roles off the back of their portfolios and the interview is nothing more than a chance for the employer to sell themselves to the candidate.  

Remember your CV is a great opportunity to let prospective employers know how good you are so take advantage of it!

For some very detailed CV advice related to Architecture you should check this out.

Preparation

So you’ve put together a great CV and have now been requested for an interview, what next?  

PREPARATION!

Preparing for the interview can be as important as the interview itself!  I would recommend making notes on the company you are interviewing with, find out about their history, explore through LinkedIn and their website who will be interviewing you and their background and look at the type of projects they are currently working on and have worked on in the past.  I would type this information up and take it to the interview with you, by taking the information in with you it shows you are serious about the job and the practice and have gone out of your way to find out about them, this WILL impress them!

Prepare questions to take into the interview as well, I would recommend writing a minimum of 6 questions to take into the interview with you, avoid questions around holidays, salary and working hours and instead focus on questions about the practice, their plans for the future, opportunities for progression and upcoming projects.

Print off the job description, your CV and a portfolio of your work to take to the interview with you so you have copies to hand in the interview to discuss.  Also plan your route the day before check on google maps how long it will take you to get their and plan to get there 30 minutes early just in case you encounter any traffic problems.

Finally pick out what you will wear the day before to ensure you look smart and presentable at the interview and aren’t panicking the morning of the interview because you didn’t realise what you wanted to wear is in the wash!

 A Strong Introduction

First impressions count for a lot!  According to Brian Tracy 

“The fact is that when you first meet a person, they make a judgment about you in approximately four seconds, and their judgment is finalised largely within 30 seconds of the initial contact.”

In an interview although I don’t agree completely with Brain’s statement I do believe that first impressions are very important, it is important you are friendly, well presented and punctual to your interview as this will help to set the tone for the rest of the interview and help to open up the interviewer from the get go!

Great Communication

Communication is a key skill for any role specifically within the Architectural industry and your ability to communicate effectively should be evident throughout the selection process. Your communication should be confident and precise and you should be comfortable vocalising your experience that fits the role your are being interviewed for. Your answers need to be clear, providing depth without the need for the interviewer to prompt or probe after every answer for more details.

If this is something you struggle with, practice with a friend, family member or the recruitment consultant who has put you forward for the role!

Highly Recommended

Ensure that you are able to obtain references to back up what you have discussed in the interview, you can be the best candidate in the world but if you are up against someone of a similar standard and they are able to provide technical references and recommendations, backing up what they have discussed in the interview they are going to be the candidate offered the role!

A technical reference does not always need to be from a current manager.  If you have been in a job for a long time and your current manager is not aware you are looking for a new role look to get a reference from a colleague or ex-colleague.  A technical reference from somebody you worked alongside can be as effective if not more effective than a reference from a manager as they will have worked with you on a daily basis and know your full capabilities.