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Architect US
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Red flags to look for when interviewing a possible candidate

One of the most important parts about on-boarding a new team member is the interview process. This is the moment you get to finally meet the person and see if it is a fit within the company culture, as well as if they match up to what you need. Being a good judge of character requires being prepared and having an understanding of what drives a person, and how they present themselves.

One of the hardest parts of maintaining a strong company culture and growing the company is the on-boarding process. For many the interview process is a crucial stage of the on-boarding process, considering it is the first time that you will get to interact with the possible candidate. Here at Architect-US we understand the importance of the interview process, and we want to make sure you have the proper tools for how to find the right fit for your team.

1. A lack of interest

Many architecture firms tend to be boutique niche firms, and thus tend to have a smaller team in comparison to the bigger firms within the industry. Smaller teams means that bringing new team members on is a huge balancing act that should not be taken lightly. You should always make sure you are bringing on talents that are interested in the work you are doing!

If the candidate you are interviewing doesn’t express interest in the projects your firm is taking on or the company mission, then they are most likely not going to care about the impact that they have on their counterparts or the team dynamic overall. It is a massive dynamic shift if one person does not believe.

2. No personal weakness to highlight

We are all human! We all have some flaws! A candidate that is unable to articulate their weaknesses and/or provide remedies for these weakness is not being honest with themselves. Someone who is not in touch with their own flaws will probably have a harder time receiving constructive criticism, which is a crucial part of growing with a company.

In order to form a strong team it is necessary to understand every person’s strengths and weaknesses, in this way they can be leveraged to maximize quality and output. A lack of self-understanding makes it more difficult for that candidate to fit in with the team, since they will not always be aware of how their actions impacts others.

3. Understands how to balance between talking about self and others

A candidate must always understand how to balance between stories from their perspective ( I statements), but also highlight stories from other people or a group dynamic such as an office or community. If the candidate never mentions their colleagues by name and they are heavily using I statements, make sure you dig deeper into their ability to work in a team.

Candidates need to know that it is good to talk about team accomplishment stories. Ask about how the team accomplished their goals and ask them to describe the role they played in making it happen. This balance can go to the other extreme as well! Some candidates do not talk about their accomplishments enough, but instead focus too much on the office dynamic.

Remember to keep track of how they view accomplishments and they present them to you.

Interview
Photo by Christina Wocintechchat

4. Short, concise, and to the point! NO long-winded explanations.

An inability to explain themselves in a short, concise and through manner is a red flag, especially in architecture where you must always be ready to defend your ideas and techniques. If the candidate provides a long-winded explanation and/or negativity when talking about leaving a position or not getting along with the office dynamic, this could be a red flag as well.

Most often than not professionals have simple reasons for moving on from a position. Long-winded answers to a question that they anticipated receiving may implicate a rehearsed response, which is never good!

The best architects are confident about their decisions and honest about their reasoning. Taking ownership of their own actions is a crucial aspect of their personality that should be understood.

5. Any and all phone use

Any candidate that is willing to pull out their smartphone during an interview is clearly not present and not fully committed to the company. Not only that, but it is rude to be using a phone during a conversation with another person. If they are not willing to respect your time, then they probably will not respect their position.

6. Body Language

Make sure they are not slumping in their chair and are able to maintain eye contact. These two initial factors are key to understanding if they take themselves and the work they do seriously. If their eyes stray and are unable to focus on you and the task at hand, then they are clearly thinking about something else. Make sure that they are not crossing their arms or showing a lack of confidence. By reading how they feel within their environment you can better understand what they are thinking.

7. No (or poor) references

If they do not have references or they only have older references, but none from their most recent employers, then this could be a red flag. You want to make sure that they have moved from a good and fruitful experience to now your company. Any break in time for professional work could be another reason for a lack of recommendation letters.

Interview two
Photo by Tim Gouw

All of these are red flags to keep in mind when on-boarding new team members! Make sure you protect your company culture and provide clear guidelines as to how coworkers will interact at your firm.

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