What are the most important red flags that principals keep an eye out for?

Have you wondered what red flags decision makers at top firms look for when hiring? Make sure you have an idea of what Principals, Design Directors, and Architects from a plethora of our Host Company Partners. This information could help you better prepare for your next interview and help you make sound career decisions.

By having a better understanding of what factors sound off the alarms for firms, you will be able to develop a proactive interview plan and know how to respond to specific questions.

This feedback covers a wide variety of answers, as mentioned before, which range from communication skills to personality to your manners. We were able to receive feedback from 42 different Host Company Partners. These firms ranged from small to large.

1. “Poor Presentation of Portfolio/CV” (75% of Decision Makers Surveyed)

We have emphasized in many different articles the value of your Portfolio as a business card, and how it can be a make or break moment. It carries such weight that during the surveying of our Host Company Partners, the number 1 red flag by a whopping 75% was a candidate with a “Poor Presentation of Portfolio/CV”.

2. “Ill prepared & poor communication” (65.4% of Decision Makers Surveyed)

The next closest red flag that decision makers mentioned was “Ill prepared & poor communication” at 65.4%, which highlights the value placed on your ability to communicate your ideas and personality through written, verbal, and visual means. 🤓

3. “Lack of flexibility or humility” (36.5% of Decision Makers Surveyed)

In 3rd was a “Lack of flexibility or humility” at 36.5%, and this red flag can be worked on since it has to do with your ability to work in a team and be open to changing your mind after being presented with new ideas and/or techniques.

4. “Lack of understanding of Company goals” (28.8% of Decision Makers Surveyed)

At a close 4th place came “Lack of understanding of Company goals” with 28.8%, which goes back to previous comments made by decision makers at large firms, that they expect you to know the company you are applying to!! These red flags can be improved on your own, and it underscores the role that you and your personality play in the interview process. Again, coming prepared to the interview is crucial, but so to is your attitude once there.

5.“Late to interview” (11.5% of Decision Makers Surveyed)

The lowest factors that were mentioned as red flags was “Late to interview” (11.5%) and “Long time gaps without relevant work” (9.6%). The good news is that you can make proactive decisions, and set yourself up for success in your future interviews.

6. “Long time gaps without relevant work” (9.6% of Decision Makers Surveyed)

Many professionals believe that having long time gaps without relevant work towards your career can be negative for your prospects, yet this surveying of our Host Company firms shows that it comes last out of all of the options. In some cases, having experiences that provide you with more diversity and flexibility than others.

Find a mentor now with Architect-USand start improving your Portfolios with our Portfolio Plans and Career Advice Program. We provide you with supportive and helpful coaching paired with personalized mentorship so you have a better chance to succeed in the next  steps in your career. Our Selection Committee of architects and designers with 10+ years of experience and an extensive knowledge of the Architectural Industry recognizes when a candidate has ‘the eye’ and takes them to the next level.



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