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How does the hiring process work in top architecture firms?

For many the hiring process can be a tedious and time consuming task that at times can be misguided or misdirected. In order to use your time effectively and get the best results, it is important to understand what top architecture firms are looking for in a candidate. As well as the tools and places they look when on-boarding new talent. We break down the different tools and methods architecture firms use during their on-boarding process.

Although most architecture firms advertise their job opportunities on job websites such as Glassdoor, Indeed, and other industry recognized websites like Archinect. Many firms tend to favor other methods to finding talent. Firms will use local AIA and ASLA job boards to begin, as well as their personal network of architects and designers. One of the principals at Interstice Architects mentioned that they first request resumes and work samples in order to determine candidates to interview first by phone/screen share. After this screening they have principals interview the applicant in-person, then if interested a second interview is conducted with other current staff member(s). They emphasized the value they place on candidates that are able to stand out and try to connect with the firm not just for employment, but to build a future together.

Top firms have a variety of tools they use to on-board talent. Below are some of the tools at their disposal for the hiring process that they mentioned during our surveying of over 50 companies ranging from small too large.

  1. Architecture firm website
  2. Refer a friend scheme
  3. Advertisements on LinkedIn and other job hunt platforms
  4. On-boarding agencies (specific to the role)
  5. Graduate recruitment schemes and academic network
  6. Local professional networks and regional leaders

In many cases, even the large architecture firms use their local professional networks and regional leaders to find talent. This means that you should always be trying to increase the size and quality of your professional network. Go to the job fairs and educational events to meet the industry leaders and get your name and brand out there. It is not just enough now to send in your Resume and Portfolio and hope for the best. Make sure you take advantage of every opportunity. So in your applications make sure you create a personalized cover letter because many decision-makers stated that they gave particular weight for the extra effort given during the process. Another key tip for the application process was to provide three references or more, and the most recent possible.

Yet the on-boarding process is not just the work you put in on paper. You must also create a career campaign for your next step.

By becoming an active member of the community you will be able to find stronger and more valuable relationships with mentors and leaders within the industry. Many firms of all differing sizes highlighted the emphasis they put on school recruitment, connecting with past collaborators, and personal networks of decision-makers. If you notice, these are all relationship based tools for finding talent. At times, an on-boarding agency such as Architect-US, may make sense for you to be able to connect with our professional network and get a leg up.

When considering your next career move, plan proactively and create Portfolios that include your best work. Consider looking into finding a mentor with Architect-USand improving your Portfolios with our Portfolio Plans and Career Advice Program. We provide coaching and personalized mentorship, so you can have a professional and experienced take on your next steps in your career, as well as a great team to confide in. Our Selection Committee of architects and designers with 10+ years of experience and have provided advice and expertise on the US market for countless architects and designers from around the world.

If you need a hand with your portfolio or need to talk to one of our program advisors regarding your next career step, please leave us your name and email here.

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