How to shine in an interview

Architecture Interview Tips

The basic premise of an interview is to give the person you are meeting a few clear ideas about what you can do for their company. This may be your only opportunity to sell yourself; carefully-considered and well-structured answers are crucial to making the right, lasting impression.

Dress smartly – and be on time

You have one chance to make a good first impression. Turning up late, or being inappropriately dressed can harm your chances of getting the job before you’ve even spoken a word.

Do your research

Find out as much as you can about the practice, the staff, their clients and the person who’s doing the interview. The more information you have the more ready you’ll be. A candidate who has clearly done their homework appears enthusiastic, hard-working, prepared and reliable.

Try to relax

Try to be early for your interview, even if it means sitting in a coffee shop across the road beforehand. Being in a rush to make the appointment is a guaranteed way to increase your stress levels, so plan your journey the night before.

Small talk can be good

Being friendly and chatty shows confidence, likeability and can even put the interviewer at ease. Showing genuine interest in your interviewer will also increase rapport and help the meeting go more smoothly.

Listen first – then speak

The stress of an interview is enough to send your mind racing. But while your interviewer is speaking you should not be second-guessing their opinion of you, you should be listening intently. Only then can you give a full, articulate and meaningful answer.

Think about your past experiences

Being asked to ‘describe a time when’ is highly likely. Try to recall instances when you’ve shown qualities that would be pertinent to the job you’re after.

Be forward-thinking

Your CV lists all your achievements and has already shown the interviewer what you can do. What you need to do now is communicate how you are going to help the company in the future. Tell the interviewer where you see yourself being successful and why. Let them know that you understand the practice, the way it works and the ideas it projects. Take three examples of your past experiences and talk about how those experiences can be used to influence your future success – at this particular practice

Answer the question you wish they’d asked

You may not be asked to describe a situation where you performed particularly well, but if you can recall one, you may regret it if you don’t bring it up. If it’s relevant and impressive, share it

Ask questions

Questions show your engagement in the conversation, interest in the practice and willingness to learn. When the interviewer asks if you have any questions at the end, saying ‘no’ is not an option. Write down as many questions as you can before the interview; but before you ask any, be certain they haven’t already been answered.

Be nice to everyone

It’s not just the interviewer you might have to impress; be courteous to everyone you meet inside the practice. Someone mentioning how you didn’t say “thank you’ when they held the door open for you is not going to look good.

To finish

Could you summarise in an eloquent manner who you are and what you could bring to a particular practice? If you can, do it. It could be a very effective way to end the interview

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