In our experience, each design agency or architectural practice has its own culture. Some are extremely laid back and expect their employees to be very flexible with working hours where others will follow a strict 9-5 timetable. Other firms will be heavily involved in their industry through events and exhibitions. More so than corporate offices, creative studios are only as good as the people that work there, this is why it is important to let your personality shine through!
However, whilst they differ from the norm, the following words are traits our clients are always looking for regardless of their office culture: Pro-activeness / Collegial / Originality / Informed / Passionate / Enthusiastic / Alert / Talented / Polite / Bright / Interested / Attentive / Driven / Potential / Adaptable / Affable / Spirited / Positivity / Knowledgeable
Often these traits come though confidence. One way to build this confidence before an interview is to be prepared. You should always invest time in researching the company where you are about to be interviewed. You need to investigate their company website and read their blog, as this will give you a good idea about their interests beyond business. See how involved they are in industry events for example, as this could serve you well during the interview process.
Look at their recent and past work – find out what awards may have been won or projects that specifically interest you or that you admire. This will provide an interesting point of discussion during the interview and will emphasis your understanding of the company and its culture.
Keep your answers positive. You may have left a job because you did not agree with the policies on the environment or you did not get on well with your colleagues, but negative comments like this will almost definitely reflect badly on you. You don’t need to be untruthful, but you should find a positive way of answering these tricky questions.
Come prepared with questions for the interviewer. The interview is as much about you choosing to work for an organisation as it is about them choosing you as the right candidate. These questions will most likely come from the research you did about the company or about the job role. You want to make sure the company and the role are right for you. Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions about the company and position that would directly affect your decision whether to accept an offer or not.
If your interviewer is a Partner/Director of the company, find out where he/she went to college and how the company evolved. Most of this would be on the company’s website or could be via LinkedIn or a professional authority such as the RIBA or CSD.
Standard Interview Questions
To finish, we have compiled a list of general interview questions which employers use to get an idea of the candidate’s previous experience and competencies. Have the answers prepared in your head so you are able to answer them with confidence.
- Talk us through your employment history. What were your expectations of the roles and were they met?
- How have you developed your career?
- Explain what you liked and disliked about your previous job?
- Why are you leaving your job?
- Describe yourself in 3 words?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Describe your work style & methodology?
- Describe a time when you worked beyond your call of duty?
- Do you prefer to work independently or as a team?
- What type of work environment do you prefer?
- Describe a difficult work situation and how you overcame it?
- What interests you about this job?
- Can you handle criticism?
- What are your goals for the next five to ten years?
- How do you feel you can contribute to the company?
- What are your salary requirements short and long term?