Questions To Ask In Your Architecture Job Interview

Sara Mandeed
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Questions about the job:

The first questions you should ask are about the work environment, the people you’ll be working with, and other details about the job. It is essential that you feel comfortable with the situation before you accept the position.

The following questions will help you determine if this job would be a good fit for you.

Where would projects be?

Depending on the company, job positions with different titles can be in different physical offices. If you are wondering, should I bring a jacket to my architecture interview, I’d say at this point don’t worry about bringing anything, not job experience, nor looking good or not. You won’t need it yet.

Some companies—both small, large, local, and global ones, prefer to have their team together. Whether or not they like to have their team all in one office under the same roof depends on what they work on. There are many different architectural offices who consider traveling backward and forward from different downtown offices to be an important part of their typical workday.

Others even tend to have their offices from different countries; there are firms that have an office in New York, and one in London, and maybe another in Dubai. This is also something that they could discuss with you when you’re going to apply. It’s also something that you can ask them in your job interview that will not really affect your interview application, yet will give you much useful information how the company works.

Would I be on one project primarily or several at once?

My experience has been that your first architecture job interview question should be about how the company works.

Most places work in teams of multiple projects. You might be on one for a while then a different one later or, at the very least, you can expect to work on several projects at once.

So your second architecture job interview question should: why do you do that?

Is the company cross-disciplinary?


Explain how it helps you be more efficient. Can you justify it by saying it gets projects done earlier or turns a profit sooner? Could it set the company up to have a better reputation with clients?

What culture do you want to establish with it?

How are you going to measure its success? What metrics will you use?

Will you combine departments to gain cross-functional experience or did you find teams within the company were already cross-functional?

What is the new build versus renovation projects percentage?

A good rule of thumb is to assume that working in an architect’s office will be more similar to a construction firm than a typical 9-5 firm.

Where would I be working?

Is there flexibility in working from home?

Are there other employees on flexible working?

What are the rules of flexible working and are they reasonable?

You need to know whether it’s a flexible working culture to for your own productivity and your family’s wellbeing.

What would be my job title?

How senior will I be?

Even if you choose an organisation with high potential for promotion, you should check where you would start and what kind of job you would have initially so that you’re clear where you’re headed.

What are my evaluation criteria?

What is the normal review period?

How often do people review within this organisation?

How Will I Be Reviewed

What other tasks will I be responsible for?

Ask about how the organisation operates and how you will fit in.

Do you have any flexibility in your processes?

You might ask if it’s possible to introduce improvement in processes even it’s not the norm.

What are goals for the near and longer term?

As this could also be factors to your salary.

Why did they leave?

Lack of communication, lack of clear direction, and lack of team orientation are the top reasons why people leave their jobs.

As an employee, these are exactly the things you need to know about your job and your boss. You can tell a lot about a company’s culture based on why people walked out the door. It can help you decide if the company matches your values.

It’s also important to pick your new career carefully. You will likely spend about a third of your life at work, so it’s worth taking some time to find the perfect match.

How long does someone typically stay in this job?

You may have to be prepared to stay at your architecture job for a few years (or much longer) if you want to succeed in the profession. You won’t move into an architecture dream job position after just a few years of training. So it’s vital to know what you’re getting into before you start your architecture training.

This question about the architecture job length will help you know what to expect. It’s best to find out what the career path is like in the company or organization you’re considering working for.

For example, when you’re interviewing with a local commercial architect, you may need to be prepared to start off by working as a junior architect. So if you’re interviewing for an assistant or junior designer position, ask about the promotion process. How long does it take to move up to a senior or lead designer position, and how do you become a senior architect?

Interviewers are often hesitant to give out information about promotions and career paths. But if you can find out that the average career progression is 5 years and that there aren’t great mobility possibilities, then that’s valuable information to make an informed decision about whether or not this is a position you want to apply for.

How soon would the job start date be?

Before you apply for a job, always make sure to ask about the first day start date. You want to make sure you have enough time to sort out housing and other necessary arrangements. This will ensure a smooth transition and give you time to settle in. Also, be sure to find out if there is training or orientation that comes with that start date.

What can you tell me about this job that isn’t in the description?

It is always a good idea to get some inside information before walking into a job interview. A lot of the time companies post some really vague job descriptions in order to avoid talking about the real job. What you should do is ask questions about what the job really entails so you can get a better feel for it. For example, when you talk about job description in architecture, they talk about the benefits but don’t really get into detail about the actual work that the job entails. That is what you should ask.

What are the prospects for growth for the person in this job?

Are there other opportunities for a person of my talent to advance within the firm?

This is a question you can always ask in any job interview, but as an architect, you are particularly likely to be asked this question. Growth of a firm can be a point of both pride and concern within a firm. In past years it has been a competitive market and most firms will not easily divulge their growth or decline for obvious reasons …but you may get hints, and at the very least you can leave the question as a conversation starter.

How large is the team I would be working with?

Since you’ll be working with the team members on a daily basis, you’ll want to make sure you like and trust them.

Asking about the size of the team allows you to get a sense of the company culture as a whole.

The team size will also give you an idea of the projects you can expect to work on and how much support you’ll have from others.

You will want to be sure to base your decision to accept or reject a job offer on a firm understanding of the company’s structure and the team you’ll be working with.

What are the most important skills of the person who does this job?

You’ve interviewed for the job and you’re making it through the final round. Now it’s time to ask the tough questions.

Interviewers genuinely hope that the employees who will be reporting to them will be capable of adapting to the job. Asking what you need to know to perform well at the job shows that you care about career development, instead of just doing the bare minimum.

You may need to learn new skills like CAD (Computer Assisted Design) or other technical skills. You may also need to become fluent in a foreign language or learn new office technology.

If you already have the skills that the employer is looking for, articulate why you’re a good fit for the job. Even if you don’t have all of the skills necessary, explain why you want to learn the company’s technical lingo or become proficient in a foreign language.

If you don’t have the skills, let the employer know that you’re willing to invest in learning the skills or working with an expert to develop them. Arming the interviewers with this type of information will help advance your candidacy and perhaps even help you get hired.

Do you have any concerns with me as a candidate?

This question is a request for feedback. You’re asking if the interviewer has any concerns they’d like to discuss with you. It’s important to ask this question because it’s easy for interviewers to have doubts and reservations and either not bring them up or compartmentalize them.

If the interviewer has any doubts, you’d like to hear them spoken out loud. After all, the interviewer knows you better than anyone else, and you want them to tell you if they have reservations.

It’s best to ask this question after the entire interview has been discussed, just before you wrap up the conversation. First you’ll be ending the interview on a positive note, and second, the interviewer will have been doing a mental review of everything that was discussed and may reflect on points they forgot to cover.

Finally, you’ll give the interviewer time to come up with a reservation or two to bring up.

If anyone has failed at this job, why did they fail?

Both of these questions help you understand the critical role of leadership in your architecture career. If the person you are speaking with doesn’t have a good answer for these, then this is a definite red flag.

In the first question, you want to understand if the reason the person’s direct reports failed in the past is because they didn’t possess the necessary skills, or did they just not have the support and management to get the job done. If the person you are speaking with can’t give you a good answer, it’s likely their leadership style hinders their overall effectiveness.

In the second question, you want to understand if the way the interviewer treats their people in their everyday life mirrors how they’ll treat you a