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Standing Out in the Architecture Industry

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There is no secret that right now in New Zealand, the demand for property and architectural professionals is at an all-time high. If you’re one of those in-demand professionals, shining a light on your full cycle property development experience, Revit or ArchiCAD skills, design flair or leadership capability could be a potential recipe for a very quick recruitment process resulting in a job offer.

However, no matter how skilled, not everyone who begins the recruitment process will get a job offer. Why? Because attitude and work ethic is just as important today as it has always been. Even if you’re a highly skilled candidate who has been tapped on the shoulder, which we all know is happening at a rapidly increasing rate, how you present yourself will always remain a vital part of the process.

So, what are architectural practices and property professionals really looking for?

Whether you respond to a job advertisement or you are approached by a recruiter or hiring manager about a job, first impressions are key and your attitude throughout the process is always being assessed. The recruitment process is your opportunity to show what is behind your CV. Your values, how you treat others, your communication skills (including your promptness in returning calls and emails) and the quality of the additional information you present, particularly your portfolio.

Remember that your career goes beyond just today, so think about your long-term prospects. In architecture for example, you might be either a work horse who sits at a computer impressively designing and draughting, or have career aspirations to continue expanding your capability and exposure. Usually in the architectural industry, it is the latter.

  • Team & Culture fit – Skills can be trained, attitude cannot. In today’s work environment, it is a very high priority for managers to ensure they hire experts who fit within their current team culture to ensure team harmony continues. You may have an exceptionally impressive array of skills, however if you act arrogant, aggressive or exaggerate your own skill level, chances are you will not make it past the first interview.

    What will impress hiring managers and recruiters are candidates who show respect, are easy to deal with throughout the process, communicate in a timely manner and have a healthy level of awareness of their skills and how they will help to contribute within a team environment.
     
  • Present your technical skills accurately – One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen candidates make, usually early on in their career, is underestimating the knowledge of the interviewer; particularly if that interviewer is a non-industry professional. What you may not know is that recruiters and HR professionals are specially trained in assessing people and capabilities. They make it their job to know enough about your profession to be able to assess the truth in the information you are presenting.

    To avoid yourself falling into a hole you can’t get out of, be sure to only take ownership for your part of the project. In property development for example, if you only completed the acquisition and feasibility parts of a development, not the full development cycle, be sure to present this information honestly. Outside of just skills, two of the most impressive traits in any professional are self-awareness and honesty.
     
  • Be aware of where you are today and where you want to be – As mentioned earlier, your career is not just about the current day. What will impress your interviewer is your own awareness of what your career goals are, and even more importantly, how much learning you have to do to reach those goals. In other words, your learning potential and your attitude towards development.

    As an example, and one I see far too often, you could be the strongest candidate technically and applying for the next step in your career: a leadership and/or client representative role. However, if you get defensive when questioned during the interview process or show any traits of being ungrateful or aggressive toward your past employers, chances are that you won’t land that leadership role you are interviewing for. After all, in leadership you are showing others the way, and often presenting to clients. Interviewers want to see the fine examples that you’ll set when leading their team and their clients, presenting yourself in a positive and respectful way.
     
  • Open yourself up to being questioned – When it comes to leadership roles, you’ll often be assessed for how you deal with contrast and having your ability questioned. These things can frequently happen when working on projects with a myriad of minds; between teams, consultants, clients, contractors and council representatives. Are you capable of taking differing ideas, either embracing them into your design or development? Will you tangibly and constructively explain why ideas will not be incorporated, while leaving all parties involved feeling that their ideas are welcome and respected? That is the optimum leadership potential you are being assessed on during your job interview.

    Deliver examples from a positive viewpoint and remain mindful about how you are presenting to the person interviewing. Stay present to the fact that you are being assessed throughout the interview process and keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be showing great leadership and client representation potential.

Summary

Our primary message here is about awareness and honesty. It’s about presenting yourself with integrity, treating all those involved in the recruitment process with respect and putting your best foot forward.

As career coaches we believe that if you are applying for a job that truly fits your career goals and aspirations, a positive recruitment process experience will always unfold. If you’re looking for more advice on how to best present yourself to potential employers, or if you’re looking for new opportunities in the architectural industry, feel free to get in touch.

Happy job hunting!