How to Shine in an Architecture Interview

It was amazing to see over 30 people join Jack Moran and Will Ridgway and I discuss live how to shine in an Architecture Interview, give our thoughts tips and techniques that will help you on the way.



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Jack Moran 0:01

Stephen Drew 0:04
We’re alive. Happy

Jack Moran 0:07
Tuesday today is now I’m losing track of days already.

Stephen Drew 0:09

Jack Moran 0:10
everyone for joining us this week. So look, guys, this is the topic where we’re going to be talking about interviews most now, Steven, and well, we’ve gone through the whole process of, you know, designing the great CV design in that core portfolio, getting that portfolio out to the market and trying to secure as many interviews as you can. But now we’re going to try and dive into the actual interview itself today. I think we both will probably agree in saying that this is, you know, a real medical break for a lot of people. And I think people can learn most from it about interviews, because it’s quite, you know, quite an uncomfortable situation, isn’t it for most people, but do you have any initial thoughts even on you know, what

Stephen Drew 0:48
you want to dive into. So it’s the interview, it’s like the day, it’s the day where you’re building up in your head, you’re going, you’re like, Oh, my gosh, I’ve got to go on the date. And it is the makeup break moment. Try not to overwhelm yourself in your head, first of all, and the best way to tackle things which seem like a huge task is to break them down into small pieces. Because if you if you start thinking, Oh, this interview is going to be the, I’ve got to make it otherwise, I’m never going to get a job. But if you start thinking like that, then it’s going to be overwhelming. So we want to break it down. And take it step by step. And so, yes, and interviews important, right, you can deal with it. And if you go through things and take a look at each particular problem, and solve it, and you feel confident. So there’s a few things we can go through jack and I know you’ve got a list. So maybe we go through

Jack Moran 1:42
the list. We start at the top of the list, right? So it’s the morning of the interview. Let’s say that you know, you’ve got your you’re excited, you’re good night’s sleep more

Stephen Drew 1:50
than not prepared the night before.

Jack Moran 1:52
Yeah. This is when you’re going to ask yourself, what do I need to bring with me to the interview? So what physically what are the things that needs to be brought even?

Stephen Drew 2:03
Okay, bring yourself that’s a good start isn’t there and then that will help. Okay, so you need to beforehand, research where the company has, you should have gone through the website completely. If you’ve had an interview request the week before, you shouldn’t have gone through the website. And so you need to know where this thing is, because you’re physically going to have to go with that. And if it’s online, in the zoom meeting, you need to mentally where it is, I kind of still like to go to the company’s office, because then you can mentally work out how long it takes to get there. And how long the computer is. Because when COVID is over, you will be physically gone back somewhere. In so you want to research the community, you want to dress appropriately, you want to be smart, you don’t want to be too casual Far from it. I remember my friend once said, All architects wear jeans. So I’m going to go for an interview in jeans. I remember saying

I can’t say his name. But I remember saying they I think that’s a bad idea. You should definitely not go in jeans. And he was like, Steve, I’ve been in an architecture practice, everyone wears jeans. And so he went to the interview. And I remember it because basically, as soon as he got into the interview, the Empire went like this. So you, you didn’t think I was worth dressing up for the deal. And then the whole interview was completely doomed. Because he was like, Well, I appreciate that you want to work here, but you really want to work here because he just flopped on a bed and put your jeans on. So you want to physically research where it is you want to wear the appropriate clothes, how to look on the website, the kind of clothes that they wear, maybe it’s a smart polo shirt, you know, maybe it’s black jeans, or you maybe you’ve got like their what’s it called check the turret or like you know, the fancy thing, or a suit or something like that you want to dress appropriately and you need to bring in a physical interview, you see the portfolio on a zoom interview, it’s going to be a little bit different. But you still need to dress smart for the interviews whether they’re physical or digital. So if you have a digital interview, I would treat it the same way. As a physical interview dress appropriately. Have you see the two hand your portfolios your hand and it’s a digitally that you probably want to have your CV file ready and portfolio and arrange that beforehand. But basically, you have this time slot and you need to make sure you’re there on time. And that’s the other one I was gonna say is that you do need to make sure you get there very early. I used to go an hour early, sometimes a half an hour early, that’s probably a bit more sensible. And you’ve basically said that the more you set out the corridor as you work out all that stuff and then you go for a quick drink down the road. Preferably not a coffee, so you don’t want to spill it on the bus or yourself or anything like that because that’s just gonna throw your game off. You basically the lead up time to the end to do is, once you’ve worked out where it is, you can relax, you can Zen. And if you’ve got that CV in portfolio, then you can jump in. That’s the mindset. But the night or two before, you really need to do research on the company, you need to go through the website, you need to know everything about it, any new events on so anything, such as any project, mentioned that mentioned at the start, when you’re going in, hey, jack, thank you so much for your time here, I really appreciate it, especially when you’ve just won that competition entry at the parklands that allow, you know, answers, report it stuff like that, that’s gonna add these layers and layers and layers of substance to the interview. And that’s really what you want to do, you want the person to who’s interviewing you to come across it for you to make the impression that you have a lot of substance that you’ve researched the interview, because you’ve you you’re excited, and you want to be there, you’re wearing the right appropriate clothes, because you’re not doing what my friends did, and wearing a pair jeans, you’re actually going to dress up for the interview you care about. And you’re going to arrive on time, because hey, you do not want to be late. That is one on one and being on the backfoot. And that really is what this is about an interview is a meeting for both people, you’re both equal, you have respect for the employer. And also I’m sure they will respect you being there. And that’s the way you want to keep it when you are late, or you’re not dressed appropriately, or you haven’t researched the company. It feels impersonal. And then if I was hiring you, or if I was interviewing, just like we are the interview will did you did all the research on the company. And when we first met with with Barclays and the second interview, then you research a bit more, and it’s that kind of thing. That adds an extra layer of conversation, which ultimately gets you the job. Yeah.

Jack Moran 7:07
Cool. Yeah, I’d like to kind of, I think you had a really good, good points there. A lot of stuff that I was also going to say as well, which is good, because it shows that we’re quite aligned. But I think when you when you first meet the person you’re going to be interviewed by, they’re gonna judge you straightaway unconsciously, because that’s what we all do, when we meet people, whether on your day, or whether it’s like a stranger in the street, we will judge people naturally, it’s just the way we are. And the best, the best thing to do is make sure that judgement is positive, or at least not negative, because otherwise you’re going to be you know, on the backfoot already, and you’ve got to work your way up in the interview to get to a point where they actually impressed by you. So that’s that way, if you prepare everything. So your appearance is, you know, right, you’ve researched the company, you know, talking about, you know, maybe they’ve done a charity, charity work recently, that’s maybe like a tough mudder, you could be like, well, I’m tough mudder, you know, the same one, for example, those sort of things. If it looks like you’re engaged with the company already, that’s going to make a lot easier for a natural conversation to happen. And then in consequently, because of that, it would mean that you didn’t instantly draw parallels with each other. So there’s a lot more common ground there. And then that naturally boosts your chances of leaving with a good impression. Leaving a good impression. Yes, yeah.

Stephen Drew 8:38
Do you know I’m just gonna cheat on the other extra little points on to that because I think we’ll hit them hit the week, a moment for me and interview is very much about conversation and report. And it’s a little bit like the way we are with this of so before this webinar, I guess what you call it so well, the the preparation of what we’re going to talk about. And the truth is, I don’t research it like a script. Okay. We know what we’re going to talk about, because we study the area, and we feel confident in that. But there is no report, there is no 123456. And it’s the same thing with presenting I am always amazed when in architecture, school, the amount of people which would read a script in front, and I really think that is the wrong way to go about it. And interview is a conversation, okay? And he is about rapport, and they want to learn about you see who you are, they will. And what they want to do is learn that through through discussing you with who you are, then they will then hopefully you get the point across that you can do the job because ultimately they’re looking for the next person to join their team who are looking to solve a problem, right? So the first thing they want to do is get or have someone that they get along with someone they can envision in the office and then someone who’s Martin can do the task. And that is all going to come through in conversation. And this is the thing, there is no set agenda of questions. And if you go in with that, and you think I’ve got to research all these questions, then there’s a chance that you can get completely blindsided, you’ve got to be okay with the conversation flowing in different director directions, exactly like a date. And you’ve got to be you’ve got to you’ve got way you’ve got to do your research, you’ve got to know your project, know your key skills. And there’s a few things that we, we could talk about that’s likely to come up such as what software you use, and how soon can you start, and all these questions, which are important or salary might come up, and you’ve got to learn how to be comfortable talking about money, because that’s a very important skill in life. Nothing wrong with talking about money, it’s not a we’ve got to really get rid of that British thing of being, Oh, I can’t talk about money is pretty awkward, you have to talk about it in a professional capacity, because being a professional is earning a salary as well. So there’s definitely these key points. The thing is, though, that conversation can go in different ways. And the the interview, you’ve got to think of it like, how do I convey in half an hour to an hour, and it’s others, you can go on longer? who I am, what I’m about where I want to work, where have I been, and what have I done, and when can I start and you need to convey who, what where, when, why in that time period, and then have a conversation with them. And you need to go through that portfolio at a consistent pace you do not miss is one of the things that’s definitely worth researching before, is you do want to practice a bit the pace of the portfolio, the worst thing you can do is get stuck on one or two pages. And we talked about this in the portfolio. And it does link to the interview because the real so go back to the portfolio one then we can where we’ve gone into the bit, where when you were talking about interviews, you do need to research the flow. Because there’s so many times I’ve met someone who’s fantastic. And then I’m a busy professional. So I only have half an hour see someone, and we’ve spent 20 minutes talking about with the introduction of a project. And it is absolutely a big time killer. There’s also another example well isn’t there if a candidate will talk very, very vaguely, so a really talented architect that went for an interview and talk too long. And in the end the interview as got frustrated, and they liked the person. But if it takes them, it’s like watching a film that’s too long, you’ve got to hit that sweet spot of enough information and go through it. And you could always tell the interviewer that you will return to any point they were interested in, or you can talk about it in more detail would say that you’re going to give them an overview of the portfolio. And if there’s anything in particular they want to go through, then you’re more than happy to jump in and talk about it. Don’t have to go on to talk about one free forever.

Will Ridgway 13:06
Absolutely, I think it’s important to be able to have the luxury of no talking about the overview. But then if the employer is an employee, whether the person interviewing you is interested in particular section, you know, you have the capacity to be like, okay, we can go down that avenue. For now, let’s talk about this quickly just give you a bit more insight on that particular project. Because that’s where you want to spend your most time because that’s what they’re interested in. And that’s probably what’s going to, it’s probably because that particular project is parallel has a lot parallels to what they’re doing at the company. And so that’s why it’s important to them, I think as well. What Steve said is right about not having a script you’ve got to have, you’re gonna have some idea of what to talk about. But you don’t want to have it like completely rehearsed. So that’s it’s very scripted. So for example, I went to an interview once and I had a I had a recruiter who got me this interview, and they told me all the questions that was going to, you know, all the questions that was potentially going to be asked to me so I have rehearsed, every single answer. And the feedback I got from the interview was that I was too scripted. I started too scripted, I say exactly what they wanted to hear. Yeah. And it was it wasn’t very good. And it meant that the conversations do we flow as much as well. And so that’s why you want to stay away from scripts, because otherwise your your comfort zone is to have a script, but you don’t you want to stay away from that because it becomes unnatural. And then therefore a little bit, you know, less less human like more like robot. And yeah, we would much rather work with a human then work with a robot. So it’s important to have an idea of what you’re gonna talk about, but not necessarily have it scripted for the entire time. And so that also allows you to, for example, if your portfolio if you do go down another avenue, then obviously you’re going to lose time a little bit on other areas of the portfolio. So it’s important to be able to adjust to that. So you And cover even the rest of it or at least covered the essential bits so that they don’t get you don’t get cut off at the end. Yeah,

Jack Moran 15:07
well, it’s presentation, isn’t it? when you’re when you’re doing it as well, I think the night before the interview a few nights before, it’s not going to hurt if you grab a family member or friend and just say, Look at mine, if I run through my portfolio with you, that way I can gauge sort of things to talk about without having to you know, write stuff down, because everyone here knows what it’s like to talk to someone who’s reading from a script is the most pedantic conversation you could probably have. But on that topic, we just had our first question coming from Alex Johnson. With into over teams, how would you get your work across to them in the best possible way? I think I’ve got a couple of Steven cloud as well. I think the best thing to do would normally be email it but way ahead of time. So if you’re if you’re going to email any documents I need to see get that done a few days before and ask for them to give you confirmation they’ve received and don’t just, you know, the night before, having said that, I don’t know if if teams has that capability, but you know, screen sharing, I don’t know if that will work so well on it. I think the safest thing is the email a few days before get confirmation. So you know, they’ve got it.

Stephen Drew 16:12
Yeah, you know what, it’s a really interesting one, jack, because right now, this this, this is the learning curve for me, because look at me, look, right now I’m looking at the computer. And you can see on my screen, I’m looking down, it’s not really engaging. So in this weird world, we’ve got to almost look at the camera and smile and talk as you need to embrace the show. And you have to sell to the person that you really want the job, you’re really interested, which is very difficult, because my natural reaction is to look down here because I see you to gentleman, right. When I’m looking down here, I’m not engaged with a camera. And so this is the thing and this goes back to like the science to me of it’s a contact this report, it’s that personal feeling is that personal touch. And that’s when, for instance, even in our job, we always try to meet people, and they will always try to meet the client, because it’s so important to meet an architectural practice to understand them go into the office, and so that when you meet architects who are looking for a job, you can pair it up. This is a new obstacle for everyone. And I’ve Gosh, I’m not gonna say they’re unprecedented time thing. But you know what, it is a strange one. So what we’ve got to do is you’ve almost got to instil the art forms, which are still real within interviews, and you’ve got a look at, you’ve got to do it digitally. So key things on the top of my head, and it is a base. And this is based upon what I’ve viewed already, when people interviewing, in my day job, and the clients as well. And also through this, you need to work out a way that you can build a human rapport. And I’ll tell you right now, if you start smiling in that webcam, and you start looking into a webcam, and if you can drive the work, and you’re going to need to research, whatever platform, it’s not fun. But if there’s the Microsoft Teams, you need to go on and set it up. If it isn’t Skype, you got to do that. If it’s in zoom, we have to adjust, we have to overcome, okay, and you got to get like jack said, you got to get the files to them. But it’s gonna be such an important one, right? because let me tell you, if you just have the files, and imagine something goes wrong in your ends, then at least if you sent it in an email, they can bring it up on your screen. But again, it goes back to the concept we talked about of conversation, because I think that the format of of entities online is this whole new world of ways. And there’s gonna be several different ways of software, several different ways of presenting. And you need to feel okay, with even technical things going wrong, you need to feel okay with the idea of, you can’t see certain things. Or remember, we were talking before this, that I can see myself in the room where you can see me and my exercise bike, and we were all going oh my gosh, this all changed and what’s going on. And this is the thing, you got to be able to freestyle, you’ve got to move on. Because the thing is, once that interview is in is you’ve got to imagine that these people are too busy to have another interview, right? So you really got to make make what you can with that. And also when you have problems in an interview, if you can overcome them in a human way, that is problem solving. That’s exactly the quality of the I look for someone in my team, they’re not expecting you to know everything and also that’s the nature of the beast. So it’s okay for things to go wrong. The best thing is always to have a little present remark or a little joke about it and move on professionally. That’s what I would do. Excellent.

Will Ridgway 19:49
Sorry, can I can I can I add to that as well because when you when you research, whatever platform you’re having the interview over use stuff like YouTube’s actually talk you through. Don’t just Like read up about it, because then you can actually see how you set something up in regards to showing work if you’re not able to do it digitally. Correct me if, if this probably not the best way, Steve, but my gut would be to has a downside to it. But my gut would be to get your camera, your webcam, or wherever using a camera, have it pointed down towards a desk, and where you have your have your portfolio, and therefore you can flip through it. The only downside to that is they don’t get to see your face and get to your eye contact. But the ideal situation would be to have a screen share option or even if you can add like another camera to it. I don’t I’m not really sure to be honest. But somewhere that you can see the physical copies, I do digital, we better. But

Stephen Drew 20:45
I think you’re onto something. What it is, though, is that let’s not get too precious about how do I do this? Or how do I do that. The point is, you need to be able to freestyle right now. And the person that feels most comfortable being caught on the whim going on stage or to the interview in two minutes notice because they prepared and they have a few different solutions to showcase the work. That’s the person that’s going to succeed. You know, and because I was just looking at Alex, you ask a sensible question about how do you do things. And should I do this and that and the truth is we can spend so long, working out specific scenarios, the thing is, we’ve got to be really, fluids, we got to be really, really fluid.

Jack Moran 21:29
To add to that Stephen as well, because you’re going back to Alex’s point about the physical copies was in some of them project works. Now, of course, you know, in architecture, you’re going to have cases like that, where some clients don’t want digital copies of their projects, you know, out in the open. What you can do though, Alex, you know, a lot of smartphones now have the capability to do scanners. So they can scan a document onto your computer. I think obviously, you’ve always posted to them. That’s the option but in as Stephens getting in this digital age where everything’s becoming more technologically based, it’s always you know, good to play it safe and, and have a copy of their rent, and a copy at your hands. Because we are having to adjust, we are having to change the way we work, it’s going to happen. So you could you know, you could try and post it to him. But I definitely think getting it onto your computer, having a digital digital copy and physical copy or rent and a digital copy their rent is going to be the safest

Stephen Drew 22:23
place to find that. So I agree with that. The thing is, though, working out all this stuff is not going to save you if the substance is not there, right? The people invest in the in the person. I don’t really it. So the thing is right, you can hire someone almost. So the ideal scenario is that someone’s really well rehearsed, that they come across really well, right. And then the value of the CV and portfolio to match. The thing is though, it’s that person at the front is that you’re hiring, okay. You don’t want little things going wrong to hang you up. The thing is, though, if things do go wrong, you can deal with it. It’s no problem. You know, you as long as you in your mindset have the attitude of Okay, as this has gone wrong, we’re gonna move on, like, well, there’s a really good thing coming up in my head. Remember when we went to one of the clients and I, and then we were printed out all these documents before? And I was like, well, quick, we’re gonna get them out. And we were we were racing so hard.

Will Ridgway 23:28
Everything printed out, right?

Jack Moran 23:29
We do this in the office. Yeah, you’re running around like chickens running

Stephen Drew 23:33
around for again, everything’s because we really wanted this presentation to be the best it possibly could. And then we got there. The two were may well got there. And we were we showed up and I opened my briefcase. And I forgot to put them all in. And I looked like this. Oh, and and you know what? I was not going to say to the client, I forgot to bring these things. And we pushed on, right? And I had the millisecond in my head where I went, Oh, no, I don’t have it. And then I went Genoa, I thought to have that file. And I’ve got to deal with this situation right here right now. And in the end, we had a really good me and didn’t we well. And then we did that. The thing is, though it was that in that moment. I could have Chromebooks. I haven’t got them and and this is a nightmare. And I’m a failure and you know all them things that you know them for. It’s like creep into you when you’re in the shower sometimes and you go like, Oh, no, well, I did that. It was like one of those moments. But we just like, had to do it. And that was my my gut instinct was just like, she know what the show goes on. And we can win this. And actually, they’ve come here to see us and we can talk about a solution. And I don’t need that piece of paper. And then the end the piece of paper was almost irrelevant, wasn’t it well, and which is funny because we print through your printer, the mail and that’s why I think I bought you a beer afterwards like sorry about all the printed out and I forgot.

Jack Moran 25:05
Because a portfolio By the way, you guys, don’t forget the portfolio you have

Stephen Drew 25:09

The analogy Yeah, the analogy is that some mistakes sometimes happen and where it’s a technical issue or not, then you move on with it. Well, yes, jack, actually, you’re right. I remember one of my candidates years ago and Arctic went through an interview without a portfolio. And it was a very short interview. So I guess what I’m saying is that you don’t rely on certain things supporting you, as long as you that your CV and portfolio. And if technical things go wrong on the day, then sometimes in life, it happens. It’s just it is what it is.

Jack Moran 25:44
Excellent. Just another question as well as coming from Betty. This is an interesting one, you’re like Steven, so how do you go about answering the question professionally, bear in mind, how much do you want to be paid? In an interview? I myself, I would just say competitively and like literally cut it off there. But what would you guys do?

Stephen Drew 26:03
I like to go a bit further. But Bravo, jack, I’d never said that. Back in the day. I remember. I’d be like, Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m not sure. Because no one told me. Now, I would, I would always say isn’t this never wrong to talk about salary? Okay, nothing wrong talking about salary at all. And I remember once even further jack, when I was a part one, when I’d quite big, famous practice. Now actually, at the time, they were like, well, if he were to work on pays, then that would be highly desirable. And I remember more than one thing I did say, and I think you’d be proud of me is that I said, Look, you know, the reality is, I would love to get this experience. The truth is, it’s really expensive to live in London, there’s upkeeps. And actually, you know, I like to work hard and, and to have a comfortable life based upon that. And that is, first of all, to work harder. So I believe i’d need a salary that we both agree is fair. And so what I did is I play that I threw it back. And then they kind of humbly went Oh, no, no, we’re not saying that. It just would have been an idea. And and this is the thing, right?

Unknown Speaker 27:07
Yeah, they were definitely saying,

Stephen Drew 27:11
I agree with you. And you’ve got to stick out for your value, right. And this is the key thing. And my question is that it made my point would be to find out your value. So let’s pretend so when I was on part two, I was 50 grand. And if you’re looking for a level prior to salary after year two, you say my current salary is at 30,000. That’s what I joined that two years ago. And with the experience that I’ve got now, and looking at current market salaries of looking at salary guides online, I believe a fair salary would be 30 4000s. How do you feel about that? For a bank with a question? They everyone, no one ever does that. Throw it back over the questions, that conversation, right, that I would have. If someone did that to me in the interview, I would be like, oh, okay, all right. This is this is a go getter. This is someone who cares about their career. So it’s not seen nothing wrong with asking about salary, I reckon we could do, I’m happy to do as well, a whole topic about salary negotiation, if it’s really passive, it’s really a popular one. Because that in itself is an art form. And let me tell you, if you don’t ask him like you don’t get. And I remember one friend always told me, I remember, it was I might have even been when I worked in their groceries. So don’t worry, it’s not an architectural practice. But it I remember reading that in the in the in the basically every the yearly review, the yearly review interview, which is another interview, I was like, This is not a place to talk about salaries. And my friend used to talk about salaries all the time, and they’re

Unknown Speaker 28:54
like you like

Stephen Drew 28:56
meat weight, you know, it’s not my salary. So it’s a bit rude, isn’t it? And he, every time he had a pay raise a little me, we’re still on the six pound 50 you know, so so. So this is the thing that you can ask it, but you remember, you’re doing it in a nice way, a challenging way. And so the way to do with, with with salaries is always to bring it in line with your responsibilities. So you say I’ve learned so much in the last year or two I’ve completed the certain projects, therefore, I would like a salary. Therefore Can we please talk about a salary in line with my new experience? And also I want to take more responsibility. So if we agree or take on these more responsibilities, can we sort of discuss a salary in line with that, but I am thinking 34,000 4000 pound increase, that’s the kind of thing if it’s your first job in industry, though, you probably want to say I have researched the part one salary and I believe it is 22,000 in central London, so something around that area. In line with what the company offers, I would be most agreeable to it. And then also, why don’t you say, is there a particular bandwidth salary for part one’s nothing wrong with asking that in a nice way. You’re just asking there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Because you’re asking because you’re serious about the opportunity. You’re serious about going there. And that’s fine. Remember, though it’s tone regardless, it’s not? What I’m looking for 42? And I believe I’m worth it. Is that what you pay? No, you don’t do that. You go. Okay. I’m just I love that. I’m super excited. It’s an expensive city. And I’ve researched basically, I think, got one salary is around 22,000 pounds in London. So if that is anything like that, so I can have a comfortable life and come to work, work hard, all excited, would be fantastic. It would be fantastic. Is there? Is there a particular salary that you guys have in mind? That’s the kind of vibe that I’m going for. That would be my little advice. Maybe we should do. I think this is a really good one to talk about in more detail. Because there’s definitely weather there

Jack Moran 31:10
to do subjects.

Stephen Drew 31:13
But you’re right. And it’s almost this like, Oh my gosh, it’s like the dinner party thing was so terrible. It’s like his salaries all the time, like oh, yeah, well, you were the people like ah, just continuing

Jack Moran 31:28
on with some of the questions will I want to direct one of these questions towards you? And this one comes from Vinnie so so you’ve got physical interview underway? Are you going to turn up with a tablet and you know, like digital, so presentation on that, or you’re going to go with the good old physical copy? What are your thoughts,

Will Ridgway 31:44
I will, I always go for the safer option because the last thing you want is what whilst you got to be able to adapt anyway, the last thing you want is going to need to adapt because some things fails. Now obviously with a tablet from you’ve got with that is that, first of all, it’s smaller. So it displays your works, you know, smaller most most physical copies are a free sheets. So it’s much easier to show and present your work anyway, the problem of tablets is that anything could happen. You might forgot your charger might your loan charge, even on the way if it’s raining, something it might got water damaged on the way in for you know, so it’s always best to have a physical copy. Now what you can do is if you do if you really insist on using a tablet, bring your physical copies along with you anyway, as a backup just in case. That’s that’s what I would say. But with digital copies, you can’t really go wrong. The only thing that can go wrong with physical copies is if you haven’t protected it from any of the weather was transporting it. And you want to make sure that you have a something waterproof to keep them in so that they don’t get wet at all in the rain. If it is raining, it usually is in the UK. But that’s what that’s what I would say because it’s a safer option. The last thing you need is the stress of your tablet not turning on as soon as you get into the interview. Now. We don’t want that to happen.

Unknown Speaker 33:07
Yeah, can’t

Will Ridgway 33:08
Yeah, you know it. If you do, you don’t want to don’t risk it don’t wanna risk it. Even if you think you’ve checked out fairness charge, go in a waterproof case. You know, it’s nothing’s gonna happen to it. You never know. You never know life throws certainly curveballs

Stephen Drew 33:21
at you. Absolutely. And this and the other thing within the base, you don’t need a massive a one portfolio, I have one where in my first year out, and like me will tell you that thing you’re going to lug it around. You don’t need it, do an a full book, or an a free book ring bound happy days. And if you’re going to bring your tablet, think of it as a supportive a backup, like we’ll said, the core thing should be that printed out portfolio 30 sheets. So remember, it was 10 sheets for sample portfolio. The portfolio in person should be about 30 sheets in the interview, and you’re going to rehearse it one minute per page tops cc so you’re not going over 30 minutes old portfolio, definitely do not go you really actually want to do a portfolio, ideally in 10 to 15 minutes, if you can, you want to kind of have this nice brisk feel. And then there maybe there’s a sheet or two that you talk for for about two, three minutes, because the employer wants to talk about it, not because you think it’s relevant, it’s because they choose to go into it. And

Will Ridgway 34:28
I had also I once I had one of the good things about I suppose a laptop or a tablet is if you have the capabilities of showing a BIM model, for example, you can be really good and you can see in take screenshots, which is great. However, if you can show that the live model, that’s the advantage of having a laptop I had that someone did that with me once. I was just like it was the first live bimodal I’ve seen so it was it was pretty,

Stephen Drew 34:51
pretty amazing. Hey, yeah, so and that’s the thing because it goes back to this FEMA zoom back to the female everything. If our appetite breaks down You got the CV and the portfolio. And if the portfolio gets crumpled or something, you’ve got the tablet in the background, or the laptop or what have you. And this is the thing, because I remember the thing is the laptops and tablets is that you can get screen glares and stuff and they can be really frustrating. So that’s something to bear in mind. Because you don’t know in the interview, whether you’re going to be meeting free people hold around one table, and that there’s a window with white coming in, you can’t see anything. And that can be an absolute mind game. And that’s the thing, you got to stop by going out these mind games. That’s the point. The whole point of the interview was that you can’t, if you’ve if you’ve done the stuff we talked about in terms of, if you research the company, right, you’re genuinely interested in working there. That’s a big one for a start. You You made sure you get better on time. Okay, you’re dressed appropriately, you still have all this stuff, right? You prepared? There’s no reason why you should feel negative about it. You’re actually one up, you’re doing everything, right. And that’s the point. Because all these things, it’s about you having a mindset where you think I’m going to go and have a president of you and have an interesting conversation, and you’re going to learn about them as they’re going to learn about you. There’s my famous saying, well, isn’t it the interview is just as much for you as it is for them? And that’s what life is

Will Ridgway 36:25
all the time as well?

Stephen Drew 36:26
Yeah, well, it’s true. And I really believe it. Because I remember when I was apart when you get so enamoured by the fact that you’re privileged to get a job and you know what, it is a great thing. And you have to respect employers, you also have to understand your value as well. So no one likes arrogance. We’re not saying that or anything at all, no one likes and self entitlement, right? But you deserve this opportunity. And you’re going to prove to them right, and you’re going to make them want you and you’re practising that account, my gosh, I met that person. And he was fantastic. She was fantastic. She came in with all this stuff. And that’s the thing people buy with emotion, right? You got to get them emotionally invested in here they go. JACK was such a pleasant chap, such an engaging conversation. He’s a really nice guy that’s come from London worked hard all his life. What proper grafter and then you know what I went through his portfolio, and he had the big models, and he had all that stuff, right? emotionally invested in jack, because he came smart, and He impressed me and we get along because we play video games or whatever, right? And then it was his ability on the job to do the job. And I’m like, Yeah, I can see him doing it. He got the BIM models up, all right, to fit well in on the team. Boom, that that’s the concept, right? So that that’s, that’s what it’s about. It’s about a conversation. It’s about showing who you are, and getting that point across.

Jack Moran 37:47
Excellent. So we’ve got quite a few questions coming in now. So I thought we could just do a bit of a whip round sort of, you know, give it good question to each and I’ll go up to Shani, for the first one, which was saying, how would you turn a negative into a positive interview? You know, say you’ve been ill for the year and you might not have you know, look for a job for a while and it might appear to be a bit of a gap on your CV? How would you go about that? I can talk about this, you know, from as I’ve worked in a lot of these sort of situations, I’ve worked a lot of people who have had career breaks. And now what you’ve got to realise is that when you’re interviewing with people, there is no point in lying to them as well. Okay, but when someone is interviewing you, you have to realise that they’ve probably interviewed about 9000 other people in their whole career as well. Not this one job, you know, for loads of jobs, so they’ll know when they’re being lied to. And that is the number one thing that can really hinder someone in an interview is by lying or trying to cover up some kind of gap in their CV. The best thing to do is, if you have a gap in your CV, it might no matter how personal it is just say I have personal health troubles or I had an ill family member, be honest, be upfront, if you were looking for a job and didn’t manage to find one in those times, be honest and upfront say I was looking for jobs at the time, but I wasn’t really getting much luck. So I decided to put on hold for a bit. Always Be honest with them because interviewers like us that we in recruitment will know about it as well. We know when we’re being lied to okay is not a hard thing to pick up on. And that really will make the difference in the interview. So honesty is the definitely the best approach. Yeah, if you guys have anything to add to that,

Stephen Drew 39:21
I agree. And it’s the same thing with visas and everything you almost feel awkward about it. The thing is, you’re gonna The best thing to do is if you hit these things head on and at the start, right, get them out of the way. And that’s what I always say because sometimes some very talented architects can feel really awkward about maternity leave and I’m just thinking Well, that’s a fact of life right? birth and pregnancies affect the right and the same thing of looking after people it’s the same thing with gaps you You just have to hit them head on and the same thing with these as you were born where you were born you here now whether or not they can sponsor you. That’s a different thing that hitting your head on other stuff is going to be important and Jackie, you’re right. I almost don’t mention Shouldn’t them lying because I think it’s a given. If you lie in an interview, it will catch up with you. And you as a person, if you start fabricating this other version of yourself, that is the worst thing because you make an imposter syndrome, you have to be yourself. And that’s the thing. That’s where I’m at about a conversation and conversations come from the heart. They come from a human place, right? And it people are interested in talking to real people, non scripted and lying. It’s just to me, it just absolutely is true. It’s so character destroying. I think like, if you’re lying gonna be very quick to say why you’re lying. And then an interview thing you just completely setting off of the backfilling. So you definitely want to do it, you definitely don’t want to fudge dates around stuff, you definitely don’t want to do any of that things because they will catch up. And I will do a reference check. And let me tell you, I’m actually, like, no one’s legally allowed to do a reference check, I can quickly work out what’s going on. Because I might not be Einstein on certain things. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out though, when things don’t add up. So you’re all not going to do that, because you’re all credible architects, and you’re going to keep being credible. And so this to flip it around to a positive. So because it was a negative topic wasn’t about lying terrible. The more the flip it around to a positive. You don’t need to lie because you’re better than that. And you’ve worked hard, and you’ve got a year to one and you’re there. And you know what, if you haven’t got the experiences yet, this is the point you’re going to get the experience. So there’s nothing wrong with where you’re at. There’s nothing wrong with taking the career break. If you went cycling around the world for a year, say you went cycling around the world, we can speak around the world for a year, and then the main view, then you can talk about it. Talk about how enriching there was how you learn about different cultures, varieties, you’ve got that out of your way, so that now that you can knuckle down and work that’s a positive thing. Are you just gonna go around the world again? You go well, no, I did it for a year. It was fantastic. You will have me permanently for three years working hard on your project. So please, Island

Jack Moran 42:16
It’s a conversation isn’t it? Those kinds of things that are things that build rapport, get the conversation flowing?

Stephen Drew 42:22
Yes. And that’s the point of turning on positive to a negative. And so it comes from honesty. A lie is a negative of a negative, and there ain’t no spilling that into a

Jack Moran 42:32
positive. So um, well, I want to direct this next question at you. Because I feel like you’re, you’re you’re like this one. So it comes from Jamil. It’s also about, you know, when you’re interviewing, so why do firms ask people where else they’re interviewing? And how do they go about answering that question? Because it’s quite a deep meaning, isn’t it this sort of why someone practice will want to know where else you’re interviewing? How would you go about it? And what advice could you give to someone on a professional level? If I’ve, I’d be, I would be just completely honest, to be honest, to be honest. So yeah, no, I’m very honest. If I’ve got other interviews lined up, it’s very actually, it actually is in your favour to mention them, even if they don’t get brought up. It’s important for you to mention maybe it was a back end interview, or maybe as you’re leaving, just saying,

Will Ridgway 43:24
like mentioned, mentioned a comment about how you’ve got an interview with so and so over here on Thursday, we’ve got an interview. Next thing, these guys already had an interview with this firm last week. The reason behind that is that it’s if First of all, if you’ve got lots of interviews, it shows that you’re in demand. And it means that if this particular interview has gone well, and they like you, they’ll want to act fast to make sure that they don’t miss out on you, particularly as worth your interviewing with one of their competitors. It’s even more ammunition for them to think, well, if our competitors see value in this person, I think we can, we can be safely assured that this would be the right person to bring onto our team. So it works in your favour. And it can also work as well a little bit in the negotiation stage as well, salary wise, but that same nother topic that we’ll get onto another points. Now, if you don’t have any other interviews, there’s no harm in saying just saying, well, I’ve just been I’ve started my job search. You’re the first people I’ve met. However, I hope to have a few other interviews later on another point. There’s no harm in saying that I’ve not got any other interviews, because 16 now it’s a tough market. You know, it’s very difficult to actually get interviews and I think as well, you know, in a couple of years time, a lot of people are going to be honest things interviews and saying Well, I didn’t have a job between April and August in 2009 2020 because of COVID-19. It was very difficult time. So yeah, I think it’s always best to be on it. But if you have other interviews that goes in your favour a long way, because it can actually speed up the process. And, yeah, that’s what I would do. I don’t know if you’ve anything to add to that, Steve,

Stephen Drew 45:10
I like it. I think you’re right. And remember, sometimes, it’s and remind the employees in a nice way that actually, if you’ve gone through a few interviews, it reinforces why you want to work somewhere. Okay. So if you go to the interview with the company that’s in the interview, now, when they asked you Well, yes, I’m seeing a few, a few. In the end, I’m seeing a few companies right now, very carefully selected, at the same time now, should you make an offer, I would be very interested, there’s nothing wrong with that. And then you could really give us a back of that wave, you say, there’s a few reasons why. Because seeing a few other companies reinforces the decision on who and where I want to work, it’s a slitter, trace on a serious, a serious professional, everything you know, that I do is well considered totally direct and upfront, something like that as well. And Will’s on about why it’s advantageous to you is to see a few people is that sometimes what you can find is that if a company thinks you’re just interviewing with them, sometimes they can be quick, sometimes you know, what they like, okay, brilliant, we’ll get back to well, in there, and then two or three days. And what happens is, if you’re seeing other companies, then you create a little bit of momentum. And then you can say, Look, I’m seeing several companies this week, I’d love to make a decision by Friday, I will let you know if another company makes this an offer. And I will inform you straight away so that you could know, because I really see value in this company. And it’s stuff like that, right? That that then basically what you’re doing is you come across really respectful and transparent. Because it is super unrealistic for you just to go see one company and wait, when actually, they’re interviewing five people as well, for the job, right? It’s just the fact of life. So there’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying that jack.

Will Ridgway 47:10
Excellent, excellent. Also, sorry, to jack as well. It’s it’s important as well, for your own benefit as well to have all those interviews, because then you can actually make your own judgement and work out if you know, first of all, it’s good interview practice anyway. But secondly, as well, whether or not that company is the right fit for you, or if you might prefer another company. So as always, so it’s always handy to have lots of interviews. I mean, it’s great. It’s a great position to be in. So you know, even after you’ve had an interview, it’s always best to not just sit on your laurels and think right, they interview. Great. I’ll wait to hear the answer. Soon. it’s best just to keep going of your search and just keep going until you basically got a job. I keep applying, getting more interviews as much as possible. Sorry,

Jack Moran 47:52
that I think that that was actually the big point I was getting into as well. Now I think we’ve all been there haven’t we like you have a good interview, you have a really strong interview to report there, you’ve come out of there. And suddenly, like you’ll put all your eggs into one basket, because you might have got like a really good vibe. You know, unbeknown to you how well anyone else done in the interview. So it’s just going to compete agree like you should get straight back to it. about getting those DVDs back out there. And what’s going to ask you guys is what do you think so you’ve had a really strong interview for the for the graduate part one. So what sort of questions? Do you think they should ask at the end of the interview? What is going to make them stick in the mind most of the person, you know, conducting it,

Stephen Drew 48:31
it’s definitely good to ask questions. And you know, they they’re so trying that again, it goes back to this non scripted thing. I wouldn’t go in with a few questions rehearse? I would, I would tell them around the company around the conversations, he definitely wants to ask when they plan to get back to you. That’s definitely a good one. And the other thing I would say is be inquisitive about what it’s like to be in the company, right? If for instance, they said in no questions, sometimes that can be okay. I always like to ask, I sometimes go the other way I can be I can be terrible for that, where I turned the interview around into an interview for me. I’m like, what’s it like to work here? So how many hours have you done? What’s, how profitable were you last year. And there’s something fun about that, because you psychologically go the other ways. But I wouldn’t recommend that to start with that. It’s something you learn over the course of your life. And you have to be very delicate about how you ask things. And that’s the point I only ask is when it feels appropriate. So you could ask for instance, when did you join the practice? I joined a year or two ago, two years ago. Okay, fantastic. And how was it? I’ve been so welcome. And I came here from a practice where I didn’t enjoy before and they’d be really, really grateful and I’m afraid that you do this and that and we go for football on a Thursday and you got all fantastic. I play football, and you’ve got a report from that. So ask questions you want to know and but when you ask a question, ask Oh, Questions, right? Oh, this is a really interesting one is the worst kind of questions are really, two, I always find Jonathan Ross wasn’t that good? or asking the question sometimes because he’d be so tailored, you’d be like, well, what kind of laptops do you use? Because I use a Celeron. laptop. So because they’re really they’re really faster. And you’re like, Why is that a question or a statement? Definitely don’t answer questions where the statement? So you want to be like, when did you join here? What do you like working about it? Where? Where do you go without that? Do you have any staff out and stuff like that? So where what when’s the ultimate questions? Because there are big questions and do or have that kind of thing? where like, a good example would be what support Do you offer for part one students? So? And do you find that part when students return to the practice on preparing for part two is you want to write stuff? Like, what support Do you give to them apart from? And what do you enjoy most of our working? Yeah, these are all really interesting, open questions and why they’re interested in it’s not because they rehearsed? It’s because when you like to know that, right, when you like to know what the best thing to be at this company’s about AI words, and that’s the kind of thing I remember we’re brand the MD or burn be a more methodical in my whether you like working, I run the company, am I going to what you enjoy about it, and where this whole talk, and then you kind of caught him off guard. And it was a really nice organic conversation, because I got to hear basically, his company values firsthand, which is really, really nice. And I think that if I did the whole projective thing of, well, what do you think about recruitment? Because my values in recruitment, you get it? You’re kind of you’re not, if you’re going to ask a question that people ask your questions, and answer the question. And the best thing to do is ask the question you’re interested in, which is all and and it will end Think about it this way, it’s quite interesting to see what they say. Because if you say some what you enjoy working about what you enjoy about working here, and they can’t answer you, that’s not a good sign.

Will Ridgway 52:06
But what I think is, I think, you don’t ask questions that you can blatantly obvious to find on the the answer on the website, for example, like I said, it’s like Steve said, it’s gonna be interesting to you. You don’t want to be like, oh, when did the company form? By? What kind of question is that he can find on the website. That’s interesting. So it’s about a few years, I think, if you’re, if you look like you’re curious, ask curious questions about what’s it like to work there? What do you do? And,

you know, do you go for beers on a Friday, for example, find out more about the company because it looks like you’re curious, then suddenly, they the interviewer thinks, okay, this, this person is really interested in us. That’s a really good sign. You know, I really like them as well. And I think as well, it’s about, if they think that you like them, then it strengthens their, their, their opinion on if they if you think if they sorry, it strengthens their opinion on whether they want to hire you or not really, because it gives them more security. It’s bit like when you maybe not quite so much. But when you had a day and you want to take things, you know, you want to see them again, on for a second day is a little bit daunting to ask that question. But if you know that they like you, then it’s much easier to ask that question in the first place. So it’s about you know, reassuring them, as well.

Stephen Drew 53:29
In 1000 questions? What’s it like to work there? Or stuff? Like, where do you see the company going in five to 10 years? Stuff like that is interesting, right? Because you’re talking about forward thinking? And you’re and that basically then you’re you’re you’re conveying to them that you’re thinking about your future, and you’d like to be part of their future? So they are the kinds of questions I would ask. It’s very interesting this one because you know, what track his site, I think we could even do another one of these about interviews at the same site. Yeah, we can we can do. This is more of an overview. And we can go into particular questions and so on the social, it will be really interesting to hear what you would like to get out of these podcasts or these webinars as well. I think that’s a pretty good overview for interviews. You also maybe it’s worth saying that prepare some, you’ve done really well. You have to mentally expect people not to reply super quickly. And if you’re not here for them, it doesn’t mean you haven’t got the job, but to chase up in a healthy way. But remember, the interview isn’t the finale, some people do an interview and then they just kind of sworn off, don’t they? Well, and basically you’ve got to chase up a little bit. You’ve got to find out about you’ve got to keep going after you have to be the balance of you don’t want to be annoying. You also keep need to keep chasing things because Things can slip. And that is annoying. You don’t want you don’t want your interview to be slip or you don’t want them to forget. So you’ve got to get the balance. So there’s definitely a level of aftercare after the interviews. And then also, another topic that we will do is when you get an offer, how would you deal with your phone? Because that means there’s loads of ways to do it, right? And there’s no other ways it can go wrong. Holy moly. Actually, we’ll save that, but I quite like the idea of talking about, you can’t wait too long. You have to be upfront, you can’t play them, you need to be really transparent. Psychology involved, isn’t that, yeah, you’ve got to, you’ve got to protect your value. But then also, you’ve got to do it have integrity, and no one likes to be played around with. And let me tell you don’t string along companies, just because you want to keep things going because people pick up on it quickly. And the other thing is never, I’m a big believer of it’s not good to bat. salaries, when against another company, you can do it. It’s a really risky game, we will talk about that. But if you got to play around with salaries, be prepared for people to turn you down. Okay. It’s like if you want to play the game, and you want to roll the dice, you want to play the game? Well, you’re gonna have to play the game. And then we not everyone wins in Russian roulette. Okay, so and but it goes back to what we had last week, didn’t we, we had really talented interior designer on the social talk about oh, my gosh, are they going to trip me up in the interview. And that’s the thing, it’s not about tripping you up. And the sooner you get in there in your mentality of what you’re talking about is your worth up there because you want to be there, then you talk about the salaries from the heart. And therefore you’re suddenly you’re not playing salaries and companies against each other, you’re saying, I think I’m worth 45,000 pounds. And for X ray says, and if the company can’t do it, then you need you need to factor that in. But the last thing you want to do is play this one out when app games because what happens is that might work once where your salary is, you know, you get an offer from a company that you believe is that you want to work for one company, but the offer is lower than the other, you can let the other company know about the higher offer, but be prepared for them not to match it. Maybe that will be a good one for us to do next Ivor maybe we’ll do a vote whether we want to do on the social world, wherever we talk more about interviews, or we’ll do a vote on whether we talk about offers and salaries as the next one,

Jack Moran 57:39
we’re going to potentially do a bit of a split between the two and one too many I don’t know how much content, we could probably get into the salaries what you probably could make an hour long video on the

Stephen Drew 57:49
salaries for this

hour of your time, is the techniques I’ve learned, we know can get you a few 1000 pounds more. That’s a good our that’s it.

Jack Moran 58:03
So I think if we if we do a just a bit of a short summary on just everything we’ve sort of gone through. So I think you know the main thing is failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Make sure you’ve got your copies digital or physical or both to be safe. Do a short presentation a couple days before the do each day to a family member before just run. Just to help you get set up. When you’re if you’re doing an interview over teams or you’re doing over zoom, make sure you’ve emailed your CV and portfolio to him not the night before you want it a few days before even the night on the confirmation to the interview. Just make sure they have it and everything’s going to go smoothly. And I think they’ll be afraid to ask questions. And remember that you’re there for a reason. You know, they wanted to interview you for a reason. It’s not just your lucky they saw your work they like it they want to get more to know about yourself. So use that to sort of you know put in your personality into the interview to go and do what Stephen and will said you know, that read from that script don’t become that robot person. Make sure you keep your your personality involved. But I think that pretty much covers everything for the for the for the base of the interviews, there’s anything else you

Stephen Drew 59:11
would like to add just a quick one loving everyone on the social so sorry, this week, I’ve been working full time. So it’s been interesting juggle and things and the boys have been awesome because they’ve got to listen to me talk about work. Talk about my enthusiasm and excitement for the social as well as me talking about me trying to get on the exercise bike, which you may or may can’t see in the screen. We don’t know. So if you need anything, I’m actually loving everyone’s involvement in this and the outage social. The more and more Everyone talks to each other and gets involved, the quicker we will learn. And we all want to improve where we’re at. We’re all quite talented. Let me look at the camera. You’re really talented. And if you keep on improving, then God knows how much how big the impact where we can have together and This is the thing is that you’re all really smart designers and architects. And I’m quite interested, this push you a little bit further. The thing is, though, it’s not all just talking about me. So getting involved with each other, commenting on each other’s works, showing up to get involved chat and posting your work on the Showcase area, getting your work involved getting out there. And then once I post your work, you got to rustle up that momentum and do it. So I think that’s what I would encourage everyone is to keep going. And I tell you what, the most active people in this community, I can I will bet you know, they’re the ones that can be really the had the biggest impact in architecture, because it’s just this it’s just the way it is, when you see something, there’s something there. So definitely get involved. If you haven’t posted already, or you lurking in the corner, come out from the corner and say hello, we’re all humans so definitely get involved send jack a will a message and drop me a message as well if I’m slowly requires because I’ve been so busy this week, but I’m loving everything. Thank you so much.

Jack Moran 1:01:07
Thanks very much for joining us, guys.

Will Ridgway 1:01:09
Hey, thank you very much. We enjoy the rest of your week.

Stephen Drew 1:01:12
Take care everybody all right. See you laters st gap I’m loving that post your work if you haven’t get involved. All right, I’m gonna go over they’re gonna kick me out with Jackie need to get one of them big things. Call me up this

Will Ridgway 1:01:27
thing, bro.

Stephen Drew 1:01:28
Okay, all right. I’m really close in there right now. Bye.


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