The Student Podcast by Thomas Rowntree – Episode 16 – “How to get an Architecture job in 2020”

Hey everyone, check out Thomas Rowntree‘s youtube channel if you haven’t already. I was on Episode 16 of the Student Podcast where we talk about how to get a job in Architecture.



Transcription (using

Transcription (Raw Text)

Thomas Rowntree 0:08
Testing. Okay, what is going on ladies gents welcome back to a brand new video, a brand new episode of the number one podcast in the world the shooting podcast today we’re here with Stephen Drew. Hello, quickly introduce yourself,

Stephen Drew 0:24
I assure you. So I’m Stephen Drew I am head of architecture design at McDonald company. And I am also involved in a new community platform called the architecture social. So I used to be a part two architecture system. I got my part one at Westminster, part two at Manchester. And I worked for three years in industry, ageing 100, a practice called EPR architects, really great company. And from there, I moved to recruitment. So for the last six years, what I do is I have everyone from part one, part two, right, the way up to associate directors, part one’s typically in our healthcare industry. But Part two is definitely almost that’s why I specialise in.

Thomas Rowntree 1:07
Awesome. So we’ve got a very exciting podcast, I think today, we’re gonna dive into a lot of topics and kind of try and pick Steven’s brain about recruitment and applications and find positions in the kind of architecture field as of obviously, you as guys mature in some are looking for a position and obviously we’re all a bit uncertain on the current situation with the Coronavirus exception is going to be a difficult time to find a job. So I’ve got questions here, which I’m just going to fire away of you and just, I just hope that we can discuss a little further. So the first Okay, first one we’ve got is what are the key features in creating an application? This is an application this is a this is a big question, but we’re trying a question.

Stephen Drew 1:51
We’re we’re we’re now we’re down. Okay, so good point. So we were in we were in a bit of a difficult recession cram COVID scenario right now. So applications, there’s two types of pharmacy, it could be a job online, which could be a written job, or speculative, you have to, there’s probably not going to be many written jobs right now. So assume everything’s backwards here. So what you want to do is you want to start approaching companies, and a very typical way to do it. And the easiest way to do it is yes, it’s nice to hand deliver your CV and portfolio in a beautiful non COVID world where we don’t have to run around in a mask and knock on the doors, everyone’s work remote, I would say that the best thing to do right now is an application is to get your an email, which is short and sweet, not too long. And you can put a cover letter, you don’t want to repeat what’s in the email. And that shouldn’t be too long, either. That should be a breeze to go through. And you want a CV on the portfolio. And the CV typically for me, is about two pages. I think that’s a nice length for people don’t start with a sleep. And portfolio. Think of it as a sample portfolio online. It’s a bit like fishing, you want to get their attention and are playing the game. You don’t want to give away too much. But you want to get enough. And so that can be anything from five to 15 pages. And that is typically what I find that is a good application.

Thomas Rowntree 3:13
Yeah, yeah, good points, I think important thing about the CV is that you don’t ramble on like you don’t you don’t need to show and describe your whole life and everything that’s happening. I think it’s really important to keep it short and sweet. And like Steven said, you can obviously very easily be looking through CVS and reading CVS and get bored and, and just kind of disregard CVS if they’re a bit too long and kind of drag on a little bit. So what what do you think about having photos on a CV? A photo of yourself? Do you think it’s very professional? There’s obviously mixed as mixed questions about this. And I’ve got my opinion, but it’s subjective,

Stephen Drew 3:48
it’s subjective. And I had a chat with Martin Andrews as a professor about this. And I agree it can go really overweight, because I never did. I’ve seen sometimes have a CV, it can be fine. The thing is, though, is about taste. And the the image can be something where maybe a small image or professional image it can, it can be fine. But at the same time, though, what you’re doing is you’re allowing the opportunity for people to then build unconscious biases. And it can go either way, the bias can be like, Oh, yeah, this time guy. I’ve seen him online. He’s cool. Let’s get him in this game and right, or it can be another way, which you don’t even know. And that’s the risk. So it’s one of them things so sometimes,

it can be nice and friendly.

Sometimes it can go the other way. So it’s probably safer not to do and an image. Yeah,

Thomas Rowntree 4:43
yeah. Yeah, I personally agree. Because initially when I was putting together my CV I’ve had this year I’ve probably done eight different types of my CV and really kind of developing and chipping and kind of chipping away and the first kind of fuel had a picture of me and I I spoke to a couple people and I, I personally think it kind of makes it not as professional. And also, in some ways, I’ve seen people that I’ve got a picture of them, which takes up half of the CV, way too dominant, it takes away from the information that you’re trying to provide to the reader. And it kind of just completely distracts you. So I think if you were to use a pitcher, keep it short, keep it small, try not to kind of take away from the, the actual information that you are trying to get across within your CV. So

Stephen Drew 5:35
yeah, the work should speak for itself. And the reality is you want them to meet you in an interview. And you want to you want to speak with them, really. And that’s the thing with a pitcher that sometimes the person makes the bias and they don’t really want to bring you the best thing to do is to send you a CV and follow up with a call that’s a lot more personal than a pitcher pitcher can’t speak the end and feel you’re the one that’s gonna convince the person to get the job.

Thomas Rowntree 6:01
And I also think something else with applications in sending off a CV, a cover letter, a portfolio, I think it’s also interesting, if you could then send off a couple more things like a little, little kind of teasers that are going to entice people into your profile more. So for example, you can have like an interactive business card, which you could send, which would be like a small kind of file size. And obviously, in this world where we can’t go out there and hand out CVS and hand out business cards and introduce ourselves, you obviously got to find innovative ways to get yourself out there and get yourself crossing get your personality and your skills across. In Yeah, in a good way across through digital platform.

Stephen Drew 6:41
You’re definitely underselling, it’s definitely good to stand out. What you gotta do, though, is make sure that the basics are right. What we don’t want is this super virtual CVM portfolio and then Janine in the office, prints it out. And it doesn’t work, right. So what it needs to do is, we’ve got to imagine that it works in the old school way. And then you want that interactive PDF, or you want that video so that it’s like, the core should always be strong. And then it’s like that little, little cherry on the top with your little video or something where you maybe you have, I’m just thinking out loud of yourself that you could have one of them scanning things, what was the name of that, where you got your phone, and then maybe it goes to a private YouTube channel, you like, Hey, thank you so much for your CV, for looking at my CV and portfolio, I really, really appreciate it. I’m here, I’m available. And then people go, Wow, this isn’t like this is like an Easter egg in a film, I found something which you know, it’s like GTA or something that you find something hidden at the end of the level. And that’s really nice. Where we go wrong now is if you send like a 30 meg file or a video, and you expect people to open it, because they want and you need to make sure that there’s the CV and portfolio. So you want old meets new, you need to make sure that the all works. And then you have like an innovative twist on it, which catches people’s attentions,

Thomas Rowntree 8:00
yeah, 100%. Because I, with my application, it didn’t interactive business card where you can actually click on the business card and go to my website. This is quite easy and quick to do them as well, just an interactive PDF. I think it’s just those little, those little things just to add to your application to kind of stand out from the rest, especially in this kind of digital age.

Stephen Drew 8:21
I agree. The thing is, though, as well, I’ve seen your CV portfolio as strong as it is. And then you’ve got the other stuff on top. And you write it to stand out, though is important. I think this is where you go with this is just like how you stand out. The thing is, though, you’ve got to make sure that the basics are correct. And then it’s like how do you get people’s attention. And one of the things that I keep talking about on the videos we do when we’re when we’re going into these webinars and so forth is the reality is the person that’s going to be selling this as you right as the You’re the best person, you’re going to be the biggest influence again, this and so ringing up and doing stuff that you’re on about doing things a little bit out of the box, or calling up the company or making an effort being personable and being open and taking the phone call. That is what’s going to get you a job. And what you can’t do is sometimes you can’t wait around for them, you send your CV and portfolio, but definitely follow up because especially now in this current climate, there’s a lot of applications. So what you don’t want to do is someone can think you’re great. And then they it they might forget in a day or two and then they’ve had another CV so you’ve got to constantly reemerge, and you’ve got to constantly engage with them until you find out an answer one way or another. Yeah. Okay. So

Thomas Rowntree 9:38
if you were to get a reply back and you want to be successful with the application, again, interview, what are some key points that you think are really important to get across in an interview? I know you’ve discussed this in your webinar is trying to kind of sum that up on the podcast, that’d be that’d be great. Great. So

Stephen Drew 9:58
when you get the interview in Join them on WordPress dot say, hey, you’re you’re new, you know, and you know the FOMO is working right, which is great because the CVM, portfolios, feedback. So we know now that you’re onto something because we want to meet you. So that’s fantastic. So deep breath. Now don’t go neck a bottle away there anything you want to now is the time to sit down and kind of get your backup strategy. So the short version, because like you said, what I’ve gone into this, in the wider sense, the short version is, right, it’s who, what, where, when, why both ways. So you want to totally know you’re going to go research mode, we’re going to go Mission Impossible, we’re going to go through that company, you’re going to know everything about and you’re going to know it from when it started, where they base, or ideally what software they use, how they look at a few job vacancies and stuff like that, find out all information you can any news, any plan important LinkedIn, see on the employees, they got there, and all this stuff so that you feel equipped that you understand that company, because when you’re gonna meet them, you need to convey to them why you want to work there. And actually, in the process of learning this company, you’re going to get invested and excited, which is good. And then on the other end, you want to prepare yourself. So you want to talk about your any work, you’ve done an industry, any volunteer work, any stuff like that any practical things like rabbits, any technical models, you want to do that. And so you want to showcase all that stuff with your academic work, and you want to give an overview. So we talked about a portfolio that you’re going to send online, being a bit shorter. Imagine this is like the big discography of work. So this is what you’re going to show. And it’s the same thing you are about to talk. What we don’t want is for you to go into an interview, and it’s like Lord of the Rings. And the guy said, like, Oh, I gotta go home. And he’s just, we’re on page three, this is gonna be a nightmare. So now you’ve got to rehearse and you’ve got to go through it. So think about the interview and think about the sheet. So think about I’d like a Pecha Kucha, have you ever used, I always think of them, like, pick a tree or something. But you know, I mean, you basically you get this 10 minute 10 minute presentation, 20 seconds a slide and it’s brew up someone like me who talks for a living, you go, well, it’s done this the same thing with the interview, if you can kind of master the technique of going for your work, that’s the way to do it. And the other thing is definitely put the most recent stuff you do at the start. The one big mistake everyone does is that they put their part what work at the start. And it’s like, you just you’ve just finished your part, whatever, right? the work you’ve done now, as evolved so much compared to your part one, and the biggest killjoy you can do is say, let me show you what I did three years ago, when I when I didn’t know as much. So you want to go with the strongest stuff at the start rehearsing with your mom, your dad, whatever your friends go for that and build up to the day. And the other thing is, if it’s an online interview, make sure you’re available, make sure your your tech works. And it’s like, like we knew before Microsoft, you know, we were setting up on this, like, we don’t want that when it’s you know, when it’s Mr. heavy work on the thing, because you’re just gonna be freaking out. And the last thing you want to do is that you want to make sure that your tax already, you’ve told your flatmates stay out of the room, you know, and no, we’re not going to you don’t want anything to throw you off guard. But if something like that does happen, try to embrace the new human nature and have a joke about it. It’s much more better to do that than to freak out and then you’re on the back burner. So the short answer, summarise all that preparation that understands who they are, and get what you’ve got ready to talk about and be prepared for. The final note, I’d say is pre prepared the conversation for them. Don’t go in there thinking you’re like Leonardo DiCaprio on Titanic and you’ve got scripts, because they’ll say something in a conversation way and then throw you off and you’ll be back on either when it’s like that. You know, sometimes when you’re in uni and you watch someone gave a really good, really good project and then they have the most Tao crit, and you just they were they were like I turn the snow today. I’ve got my project and I have I’ve developed a just just if you like hello a regular look me in the eyes. And that’s the thing. Yeah, I much rather someone has a conversation like this. And we free flow and we can spot we can get ideas, your fingers, you want to research the basis of what you’re doing. You want to keep the key points, you want to talk about your ideas. You want to talk that you can use Revit The thing is that you don’t want to go back to this the script man, because Mr. Script man is such a killjoy. It’s like everyone’s hands off. And that’s the thing what you don’t you want to stand out and standing out is having that conversation. Yeah,

Thomas Rowntree 14:44
yeah, it’s, it’s more about having a discussion in that conversation. It’s not about them asking your question. You look down you read read a script. I hate reo. I could never do that in presentations at uni. I always struggle reading the scripts it completely, completely threw you off. I don’t know how And how people do it. And also, to kind of add to what you’re saying, I think an important thing is to find something in the company that you also find interesting and that you want to discuss as well. So when they kind of ask you the question of, why do you think are places the right place for you or the right practice for you, you have that that thing that you like about their practice that you can discuss with them. And that kind of sets off a conversation with you to kind of settle yourself down settle them down. I think that initial conversation is super important. Yeah.

Stephen Drew 15:32
Yeah, you’re right. I mean, I saw Hawkins Brown. So Harvard that he used to actually to me and majesty pop down really talented leads the infrastructure team. And he said, the same thing is like, when we were having a hawkers brand, we’re looking for people that were culturally in line before we’re on about, I think that’s just about having a genuine interest in the work that the company does. I’m interested in architecture, the ability to say, you know, you’re prepared to work hard, you’re at the start, you can’t go and go and like, hey, I want this, but you could, you know, these people are going to impart wisdom on you, and you’re going to learn from them. So you definitely want to be humble about it. And yeah, I think, I think I think you nailed this one thing, as well. I think that the conversation where you’re like, Hey, I don’t know everything. I really want this, and I like this company, and I want to be there. And if you’ve got that energy, but not energy and excitement is way more interesting than script person,

you know, it’s like, Oh, okay. You want someone that when the when they were on your team is going to help our is going to learn. And ideally, you want to hire someone that’s going to be with a company for a few years. So you’re going to look for that enthusiasm in the interview as an employee.

Thomas Rowntree 16:44
Yeah, I think is, is super important to express how much he wants to learn, and develop and discover and explore. Rather than say, I want to work for you, because I can do this, this and this, you’ve got to tell them how they are going to be the right place for you to learn and develop. Because at the end of the day, you’re going to always explore and learn for our studying architecture or anything in any industry. So I think that’s super important to get that cross.

Stephen Drew 17:10
Yeah. And the other thing I’d like to add is that it’s good to show who you are as a human. So I think that anything you’ve done, for instance, and charities or anything you’ve thought outside or even, for instance, that you say, No, you go to a rugby club. So there’s one guy, there’s one director in particular, that because I’m Welsh and he’s Welsh every time we talk about the rugby, right, and this is the thing, I only play rugby that much but I can’t Of course I you know, I like to have a chat with him and I like some of the now we have a drink or something we’ll talk about it I’m I still report. And that’s the thing that when I was apart what but at the end of the interview, what we talked about is that I at the time, I was fascinated by architecture called the projects going to move this amazing. I was all into that and the funding of the design director was he’s like yeah, when I was studying those coding things around and strings and then we had this like moment, you know, when you’re there and if the next day offered me the job and it was purely because I kind of I got above the normal and like managed to get his interest that he managed to get my than his be like oh, yeah, Steve uses Zack like me is really passionate about all this stuff. This offer it looks like he is the master and that’s the thing. And it came from just exposing yourself a little bit. And it’s difficult because it’s the it’s the balance, you don’t want to be like, hey, I’ve been playing Red Dead for the last two weeks. And to GTA you got a race, we want to do it in a professional way. And we and you want to you you but you want to be human. So like a really good example is getting involved with maybe one or two architecture charities. Artists the level of society or article 35 mm ambassador for the actions within our society, and it is really good fun and you go to the people and if I’d never did it, then try something What would I be doing sitting around the house and it’s a bit like the social it’s been quite fun to get involved and chat to people and yeah, it takes a bit of time because I find it really rewarding them when someone enjoys it. That’s good. And that’s the kind of thing that you’ll come across in the interview. What if you’ve gone above and beyond or if you’re a go getter and it goes back to your thing from if they want to hire someone that’s pushing the boundaries they almost know the person later five year okay it’s good that someone can do the drawings but they really want someone who’s going to be bustling architects who’s passionate wants to take on the world and I think that person with that energy and abroad Bz ism. You know, when you’re starting out, you’re like, it’s my job. I’m gonna do it. That’s who that’s who they’re gonna hire. Yeah.

Thomas Rowntree 19:41
Okay, so following, speaking to people going into interviews, researching companies, how do you know what the right practice is for you? Super. Oh, wow,

Stephen Drew 19:54
you’ve really given me the big ones. Okay, how do you know it’s you know, you don’t? It’s the truth. I think it’s really difficult. So, so context back in the old days, Who me? Gosh, it was a night, it was the recession when I was a part one. And I went for interviews. And

Unknown Speaker 20:11
every practice, I

Stephen Drew 20:12
felt I was like, No, this one’s really the one, you know, I mean, the other base was good, but this one was really good. And the truth is, a lot of places have a lot of difficulty. So sometimes you will clearly know, I think it’s like, you can be amazed, sometimes you’ll have like the best website, and you know, they’re famous, and you’re going to show it. And other times, for instance, a smaller architectural practice, it might be not so famous, but you will learn so much. And actually, then I know people go to small practices, and then they go to huge practices, which are famous because they do really well. So I think that the way you know, is you can never always know. And it’s more about what you think you’re going to get out of the opportunity. The thing I would say as well is that I worked in EPR, which was great. And that’s why I openly talk to the Saviour, there’s definitely a practice worth checking out applying to fantastic part one and part two. And sometimes it’s been two people, and they haven’t, it’s such a good time, as I’ve moved to places not, for instance, I worked in a large shopping retail, I can’t say which when they ate it, I hate that. I absolutely hated it, right. And I worked in a place before. This isn’t for me. And the thing is, it’s like sometimes when you go somewhere, you don’t like it, it actually reinforces your decision. So sometimes it’s important to always say, I’ve had bad bosses before. And so you know, when you get a good boss, like now I have a good boss. And so the managing director of McDonald company, I get along really well. And I respect him. But the thing is, like maybe I wouldn’t take them for granted if I didn’t have so many bad bosses. And I guess what I’m trying to say is, look, if you get a job in architecture practice, and maybe they aren’t as famous or Yeah, you know, everyone wants at one point, will it be great to work and Foster’s apartments and stuff, but think about it. I mean, people work really hard that you can but never actually practice you can get great experience, and you can go later. So what I’m trying to say is, don’t overthink it. Just think about what you can get out of it right now and think about the people involved.

Thomas Rowntree 22:10
Yeah, yeah, I think the important thing is just getting yourself out there trying it out. And yeah, at the end of the day, that’s the whole point of getting experience and just testing cuz you’re not going to find what the right practice is for you. Unless you go into that practice. You meet the people, you learn about the culture, we do different types of projects, and you begin to learn and develop and understand what kind of things and what direction you want to go in and what kind of people you like, and what kind of environment exactly you need to. That’s the whole point of getting work experience, I think.

Stephen Drew 22:40
Yeah. And well, I’m going to take a moment, I’m going to do it because I have way better than I was before. But people are looking at the camera for this. If you get offered an interview, as you go to the west, and you don’t go to it, then that is one of the things that I just don’t understand. Because why don’t you go and check out the practice for yourself. My biggest pet peeve is when people write off a company without even going there to say no your practice in the future. You said, the website might not be there yet, but you’re under something has gone back and people like I’m not sure. And they’ll tell you what that you can’t afford to be picky right now. And also, if you go for a few interviews, by the time you the third or fourth one comes up, which is going to be heavy work or the company that you really dreamed up, you’re going to be well versed because it’d be when it’s like a skill. And if you literally just write off every company until you got to your perfect one guess for you might get really nervous later or think that so don’t overthink things. Don’t judge a book by a cover. And go coach checker, this place is going to that interview on the grab the camera and go to the interview was really important. Yeah, you know,

Thomas Rowntree 23:47
and you mentioned you mentioned being picky there. Should you be picky with current client with COVID.

Stephen Drew 23:54
Okay, well, it’s always a debate, right? And so for me, I’ve kind of made my stance on this, you should not be picky. And it seemed I love the social because is that they and the thing is there’s no right way. Because sometimes you could I’ve known this that jamee guy in the studio. And like I said, I sent my CV to 900 places. And I think I got so many rejections you wouldn’t know. And then I got six or seven interviews. And I got one two offers, and one was 12,000 pound 3009. The one was 20,000 pounds. And so part once I was moved up there, the thing is, though, what was funny is EPR came right at the end, and I had no more enemies in line. And it was just like it was still a die and I wanted and then they came through. The thing is I know when people that so I said 900 CVS, and I know some people he sent out one CV and get the job. But I do think that is a bit like that is the outlier that’s for 1%. And so my opinion is you can’t be picky. And I think probability helps, especially in times like this or COVID economic crisis and so you have to balance up your own no ego. Is that the word? Because you deserve it. You worked hard course he deserted works on weather’s good.

Unknown Speaker 25:10
Can you afford to be so

Stephen Drew 25:11
picky right now, in this time where everyone’s wearing masks? And this job? Is this crazy? And the world’s kind of going on a bit bonkers. I think you should be not I should be picking. And then yeah, I just I just think that if you’re picky, you’re really throwing yourself out to the woods right now, because probability counts. I remember. I would rather if you start with the companies, you’re like, of course, why not send out to 500 brilliant companies, you don’t need to send it out to 10. And sometimes finding stuff off the beaten track is just as good. So everyone knows about sorrow these, every part one in the world is going to apply the fosters do not think any otherwise. Right? Because they are. And so why not have a good company, which is famous or off the beaten tracks, like there’s a guy, there was a direct from Huawei, it’s called Andrews set up his own company. And he’s one big steam. So I got to remember the name. Also, for instance, I have a friend called Jonathan halt. He’s a fantastic architect who has his own little architecture practice. Now everyone’s going to be writing down scribbles, we’re not going to give any more away. But the thing is, you got to go out there and look. And the thing is, these are genius people that work in a big company and set their own stuff up. And that’s a really cool thing, because then you can be part of them really building their thing. And maybe the company’s not so famous now. They’re gonna have less applications. And you probably we might even get more attention at a big company. So it’s worth thinking about.

Thomas Rowntree 26:44
Yep, I agree odd. I think it’s very, I don’t see how people can be picky at the moment. Now, if someone offers you a job, or offers you an interview, you got a bite the hand off. I don’t know why you’d even hesitate three things. You know, if you think about how many people are applying for a position, either as a part one or part two, think about how many 1000s, especially in London, think about how competitive is and how many people aren’t hiring, but they might be hiring one or two people. If someone offers you an interview or a job you got obviously by the handoff, I think

Stephen Drew 27:17
I think you’re right. That’s where it’s getting all of it. If you’re on another one of my pet peeves, you won’t get all excited mentioned my checks. I’m like, Yeah, you’re right. And this is the other thing that sometimes in what I do in recruitment, sometimes I’ll have someone that’s there, they’ve got a lot of value. And sometimes when they have already fixed in what they want, so being picky, right, and sometimes someone can lose their job or something and they got to go nuts, they are going to hold out for the job that since and then they’re holding out for a long time. And we’re talking months. And sometimes I’ve had some times people turn down a job. And this is another good word for you to think talk because part one salaries is a really subjective one. Okay, what is it? 20? Grand 22? What’s my worth? And what you got to think is that if you hold out, see now there’s a job at 18,000. And you think it’s a bit low thing is a small company. And for them, it’s a lot of money, and you’re going to get good experience. And let’s say that you’re like, oh, but my mate, he’s on 21 grand. That’s right. Let me throw this out to you. If you do not take that if you hold back, because you’re looking for a company, which is going to pay you more money, you’re probably going to be looking for another month. So that’s two grand gone straight away. Because you’re waiting. And then that way, because when the job process you notice like it takes long you got to meet them and the feedback that’s gonna take a month. So I would especially in your early in your career, don’t get precious about money. Because if you’re waiting one month, that’s two grand God, you know, 20 grand salary 12 months a year, 1200 pounds, one person 300, left for tax, whatever it is gone, where you’re looking. So be be precious about your salary later in your career. But your part one and part two? Really, it should be about? Is this a good company? Can they give me the experience I want? And am I getting paid enough? And then the thing is, I don’t think you should work and pay them in that there’s one or two exceptions to the rule. Article. 25 is a really good charity I do think is unpaid, if you can get involved and get really good experience, and it is a legitimate charity. Other than that, though, anything commercial, I would be very reluctant to advise anyone to work for free. And I remember I had to resume someone to say look, if you know the reality is we’re a small company. If you worked as an intern close to one page, we could probably hire you. And I remember saying I remember speaking about that after I was like, I don’t know whether I should have taken it or not. But I’m glad I didn’t. Yeah. And the thing is when I said to them, it’s like look, and he took a fair salary to live. It’s not that I’m going to rack money up in the bank per se. It’s just that it’s going to cost me to get on the bus and it cost me a student accommodation and I’m not from a background where my parents can financially support him. Even though they’ve been really good, and they’ve been helpful where they can, you know, I grew up in a in there was a social housing in South Wales, right. So humble roots. And the thing is, I was like, I’d love to go your practice, but I need to get the butts, you know, and I need to eat a sandwich, which isn’t like the as those non tastes special, you know, it’d be nice to survive. And so and so that’s where that’s where I think is that you do need to ask for a salary, that’s fair. But do be flexible on them. And don’t go I know, we all work hard. I know, architects, you will be nice to be earned more, they will come with time. But salary comes with experience, and you need to get the experience first.

Thomas Rowntree 30:41
Yeah, and it’s like you say about the whole 18k thing is that you could be it could be in an office or a studio, where you’re really influential in the office, you’re learning so much, but you’re earning 18,000. Or you could be in a huge office where you don’t really get that much experience, you kind of just get bits and bobs, and you could be earning 22,000. But the end of the day, the more the thing that’s more important, in the grand scheme of things is getting that valuable experience and getting that one on one time with whoever or going out to site visits and having more interactions with clients. So at the end of the day, though, you may be earning less, you’re gaining more experience more viable experience that is going to potentially set you up for earning more when you’re older. So I think it’s important not to specially as a part one, I think the part one, you can’t really be picky at all really with salaries, obviously, you say that. So if you’re moving to London, and you were, you needed that extra bit of money, because obviously the lifestyle and the expenses are going to be more in travelling. And obviously, rent is obviously going to be more than certain areas. So you kind of do after suggest maybe I do need to earn more to the practice will be a bit more of a competitive salary. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is getting experience and getting into a place where you’re going to get a one on one time with people and gain that really valuable experience. Yeah, got kind of your abundance. Oh,

Stephen Drew 32:03
yeah, get yourself the experience first. And the other thing is probably worth mentioning where we are Tom is that apart I an architectural practice, you will usually have a bracket for part one salary, so that everyone’s usually on the same. So it’s very unlikely to compete, and sorry to influence them. Whereas if you’re a part to a few years experience, you’re going to get paid more than a part to one year’s experience if you’ve got free, so that changes. But apart when it really is, what you get is what you get. And normally if it’s a small architectural practice, bit further on than salaries go down. If you’re in for instance, Foster’s apartments in Soho in London, I’m not too sure where they are on pop my salary, but I imagined it would be like 20,000 22,000 23,000. And it usually it is what it is.

Thomas Rowntree 32:48
Yeah, and final thing before we get into the q&a from Instagram, this is even this is a question as well. What is the transition? Like from uni to industry? Okay, we could say this in in terms of working and the type of work that you do, I guess. Yeah, okay, the

Stephen Drew 33:09
short answer, I’m going to do one of these webinars on it, because it’s an hour long topic, the short answer is a big change, you’re gonna have a big shock to the system. I remember it. And then I remember when I when I was like, I was fine. I got a bit nervous on the day I’m like, oh god, oh, I’m doing this is a waitress rose to the chickens and you get there, hello. And you learn and you’re going to be you’re going to be nervous, and it’s completely normal. And you get better at it and you get better and better. It is a sharp and it is very different. And what I would say is that on one hand, it’s super excited because it’s real. And on the other hand, you know, huge you just started okay, you’re not going to be designing right away, I was lucky that I did quite a lot of visual I have a really cool team. Although the first day I worked in architecture was on the first day and I worked the weekends because the deadline was gone. It was my choice and I was best in that time and I remember speaking bringing my makeup after like I can’t work this weekend there’s like your wall and I’m like the majority of the project and that’s the thing you’re going to be excited it’s going to be cool and it’s also you’re going to be working on so sometimes you can do stuff which is really nice collage and the other thing is you will be the guy or I was the guy that went and like printed stuff out and folded the drawings and you know you will make the cup of tea and it’s a bit of respect and yeah nice way they always did it with me we’re a bit of a tongue in cheek about it the same way and over time you build a better rapport and then you know sometimes then you can be like when you develop trust then you can start influencing this really good time in opinion. And you know always free to feel free to overcompensate there and go on day one and be you know your rock it up top you like you know you got to be humble, but say your opinion like I really like than or I think this is a really good at the free options that you’ve done. I really like option number one, that’s, that’s really cool. And the more you do that is you develop trust and rapport. So the further back down, the transition is going to be big, it’s going to be different. And it’s different for everyone. So I did quite well academically. And then it took me it was a bit of a cultural shock at first and then the end, we started getting good in the office, I’ve got a friend who was not very good in academia, he’s always Robin, but you know buttheads with the the tutors and stuff. And in practice, now he’s like the main man, and he knows so much stuff. Although when we have a pop quiz, he was always that annoying friend that knew everything. And then they knew nothing. But he was. Thing is, he’s really good. And what I’m trying to say is, say no, you go to one or two, to two or three freeriding. I’ve seen people on the cartoon that I had a to two, and then they get a first I’ve got one friend that was in the scene. And then now he works in Richard Rogers. And he had it too, too. So you can change stuff. And he was really him working in practice, which kind of propelled that, because so what you’re in for is in you’re in for an actually an insight and thing because some people are more on the Euro than before. So it’s the unknown, go into it with an open mind frame. The thing is, though, it’s a strange run until you’ve done it, it’s really hard to explain. So when you go, you’re going to be nervous, but you got to learn so much. And it’s going to be it’s going to I loved it, I don’t regret it at all. I just didn’t know I was going in for further that way.

Thomas Rowntree 36:34
And no one will know what they’re going in for because even even I when I did some work experience for three months I was when I got there I was in a bit of a shock as well. Obviously a university, you You’re quite creative and you obviously testing things and whatnot, then when you go into practice is obviously a lot more especially for a part one, really, you just you turn up to to gain some experience ready to see what it’s like to work in a practice and what kind of people you interact with, and what the kind of setup is. And that’s an understand the kind of basics rather than you’re not, I wouldn’t expect to go into a practice and be really involved in a lot of things. Because at the end of the day, you’re probably not going to be because at the end of the day, you need to build up that trust. And then they need to understand what you’re capable of. If it’s all good having all this amazing stuff on your CV and you’ve done this, you’ve done that. But they need to be able to see that from from their perspective and gain that trust from from their side of things. It is a mad transition. And I’m looking forward to it too far. I’m looking forward to it when I eventually hopefully, if I get if I get a job. We’ll get there one day,

Stephen Drew 37:44
you will get there soon. Don’t worry, just keep pushing. But yeah, I think you’re on the side. Don’t be Don’t worry, don’t have imposter syndrome, they’re not expecting you to know everything I remember rocking up and you’re like, how do I detail? Like, I have no clue, right? It’s about your ability to learn and ask things like doing and then one guy in the thing and be like, Look, in this book, they

Unknown Speaker 38:07
say everything’s manuals.

Thomas Rowntree 38:09
And then on the other side of things, a lot of people might not really enjoy the university experience and get into practice in absolute thrive straight away, because that is the kind of work in the kind of environment that they prefer than University. So good ways you can, some people may because I know people University really liked the kind of engineering side of things in the detailing. And at university, we didn’t really get to do much of that. So when you go into practice, you’ll obviously get a lot more into that and getting an it’ll be quite comfortable in that environment. So there’s, there’s other ways of looking at it. You may Yeah, your university experience in being creative. And then you might find the transition a little bit difficult. But if you’re at university, and you’re not really into that kind of side of things, you might find that you much prefer being in practice. So you just, once again, it’s one of those things where you’ve got to get the experience to understand whether you enjoy it and what was what’s the kind of right environment to be in for you.

Stephen Drew 39:02
Yeah, by doing it, you’ll have an opinion, as you’re in the Euro, you’ll go, I absolutely loved it and you’ll be pumping, or you might do something different, because I really enjoy my part one and part two. The thing is, though, we can talk about something on the other line as well. Some people go on to do different things from it. And you touched by where some architects can be project managers. So it can be really good engineers. I went through recruitment. And we were talking a bit about my friend who’s now got this big YouTube channel as well. And he does it full time. But the thing is, it was because he worked in arbitrary study that it got him there. And so what what I would say is, the worst thing I think I would have ever done is that if at that time, I didn’t do my part, I didn’t do part one experience and I brought it off. Because even though because what I do now is built upon that experience, and that’s why I specialised in architectural recruitment and career mentoring is because I’ve been there to help solve a lot more and then makes it more interesting for me, but it goes back to your finger. of the thing I’ll touch on, let’s say, worst case, we’re really struggling with jobs at the moment because hey, it is not a good time, then keep being busy work on a building site or get anything involved or anything creative. The again, having said this, and Hawkins Brown, he did like a five top quick things. And basically, you’ve got to keep the creative juices flowing. So it’s like you’re doing this podcast right now. Okay, that’s more productive than the boys season to win, which we are will watch and there’ll be core, but you do that after you’ve got to keep back then you’ve got to keep engaged. And you’ve got to be, you’ve got to keep thinking architecture, or you’ve got to keep drawing got to do that. And that will help with the transition. So the answer your question in a weird way, if you’re going to transfer an architectural practice, great, embrace it. and be prepared to learn stuff on the go and be prepared to just remember, you don’t need to know everything, you just need to go in there with an open mind. And if you could struggle at the moment, because it’s a bit difficult, try to do things laterally, get involved with arts, get involved with anything building on site, labour, anything, construction, anything surveying anything, or even just, you know, do Auntie Maureen’s house conservatory and do anything, just to keep it going. Because when you do get our interview, then you sit and I will find it really impressive. Someone that struggled. And so again, on the social there was one as my friend NASA, as here the same thing apart when he struggled time. And he got one job one week here and two months here on worked on the site, and then the and now he’s an associated BDP. Or what do you have to do during that time is you have to struggle and get the little bits here, little bits there little bits, and there was enough in the end. So you’ve got to keep going.

Thomas Rowntree 41:46
Okay, nice. One more time. And some questions that we’ve got from Instagram. The first one is, is you’ve kind of touched on it, but we’re gonna see if you’ve got any more. What is a pet peeve of architectural careers, obviously, apart from the fact that people don’t turn off interviews? Have you got any?

Stephen Drew 42:03
Oh, that’s the worst because I believe in honesty, policy. I mean, you it’s like respect, right? And if you say the bet, the wildland about recruitment, I never push people into the jobs because it always goes wrong. xeno if you’re culturally you don’t feel inclined with have a work, and then I try to convince you to do and then that’s not gonna work, because you’re gonna go there and be like, well, Steve, you just told me a bunch of rubbish. I always what I do is I encourage people to go for interviews and the worst thing goes back to what we talked about before. So number one pet peeve. People are not impressed my way. You don’t know you haven’t met them yet. So that’s number one, to definitely do your Spelling’s and go over that stuff in your right ear. Because it is, I’m not sure why. Yeah, but this is a trap that I work with. And he’s so good. He’s been in it for 20 years, and he literally scan a page and he will go, I can’t send the CEO of always Spelling’s and then I will look to that and go, Oh, yeah, there’s everything there. Because what it is, is distracting. So that one, then huge file sizes. That’s another pet peeve. And too much images. Because imagine this is like Tinder now. I mean, I have a short I have short attention span. So you do like wham bam, me. And when I’ve got like one of the rings, it’s just goes on and on.

Thomas Rowntree 43:18
So, so for a portfolio that you send off how many pages you think, just to clear that one up how many pages you think a portfolio should be when you send off?

Stephen Drew 43:26
I’m reluctant to say because everyone’s gonna be like, Oh, he said, 15. And I did 16. And I did 14. So it’s about the feel of it. And it’s about the right. So the whole thing needs to read that I’ve got this feeling, think of it like a checklist, right? So it’s like an elevator pitch, I got one minute in this portfolio for someone watching there to entice them. So you’ve got to grab their attention, and you got to take all their boxes. So in this document, and that’s why I say typically 10 to 15 pages, because anything longer drags on, you got to be like, boom, draw the technical detail. Here’s some drawings. Here’s some revenue examples. Here’s the work up in an industry where I did my summer job. You mentioned your here’s that extra how many people have done that? No, I have it here. Here’s some technical drawings. Here’s my Revit book, then here’s my car free work. And so the person who basically it’s like, basically what we’re about is the portfolio is less about how many pages it’s more about how don’t you just like, if you’re, you know, as a YouTuber, is how do you stop? How do you keep people engaged? And if we if we in here, bang on for ages about the same points, and if we’re Tao so it’s the borderline of being entertaining alone when I was there, and then it’s like, you know, keep going increasingly gonna keep looking at the same thing in a corporate history. It’s like, Oh, can I keep looking basically you want someone to be like, Oh, it’s fit for and it was good and then it’s not too long. Or and then they bring it you when you up. You don’t want someone send them like a million technical drawings. But God this is so boring. Yeah, as I’ve answered it in a crazy way,

Thomas Rowntree 45:03
because I was goofing off is super important too. I would personally say just try and keep it as short as possible, even if that means five pages, if not, every site shows everything that you want to get across and all the important things and that’s, that’s fine, like, do not send anything that is going to be a full 100 page portfolio what not, because if they, at the end of the day, if they want to see more, and they want to know more about the project, they’re going to call you for an interview. And that is your opportunity to dive more into the project. So don’t try and show them everything. When you first apply and send off your CV and portfolio etc. The idea is is to entice them and show them what kind of work you can do, what kind of work you’re capable of. And then you show them in the interview and etc. And that’s, I think that’s super important. So don’t try and show them everything in in when you kind of first apply. Yeah.

Stephen Drew 45:59
Now, let’s go see what Twitter’s gonna say. Oh, Instagram Come on Instagram.

Thomas Rowntree 46:04
How important is what kind of audience this How important is getting experience during summer holidays of uni?

Stephen Drew 46:10
Yeah, simple if you can. It’s important. I got I couldn’t get a job in architecture practice. But why did this all really helped me in the interviews? I work part time at Waitrose. So what I was talking about was working in a professional environment and supporting myself in something I believed by doing another job, not carrying a lot of weight. And the other thing I did was that I said, I was at a festival. And I was literally pouring pints in the festival you mentioned right, it was just absolutely the chaos. thing is though, was good in that word. Yeah. Cuz I was saying like, it is highly stressful situations. And, you know, I, everyone traders, Nick, because of Neil, you know, stuff. And the thing is, we’re talking about that. And then also, the other thing that really helped was that during the university, I did an extra

Unknown Speaker 46:59
extra little

Stephen Drew 47:00
tidbit with a company called Jason Bruce city, and you should definitely check them out. And they do all these cool interactive lights and exhibitions. And what was good in the interview was that I could talk about that. So because what it is adds another flavour to your academic work. And so that Yeah, it definitely definitely helps. And if you haven’t got in, okay, you’re on guard, you need to start thinking about what you’ve done. I mean, if you’ve literally sat there on the phone, your uni work and you haven’t done anything else, then yeah, you’ve you’ve got less than going with Think of it like ammunition, and the more stuff you have like this, more well equipped, you are more like service to the boat. And so if it’s, if you don’t have it, maybe you should start thinking about doing something now signing up to a charity now doing something now

Thomas Rowntree 47:45
while you’re looking. That’s that can be quite useful, super, super, super important. icons, I always tell people how important is to get experience. And obviously, it’s difficult to find that because it’s not easy to get yourself out there. But I was very lucky to get in a position where I could get some work experience. And I can’t say how important it was for me in like, say fourth, when you’re applying for a company and they they want someone to use Revit. And for them for you to then go into that interview and say, well, I’ve used rather than industry experience during my first year at university during my summer, that is instantly going to put you so much further ahead of someone who hasn’t got any work experience. And even even when I did it in first year, it completely shaped the way I worked in second year, because I knew how people work in practice. And I wanted to begin to shape my, my experience in my work. And the software’s that I use, etc, to begin to put me in a better position. So if when I’ve come out of my part one, I was already thinking in a similar way to how practitioners are thinking is it completely shapes your experience at university? Like Like we said, it would be a shock. And it’s obviously difficult to then transition back to university work, but is super important. Yeah. How do I find studios and teams I can apply for a job? That doesn’t doesn’t really make sense. But I think I know you mean this, like, where

Stephen Drew 49:13
do you look for jobs. So job boards, you’re gonna find one or two, but everyone’s gonna look at a job board, I would start going to Google Maps, I’m kind of working on something now where it would be nice to have a directory of all the companies that everyone can use the fingers, you’ve kind of got to go out there and get it yourself right now. So the Think of it this way, though, the higher is almost for you to find out the information about a company, it’s harder, it’s going to be for everyone else. And so sometimes you can get really good companies which are just not perceived, well. They’re not well known maybe to you, but then there were there. So a really good example might be something like leather designs, who they needed. They don’t win all the awards. They You know, they’re not regarded in the same circles as hideaway. But Leni designs are amazing for retail and they’re really known as like Leonard’s think his name’s David Leonard’s really, he is the man.

Thomas Rowntree 50:09
That’s who I work for.

Stephen Drew 50:11
Yeah, I learned this day ago. So you get it, it’s that they really well regarded. And we were in retail. And I didn’t know that until I work with them on an architecture. And the thing is, so you’re not gonna find them maybe on design. Or you maybe you will, every now and then with a lot. But the thing is that you can still learn a lot, you can see when to when to design, I mean, that’s a good company. And so that’s the point you buy, you go out and get that experience, you’re a lot more of a stronger position than going through leverage. They’ve seen that you’ve worked at Lennar designs. And so that’s that’s my point is you go out there, how do you find stuff? And let me tell you, asking people, how do you find stuff that ain’t you know, you got to get on Google, you’re gonna go look, and you’re going to go deep, but just be smart about it. I remember, I think I did it that there used to be a rebuild list of all the companies and I went A to Zed in London, I went on every website, and I literally email everyone. I was like the postman with my CV. And I think the what I would do now if that list is not available, I would probably get on Google Maps. And I will start out where you’re you live in. So and I would just geographically go out and then say I’m in Manchester, I would go through all the areas like that. And then if I was in London, I would literally just target every area. And then I will click on them on there. And then go live website and quickly look, the director. So I like that address it to the directors named Dr. Allen, I am interested in your artistic practice and then send the CV off. Yeah,

Thomas Rowntree 51:43
yeah. And then a couple a couple of things that I would say is that, say, if you were to find a piece of work that you are interested in a new kind of withdrawn to do some research into what practice they are, now also find practices related to them or similar practices. And that’s also another way to find what kind of practice and what kind of work you would want to kind of get into and what kind of practice they will what kind of stuff they do. So it’s a good way to kind of find a practice that you really like and then look at related practices as one way I would say, yeah. And also, another thing is that if if companies aren’t advertising a job, don’t let that stop you from applying and contacting people. Because a lot of people think, well, there’s, there’s nothing being advertised, there’s nothing out there to apply for. But I think it’s super important to apply for jobs, even if they’re not being advertised just to get yourself out. And even if they don’t want anyone, or even places that aren’t hiring, and they’ve said they’re not hiring, still send your CV and your application out there to get some feedback or orders anything from anyone, because any feedback at all would be would be amazing for anyone. So yeah, definitely, just getting yourself out there. And once once again, researching, it’s just super important. I’m not gonna sit here and tell you what, what’s the right place for you. You have to go out there and research and find out for yourself what kind of work and what kind of environment and what kind of studio culture etc, you, you kind of want to explore? Yeah,

Stephen Drew 53:17
I think I think you hit the nail on the head that sometimes advert openings are not advertised on the website, because and actually, what you might do is you might send your CV and there is no job. And then two days later, they decide they need a part one, and they would look with CV sitting in the inbox for you to go talk to the guy. Hang on, Tom, let’s just see you. I’ve got a few here, maybe one or two here. And then suddenly, you’ve gone, you’re in. And then they go, well, we’ll advertise the world. If none of these are good. And then all you got to do is going be a charm and stuff and they got offices get home and I’m sure we’d be fine. His email, he was that letter. And their enemy was nice. It was getting real soon. And suddenly, because what was happening is you’ve saved them a lot of time and stress by looking and there was always happened this because of what you said of you. You basically sent you see when they say that, you know what EPR didn’t post the job on their website, part ones. I remember I sent it off, and they’re like, I can’t start looking for ones. And there was loads. And I think I was I remember there’s fried batches. And I remember going into the end of your tires. Last thing I said about is that he was like, Oh yeah, I saw two people yesterday. definitely get off for them. So you know, there’s not many spaces left. But I remember thinking you have a term, I swear it’s like I’ve hired three people. And the thing is, I’ve met two guys today and I’ve got a few people tomorrow. So you know, and they said it in a way and in my head. I was like I’m not gonna let that stop me. You think I’m like I’m having that third space. You know, it’s like, I just no ifs or buts. And that’s the thing is like joke about the m&m in the moment, there’s something about when you’re there, and it’s like you almost like a sniper scope, you line up the opportunity. And you’re like, Shawn, I am not letting that go. And if you when you’re in the zone, to the point that we’re on about, and it’s even like this shot, I’ve got no notes, and we’re just here, when you’re just here in the moment, and you’re going for it, then this is you about in an interview, I think that’s what gets you the job.

Thomas Rowntree 55:28
Awesome. So I saw the questions that I’ve got, I think that was a super good discussion. Because I know there’s a lot of people out there who are struggling in finding positions. And obviously, your main thing is in recruitment in the architecture, social is finding places for part one, and obviously provided information for your webinar, etc. So I think that was a really, really informative discussion. So thanks. Thanks a lot for coming. for coming on Steven, john, john, a producer for two.

Unknown Speaker 55:58

Stephen Drew 55:59
So proud of myself, Oh, wow, this is this is a new one I let’s talk about the social. So there we go. Join www arctic social calm. So it’s, it’s an open platform. And the thing is, is a lot of part one, and part two is looking for a job right now. And the thing is, we’re a community. And so I helped out there a little bit, but you know what the community helps themselves. And when your job login, it’s a bit lonely, it’s bit frustrating. So everyone’s there is helping each other out. And as more than that, when someone gets a job you celebrate together, when you get rejected, we’ll all have a little, you can cry on my shoulder, we’ll have a little tear. And that’s what it’s about. And that’s why I’ve enjoyed, so I’ve learned a lot from it. But you can find me there. You can also find me on LinkedIn, I do work at McDonald’s cafe, which is a great recruitment company. However, I’m probably going to be more useful to you in terms of recruitment in the future. And that’s why we set up the socialists to help yourself right now, I’m more than happy to kind of talk about this. You’ve got to do the first job in industry. And in the future. One day, he might be finding people for your team. Or we might be talking about a more tailored approach and where you want to move. And that is a little bit more that is a very tailored thing. Because once you work in industry in a few places, that changes over time. Okay, why go

Unknown Speaker 57:16
over? Hey, Dan. Awesome.

Thomas Rowntree 57:18
Thanks a lot, Stephen.

Stephen Drew 57:20
Hey, no problem.

Thomas Rowntree 57:21
Thank you for everyone that has watched or listened to this, the number one podcast in the world. If you’ve got any questions, just drop me a message on Instagram, which is at Tom rose studios, or drop Steven, a question on his LinkedIn. And if you’ve got any questions, and you’re watching this on YouTube, just drop down a comment down below. That’d be much much appreciated. So yeah, thank you as always for watching, and listen to the more shrewd podcast in the world.


  • No comments yet.
  • Add a comment

    You may also be interested in:

    Join / Login Our Community Forum

    Join the world's largest and most influential community forum of professionals, students, and employers from the Architecture Industry for free.

    Engage in open conversation, get advice, participate in events and connect with like-minded individuals within the architecture profession.

    Take me there!