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Architect Interview Questions

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  1. What is a weakness you’ve noticed some architects have and that you don’t have? See answer
  2. What skill has served you best in your architecture career? See answer
  3. We have a house blueprint set up in AutoCAD. Is there anything you would do differently? See answer
  4. Which architect most influences your work or your work habits? See answer
  5. Tell me about one of your previous projects. What did you do to make it a success? See answer
  6. How do you ensure that a project starts off properly? See answer
  7. How do you balance function with aesthetic appeal? See answer
  8. How do you deal with creative criticism from a client? See answer
  9. How would you successfully convert physical blueprints into digital modeling software?
  10. What would be your chief considerations when designing an open-air courtyard for a corporate office building?
  11. Tell me about a time you had creative differences with another architect and how you resolved the situation.
  12. Are you comfortable working in Revit? If not, what other software do you use?
  13. What are some of your favorite and least favorite trends in architecture today?
  14. Do you have experience collaborating with engineers on a worksite?
  15. What was the most important lesson you learned when completing your Intern Development Program?
  16. When communicating with clients, when should you schedule in-person meetings and when should you use email?
  17. How would you approach delegating tasks for a large building design project?
  18. Tell me about a time you made a suggestion to a senior architect and they implemented it on a project.
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8 Architect Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

What is a weakness you’ve noticed some architects have and that you don’t have?

A:

It’s important to hire an architect who fits your company culture. By asking about weaknesses, you get insight into the candidate’s values and priorities. What to look for in an answer:

  • The whys of the weakness
  • Fit with your company philosophy
  • Genuine problem
Example:

“Unfortunately, some architects see certain projects as too simple for them — a fast food restaurant, for example, that is slated to look the same as most of its chain brethren. I believe that each and every client deserves the best effort and that all projects can be fun.”

Q:

What skill has served you best in your architecture career?

A:

This question gives insight into what the candidate regards as their top skill. It is also a way to double-check that the candidate understands the essential skills for the position based on your job description. What to look for in an answer:

  • Mention of the skills listed in your job description
  • Logical answer
  • Mention of other top skills candidate has
Example:

“I would have to say my organizational skills. Of course, I’m extremely proud of my creativity and my communication, but it is my organization that has enabled me to track and assess the many details of each project.”

Q:

We have a house blueprint set up in AutoCAD. Is there anything you would do differently?

A:

If your business needs its architect candidates to be proficient in a specific software program, such as AutoCAD, questions such as this one test their knowledge of the program and their technical ability. What to look for in an answer:

  • Reasonably quick response
  • Practical and helpful suggestions
  • Understanding of essential errors your business flagged
Example:

“Overall, it’s a good start. I’d change a few things, though. The first thing I see is that there aren’t materials assigned to assembly components. Also, the door style names could be more specific.”

Q:

Which architect most influences your work or your work habits?

A:

With this question, you have the opportunity to learn a bit about the candidate’s background. You should also be able to find out more about the values the candidate possesses. What to look for in an answer:

  • Deep knowledge of architectural figure(s)
  • Why this person is significant
  • The influence of this person
Example:

“Norma Merrick Sklarek. As the first black woman to get a license in California and the first black woman to be elected to the American Institute of Architects, she’s taught me a lot about perseverance. She kept giving 100 percent when firm after firm rejected her, and she eventually rose to the top to design the American embassy in Tokyo as well as LAX Terminal 1.”

Q:

Tell me about one of your previous projects. What did you do to make it a success?

A:

This question presents an opportunity for the candidate to discuss one of their projects and what made it successful. Moreover, it gives you more information on how the candidate comes across in soft skills that matter to your company, perhaps collaboration, organization or communication. What to look for in an answer:

  • Understanding of the factors that contribute to project success
  • Values that reflect those of your company
  • How the candidate functions as part of a team
Example:

“The most important thing I did was to know my team. That enabled me to delegate tasks based on each team member’s strengths while minimizing the influence of any weaknesses. Another essential thing was that I was on the same page with the clients. They wanted an environmentally friendly mall that would stand the test of time, and they were able and willing to pay for it.”

Q:

How do you ensure that a project starts off properly?

A:

Some people approach the beginning of a project differently than others. This discussion point lets your candidate open up about what he or she does early on to ensure success. What to look for in an answer:

  • How a project gets started
  • Coverage of the basics
  • Curiosity
Example:

“I’m about the logistics at that early stage. How will the sun, wind and water come into play? What are the legal property boundaries, and are there hills or other features that could be an asset or a hindrance? I also think about the permits I need and the timeline to get them. I’m also mentally assigning different team members to various aspects of the project.”

Q:

How do you balance function with aesthetic appeal?

A:

Some clients don’t see eye to eye with architects on what is “beautiful” or what is “functional.” You and your architects may not even agree on that either. So, this question gives you an idea of whether there could be future problems. What to look for in an answer:

  • Example of aesthetics and function
  • Why the method of combination makes sense
  • Acknowledgement that client wishes may come first
Example:

“Unless the clients demand otherwise, I aim for simplicity above all else — think the iPhone. It’s what passes the test of time. Don’t throw in elaborate touches if they’re not necessary, because they could be outdated in just five or 10 years.”

Q:

How do you deal with creative criticism from a client?

A:

Architects must collaborate with clients and implement their input when developing designs. They often submit multiple drafts and updates throughout the course of a project and rely on client approval to move forward with their blueprints. Dealing with creative criticism is a regular part of an architect's job, and strong candidates understand when to advocate for their ideas and when to compromise with clients and other creatives. This question allows the interviewer to learn about how architects interact with clients to keep them happy. An effective response will feature:

  • An ability to implement feedback
  • Strong communication skills
  • Solution-oriented behavior
Here's an example of a good answer to this question:
Example:

"If a client had a strong negative reaction to one of my ideas or designs, I would first listen to what they found unsuccessful about my interpretation of the assignment. Aligning our expectations is the first step towards understanding how we can move forward with the project. I would explain why I made the design choices I did, then brainstorm with the client about how we can achieve both their functional and aesthetic goals. My goal would be to maintain their respect for my expertise while recognizing that they are the client and I am here to create a design that works for them."

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    Last updated: Apr 21, 2021