Looking for a new job is usually a nerve-wrecking experience for people of all age groups. There are a lot of factors that come into play and it is a decision that will have far-reaching consequences. But fear not, read on to find out a few handy tips that might help to make this job search easier and give you some clarity. Considering that you are starting from scratch, first, decide on the locations you are willing to work in. Keep in mind that if selected, you will have to make living arrangements in a short span of time.

Questions to ask about an architectural firm before applying for a job - Sheet1
Specialist vs Generalist (Source: Stock Images)

Next, introspect to understand your personal style and choice of work. This will help you decide which architectural firms will give you the best exposure in that field.In order to love your work, you have to start by choosing your fields of interest. Most practices are either Specialist or Generalist. Specialist Architects are those that practice only one or two styles and specialise in a particular typology of architecture. Generalists, on the other hand, have a diverse portfolio with experience in almost all kinds of structures. Consider your long-term goals and ask yourself what kind of work environment would help you to get there, and choose firms accordingly. Thanks to the internet, you can find out almost everything you want to know about an architect and his/her office without relying simply on the word of mouth. So as for every other query every other millennial has had, we turn to the mighty Google to get an idea of the architect’s style and areas of expertise in design construction. This will also give you an idea as to the work culture and ethics of the offices, which are usually showcased on their websites. It is important to choose to work with people who share your views and respect your opinion. Another option would be to network and connectwith their current or previous employees to learn about their work firsthand. Find out the size of the firm and its number of employees. This is important because the size of the firm and its employees will give you an idea as to how their workplace functions, and what your role among them will be. If you are looking for a job where you would like to be mentored, then choose a small or mid-sized firm where one-on-one interactions with the lead architect/s will be appreciated. On the other hand, if you want to work towards focussed growth,your range of skills, or independent control of a project then opt for a large firm with more projects.

Questions to ask about an architectural firm before applying for a job - Sheet2
A healthy workplace is important for professional growth of the company and the personal growth of its employees. (Source: scandonorge.com)

After applying, you should also not hesitate to follow-up, and notice how the firm responds to your calls. More often than not, how they respond to a potential employee reflects a lot upon the office’s ethics. If you are preparing for an interview with some firms, there are some questions you MUST ask before making a final decision. Talk about prospects of pay, perks and holidays. Negotiate terms according to what you absolutely need- right from daily timings, to monthly/yearly leavesand remuneration and stick with them. It is important to maintain a work-life balance and your terms should be clear to your prospective employers from the very start. To summarize, these are a few points that I feel are vital for every architect in his/her quest for their next job:

  1. Location
  2. What are your personal style and choice of work?
  3. Type of firm: Specialist vs Generalist
  4. Design and style aesthetic
  5. Size of the firm, number of employees.
  6. Work Culture and Ethic
  7. Pay, perks and holidays

Do keep in mind that these are only a few suggestions, you can always add or subtract from this list according to your personal preferences. Good luck with your job search!