How to Hire an Architect
Imagine you’re on a road trip and stay in dozens of charming towns along the way. You visit stores, eat at restaurants, and admire houses that look like they’re straight from the pages of your favorite home décor magazine. There is one thing each building in every town has in common: an architect took it from a blueprint to a building.
A good architect has the technical skills to design beautiful buildings that meet all state and local building codes. A great architect can stick to budgets and timelines, develop strong working relationships with clients and colleagues, and quickly adapt to changes.
Whether you’re hiring an architect to work at your firm or to build your dream project, it is essential to find someone with the right experience, skillset, and professional values to be successful. So, how do you do that? Here’s exactly how to hire an architect, from posting the job description to that final interview.
Write a Detailed Job Description to Attract Qualified Architects
Think of the job description as a blueprint that clarifies the role, responsibilities, and requirements. Customize the job description for every company opening or personal project so you end up with candidates who are qualified for the job and excited to get to work.
Start with a short summary section describing the role and why it’s a great opportunity. Clearly indicate whether you’re hiring for your firm or yourself and if it’s a residential, commercial, or industrial project. An important part of learning how to hire an architect is knowing how to entice top talent to apply. Include a short elevator pitch for the company or project and relevant perks like bonuses, tuition reimbursement, and the opportunity to advance from cubicle to corner office.
Next, list the day-to-day responsibilities so the architect knows what to expect and can evaluate if they have the necessary skills. For example, depending on the scope of the project or the seniority level, an architect may pitch potential clients, prepare 2D or 3D drawings, determine the project cost and timeline, and oversee engineers and construction workers on-site.
In the requirements section, it’s beneficial to delineate the essential requirements from the preferred ones to encourage more people to apply. While necessary licenses and certifications are a “must-have,” knowledge of certain software or a master’s degree in architecture might be a “nice-to-have.” In addition to a resume and cover letter, it is helpful to require candidates to submit a portfolio so you can assess their skills.
Screen Applicants to Choose Architects to Interview
After posting the job description on a job board, it is time to review resumes, cover letters, and portfolios. Accelerate the process by using an applicant tracking system (ATS) and resume screening technology to filter for the keywords from the job posting, like AutoCAD, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) certification, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accreditation.
When you’re reviewing applications, look for candidates who have tackled the skills and responsibilities you need. Learning how to hire an architect requires an open mind about their professional background. Someone with all the “must-have” requirements who is short a few “nice-to-haves” could be the right person for the job. A talented architect with a growth mindset can shift from residential to commercial projects and quickly learn new skills and software.
The next step of the screening process is to conduct phone interviews. A short phone call should help you to evaluate some of the soft skills every architect should have, such as clear communication, professionalism, and active listening. This is a good time to discuss the salary range and company culture if you’re hiring for your firm or your ideal budget and timeline and scope of work if you’re hiring for a personal project.
Ask Revealing Interview Questions to Evaluate a Candidate’s Skills
Whether you have one in-person or video interview or multiple rounds, by the end of the process you need to know that the candidate has the building blocks for success.
Assess the candidate’s skills by reviewing some of the projects in their portfolio and asking them to explain their approach. Also, ask behavioral interview questions that prompt the candidate to reflect on past jobs and coursework and reveal how they’d handle situations they may face in this one.
Since you’re here to find out how to hire an architect, you’re probably looking for some insightful interview questions to ask. Here are some examples that you can customize based on your needs:
- What computer-aided design (CAD) software have you used in the past? Do you have a preference?
- Please walk me through your design process from start to finish and how you collaborate with clients, engineers, and contractors.
- Please tell me about a time you worked with a difficult client or on a difficult project. How did you handle it?
- How do you keep track of timelines and budgets? What techniques do you use to stay organized?
- Do you know the state and local building standards and codes?
Now that You Know How to Hire an Architect, Get Started
You can cross “learn how to hire an architect” off your to-do list. You’ve learned how to write a job description, sift through resumes, and interview candidates to find someone who exceeds your expectations. You’re ready to find an architect who can bring it home! Get started today by posting a job on Monster for free.