Architects possess a unique combination of skills. To excel, they must have a thorough knowledge of engineering, building and design. For this reason, architects may ask a specific range of questions in a job interview. Anticipating what kinds of questions an architect might ask can help hiring managers weed out the best candidates.
About Your Firm
Most candidates for an architect job will have researched your firm prior to the interview. Still, they may ask questions about your firm's history and achievements. They may also want to know about your design philosophy, as well as your perspectives on client service. To explore your current position in the market, they may also ask about your major competitors.
Most job candidates will also want to know why the position is open. For example, they might want to know if the job opened because the firm is growing or if the opening is due to a terminated employee. Candidates might assess the possible risk of taking a position with your firm by asking the average length of time that an employee stays with you. Another timing question might involve when you want the candidate to start. This will help her assess her availability and, possibly, her interest.
Of key importance will be the types of projects prospective architects will be working on. They will want to know how they will fit into the firm. For example, they might ask whether they will be on a specific team working on a specific project, and, if so, what that project will be. Most will rather hear that you have a specific plan for them from Day 1 rather than hear something less specific like, "There are a number of opportunities available." Candidates will also want to know who their boss(es) will be, including a bit about their background(s). A large number will prefer to work with a single boss rather than have management by committee.
After spending so much time in school, the architect will want to know how your firm will help advance his career. He might ask what kinds of training he will receive and what advancement opportunities are available. He might also want to know whether and how the firm itself is moving forward, what its long-term goals are, and how it plans to achieve those goals.
While a job candidate might not ask for a specific salary during an interview, this will probably be somewhere in the front of her mind. If you present your salary range up front, the candidate will be able to state whether the rate is within her acceptable range. If you ask what she wants instead, she might offer a range well above what you want to offer. While this discussion often comes at the end of an interview, it may be in your best interest to have it in the beginning. That way, if the dollars are way off, no one's time is wasted.