The search for employment is unpredictable and demands unrelenting patience. When you're at your wit's end, it can be tempting to send the same exact resume to what feels like the same job ad over and over again. However, no two firms are identical. Possessing certain technical skills are required across the industry, but there are particular qualities and red flags that a firm won't always simply list on their job ad. In Archinect's “How To Get A Job At ____”, we asked some architecture firms how candidates can stand out from the crowd when applying to their practice.
Flexibility is key at an international firm like Aedas, whether in Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, or any of their 12 office locations around the world. With a collaborative staff of over 1,400 and landmark projects in several bustling metropoles, the international practice was founded on the belief that “great design can only be delivered by people with a deep social and cultural understanding of the communities they are designing for”, emphasizes Keith Griffiths, Chairman of Aedas.
When it's time to hire, what does Aedas seek most from their potential job candidates? Keith Griffiths took a moment with Archinect to share.
1. What positions are most in-demand at your firm?
Architects, Senior Architects and Associates who have experience in mixed commercial and aviation projects.
2. What are the three most important qualities for any new hire to have at your firm?
Above everything Aedas places creativity and creative thinking. We recruit brilliantly creative, independently minded people who want to excel.
At Aedas, we believe that great design is diverse design. It is designed by people who intrinsically understand the social and cultural needs of the communities they are designing for. Our designers are expected to take initiatives to understand the end users and produce tailored solutions.
As we think a diverse world is a more interesting world, there is no house style at Aedas. We look for people who embrace the value of truly bespoke creative solutions that celebrate global diversity.
3. What information do you expect potential candidates to know about your firm's practice and work?
That Aedas provides an open door policy and global platform for all talented designers to deliver truly world-class design solutions.
4. After reviewing their CV, what are you looking to learn about an applicant from an interview?
Aedas' recruitment panel will try to understand and evaluate the candidates’ designs, skills and personalities and determine if they are fit for Aedas.
5. What do you say is the best thing about working for your firm? What is the most challenging thing?
Our global platform stretches across 12 offices and provides access to world-class creative thinking, state-of-the-art delivery systems and real local expertise from all around our network.
To ensure that our designs are the best possible designs, we run an internal buddy system, which every design will be reviewed, commented or even challenged by an assigned buddy. The high design standards we expect from our designers is challenging.
6. What’s the most common mistake candidates make when applying to work with you?
Candidates [who] are unable to describe their contributions and involvements in their portfolio/sample works, or [cannot] demonstrate vision and passion at work.
7. What kind of technical skills are absolutely essential for applicants?
Excellent, creative design skill with international exposure.
8. What kind of training do new hires undergo when they’re first starting?
We provide not just international, professional, on-hand training but also a mentoring programme which continuous support, friendships and guidance at work will be given to new hires so that they can adapt to the Aedas community as soon as possible.
9. Do you have an internship program? If so, briefly describe.
Yes, we have an internship programme, allowing interns to work with our project teams and gain real, practical experience.
10. What are three words that your employees might use to describe your firm?
Diverse, innovative, global
11. When interviewing, how do you describe your company ethos? What part of your working environment do you promote with potential candidates?
We focus on creative, relevant and well-executed design solutions and we offer a diverse and collaborative environment so that all our staff have access to the global platform of creative thinking for them to produce world-class designs.
12. Do Aedas' offices constantly collaborate with each other on projects? What challenges are typically involved? Or does each office operate more independently?
Each Aedas project has two design directors, usually from different Aedas offices. This ensures a very strong interaction and sharing of knowledge and experience across offices. Each office operates independently but our designers from all global offices form a global platform. All projects draw on the collective wisdom of thousands of design experts across the world.
It is also common that our offices collaborate on projects. For example, our infrastructure experts from Hong Kong and Singapore may join force with local designers in the Middle East to design a railway project there; or our Arts Team in London may join with our Beijing office for a project in Asia. It all depends on what expertise we need to deliver the best projects. The typical challenge is to understand the social and cultural needs of the local community, which is why each project includes people on the team that truly understand and respect the local needs.
13. What additional social activities do you do as an office?
We organize a number of internal social activities including design forums, design workshops, CSR activities, staff events, etc, during which our staff may get to know counterparts from the same or other offices.
14. If a candidate had the choice between you and another firm, what argument would you use to win them over?
Aedas is the world’s only local and global architecture and design practice driven by global sharing of research, local knowledge and international practice. We provide an inspiring environment to our most talented designers to deliver solutions that create a positive impact in the communities they are intended for. New joins will learn what it means to design in a practice where there is no house style, but instead celebrates the values of diverse, bespoke, creative, innovative designs. Wherever they are and whatever their skills, they will also have access to our global platform of world-class creative thinking and real local expertise from all around our network.
15. Which areas of your firm are growing the fastest?
As we are deeply involved in forming new sustainable cities in China, we are growing fast in the large-scale mixed-use, super high-rises and infrastructure sectors.
16. How do you see your firm growing in the next five years?
We anticipate that Aedas will grow substantially in China. While the United States is recovering well from the 2008 financial crisis, China’s economy will continue to grow and our strong network of China offices in the next five years will become the backbone of our global company.