How hard is it to find a job in a famous firm?

Jan 22 '14 9 Last Comment
Jan 22, 14 10:07 pm

I was wondering if the competition to get a job in famous architecture firm is really hard as people say. According to other people, getting a job in a famous architecture firm (such as Foster + Partners, Richard Meier and partners, Herzog & de Meuron, etc) is extremely hard. Some would say that it is almost impossible. So my question comes here. What is really required to get a job on those firms? What do you need to have as an architect? What are they looking for to have in a person to get a job there? I also would like to know how working at one of these firms help you with your professional career. Hence, tell me what you opinion about is. Please give me a nice explanation. Thanks.


Jan 22, 14 11:40 pm

You’re ignoring the relationship between the fame of the firm and the size of the firm.

Foster + Partners is famous but huge, It is probably a more difficult job to get than a lot of other 1k+ employee firms, but certainly not exclusive. I actually had an interview there, unfortunately I didn’t get the job, but oh well. An opposing example might be Daniel Libeskind. With a huge name and a tiny firm I would expect them to be quite hard to get a job at... Yet I worked on a publication with someone who worked there.

Another thing to consider is local supply vs demand. I yield that point to walmart:

Jan 23, 14 12:51 pm

OK. I understand your point. But you are saying that the big firms are harder than the small ones. I am also asking what the aspects/ things are that these famous firms demand to someone who is applying for a job there. Of course, a job which is related to architecture because many of these firms offer many kind of different jobs. 

Jan 23, 14 1:20 pm

the real question here is why do you want to work for a big name? what is it hat you have that can add to this type of office? that's the question they will have for you -

there are many lessor know offices that need good workers that can collaborate - "so you wanna be a rock-n roll star"

Jan 23, 14 1:56 pm

No. I was saying the small firms with big name are harder than the big firms with big names. However, in the end you are often at the mercy of external factors, such as the local market, and how well they advertise the position.

I think these firms all want different things, basically be exceptional and find the firm that fits you. Odds are if they fit you, you will fit them. And while I don’t think that is exactly what Xenakis is saying, I do think he is right.

Jan 23, 14 2:10 pm


Thats right - I have seen exceptional people make the grade - it's something you have to want badly enough in order to drive yourself to put in the extra licks above and beyond - kind of like wanting to be a Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers - only smarter

Jan 23, 14 4:13 pm

I would say because many of those architects have very interesting projects, especially Herzog & Meuron. Since they do not have a defined style in their architecture. Every project is different. That is the reason why I admire them.  They deal with architecture in a different manner that many other architects do not. I also want to add that I mentioned Norman Foster firm as an example. It is not a firm that I would love to work as other ones. 

Feb 4, 14 12:56 pm

Very hard. You have to be willing to slug your guts out and work for free or low pay.

Marina CM
Feb 5, 14 6:55 pm

I agree with natematt... I would say it depends on the architecture you show in your portfolio. Not all the famous firms look for the same traits in their potential employees.

Feb 5, 14 7:11 pm

people who intern at OMA often become very successful later - take a look at Bjarke Ingels

If you are a real archiNinjaNazi then it's worth it to go all out 150%

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