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Bespoke Careers

03 July 2017

03 July 2017

“Patience and ability to work in uncertain times” - James Davidson, SLCE Architects

What Employers Want - MIPIM 2017
As part of our "What Employers Want" series and filmed by Bespoke Careers at MIPIM 2017 in Cannes, James Davidson from SLCE Architects talks to us about what they look for in an application and portfolio, how to stand out during the process, questions to ask at interview and advice for those just starting their architecture careers.

What are the best things about your practice?
A chance to succeed. There are no barriers to growth. We have 150 people in New York, and we like to grow through the firm instead of hiring out. 

What are you looking for in an application?
We are not looking to fill desks; we are looking for the next leaders in our firm. We were founded in 1941 and have evolved and grown with the times, so it’s not just a name in the sense that when the Principal dies the firm disappears. The firm has a life of its own, so our plan is to continue to grow and hire talented people that will invest in it and it’s future and are in fact the future of the firm. 

What makes someone stand out to you?
We are looking for hard workers, for people who can communicate not only architecturally but verbally. We are looking for communication skills and people who are comfortable with themselves and who have the maturity to grow. 

What are you looking for in a portfolio?
Digital is always good as it shows a certain level of proficiency that we need. We are looking for strong images, but also people who recognise that they are playing a part of the role. Anyone who comes in and says, “I’ve designed the Shard”, it’s suspicious, but somebody who comes in and says “we participated in a major project” is always valued and appears as a team player. 

What questions should you ask in an interview?
I don’t mind if someone asks what the nature of the project is, I do not want people to necessarily ask what a lot of the benefits packages are or whether there’s a chance to work abroad. That’s something that’s earned. We are looking for very hard workers and investing in the future of the firm. 

What advice would you give to anyone starting out in architecture?
A lot of patience and understanding. We must realise that architecture is a product of a stable economic environment that doesn’t always exist. Patience, fortitude and the ability to work in uncertain times. 

Author: Molly McCloy, Marketing Coordinator, Bespoke Careers

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