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Bespoke Careers

15 June 2017

15 June 2017

"Build up your knowledge" - John McRae, ORMS

What Employers Want - MIPIM, March 2017

Filmed by Bespoke Careers at MIPIM 2017 in Cannes, John McRae from ORMS shares his advice on how applicants can stand out from the crowd, CV tips and his advice for anyone starting their career in architecture.

What is your design ethos?

We try to look at architecture in a way which is collaborative and interactive, so we try to create an architecture that listens – that is what we base our design ethos on. And that looks at how people interact with buildings, how research is undertaken to design, and to make sure that every voice is heard in that process. That is quite crucial to what we do.

What are the best things about your practice?

We call ourselves a family – we try to create a very inclusive environment; we try to create a very supportive environment. We also like people to come out their shells and we look for potential in people.

How would you describe your office culture in three words?

Friendly, supportive, collaborative.

What makes someone an ORMS person?

I think we are very passionate and energetic people, but also we strive to have people that are polite in what they do and we want energy. We really want energetic people, because being an architect is quite full on, but it has to be done in a really civilised and humane way.

What are you looking for in a CV?

I think everything about presentation is crucial in a CV. Avoid sending CVs that are text only – make sure that what you put on that CV is what you’ve actually done, so authenticity is really crucial. Also think about your narrative; what is the story that you’re trying to get across, how are you trying to portray yourself. Because we can read into that, we can get a sense of who that person is and how they would fit into the family. 

What makes someone stand out to you?

In an interview, you really need to know your projects. So if you have designed those projects make sure you really do know them and you are prepared to speak about them. Too many people may say: “oh I worked on such and such project” and then we get into the detail and they probably haven’t worked as much on them as you would expect. If you are going to mention something be prepared to speak about it. That’s really key.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in architecture?

I think as a young architect I would say ‘yes’ to as many things as you can. Don’t think that you want to work on specific projects. Gather your knowledge, absorb your knowledge, don’t be afraid of technical knowledge. There are many architects that want to be the ‘lead designer’ and want to design something – that comes, but architecture is a long, long marathon. So you build up your knowledge, build up your confidence and let the design come. There’s plenty of time for it.

Author: Kat Allenby, Global Head of Communications, Bespoke Careers

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