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Bespoke Careers

25 June 2018

25 June 2018

"A Breadth of Experience" - Paulett L. Taggart - Paulett Taggart Architects

What Employers Want - AIA Conference 2017

Filmed by Bespoke Careers at the AIA Conference in Orlando, Paulett L Taggart, Principal at Paulett Taggart Associates, talks about their design ethos, what makes a good first impression, what makes someone stand out during the hiring process, how they prefer to receive portfolios and what advice she would you give to anyone starting out in their architecture career.

What makes someone stand out to you?

First of all, I think we want someone that we’re talking to that seems real, a person with integrity, a person with a commitment to architecture. I think our commitment is really to make a difference with the buildings that we do, both to the urban environment and to the people who are living and working in our buildings and we’re looking for the same kind of commitment in the people we hire. 

How would you describe your design ethos?

Making a difference. 

What do you think makes a good first impression?

Someone who’s interested and enthusiastic in the work, but not overly zealous. Someone well-spoken and a good communicator, without necessarily dominating the conversation. I think, as I mentioned before, someone who seems real to us, and direct, straightforward, has integrity, and doesn’t feel like they’re trying to be someone they’re not.

How do you prefer to receive portfolios?

For me, architects of all ages can really think better sometimes by actually sketching and not necessarily doing everything on the computer, so I like to see both. Therefore, I often like to see a hard portfolio for a few reasons and one is that the sketching, because that’s the more logical way to show it although you could show it either way. The other thing is that sometimes I like to control the pace of the interview more, because people will sometimes tend to get too involved in a project and I only have so much time and I want to focus it on what’s important for us to learn about the person, to understand what’s going to make it work or not work in the office. So, in that way I think it’s better sometimes for us to be able to control the pace and usually when it’s digital they’re controlling the pace. 

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

I actually started first in a very big firm for a couple of years and then went to a smaller firm. Being in a smaller firm allows you a real breadth of experience, you get to do many different things. Many times in a larger firm, you get a little more pigeon-holed and you only get to do one thing - that’s perhaps ok for a little while, but I think you don’t want to let that go on for too long, because while you’re still pretty young or pretty junior you need to try to get a breadth of experience to take you forward in your career.

Author: Kat Hall, Bespoke Careers

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