14 March 2017
14 March 2017
"Variety and Choice" - Chris Williamson, Weston Williamson
As part of our 'What Employers Want' advice series, filmed by Bespoke Careers at MIPIM 2017 in Cannes, Chris Williamson from Weston Williamson gives his advice to those just starting out in their architecture careers, what makes someone stand out and how they prefer to receive portfolios.
What are the best things about your practice?
We’re a very exclusive practice, we have all kinds of people and we try not to choose all the same type of person. There’s a tendency for employees to choose the people that they model themselves on, but we’ve got a very diverse office; including a women’s organization that looks after equality and diversity. We’re a very social team; we play softball, take part in karaoke nights and host a Friday Idea Day every month where people are encouraged to pin ideas that can help improve the way we live in cities. There’s no rigid hierarchy in the office and everyone is able to contribute their ideas and thoughts.
What makes someone stand out to you?
If someone has put together a really good CV that’s tailored to us, that really stands out. A big ‘no-no’ is sending the same CV to everyone, regardless of what your interest in us is, and don’t make it obvious that you are sending it to others. I’ve had CVs sent to us saying how they want to work for us, but you can see that 50 other practices have been copied into the email. You have to be really rigorous, it’s the same way we approach a client, you have to approach a job interview as a real mission to try and get that person you want to work with.
How do you prefer to receive portfolios?
Obviously, we want to see technical competency, but I think in the first instances it’s nice to flip through a brochure. But in the interview, it’s nice to see a backlit image on a screen. It’s just whatever the person feels comfortable with when presenting their own work. Some people are happier talking about drawings than images on a screen, so a bit of both. We try and involve different people in the interview process, so we get a range of opinions. So we always try and have at least two people at the interview.
What advice would you give to anyone starting out in architecture?
The profession is getting more and more diverse, so you can specialize in a number of things. From management to computer visuals, historic buildings, so there’s a lot of variety and choices of where you can work. It’s a fantastic profession and I think it’s as exciting as it ever has been.
Author: Molly McCloy, Marketing Coordinator, Bespoke Careers