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Top architects give students mock job interviews to help them build career

Architecture students have been given a true insight into building their dream career by taking part in high-pressure mock job interviews with industry pros.

Leaders from some of Leicester’s most prominent architecture firms spent the day at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) grilling students on their ideas and experience, mimicking the kind of scenario they will face when trying to break into the competitive field.

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For final year Architecture student Patrick Powell, it was an eye-opening experience.

The 21-year-old said: “I thought it would be good experience and it was. I’d prepared in advance like I would for the real thing, putting together my portfolio and researching the firm online.

“And I think it went well. But the feedback was brilliant: I need to go into more detail in my portfolio and address more in my CV, like the fact I can drive – I’d not really thought to say that.”

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Joseph Silva, 21, said he now knew what employers were looking for.

He said: “I know the kind of things they are going to ask and how to respond to them in turn.

“It means I know what to concentrate on when I’m preparing for a real interview.”

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Malcolm Goodall, chartered architect from The Drawing Room, said he was impressed by the ‘candidates’ he had seen.

He said: “I love coming along because I see all the energy and creativity of the students and it feels refreshing.

“One student in particular impressed, showing me her designs and grounded her ideas quite practically. I think a lot of inexperienced architects get hung up on the conceptual; it’s important to think about the reality.

“One of the first questions I ask is, ‘What’s your favourite building?’ I find the answers are revealing; it’s an opportunity for a candidate to really show their knowledge but also their unique appreciation of architecture and what it means.

“But this is the opportunity to experiment and make mistakes. We can offer feedback and you can take your energy into a real interview and that extra knowledge will show through.”

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Rob Sheen, of DMU’s Architecture Hub at the Leicester School of Architecture, helped organise the interviews.

He said: “These interviews give students first-hand experience so when they go to a proper interview they have a clear idea of what the employer is looking for and the kind of questions they’ll be asked.

“These firms have hired DMU students before so we know how effective this opportunity is. It’s one of a number of opportunities we offer to boost students’ chances of employment and we want as many students as possible to take advantage.”

Firms who came to DMU to give mock interviews were:

Richard Crowson (Watson Batty Architects)

Nick Austin (Stephen George & Partners LLP)

Malcom Goodall (The Drawing Room (Architects) Ltd.)

Chong Wong and Nigel Rawson (Pick Everard)

Graeme Saxton, Michael Cooper and David Gibson (DarntonB3 Architecture)

Posted on Thursday 2nd March 2017

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