How to be the standout candidate

As with all top international architectural firms, BSBG looks for a multitude of different qualities when evaluating job applications and assessing potential candidates. We spoke with Partner Andrew Bereza to find out more about what a standout candidate is to BSBG… 

BSBG Blog: What type of character does BSBG look for, and what qualities should a standout candidate possess?

AB: “In terms of what we look for in candidates, we need staff that are already aligned to our business, our standards, and the fast-paced, demanding nature of the work we do. We have a reputation for the delivery of high quality fast-track projects, and so performance efficiency and excellence are invaluable to us. This is something we’re very clear on. A standout candidate on paper would have great academic pedigree and an impressive work history. Ideally they will have been working within previous positions for decent tenures, and in those tenures they should have shown good progression and have worked on numerous projects in meaningful roles.

“All of these criteria are important, but it’s even more imperative that a candidate shows us the right attitude. We look for positivity, resilience and energy. It’s a very demanding market in terms of client expectations. It’s still emerging, maturing, and when you’re working in a youthful market, you need to be able to match the sort of exuberance that comes from that.

“Clients in Dubai believe that everything can be achieved quickly, and to the highest standards. We need staff that can deliver on that, as that is the prevailing market expectation.”Dubai ArchitectBSBG Blog: What is the best way to make a good impression as an initial applicant, and what are some common mistakes individuals make when applying?

AB: “To be quite frank, for BSBG it’s initially about the body of work – the portfolio. We assess the role an individual has performed, and we favour those that have shown all-round capabilities rather than a specific focus on a particular element of the project – for example, the façade or construction documentation. A polished and well-presented portfolio certainly makes the right impression to begin with. If we can see that talent, that experience, and we know the person is qualified to work for us, it’s at that stage we would choose to conduct an interview. We like people to be flexible, to be energetic and enthusiastic. These are the kinds of things we’re looking for during our interviews to make sure the person is a good fit for the synergy and dynamic we have in our teams here.

“As for some common mistakes, one that springs to mind is the amount of CVs we receive with no portfolio. This is a real issue when trying to evaluate a candidate. Or the portfolio is included, but the quality is poor. It depends upon how the individual is selling themselves. If it’s based on quality design and the portfolio is sub-standard, this doesn’t send us the correct message. Whereas if someone is more technically minded, that should be reflected in the application. Making sure that what you submit to us represents what you’re good at – it amazes me that some people don’t understand the importance of that…”How to be the standout candidateBSBG Blog: How quickly do you find new employees adapt to the BSBG working philosophy?

AB: “It does take time. It’s not something that happens instantaneously, as with any relationship. We must demonstrate our commitment to them, and they to us. This level of trust and understanding grows organically, and then people will buy in to our culture, and help to preserve or enhance it. It’s incredibly important for us to make sure that the people we bring into the business have the right approach and the right attitude. We’ve been fortunate to have found people that have that, and they have done very well in the business. We can’t assume that everybody has that drive, but we’ve always been able to bring the right people in and leverage the talent we’ve got. I think all of our people would agree that they’ve developed and progressed tremendously as people and as architects with us since the day they joined.”

BSBG Blog: Why should someone consider coming to work for BSBG?

AB: “First and foremost, the talent we have across the group really is top notch. The level of work we produce across the company – through the concept teams, consultants, executive architects, engineers and interior designers – in my view, it’s second to none. When you work in an environment such as this it inspires and drives you to fulfill your own potential. But you also find yourself learning something new each day, developing your own skills and knowledge to help you become the best architect, designer or engineer you can be. We’re committed to enabling this development through our training and development programmes.

“Next, the projects we work on are fantastic, so that represents a huge opportunity. I find creative, talented people need to be challenged, and they need to be excited. I think the level we’re working at and the projects we have provide that.

“We try to keep things as professional and congenial as we can, despite the demands placed upon us. Within these four walls it’s controlled, it’s focused and it’s calm, even while we’re under incredible levels of pressure because of the scale and prestige of many of the projects we work on. We understand from the highest level of management the effort and commitment that goes into maintaining the level we’ve reached, and we certainly appreciate and reward it.

“Lastly, we’re working every day to make a difference, to improve the world we live in, and to leave a legacy. I think these are central goals that anyone has when they make the aspirational decision to pursue a career in our industry. Within BSBG there’s passion, enjoyment, and at the end of the day, we design and deliver exceptional architecture. What more could you ask for?”

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