Employee Trifecta - How to be the best employee in an architecture firm - Architecture Career Guide
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Employee Trifecta – How to be the best employee in an architecture firm

Getting your first job in architecture can seem pretty dismal right now. In fact, getting any job in architecture can be difficult. Things are getting better and forecasts show that the market is looking up, but there is still a lot of competition. In my role I deal with the hiring and recruiting of new team members, and I see a lot of resumes. It is difficult to sift through all of them, but throughout, certain candidates stand out. If you can master the architecture employee trifecta, you can increase your chances of not just landing your first job, but also advancing throughout your career.



I was first taught about the “trifecta” when I was in another industry and had to hire my first employee and have used it in my decision making since. In a nutshell, there are three things I look for in potential team members, personality, capability and experience. I understand that everybody is different and they bring varying traits to the team, so I look for a candidate who has two of these three traits, hoping for somebody with all three. The position I need also determines which one’s I am looking for as well. If I am hiring an intern, I understand the experience might not be there yet, so I look for someone with great personality and talent. If I need a senior member for production, I look for experience and capability.


Personality speaks to how the candidate or team members will fit into the overall personality of the firm. Does the candidate work well in teams, are they willing to help other employees, are they somebody that I will enjoy seeing more than my family? These are all important issues when putting your team together so that everybody enjoys coming into work, which leads to better projects.


I know a lot of people who through a lot of study and hard work have been able to produce some pretty spectacular work, but then there are the people that make it just seem natural. Some people are just born with design ability, or the ability to detail, or to serve clients. These are the people who regardless of how long they have done it before, you can just tell they are going to be good.


There is no replacement for experience. Throughout your career in architecture you will learn a lot, and most times, the only way to learn these things is to go through it. As Architects we are constantly learning and expect our team members to be the same way. Get real experience through your internships and show what you have learned. This is not something you might have currently, but it will come over time, so long as you understand that you don’t know everything yet and are eager to learn.

Showcasing your traits

The three traits also fall into the method in which an employer can determine what you can bring to the team, the resume, portfolio and interview. Your resume lists out your education and professional experience, so that will help them determine your experience, while your portfolio shows them your capabilities. There are few ways to determine your personality beyond an interview, so that one is a little harder to showcase initially. One way you can do that is to have a personal portfolio website or blog that can give the employer an insight into who you are as a person.

One note: In today’s Internet heavy world, keep an eye on what can be found on the web. Employers might Google your name and you want to make sure the personality it shows is really you. I did reconsider a hire, even after an interview, when I found his Twitter feed where he constantly complained about his current firm, clients and co-workers.

Take Away

Getting your first architecture job, or advancing in your current career, depends on you providing the best value for the firm. By showcasing or improving upon the three trifecta traits, you can ensure that you are the best person for the job and will continue to be throughout your career. So where do you fit in the trifecta? What do you need to do to improve upon the traits you are lacking? Let me know in the comments. If you like Architecture Career Guide, subscribe to the insider’s list to get special emails about how to become a successful Architect.

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