Interview Tips For Architects: How To Successfully Negotiate Salary During Interviews

Thet Hnin Su Aung

8 mins read

July 15

Illustration of a job interview
Negotiating for a higher salary right before signing a job offer can be rather daunting, especially for fresh graduates. Often, this fear stops many job-seekers from negotiating a higher pay at all and instead leads them to accept the first offer from the firm. Granted, it’s a task that’s not always easy. But with the right effort, you may just get the compensation you really want!

The salary that an architect gets depends on the firm, location, job market, and of course, the responsibilities. Regardless, here are 6 interview tips on how to negotiate a higher salary during the interview and get it.

How to Negotiate Salary During Architecture Interviews

1. Research the Right Information

It is critical to do some in-depth research about the firm and the salary trends before you even sit for an architecture job interview. Each firm and position may require different skills and commitments. The region you will be working in and whether you have a specialization will also make a difference. But, most importantly, it is vital to have the right set of skills and attitude for the job you are applying for.

Try to find out what the company is looking for and what the interviewer might ask. Also investigate their constraints and how much they can afford to pay (for instance, small architecture firms may not have the same monetary resources as large globally-operating firms). Talk to other architects in your circle. They could provide useful insights into the job market, salary range, and perhaps even share their own experiences in negotiating salaries.

a professional working on laptop


2. Be Likeable as a Candidate

Impressing the interviewers with your attitude and not just your skills will go a long way! Be friendly, at the same time professional. Let your confidence shine through, but remember to find the right balance so as to not appear haughty or overzealous. Your employer should also see that you are proactive, energetic and interested in the company and their work. Remember that recruiters are often willing to go the extra mile for candidates who they think will be a great addition to their existing team.

3. Highlight Your Skills

The right set of skills can give you leverage to negotiate a higher pay in architecture interviews. Skills here include hard skills – such as software and drawing – as well as soft skills – such as teamwork and communication. As each role requires different skillset, the interviewer needs to know you have the right skills for the job. Even a normal architect and a BIM architect would require different skills. If you have any unique skills, such as digital marketing or illustration, be sure to include them in your resume and talk about them in your interview. Doing so amplifies your value, making you potentially irreplaceable.

Portfolios are a must for any design interview, and with a well-prepared portfolio, you can demonstrate your skills to prove you deserve a higher salary. It is also good to provide specific details about your accomplishments and feedback from your former professors and colleagues. Courses and certifications you have achieved are also a good indication of your skills. Use them as indicators of your abilities and future potential. Never focus on talking about why you need higher pay; instead, focus on why you deserve it!

If you wish to be a BIM architect, or any other BIM professional, there are several courses and certifications in BIM available. (Psst! Do you know Novatr also has a course in BIM taught by BIM experts from leading firms?)

‘Sagent’ website theme for an online portfolio

Online Portfolio (Source:

4. Show Interest in the Company and Their Work

You can show interest in the company by discussing their past projects. This tells the interviewer that you are familiar with their area of work. It is also good to talk about your personal experiences that are related to their projects. For example, if you’ve visited or seen a place akin to one of their projects, done any projects yourself that applied similar concepts as their buildings, or perhaps even attempted a rendering similar to their style – remember to show it off!

Refrain from rattling off a whole list of the firm’s projects! It could make the employer think that you are solely trying to impress them to get the job. Talking about 2-3 of the firms’ projects that genuinely excited or inspired you is enough to make your case.

Illustration of a virtual meeting happening while working on the computer


5. Remember the Interview Etiquette

Self-presentation is perhaps the most crucial bit. Be extra mindful of your body language. In a job interview, both the verbal and body languages need to be professional and friendly. Often, the interview is where the first impression is made, so your attire should be impeccable, and again, professional.

As a candidate, you should also ask relevant questions. Use it as an opportunity to learn more about the firm, and to impress your potential employer with your intellect. Questions about workplace culture, responsibilities, expectations, working days and hours are good topics to inquire about. Knowing the working days and hours can help you objectively gauge and negotiate higher pay.

At the end of the interview, do not forget to express your thanks. It is also good to send a thank-you email afterwards. This email is not just to say thank you, but also to express your interest in the position again.

6. Grab the Right Time to Negotiate

Timing is crucial when you are approaching the topic of architect salary. During the interview, keep a look out for an opportunity to bring it up. It’s possible that the interviewer themselves would ask you about your salary expectations. When this happens, be clear and precise about your expectations. Be prepared to cite your salary history (if any), past experience, and personal ambition. Instead of simply stating that you need more salary, enlighten them on why you deserve it. If you keep reiterating that you want a higher salary with no claims to back it, you could lose some points!

Black And White Photo Of Clocks


Going for architecture interviews as a fresh graduate can be a nerve-wracking experience but it doesn’t necessarily have to be so! Having the correct information is a great start, so ensure you have done adequate research. Talk to seniors and friends who have successfully done something similar. They can give you certain dos and don’ts. And when you go for the interview, don’t forget to be confident, genuine and professional!

Here is more advice from Ar.Heena Handa on how to improve soft skills and negotiate a better salary.

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