How to secure your perfect candidate

In candidate-driven markets, there is little more frustrating than failing to secure your perfect candidate.

Based on several years’ worth of candidate feedback, here are our top five tips to secure your ideal Architecture or Interior Design candidate.


Know what you want! 

Architecture is a fast-paced market. Projects are constantly being won, put on hold and lost. Clients’ briefs or business needs change and existing team members are looking to develop their experience and progress their careers. Knowing what project you want your new recruit to work on, and the skills required for that role can often be more challenging than one would think. Career-minded, high-quality candidates however, are always keen to know specifics. An inability to communicate this information therefore, in the form of a job description or to your recruitment partner, will often lead to candidates turning down the opportunity to even meet with you.

urban - Architecture and Interior Design Recruitment - Find your perfect candidate

We’re all busy people; you are, your team is, and most importantly the candidate you want to employ is. Taking half an hour to put together a good quality job specification and having a consultative conversation with your urban recruitment partner can help us make your life so much easier and often save you and your team members many hours and long days of extra work. 

Talking through the key features of the role, describing the project, the client, its opportunities, its challenges and its unique selling points, can all make such a difference and will save you time in the long run. It’s these winning edges that help ensure your urban recruiter can qualify and educate the candidates they speak to, as well as sell the role most effectively.


First impressions count

Human behaviour specialists advise that it takes just seven seconds from meeting a person to form a solid first impression of who they are. Do I trust this person? Do I like them? Do they seem like the sort of person who will help me progress in my career? Ultimately, do I want to work for them? 

Operations Director, Mark Nagle, commented, “Since starting my recruitment career back in 2005, I have heard of clients making terrible first impressions. These range from the client simply not being there for the interview they arranged or clients answering their mobile phone during the interview, to candidates being kept waiting for hours in reception. On all occasions the interview ended up going ahead but the candidates offered the role turned it down because of their experience of the process”.

When booking an interview in, there are simple ways to give a good impression. Failing to plan is planning to fail, so let the reception team know to expect your interviewee. Book a meeting room in advance and ensure that the space is clean and tidy prior to your interviewee arriving. Pre-plan what it is that you want to know and therefore what you need to ask them. For example, if you are planning to carry out a Revit test, communicate this in advance to the candidate and on the day itself, have the computer and the test ready, checking with the candidate upon arrival that they are still able to do this.  

As the interview time draws near, you may find yourself in the middle of a busy day, being pulled from pillar to post. Take five minutes prior to the interview to clear your head and make yourself calm. The last thing you want is their first impression of their prospective new employer to be flustered and stressed.


Make the candidate feel wanted

The time to interview has now arrived, so ensure your mobile phone is on silent and when greeting the candidate do so in a timely manner, keep plenty of eye contact, smile and offer them a drink. Show them to the interview room and explain the format of the interview. Give them a bit of a biography of yourself and focus upon the positive aspects of why you are recruiting today. You should also take the time to find out about them and their interests outside of work. All of these aspects will help form a relationship that not only helps you establish if they are the right fit for your team but shows you are interested in them and helps build trust and provides an additional reason for them to work for you. Take the time to review their portfolio thoroughly and provide honest feedback.   

Remember that interviews are a two-way process. Why should someone want to work for you? What is your design approach? How do you create an inclusive workforce? What green initiatives are you implementing into the office? What social events do you have? What are the hours like? What CPD will your candidate receive? What employee benefits do you offer? Why do people like working for you? Sell, don’t tell! There is so much to go through at this stage to ensure you engage the best people.

If you feel it has gone well, give them a tour of the office, introduce them to some key people and finish the interview by thanking them for coming in; invite their questions and tell them that you are keen with a timescale for the next steps.


Offer quickly!

You’re really keen on a candidate and you think that they could be ‘the one’. After the interview, contact your urban recruitment partner as quickly as possible with your feedback. This will also be an opportunity to clarify what else this candidate may have going on and their timescales. Of course, you need to undertake due diligence and speak to your colleagues/HR team but after that, don’t leave them waiting for 2-4 weeks (or longer… it’s been known)! You need to show them that you thought they were great, and as soon as you have the relevant sign-off, get that offer in! As a side note, we understand that for bigger companies there is an internal sign-off process and, from experience, it’s well worth kicking that off after the 1st stage if you’re impressed with the candidate.


Prepare for a counteroffer

Counteroffers are no fun for anyone. We will do our very best to manage expectations and handle these situations delicately. However, for very good, highly-valued individuals they do happen. Our best advice is to offer, at the initial offer stage, what you genuinely feel the value of this candidate is. Don’t lose out over £2,000 if you think a counteroffer is likely; go in at the higher end to demonstrate you really value them and want them on board. Articulate again what a great opportunity it is along with all the positive factors you highlighted at interview stage. Your urban consultant will be there to manage this process on your behalf and help you secure your chosen candidate.


Ready to find your perfect candidate? urban is here to help you BeMore. There are many other tips we can provide and we’re happy to consult with you, providing help and guidance where needed. Contact us at and we’ll be straight in touch.



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