17th April 2019
With more practices looking for high quality Landscape Architects (LA’s) and approaching Joshua Robert to help them find them their ‘perfect’ candidate, I wanted to share my advice on what skills and qualities recruiters are seeking most – and ultimately, how to be an irresistible hire in today’s market.
There’s no doubt about it, Landscape Architecture has come a long way over the last decade or two – and I believe we’re going to hear a lot more from LA’s in the coming years!
The variety and scale of work in Landscape Architecture is massive. LA’s are consistently creating new ideas of how to make our future cities liveable, workable and enjoyable whilst overcoming issues such as climate change, urbanisation, population growth and densification in order to better our way of life.
Landscape Architecture is all around us, from the scale of a small green roof to city-wide green infrastructure! But it’s not just design, LA’s also play a pivotal role in policy and are often the key figures in community engagement and consultation.
From projects to policy, the skill set is extremely diverse. So, here’s my overview on how LA’s can stand out in today’s market:
1) Communication – Verbally and Visually
It sounds very simple (and the concept is), but a strong LA can communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively; collaborating successfully with project stakeholders.
Successful LA’s have ‘self-assurance’ that their role in a project is just as important as any other ‘piece in the puzzle.’ As previously mentioned, it’s not always the case that people understand exactly what the job role of an LA means and the part they play in the project.
3) Hands-On Experience
More so for ‘newer’ LA’s breaking into the industry – get in the field, experience it, expose yourself to as much ‘hands-on’ experience as possible because this is where you will learn, this is where your work done in programmes and creative thinking can shine through and be a real test as to what can be done in the real world.
4) Multidisciplinary Thinking
LA’s must have the ability to see the ‘bigger picture’ – There’s so many key elements within a project (no matter what the size and scale) and having a limiting mindset or not understanding other key elements in the project may limit the overall quality and outcome of a project. LA’s should therefore have a holistic understanding of other influences around them whether that’s ecology, architecture, engineering, sociology or transportation.
5) Tech Savvy
There’s no escaping it, technology has changed the way LA’s have worked historically. There’s an expectation that all LA’s going for a new role will have proficient knowledge in AutoCAD, Photoshop and SketchUp. Knowledge of others such as Rhino, 3Ds Max, GIS is expected by some firms too. So, embrace new technologies and keep your technical skills up to date.
This area is slightly broader and translates into other disciplines as well as Landscape Architecture, none-the-less I believe are key qualities all LA’s should possess:
People want to do business with people they like, and they can trust! It’s the same for recruiters and hiring managers – we want to hire people we like too (providing they meet all the other requirements of course!).
Someone who can be trusted and relied on in any circumstance. Whether that’s a work deadline, an important meeting to attend or a last-minute change to a key project, you know you can always rely on that person!
Every practice I work with wants to employ individuals who will speak and act like a real brand ambassador for them, both inside and outside of the office. Whether it’s their staff spreading the word about how great it is to work there, or with regards to more senior hires who may be out attracting new clients and winning new business for the them.
This is a big one in my eyes. Candidates often ask me how ‘flexible’ the business is (hours, home working etc.), but this is rarely asked directly to the candidate.
It’s hard to come across individuals who are genuinely happy to go ‘above and beyond’ their official job description – whether that’s working unsocial hours, travel commitments or even staying back a few hours to meet an important deadline. Therefore, if a candidate can demonstrate they’re happy to do this, it will certainly put them ahead of their competition!
The role of a Landscape Architect is extremely varied. The industry is design-led, creative and innovative and requires working alongside and understanding key influences and other disciplines around them. LA’s who can demonstrate the above skillset and qualities are those who, in my opinion, will stand out from the crowd. Thus, making them an ‘irresistible hire’ in today’s market!