Tim Bailey
Founding Partner, Architect
xsite Architecture


What do you look for when reviewing a CV?

Presentation ability, work experience and evidence of personality

What are the most common mistakes you see on CVs?

Applications addressed to ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘To whom it may concern’.   Take the time to find out the name of the person you are writing to.

Other common mistakes are putting too much emphasis on pre-University education and using badly-sized or irrelevant images.


What would you expect to see on a portfolio?

Evidence of thinking, drawing and design ability as well as an indication that the process was enjoyed not endured.

How do prefer to receive digital or hard copy portfolios?

We prefer e-mailed PDFs or weblinks.  Hard copy portfolios should be A3 and of sufficient length to make the point, not longer!

What should candidates avoid when creating and submitting their portfolios?

Making it difficult to digest in under five minutes and assuming that everyone will interpret it in the same way that they do.   Digital portfolios should be under 3MB.


Where do you advertise positions in your company, and do you accept speculative applications?

We don’t advertise, but we do accept speculative applications.  Timing is key though – too early and the CVs get forgotten.  For us, the ideal period to applications is between June and August each year for September recruitment.


What sort of questions do you ask at an interview?

Can you explain to us where the architecture ‘bug’ comes from?

Explain the process behind your most successful project.

What differs on your least successful project?

What can make a candidate stand out at interview, and what can put you off hiring them?

Standing out is a personality thing.  Confidence, talent and clear enthusiasm help a candidate to impress.

We’re put off by applicants who display cockiness, dullness or a lack of enthusiasm.

And finally…

What are your top tips for students applying for professional experience?

Be knowledgeable about the firm you are being interviewed by, be able to explain what you hope to achieve from a placement and show you have thought about a career path (not aspirational, just some goals).  Don’t forget to smile!

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