There is only one website that provides profiles of individual architecture firms: InsideArch. It was created and is maintained by a young professional who realized the value of gathering quantitative and qualitative information about the work, culture, and employee experience at individual architecture firms. There are multiple such resources in the business, legal, and medical professions, but nothing comparable in architecture, until InsideArch came along.
InsideArch will only work if lots of people like you take the time to fill out surveys for your past and present firms. It will also only work if people are honest. All responses are averaged together with other responses, from both current and former employees, and no demographic information is revealed about respondents. That said, InsideArch is also concerned about fraudulent or excessively biased results, and does ask for information that will allow them to contact you to verify any unusually positive or negative reports. For general information about InsideArch's policies and privacy terms, click here.
Sample Inside Firm Survey Questions
9. When do you clock out for the night?
22. How long does it take for interns to be invited to client meetings?
30. Would you recommend this firm to potential employees or interns? What advice would you give them?
40. Does the firm employ non-architectural staff to manage the office or are tasks like answering the phone and ordering supplies handled by interns?
42. The culture of this firm feels:
43. The general attitude at this firm toward interns is:
44. This firm's policy toward work-life balance is best described as:
45. When employees speak up to suggest a new idea, the office sounds like:
53. Do the principals know how to use CAD?
What Inspired InsideArch?
The majority of architecture firms are small firms. They don't receive a lot of press and may not have a website. Those few firms that do the 'coolest' and most publicized work are inundated with unsolicited resumes, regardless of the quality of the experience for the intern. Lesser-known firms place 'help wanted' ads that offer only cursory descriptions of the firm and its work and often don't even mention the firm's name.
The most important element for us to consider as interns and young architects is the quality of the work experience. How much will we learn? How much opportunity will we have? Which firm's work will most interest us? Where will our contribution be most respected? Yet we have almost no information that can help us make intelligent decisions about which firm we should invest in.
Take it a step further, if we could somehow let it be known which firms are providing high-quality experiences to their employees, those firms would attract a larger pool of candidates, they could be more selective in their hiring, and ultimately produce better work. Those firms that let their interns stagnate in a cube in the corner with piles of redlines on their desks would see their applicant pools dry up, the skill levels of their applicants decrease and they would either have to offer higher salaries to compensate or offer a more challenging work experience. Everyone wins."