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Interviewing for Building Surveyor roles

Written by: RICS Recruit
Published on: 13 Nov 2023


After years of dedicated study and thoughtful career planning, you’ve made it to the exciting phase of getting hired as a building surveyor. Excellent! Plenty of opportunity lies ahead, but to land that first job, you’ll need to ace your interview.

Whether you’ve just entered the job market or are switching to a new company, it’s crucial to be well prepared. This means showing you have a strong understanding of your new role, an interest in your potential employer and a readiness to meet industry expectations of a building surveyor.

If you’re looking for practical ways to show confidence, get informed and make a great impression on an employer, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading for a breakdown of the interview process , 8 key building surveyor interview questions you may be asked, with effective tips to help you prepare.

Ready to kick-start your career? Check out the industry opportunities, roles and salaries for building surveyors available on RICS Recruit.

Understanding the Building Surveyor Interview Process

If you read our most recent guide to graduate building surveying jobs, you’ll already have a good idea of what building surveyors are, what their job entails and which skills employers look for in top applicants.

Before diving into building surveyor interview questions, let's first understand the typical interview process for building surveyors. Most interviews follow a structured format:

  1. Application and CV review: Your potential employer will go through your application and CV to get an overview of your qualifications and experiences.
  2. Phone screening: This initial phone call helps a company identify strong candidates and is often focused on confirming your interest and availability.
  1. In-person or virtual interview: This stage is more in-depth and allows the employer to assess your skills, knowledge and cultural fit. It may include a technical assessment, depending on the employer's requirements.
  2. Second interview (if applicable): Some employers conduct a second interview to further evaluate your fit within the team and the organisation.
  1. Reference checks: To verify your qualifications and experiences.
  1. Offer negotiation and acceptance: If you've made it through all the previous steps, you'll receive a job offer, where you can discuss the terms and finalise your acceptance.

How to prepare for a building surveyor interview

Employers of building surveyors will be looking for people who not only have the qualifications on paper to be able to do the job but can practically implement those skills successfully in a pressurised environment. You’ll want to think about past experience that highlights successful teamwork and focus on demonstrating organisation and efficiency.

Now that you have a clear understanding of the interview process, let's discuss effective ways to prepare: 

  1. Company Research: Before you step into the interview room (or virtual meeting), you must have a deep understanding of the company. Research the organisation's history, values, projects, and recent news. Show your enthusiasm for the company by mentioning specific details during the interview. It's a sure way to impress the interviewer and demonstrate that you've done your homework.
  2. Review your CV: Expect questions about your CV, such as your education, past experiences and projects you've worked on. Be ready to discuss your contributions and how they relate to the job you're applying for. It's important to be laconic rather than verbose when applying your experiences as you will often have limited time to help interviewers get a clear picture of you.
  3. Understand the Role: Familiarise yourself with the building surveyor role you're applying for and think about how your skills and past experience align with the role requirements. How can your development be attributed to these experiences, making you stand out as a promising fit for the role?
  4. Behavioural Questions: Many interviews include behavioural questions to assess your soft skills. Practice answering questions related to teamwork, problem-solving, and communication. Pro tip: Draw from past interactions with clients, investors or other industry specialists – these are a daily aspect of building surveyors’ lives, at every stage of a project. Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your responses.
  5. Technical Knowledge: Brush up on your technical knowledge related to building surveying. You may be asked about specific regulations, construction techniques, or software tools relevant to the field. Stay up to date with industry trends and standards.

8 Building Surveyor Interview Questions

Now, let's dive into building surveyor interview questions you can expect to be asked:

  1. What would you say are the most important skills, beyond technical qualifications, that a Building Surveyor should have?

Building surveyors are in involved in the entire life cycle of a property and deal with different people and tasks at different stages. Be sure to offer a reason why you think each skill is important for the person in this role to have.

  1. What would be the first three questions you would ask a client when engaging on a new project with them?

This isn’t just an assessment of your soft skills, but how you approach new projects. What are your first priorities? What is the impression you want to make on the client? Your answers will help the interviewer to understand your thought process and establish the value you can bring to their team.

  1. Can you tell me the most important safety rules when on a building site?

In other words, are you up to the task of managing a construction project? Show you’ve paid attention to recent updates or changes to building regulations, codes or practices building surveyors should be aware of.

  1. How do you prioritise and manage multiple projects simultaneously?

Explain your time management and organisational skills – even disclose a system that works for you to show that you can take ownership of this skill. Be sure to also provide an example of a time when you successfully juggled several projects to meet deadlines.

  1. What do you think is the most challenging element of being a building surveyor?

Here, the interviewer wants to understand how you view the day-to-day elements of being a building surveyor. It’s a chance to highlight your knowledge of the role and sector, through common or circumstantial challenges building surveyors may face.

  1. What would you say will be the key industry changes that will affect surveyors over the next few years?

This is a great opportunity to show you’ve been following the latest industry news and how market changes, such as AI integration, will affect the way building surveyors work. In your answer, show that you are committed to staying current in your field. You could also mention any professional development courses, certifications, or industry publications you regularly follow.

  1. What software tools are you proficient in for building surveying?

Discuss the software tools you are comfortable with, such as AutoCAD, BIM software, or any other specialised tools. Highlight any certifications or training related to these tools.

  1. You may also be shown pictures of a building or structure with defects and be asked to comment on the key issues you see.

By preparing thoughtful and well-structured responses to these questions, you'll demonstrate your qualifications and leave a lasting impression on your potential employer.

Getting ready to work as a building surveyor

Preparing for your first building surveyor interview is a crucial step towards launching your career in this exciting field. Conduct thorough research, review your CV, understand the role, practice answering behavioural questions and stay up-to-date on technical knowledge.

By following these tips and being ready for the common interview questions mentioned above, you'll increase your chances of making a strong impression and securing the job. Good luck with your building surveyor interview! For more careers advice and interview resources, visit RICS Recruit.

Feeling inspired? Learn how these surveyors got into their first surveying roles.

Get advice with choosing references for building surveyor jobs. For all things related to graduate surveying, visit the RICS Recruit Graduate Hub.