Interviewing for the design role.
The beginning of any construction project is to define the project, establish a scope of work, and in most cases, this will require design and hence an architect. The designer can come from various sources, and interior designer, kitchen consultant, builder or a licensed architect. The architect is the only one trained, tested and licensed in this area of work and is your most qualified resource.
Since I approach this topic from the perspective of construction as opposed to design, I have included excerpts from and architects prospective "Architecture to Construction: And Everything in Between" by Paul D. Rugarber
Hiring this key member of your team is like any hiring process, it is an interview, you need to understand the role you are hiring for and the work you expect to receive.
Communication is the key first step; the architect’s role is to translate your ideas into a scope of work. Your comfort in communicating your ideas and their ability to comprehend and translate into a design is critical. This translation will take the form of your construction documents, plans and specifications, that outline your ideas into a format that can be priced and built. They will also be the basis for your construction contract.
You are the Boss and you are doing the hiring and there will be many hires to come so in preparation for your interview have a list of questions ready, so you can compare the answers throughout the process, as you would do with any interview. A few suggestions would be:
Keep in mind the primary goal of the design is to create a scope of work based on your ideas. Nice drawing and renderings may be produced to help confirm those back to you, but they are quite useless to the General Contractor, a working set of drawings for permitting and constructing, that meets your desired objectives, is the deliverable.
So, the process has started, do your homework, get references from both clients and builders and prepare to have fun, it is an exciting and rewarding experience if done with the right team.