#263 Can You Prepare for an Interview?


I recently received this feedback and questions from a fan of the CRM Arch Podcast:

I’ve been listening to the show for a few months now and I have to say, you guys rock! I’m just getting started with CRM and every show, blog, and book of yours that I’ve read have been insanely helpful. Episode 65 in particular – I actually applied to the job that you mentioned, and I too was a bit thrown off by the posting but sent it off anyway since I live in Ohio and California winters don’t sound so bad. Anyway, this afternoon I had a phone interview for said job and even though I’ve only had a few CRM “interviews” I caught a weird vibe and I wanted to check with you to see if this is the norm. We talked about the standard stuff – company overview, my resume and experience, etc. – then she basically gave me an oral archaeology exam. Some of the questions included (1) Tell me about debitage, and what are the three types of cortex? (2) How can you identify historic sites? (3) What are the differences between petroglyphs and pictographs? (4) Tell me about lithics (5) Other than extreme temperatures and wild life, what types of hazards can you expect to find in the field?

I don’t mean to complain that I was given an actual job interview, but at the same time I was definitely thrown off seeing as it’s a temporary, entry level, 4-week long field tech position with no per diem. I know this isn’t standard, but quite honestly I choked on a few of the questions and am seriously doubting myself now. Would you consider doing a segment on interviews?

First, a bit of a recap. Episode 65 of the CRM Archaeology Podcast (on the APN at www.archaeologypodcastnetwork.com/crmarchpodcast/63) was mostly about a job posting on shovelbums.org that had some very outrageous bullet points referring to requirements for the positions. Check out the posting here.

The fan wants to know if we’ll do a podcast about interviews? Certainly. I’ve blogged about interviews before and I talked about them in my book. I’ll mention some things here, too.

Your Interview Questions

No resource can completely prepare you for any particular interview. There are some fairly standard interview questions that you can prepare for, but, it’s really up to the interviewer and the type of job you’re applying for. 

The first thing I’d do when applying for a job with a company that I know nothing about is ask about it on Facebook. The Archaeo Field Techs group and the North American Archaeological Tech Forum group both have a high number of qualified, experienced, field techs and CRM managers as members. There is a good chance that someone has worked for that company and knows the types of questions they usually ask.

If you don’t get any information from Facebook then ask about the area you’re going to be working in. It should be in the job posting. Find out what types of sites are common.

Check out the audio response to this from the CRM Archaeology Podcast, Episode 70.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the field!!