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Archivist Interview Questions

25 Archivist Interview Questions
Question 1 of 25
When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?
How to Answer
Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. Discuss with the interviewer how you typically cope with setbacks in the workplace.

Answer Example
"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback I will take a few moments to debrief with my manager and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"
Entry Level Example
"Setbacks can be trying, but I find that you have to learn how to lose before you learn how to win. While I never enjoy a setback, I use them as a stepping off point to something even better."
Experienced Example
"Setbacks happen for a reason, and they do not affect me emotionally in the least. I am a very pragmatic thinker and stay focused despite the challenges that come my way."
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Question 2 of 25
What about being an archivist excites you, and what originally attracted you to this career?
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How to Answer
The interviewer would like to know that you are interested in this position as a long-term career opportunity. Tell the interviewer what excites you about this job and why you decided to pursue this career. Demonstrate your passion for the field and enthusiasm for this opportunity.

Answer Example
"I came into this career path while working on my Bachelor's Degree in American History. I was not interested in pursuing a role in the education industry, and so I decided to explore other career paths that suited my educational background. I am passionate about history and the discovery of new documents and artifacts that can open our eyes to periods of history. For that reason, I knew that a career as an archivist would be a great fit for me."
Entry Level Example
"I was meeting with my academic advisor last year, during my final year of university. After some career discovery exercises, it was apparent that I had a strong penchant for history, artifacts, and education. I decided to complete my internship at our local museum so that I could learn more about the industry and career path. I loved every day of it and am confident in my pursuit of this industry."
Experienced Example
"Growing up, my grandfather was an archivist for a prominent museum. His work fascinated me, and he taught me a lot about history and the world through his work. When it was time for me to pursue my post-secondary education, I knew what I had to do. I've been an archivist for 12 years now. This line of work is entirely fulfilling."
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Question 3 of 25
How well are you able to write descriptions on records? Do you enjoy doing this, and if so why?
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How to Answer
Tell the interviewer about your writing skills by providing an example of your writing experience. If possible, bring a particular sample with you to the interview.

Answer Example
"I pride myself on my excellent writing skills and was fortunate to use the skills in my last position of archivist when working for the Society of American Archivists. I enjoyed this task because I love writing and providing clear descriptions of artifacts and records that the world will have access to for generations to come."
Entry Level Example
"Although I do not have direct experience writing for archives and samples, I do have a great deal of writing experience from my projects and papers in university. This is a skill I would be happy to learn."
Experienced Example
"I rate myself as an expert when it comes to writing descriptions on archives. I do enjoy this type of work and look forward to continuing these responsibilities with your museum."
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Question 4 of 25
Have you progressed in your career as you have expected?
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How to Answer
Career progression can be a touchy subject, especially if you feel that your career hasn't progressed as well as you would have liked. Talk to the interviewer about your career progression and what you would like to see in the future.

Answer Example
"Overall, my career has progressed a touch slower than I would have liked. I have held a couple of positions that didn't offer the growth and learning that I was expecting; however, I have bounced back nicely. I feel that this particular position would take my career exactly where it should be."
Entry Level Example
"I am pleased with the progress of my career. I am proud of my accomplishments and the path my career has taken so far."
Experienced Example
"Overall, I am satisfied with my career progression. Everyone, including me, hits roadblocks or setbacks, but I have been able to push through them and stay on track."
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Question 5 of 25
Tell me about your organizational skills in a work environment.
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How to Answer
As an archivist, you must be organized with your work at all times. Talk to the interviewer about your organizational skills in a work environment by providing an example of your capabilities.

Answer Example
"I believe excellent organizational skills are essential to perform the duties of an archivist successfully. If I have to archive numerous documents in a short period, I prioritize in order of their respective deadlines. I will use lists to keep track of upcoming duties and a calendar to keep track of deadlines. Regarding the records, I will ensure to keep different records in their respective places to facilitate the organizational process."
Entry Level Example
"I understand that organization is a high priority in this industry. While obtaining my bachelor's degree in library science, we learned a great deal about the importance of a well-organized project. Do you use any particular software to keep your projects organized here? I was trained on LOCKSS and am confident that I will be able to learn any software programs quickly."
Experienced Example
"I have stellar organization skills and am also well-trained in numerous software programs for archivists. These include ArchivesSpace, LOCKSS, and PRONOM. In addition to these, I keep an organized team by utilizing project management software such as Trello."
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Author of Archivist Answers and Questions

Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is an executive head-hunter and job search expert. Utilized by top executives from Fortune 100 & 500 companies like Fitbit, Microsoft, General Electric, Nestle, and more, she helps professionals position themselves in a competitive marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume, a company that focuses on helping job seekers get their edge back. Renovate My Resume creates stand-out resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and professional summaries for new grads, all the way to corporate executives. Rachelle spends much of her time training career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers. She also holds interview workshops for students and interns, globally. For great tips and tricks, follow Rachelle on Instagram @_rachelle_e or @renovatemyresume.
First written on: 09/10/2010
Last modified on: 08/17/2018

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About Archivist

August 18th, 2018

Archivists assemble, catalog, and preserve valuable collections of information that have historical value. They spend a major part of their work day selecting, assessing, and arranging materials, preserving perishable documents, retrieving misplaced or lost documents, and making the archives accessible to users. Archivists are typically employed to work in higher educational facilities, libraries, local and central government, museums, and specialist repositories such as the Public Record Office.
Anyone wishing to pursue a career as an archivist must complete an ARA accredited postgraduate diploma after obtaining a bachelor's degree in any discipline. Excellent organizational, administrative and communications skills are essential attributes for this role. Archivists must also be methodical and logical, with excellent computer skills.
Interviewers will be most interested in knowing why you chose this particular career. They will also want to know if you have done an internship or had any first-hand work experience. You will most likely have to undergo a period of on the job training to learn more about the procedures and processes of that particular facility. Make sure all of your replies emphasize your interest and knowledge of the role. Going through commonly asked questions and practicing how to answer them will help you build your confidence before the interview. You can find these questions and answers listed at Mock Questions.