This page was compiled by consulting with emerging conservators and established heritage professionals, who contributed through social media, by asking experienced colleagues, and by offering their own experience. We encourage you to seek advice, guidance and interview tips from your own network of heritage professionals. If your university does not offer job or portfolio preparation sessions, why not ask for them!
“Together with Beth Gillions we put on our best confidence clothes and talk about job interviews: what it’s like asking the questions, what do you do when you forget everything about yourself, and what are the practical assessments like for job seeking conservators? We share our top tips and some great advice from our followers on Twitter too!”
While this resource is aimed specifically at interviews within the heritage sector, there are many non-heritage interview resources online which can help. For instance: https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/interviewing/good-questions-to-ask-at-the-end-of-an-interview
These questions were gathered through a social media questionnaire, and are here as an example of the kinds of questions which are/have been asked.
It is a good idea to remember that the interviewer wants to understand your thought process, and how you might apply your experience to a situation, rather than having the perfect answer.
This is a good opportunity to show that you have thought through issues such as cultural value, stakeholders requirements, ethical issues, risks to the object and various conservation options, rather than suggesting a set solution.
Skills which interview panels are searching for, how they can be demonstrated, and advice from the interviewers
These suggestions are gathered from conservation professionals who interview applicants, and are not an exhaustive list. Again, ask your network of heritage professionals what they search for in a good applicant.
Preparation for your interview and advice for presenting your portfolio
There isn’t one set way to present your portfolio, we have tried here to suggest some broad guidelines, and you may want to search online or ask your colleagues and tutors for their advice. Further resources are suggested in the Online Resources section above.
One of the most important sections of every interview is ‘Do you have any questions?’ at the end.
This is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you’re engaged with the organisation and keen to work there, but it’s also - and perhaps more importantly - your opportunity to make the interview work for you.
The question section of your interview is your turn to drill down into the details so you can make an informed decision about accepting a position if it’s offered to you. This is also your opportunity to find out about your potential employer, so do ask the questions which weren’t made clear in the job advert.
You can also download all the resources above as a pdf:Interview tips and resources 2023_EPN.pdf