Preparing for an Interview

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    I filled out my HireRight this AM, and got thinking: what’s the best info out there on preparing for an interview with the RPSC?
    I’ve seen a few mentions of this topic buried elsewhere on the forum, but I thought this might warrant a separate thread.

    I assume that “Why do you want to work in Antarctica” is a question that weights heavily, and having an enthusiastic/inspired-but-not-crazy response prepared is a good start. And, of course, being able to address why you are qualified for the particular role is important.

    From those of you that have experience interviewing for jobs on the Ice, what should a first time applicant expect?

    Looking forward to some discussion on this one!



    Hi, the emails to me from hiring managers and superviors with contact numbers were introduced as technical phone interviews and pretty much went along those lines; reiterating experience and a few specific items pertaining to the trades. For the most part it came off as a chat session and I asked several questions as to specifics of the trade myself. I was’nt asked why I wanted to go there or about my good and bad points. I thinks that those type of questions are reserved for the Pencil Room in Denver…LOL

    As I recall, there really was’nt an exchange of personal information at all, just a technical phone interview. Of course, some idle chit-chat was involved too. Be creative and make sure to ask some questions.


    ah….so this is a topic pretty near and dear to my heart. I’ll thrown in my $.02

    So, I’ve done quite a few of these phone interviews for various positions with various companies and here’s what I do to prepare:

    Write down a list of questions that you think are likely that you will be asked and write down answers to them. Yes, one will likely be “why do you want to work in Antarctica”. Other possibilities will be:

    Tells us a little about yourself?

    I use this question as a way to introduce my values, beliefs and past accomplishments. So sure, brag about something really great at work that you just did but don’t forget to also talk about things you do outside of work. Especially anything that might be community service related.

    What are your strengths?

    Pay attention to the context of this question, and be comfortable talking about strengths in your personality or technical strengths that may be related to your job.

    What are your weaknesses?

    Same as above, but be a little careful. If you say something like “I’m a workaholic” – Well, you’re going to sound dishonest and unoriginal – so reach deep here, come up with something solid. Bear in mind that weakness doesn’t necessarily mean negative but if your weakness happens to be a negative trait then I’d expand on it and explain what steps I am taking at self-improvement. If you don’t see your weakness as necessarily negative, then you need to be comfortable talking about it and spinning it in a positive light. Example: “I’m a bit insensitive, but I’m o.k. with it because it means I can take criticism and respond to it well. I don’t let what others say about me have a negative impact on me”

    How do you handle conflict?

    This one is pretty important considering the environment you are considering working in. Don’t avoid the question by answering “I avoid conflict” because – well, that sounds weak at best at like BS at worst. Again, reach deep; there are correct ways to answer this, and hopefully one of those ways will be obvious to you.

    I have several applicants for this position who are all qualified. Why should I hire you over the rest?

    This question typically will come towards the end of the interview. Hopefully you’ve built a good base, so go back and reiterate your strong points and introduce new ones if you haven’t already.

    Some other tips:
    Have a printed copy of your resume in front of you that you can refer too. You may be asked questions to clarify things on there.

    STAND UP! Makes your voice sound stronger and clearer.

    SMILE! No, you can’t be seen, but a smile can definitely be heard in your voice

    And something I just started doing is a bit of an after-action review. Because, you know, after the fact you’ll be thinking to yourself “I should have said xxxxx” so now, I take notes and keep a running document, making my next phone interview even that much stronger.


    Alex, I get rehired yearly and haven’t had to do an interview in a long time.
    I might say that one thing that is needed are people who want to work. If you come across as someone who just wants to do anything they can to see antarctica, you will probably be looked at with a fine tooth comb.
    All of us hate the people who want to see the ice but don’t want to work.


    m0loch has some very good points that apply to any interview process.
    My piece of advice that I have found to be the most useful is have as much written down in front of you as possible.
    Not that you want to be reading stuff back to the interviewer, but being able to have lists of strengths or skills outlined in front of you allows you to be much more concise in your delivery rather than having to mentally go through each one. Also some thoughts or outlines of likely topics or summaries of your experience.
    The standing up and smiling, even having a mirror there can help a lot.
    If you have your information organized for the interview, you will come across as organized, which can be one of the more important things an interviewer looks for.
    Good luck!


    This may be too late in coming, but I’ll post in case this is useful to someone in the future. A highlight of my interview for the ice was safety; I was asked how I felt about safety training on the job, and if I had even encountered it before. My answer was that any information that might possibly save my life was very welcome. If you haven’t previously had a job where safety is a big part of it, think of other activities that you might have done that have required it. SCUBA diving is an example–lots of safety training there.

    I think also a big part of working on the ice is not just the job itself, but the environment you are in, so my interviewer wanted to know about my previous experiences living with others, how I functioned in a group setting, what I did to relieve stress or how I reacted when I am having a really bad day. Your attitude and reactions to others are a huge deal down there, and can affect others quite a lot. It can also make or break your season and affect your job performance. It’s important to have good tools for dealing with that sort of intense group environment.

    I definitely had a ton of stuff written out on paper in front of me for the interview, like my strengths and weaknesses, my qualifications, and all of that basic stuff. When you’re that nervous, every little bit helps! Find a quiet place with no interruptions or background noise. And I, for one, paced throughout the entire interview–I am more relaxed that way!

    Hope this helps.

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