Your Apprenticeship Interview Guide from preparation to interview

You’ve chosen the apprenticeship course you want to do; you have looked at the vacancies, sent off your CV and are now you’re at the interview stages. Here’s our guide to making the most of your Apprenticeship Interview.

An Apprenticeship Interview is just like any other job interview. Remember, as much as this is a chance for you to make the right impression, it is also your chance to find out more about the company, the people who work there, and the job itself.

There is nothing to worry about; any interview experience is a valuable experience. Remember, the employer has asked you to meet you because they have shown an interest in your CV. So, keeping a level head will go a long way towards landing an offer. But there are a few things you should do to prepare.

Preparing for your interview

  1. Research the employer

The employer is offering you the opportunity. They have to know that you’re interested in working for them in particular, so do a bit of professional stalking. Go on their website, blog and social media pages.

You can generally find out about the company and the directors on the ‘About Us’ of their web page; you can also find out about any contracts won or new projects they’re working on their news pages. So, make some notes and be ready to talk about it.

Just two or three facts will show you have done your research. Also, try to talk about why you have found your research and the company of interest.

2. Read the job description and list how your skills meet the role

Understand what you’re applying for and the kind of skills and experience they are looking for, then match your skills to the position. The key here is for you to understand what you’re good at and how your skills are relevant to the job.

Then think about how to get that across to the employer; for instance, through your summer job down the pub, you gained customer service skills, or working on the school newsletter shows your creativity and writing skills.

In the last two years, all students had to work online, using google docs, Microsoft Suite, Teams, or Zoom. This shows IT skills, organisational skills and adapting to new situations. 

Nobody likes selling themselves, but you’ve chosen to apply for this role for a reason, and that is because it interests you, you have skills to match, it’s a great opportunity.

Just making these points will help you on your way, but keep reading below to ensure you get the offer.

3. Practise interview questions

Practising answers to popular apprenticeship interview questions will give you the confidence to provide convincing answers on the day. Do not worry about sounding rehearsed; they’re unlikely to notice – and even if they do, it just shows that you have prepared.

Practise with a friend, your pet, or just by yourself. You might be able to arrange a mock interview with your school or college, practice with your family members, who will ask you different questions to prep for.

It’s also worth giving your telephone manner a dust off. Many of our employers require the first interview to be over the phone and/or online. You can read about our online interview tips here.

You may be asked to do an assessment before your interview or complete a pre-interview questionnaire to test your people skills, as well as functional Maths and English. Your training provider or HR contact will let you know this in advance, but if not, when contacted to attend an interview, ask if you need to prepare anything. Again, it shows that you are willing to make an effort in advance.

4. Think of a few questions to ask

In the interviewing world, it’s expected that you will ask some questions at the end. So, have some ready. Questions like, ‘What would a normal day for me look like?’ or ‘What career progression could you offer me?’ can help the employer start to picture you in the role.  

Don’t forget, you are doing an Apprenticeship, so ask about how your training will be delivered.  Your Training Provider or HR contact will have discussed this with you, but different people might interview you; it shows you are committed to the course as well as the job.

On the day

1. Arrive early

Aim to be there ten minutes early. Plan your route, check public transport or traffic news.  Have the employer’s number with you, so you can call them and let them know if you get delayed. Doing this will give you time to relax and get comfortable before you go over your preparation. Remember to switch off your phone!

2. Dress the part

It does not matter what type of Apprenticeship you are applying for; smart, professional attire is still essential.  This does not mean you need to go out a buy new suits or expensive shoes. If what you wear is professional, ironed and your shoes polished, it will show you are taking the interview seriously.

3. Be open and engaging

Once face to face, if rules allow, use a firm (not too strong) handshake. Make eye contact with the interviewer, especially if there are more than one. You could be working with these people, so the main thing is to get along with them. Smile and listen to the questions the interviewer asks. Try to use examples where appropriate but be concise and stick to facts where you can.

3. Be prepared

Take a pen and paper, a copy of your CV and application to refer back to. If you have made notes, it’s fine to use them, but try not to read from them or stare down at them the whole time.

4. Take your time

You don’t have to answer questions straightaway. Take a moment to consider your response, and feel free to ask them to repeat the question. Try to back up everything you say with examples.

5. Await your response

After the interview, send an email thanking them for the opportunity and their time. Check your emails so that you don’t miss a response. Make sure your email address is professional, and if possible, set up an email solely for job search purposes with a professional sounding address (not a handle). Have a professional voicemail set up and ensure it is working correctly.

Remember, practice makes perfect when it comes to interviews; treat every interview as a positive learning experience.  If you don’t get this role, you will get another, so keep your head up and move on. You can always ask the employer for feedback on what could have gone better and keep that in mind for the next one.

Starting out in a career isn’t easy. Keeping your options open, talking to your tutors, career and training advisors and making everything you do from writing your CV to applying for roles perfect will all help you on your way. Do your research, use your contacts, and remember your skills and above all, enjoy the experience, and you will get your dream apprenticeship.

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10 Aug 2021