For most individuals applying for an Apprenticeship, it will be your first interview – with the added stress that getting it right could ultimately put you on the ladder to your dream career!
As with all other interviews, the employer is still just looking for the right person with the right attitude for their company so following the core tips for a successful interview still stand with a few other tips to remember:
1. Don’t be put off by inexperience
As an Apprentice, employers will have an understanding that you won’t have that much work based experience or practice within the interview arena so they aren’t going to try and catch you out with hard questions and unrealistic expectations.
At this point they are looking to get to know your reasons behind wanting to undertake this particularly apprenticeship and why you would like to complete it with them as a company, so..
2. Do your research
Researching the company you’re applying to and the apprenticeship qualification you’ll be undertaking is key. The employer will normally outsource the training side of things to a college or other provider – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be knowledgeable about the training you’ll be completing and talk enthusiastically about it!
Understand the company and research how many other apprentices they have taken on previously – how have those apprentices progressed throughout the company? Research the management team – did any of them complete an apprenticeship at the start of their careers? All this information will give you a great starting point to talk positively about your reasons for being at interview.
3. Know why you want to do an apprenticeship
Most of the qualifications available through an apprenticeship can also be accessed through other means of study such as full or part time courses at college or university and other progression routes into your chosen career.
Think about what specifically attracts you to undertaking an apprenticeship – other than the opportunity to start earning a wage! If that’s the only reason than why not get a part time job elsewhere? Why do you want to study as you learn? What are the benefits to you and the way you learn? Have you thought about completing work experience in the industry prior to applying?
Be prepared with answers to questions like these and you’ll definitely make the employer pay attention.
4. Know your strengths
It’s a pretty common question at this level. More employers talk about ‘common sense’ and emotional intelligence as being a key deciding factor in taking on any new recruit. In particular with an apprenticeship they want someone they can feel confident is going to be able to deal with the demands of training and working!
Think about the role at hand and previous experiences where you can demonstrate some of the core skills outlined in the job description. Draw examples from school work, group projects, voluntary work, work experience or any team groups/sports you might be a part of. As long as you can talk positively about something and demonstrate how it connects to the skill you’re trying to evidence you’ll be fine.
5. Avoid negative weaknesses
Please don’t answer this question with ‘I struggle to get up in the morning’ or ‘I don’t like meeting new people’ – these aren’t the things a prospective employer wants to hear when they ask this question!
Think more along the lines of where you have a skill/knowledge gap that could do with improving – and hopefully one that will be improved upon by undertaking the apprenticeship. Think along the lines of technical and practical skills unique to your chosen industry that you haven’t had the chance to develop yet in previous school or work experience.
6. Practice Practice Practice!
Don’t sit around applying for jobs and not practice for interview opportunities – research common interview questions and have answers prepared for these even before you have an interview booked in and make sure you keep practicing them!
It will make all the difference when you do have an interview come along- knowing you can refresh yourself on the core questions and develop them with company and role knowledge.
7. Think about your personal presentation
A simple, but extremely important point to make! Dress to impress – this isn’t a Saturday job at your local shop. When you apply to be an apprentice you effectively become a member of staff of that company. You have a contract and they pay your wages.
Make the best impression from the start – the smarter the better and don’t underestimate how much looking the part can boost your confidence in the interview room.
8. Don’t be afraid of nerves
Interview nerves are completely natural – even for the most veteran of interview attendees! It’s also a good thing to feel a bit nervous – it shows you want the role!
Don’t be afraid to let the employer know if you’ve got a few butterflies, they’ll expect this to be your first interview and will be more than happy to put you at ease to make sure you deliver to your best ability.
9. Prepare suitable questions to ask
I’ve conducted a fair few interviews and always feel a bit disappointed when candidates don’t ask questions. It’s your opportunity to get to know a bit more about the company, the interviewer, the job – and also a great opportunity to show a bit more of your personality!
As a rule make sure you can think of at least 3 questions – chances are the interviewer will answer one or two of them in the course of the interview so it’s best to have a few prepared to ask.
10. Be a human not a robot!
If you’ve read any of my previous articles on interview preparation and tips you’ll know this is something I’m a big advocate for! Employers want to employ someone with a personality, someone who is likeable and will fit well with their team, engage with their customers and be an all round good fit for the company.
There’s a tendency for people to think they have depict a very serious, text book persona at an interview but this isn’t the case.
Remember – Always go into any interview with a smile, firm handshake and a warm, confident greeting. The more prepared you are, the more you’ll be able to relax and let them know just how much you have to offer.
photo by: themuffingirl