Congratulations! You’ve bagged yourself an interview for an apprenticeship role. And now that you’ve got the first hurdle out of the way, you need to turn your attention to dazzling them with your interview skills.
Whether you’ve applied to an IT company or a plumbing firm, you should approach your apprenticeship interview with the same level of professionalism as you would any other type of job in any industry. To help give you a head start with your interview, we’ve written this post to ensure you have all the essentials covered.
Preparing for your Apprenticeship Interview
When it comes to interviews, there’s no substitute for preparation. The more prepared you are going into your interview; the more confident you’ll feel that you’ll be able to answer any question they throw at you.
Do some research
To get started, we recommend you do some research on the company that you’re interviewing with. Find out exactly what they do and how many people work there. If possible, try to find out what projects they’ve been working on and if you discover that they recently won an award or a recognition, make sure you mention this on the day. Flattery may not get you the job but it will show them that you’ve done your research.
Make a list of potential questions
Once you’ve researched the company, make a list of potential interview questions that you could be asked and write down possible answers for each of them. You should try to provide examples to back up your answers wherever you can. Of course, if this will be your first job, you won’t be able to draw on work experiences, but you can use examples from school, any clubs you’re a part of or family situations.
We suggest that you practice reading your answers aloud to someone, so they can provide you with feedback about your delivery and body language. Although it can be difficult to take criticism from a friend or family member, your interview performance will be all the better for it.
Use interview strategies
If you've never done an interview before, it can be tough. Make sure you're familiar with plenty of interview strategies to help you field those questions.
On the Day of your Interview
Make sure you know where you're going
Before you set off for your interview, make sure you know exactly where you’re going and aim to arrive there half an hour before your interview slot. Trust us, there’s nothing worse than having to run to your interview because you misjudged the time and then arrive all sweaty and flustered (we’ve been there). Arriving in plenty of time will give you a chance to get a feel for the place and make any observations that you might want to mention in your interview.
Read over your answers while you wait
While you’re waiting for your interview to begin, read over your interview answers so that they’re fresh in your head. Not only is this good for squeezing in some last minute preparation, but it also helps you get in the zone.
Make a good impresssion
Regardless of what apprenticeship you’re applying for, your interviewers will expect you to be smartly dressed, even if the job involves working outdoors or in a messy environment. Although you need to be smart for your interview, you also need to be comfortable, so make sure that you wear clothes that won’t hinder your performance.
During your Apprenticeship Interview
Let’s be honest, sitting in front of people you don’t know and being asked questions for forty-five minutes isn’t exactly everyone’s idea of fun and it can feel a little daunting. But what you should remember is that everyone feels the same about interviews. Pre-interview nerves are actually a good thing as they keep you on your toes and help you focus on the task at hand. Here are a few pointers that will make you feel more relaxed and prepared:
- Sit up and straight in your chair and don’t slouch - it’ll help you concentrate better.
- Even if the interviewers don’t smile at you, smile at them – it’ll show you’re enthusiastic and excited to be there.
- Be aware of your body language and don’t be afraid to express yourself using your hands.
- Try to make eye contact with the person who asks you the question and occasionally make eye contact with the other interviewers as well to show that you’re aware of your audience.
- If you don’t understand a question, or you misheard, then ask them to repeat it again, it shows initiative.
Try not to panic
Even though it’s easier said than done, try not to panic. If you get asked a question that you don’t have an answer for, don’t feel that you have to jump straight in and make up an answer. Take your time and think about it logically, then when you are ready, give your answer. There’s nothing wrong with having a short period of silence in an interview.
Once the Interview is Over
Get out of there as quick as you can!
It's not really over...
Afterwards, you should remember to be polite and thank the interviewers for taking the time to see you. If you have any questions about the apprenticeship, then now is the time to ask. It may also be an idea to enquire about when you’re likely to hear back from them.
When you get that call...
When you get the phone call telling you whether you’ve been successful or not, you should accept any feedback professionally. Even though you may be over the moon/disappointed, try to remain calm and listen to what the person on the phone is telling you – they may be giving you important instructions that you need to follow for the next stage.
Have you recently had an interview for an apprenticeship role? How did it go? What did you do well and what do you think you could have done better? I’m sure our readers would love to hear from you…
For more apprenticeship advice and information, check out the apprenticeship channel on the Success at School website.
Image Credit - https://www.flickr.com/photos/gvahim/14112385247/