Image Credit: Stephan Roehl/Flickr
What is an interview?
Having read your CV and cover letter, employers will have already filtered out the potential candidates they didn’t thing suitable for the role, and an interview offers them the chance to meet you face-to-face and vice versa. This means that they like you, and want to see how well you might fit into the company and how well you fit the description you offered. As employers already know a bit about you, this is your chance to elaborate, express yourself and sell yourself.
The interview is also intended for you to get a better understanding of the organisation and think about whether you might enjoy working for them as well.
What is an apprenticeship interview?
An apprenticeship interview is no different from any other interview, however if you are young and inexperienced and have just left school or college your interview will focus on skills you’ve gained through education and extra-curricular activities and hobbies, rather than past work experience.
Before you attend the interview
- try your outfit on beforehand - make sure it looks presentable and you feel comfortable in it. If you don’t have your outfit complete this gives you the chance to go out and buy an item you think is missing. Smart is the general rule for interviews, which involves wearing a suit or a smart shirt and a skirt or trousers if you are a girl. This is especially true if you are looking to enter the corporate environment, and less true if you are applying to be a plumber or something similar where the rules may be a little bit less formal.
- practise your interview technique, perhaps asking a friend, teacher or parent to give you a mock interview, and ask for feedback afterwards.
- research the company and the apprenticeship you are applying for. You should find out what they do, what the apprenticeship involves and why you’d be great for the company - this means that when they ask you questions you can tailor your answers to suit what they are looking for.
- find out who will be interviewing you and google them to see what their role within the company is. Find out whether you will be interviewed by one person or a panel, and whether you’ll be interviewed individually or in a group. You will also want to know what the interview will involves, whether there may be tests or activities, such as an IT proficiency test or a verbal reasoning test, as well as questions.
- look through the CV and cover letter that you sent them - the interview may refer to these and you’ll want to remember what you wrote.
- work out where the interview is going to be held, plan how you are going to get there and how long it is going to take - perhaps do a trial run.
- research the industry - you can show how well you know the industry and its main players which will give you an advantage over the other candidates.
- look at the job description to try and get a sense of the attributes they are looking for - you can then use these attributes to tailor your answers in the interview.
- think of some follow-up questions to ask the interviewer. Don’t ask about pay (!), but you may want to ask something about your progression within the company after you finish your apprenticeship, as it shows that you want to improve and develop as a person and are interested in staying in the company long-term.
- Eluceo's Applications & Interviews page gives you further tips and links to help you in obtaining that dream job!
Image Credit: National Assembly for Wales/flickr
On the day
- leave plenty of time in case something goes wrong. It doesn’t matter if you are early - this gives you a chance to go to the loo, drink some water, take a minute to catch your breath, brush your hair, or anything else you might want to do in those ten minutes.
- bring the contact details of the company so you can phone them if you do end up getting lost or are held up.
- bring a notebook and pen so you can jot anything down either during or after the interview. You might also want to bring along a copy of your CV, cover letter and a copy of the jobs description, while the company might also ask you to bring along documents, such as a passport.
- speak clearly and confidently and be yourself - remember that the company are interested in your personality and attitude, and you want this to shine as much as possible as it’s what makes you unique. Don’t panic if you mishear a question or make a mistake - be thoughtful and ask for clarification if you don’t understand something.
- be polite to everyone you meet - you never know who the interviewing team will ask for feedback about you!
- sit up straight, and look as though you are concentrating and interested. Make eye contact and remember to smile!
- turn off your phone!
After the interview
- follow the interview up with a short e-mail thanking them for the interview and saying that you are interested in the apprenticeship.
- if you don’t get the role you can get in contact with the organisation to ask for feedback - they’ll give you something positive for you to work on which will hopefully help you take the rejection less personally!