Interviewing An Apprentice: Questions To Ask Apprentices

A guide to interviewing an apprentice

An apprenticeship interview is an opportunity to find out if one of your potential candidates is the right fit for your company and apprenticeship programme. Interviewing an apprentice is similar to interviewing for a regular employee, although you do need to keep in mind that applicants are at different stages of their careers. 

To host successful interviews and ensure that you find the right apprentice for your business, read our tips below.

How to interview an apprentice

The goal of an apprenticeship interview is to evaluate candidates’ potential. Unlike when interviewing for standard roles, applicants don’t have years of experience and qualifications on their side - instead, what you’re looking for is their motivations and willingness to learn. 

Good interview questions for apprentices shine a light on who the applicants are as people - will they be a good cultural fit? Do they have a passion for the subject and are keen to get on the career ladder? For some candidates, this could be their first job interview, and so you’ll need to choose your questions carefully to get relevant answers. 

With this in mind, it’s always a good idea to conduct the interview in person. This way, you can really get to know the applicant, and they can also get a feel for your company culture. If they’re feeling nervous, you can offer them a drink, start informal conversations and help them relax. It’ll be easier for you to assess their personality and whether they’re the right apprentice for you.

Questions to ask an apprentice at interview

Interview questions for apprentices should allow them to open up and clearly demonstrate why they’d be an asset to your company. Your applicants will likely feel nervous before and during the interview, so it’s your job to make them feel at ease. Help them find their confidence in the skills they can bring to the table, and encourage them to ask questions, no matter how big or small. Remember, you’re focussing on their motivations and personality here, so you want applicants to feel as comfortable as possible. 

The questions you ask an apprentice should measure their competence, passions and skills. We’ve listed a few ideas below to help you plan your apprentice interviews. 

Competency-based interview questions for apprentices

Candidates may not have as much experience or knowledge compared to other employees, but there are still ways to measure their competence. Situational, experienced-based questions provide this insight. 

The STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) framework is often used for assessing a person’s skills and is a great method for interviewing an apprentice. These questions can look like:

  • Describing a problem and how they sorted the issue
  • Demonstrate a time when they utilised a specific skill 
  • Sharing accomplishments they’re proud of.

Questions to ask apprentices that determine company fit

Your apprentice will stay with your company for at least a year, so you need to make sure that they’ll be easy to work with and will fit in. There are plenty of apprentice interview questions for employers to use for this, which can also help identify their motivations for applying as well. These questions could be:

  • What the candidate knows about your business 
  • Why they are interested in your apprenticeship programme and working for your business
  • Asking about their interests and hobbies outside of work or school

When discussing an applicant’s interests, try and get a conversation going to find out why they enjoy what they do. It’s a good way to learn more about the candidate and see how easy they are to get along with.

Career-based questions to ask when interviewing an apprentice

Apprenticeships are an opportunity for delegates to either get on the career ladder or start work in a new industry, gaining the skills they need to progress. Learners can choose to stay with your business once their programme is completed, bringing their new-found knowledge and many other benefits to your business. With this in mind, you should find out their goals and ambitions and what they’re looking to take away from their time at your company. 

Try asking apprentices questions such as:

  • Where they see themselves in five or so years
  • Why they’ve chosen to do an apprenticeship
  • What draws them to the industry

Lifetime’s apprenticeship recruitment service

At Lifetime, we’ve seen first-hand the difference apprenticeships can make for a business, which is why we’re here to help ensure you find the right person for the job. Our recruitment service helps guide you through the process, screening potential candidates and selecting applicants who we believe would be a valuable employee at your business. From here, you’ll be ready for interviews by following our advice above. 

For more information about the apprenticeship recruitment process, speak to our team today.