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Tips for a successful apprenticeship interview

A face-to-face interview is an important part of any recruitment process and gives you the chance to meet potential employers in their working environment. Interviews are a nerve-wracking experience for everyone, but with the right preparation, you can ease the stress and make a great impression.

Employers use face-to-face interviews to understand you as a character, expand on your experience highlighted in your application, and to gauge whether you are suitable for the role.

It’s also a chance for you to ask questions about the role and company, and to get an insight into what it would be like to work there. Once you’ve found the perfect apprenticeship vacancy, follow these simple steps to be fully prepared ahead of your interview.

Ahead of your interview

In a face-to-face interview, you’ll need to demonstrate knowledge of the company and the role. Research the company’s website, focusing on the About Us page to understand the history of the company and its aims.

Review the company’s website and social media to get a good understanding for the type of candidate they might be looking for and how you might fit into the team. You can also look at third-party review websites to understand how the company is perceived by its customers.

Make bullet point lists of your relevant skills and experience, including key examples you can reference during the interview. Include examples of how you meet the list of essential skills found in the job advert. Sum up the company’s service in one sentence and add a list of any competitors.

Make a list of questions you can ask about the company and role, as you’ll get a chance at the end of the interview. You could ask about how the employer sees the company or role progressing.

You may have gone through a phone interview stage before your face-to-face interview, so you’ll be aware of the type of question you may be asked.

The interviewer wants to know about you, why you’d be suitable for the role, and why you want to join the company. Questions will check if you’ll fit within the team, and what relevant experience you may have.

You’ll always need to introduce yourself, so memorise a concise summary of your experience and achievements which lasts around two to three minutes. Here are some common interview questions to prepare for:

  • Tell us about the role and company
  • Why did you apply for the position?
  • What do you hope to gain from this role?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What are your main professional strengths and weaknesses?

You’ll need to dress professionally for your interview, which will usually be business wear including a tie. As a general guide, it’s good to dress a “step above” the usual day-to-day workwear of the company and role.

Smart shoes, a tie, a shirt or equivalent formal wear should be worn, even if the role you’re applying for does not need it. Check your outfit is clean and ironed ahead of interview day.

Remember to print and bring your CV and cover letter on the day as part of your notes. The interviewer will be using these documents as a reference throughout the interview, so make sure you reread your application.

It’s important to plan and leave plenty of time for your journey. Make sure you know which bus or train you need to take, and what time it leaves or where the nearest parking is (it’s always better to arrive early and kill time in a nearby café until your interview, than risk turning up late).

smiling woman at desk

On the day of your interview

  • Arrive 10 minutes early
  • Be polite and confident, and make eye contact throughout the interview
  • Speak clearly and slowly, as nerves might make you speed up in your speech
  • Listen to your interviewer to fully understand any questions asked
  • Always ask questions at the end of the interview

 

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My programme was very relevant and interesting to my job role and has tremendously supported me in developing to that next level of my personal and career development and career in becoming a better and more effective leader.

Danny Wheatley-Darrand, Team Leader Supervisor Level 3 at Next