How to ace your apprenticeship interview
You’ve applied for an apprenticeship and landed an interview - so what happens now?
The key to any successful interview is preparation and research. You’ll need to show that you have a good understanding of the company and the career you want to pursue.
We know the interview process can be a daunting experience but it doesn’t have to be – here are some tips on how to best prepare for your interview:
Dress the part
When preparing for your first interview you need to think about the company’s dress code. This will vary depending on the industry and type of role you’re applying for.
If you have an interview with a corporate company for a role in business admin or accountancy, you should consider wearing something smart: suit, shirt and tie for male applicants and tailored jacket, blouse and skirt or trousers for females.
If you feel this kind of business attire is not suited for the role you’ve applied for, opt for smart casual wear. Just remember to keep it appropriate as this will leave a lasting impression on the employer.
Research the company
While this may seem obvious, you may want to think about how much you really know about the company you want to work for.
You will most likely have looked up the company when you applied for the role and referenced this somewhere in your application, which is a good start. Now you need to conduct further research before the interview to show you have a good understanding of the organisation.
If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at the “about us” section on their website and check out their social media feeds to stay up-to-date with latest news and information.
Practice interview questions
Now you’ve done the research, it’s time to start thinking about the interview questions and your answers.
Many businesses use competency based interviews. These are based on questions that require examples and are usually conducted by two people, one who will ask the questions and one to take notes. You can prepare your answers by using the simple STAR method:
S - Situation = Setting the scene
Provide the interviewer with a bit of background about the question, and give them some context. Try to be specific, and include names and dates where appropriate to help add credibility.
T - Task = Build on the background you've given, and outline the task at hand
Specifically, how did the situation relate to you? And what were the major tasks you needed to undertake to resolve it? Include how important or difficult the situation was to overcome, as well as any constraints you came up against.
A - Approach = What did you actually do to resolve the situation?
Outline the steps you took to ensure a successful outcome, without being tempted to take all the credit. The key is to explain what you and others did.
R - Result = What did you achieve?
What was the outcome of the situation? Remember, everyone loves a happy ending, and recruiters are no different. Make your happy ending quantifiable, and you’ll have really nailed your answer.
Make sure you plan your travel in advance. Think about how you will get to the interview, what the best transport links are and how long the journey will take. Aim to arrive 15 minutes before the interview so that you’re not flustered or late. Consider the following:
- Work out the route via Google maps and establish the best transport to take
- Allow for any travel delays and give yourself extra time
- Download a travel app or check social feeds for any travel disruption
- If you’re driving make sure you know where the closest car park is to the building.
Essentials to take with you
Lastly, make sure you take the following with you to the interview:
Your CV - the interviewer will have a copy of your CV but you should take a spare copy to reference back to when answering some of the questions.
Notepad and pen – you’ll have the opportunity to jot down any notes you want to take away with you after the interview has finished.
Your questions – take a copy of the questions you’ve prepared ahead of the interview to show you’re really interested in the role you’ve applied for.
Good luck with your interview! Remember you can contact our team of advisors if you have any questions about your apprenticeship interview.