Looking to start an apprenticeship?

Read our top tips to impress potential employers at an interview.

Securing an apprenticeship with an employer is the same process for getting any other job; it is a competitive application process, so you will have to make a good first impression in your application and then in your interview to stand out from the crowd.

Do your research

Always research the company and thoroughly read the job description to get a good understanding of the role you are applying for before filling in the application. What you say in your application is the first introduction recruiters will have with you as a potential employee. Demonstrating a sound understanding of the requirements of the role will mean that you will be more likely to secure an interview.

Your application needs consideration

Applying for a job properly takes a lot of time. It’s important to customise your application to fit the position you are applying for. Find out of there is a person specification for the role and make sure you can demonstrate how you meet these requirements when writing your application. A well thought through application will help you to stand out from other applicants who may be copying and pasting the same information for each application they complete.

Gain relevant experience to support your application

Employers will be looking for candidates who have a genuine interest in working in their industry. Work experience is an excellent way to gain exposure to the industry and demonstrate to employers that you aren’t afraid to work hard and take on new experiences.

In the past year, work experience has been difficult to obtain due to the pandemic, but don’t let this be a barrier to your development. Speak to employers and find out what work experience you can do with them from home, via remote working.

Prepare for your interview

Think about how you might answer typical interview questions and consider why you would be a good fit for the role and organisation. Reading up on the company vision, values and mission statement will help you to understand what they stand for and what the objectives of the business are.

It helps to practice interview skills with a family member or friend to prepare your answers. These are a few of the standard interview questions we have come across,

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Which part of the job would you find most challenging?
  • How do you cope working under pressure?

It is not necessary to have every answer on the tip of your tongue. If you find a question a little more difficult, you can take time to think over your interview planning to ensure that you give a considered response that is relevant to the role and what has been asked.  Your research about the company, and the requirements of the role, will help you with this.

It is equally as important for you to prepare a few questions to ask the interview panel – by doing this you will be able to get answers to any questions or concerns you may have. As well as providing you with the answers you need, this will emphasise your interest on the role and your desire to secure the position.

Make a great first impression

Whether your interview is in person or held via video call it is important that you are punctual and dress appropriately for the interview. This will be the first physical impression a new employer will have of you, so arriving on time, looking professional will immediately demonstrate how seriously you are taking the opportunity.

If you are travelling for the interview, plan your journey and make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to get there.

Connect with the interviewer, be polite, friendly and smile. Make eye contact with the person directing the question and maintain this while you deliver your response.

Make your interview personal, so the interviewer can get to know you and why you would be a good fit for the role. Discuss hobbies and interests to give the panel some background information on yourself. People gain a wide range of transferrable soft skills through taking part in clubs, societies and enjoying hobbies.

A really good way to engage the employer in your responses, is to use examples where you have exhibited the skills the employer is looking for. For example, good communication skills developed through playing as part of a sports team or time management skills gained in your role as Student’s Union Officer.

Attending an interview is never just a one-sided experience, it is the first impression for all involved. The interview is your opportunity to decide whether the employer, role and company culture is right for you.

After the interview

Take the opportunity to decide whether you think the role is what you want to do and whether or not you feel you would be happy working within the organisation. It is good to think back at how the interview went, but it is equally as important to stay  positive rather than dwelling on what you should or shouldn’t have said.

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