The apprenticeship: how to ace that interview

15 December 2016 | Careers Advice | Guest Author

Central College Nottingham looks at the apprenticeship interview and offers some top tips for passing it with flying colours. There are various paths to a successful career, sometimes the university route might just not be for you. An equally effective alternative could be an apprenticeship. More and more school and college leavers are considering apprenticeships, as they are a great option for learning while earning.

Apprentices get paid while studying, with a focus on developing academic and professional skills – it could just be the start of a new and exciting career!

While applying for an apprenticeship is great, so many applicants fail to appreciate one key factor…The interview is still for a job and should be taken just as seriously as any other application.

Here are six key things that could help make the difference, and help you stand out!

Do your homework

First things first, you need to make sure that you’ve fully researched the company you have the interview with. It goes without saying that before any type of interview preparation is vital. We’re talking more than checking them out while applying, interview stage is a whole new level and mustn’t be underestimated. Quite often “What do you know about our business?” pops up. Go further than the ‘About Us’ section, get all the latest news by searching the web for their brand and delving deep into their social media.

Know the role

If you’ve applied specifically for a role, you should have a good understanding of what to expect. But it’s important to make sure that you have read through the job description extremely carefully; if there is anything on the job description that you don’t understand, ask your parents, carers or a teacher, or call the employer and ask before the interview.

Be inquisitive

Ask questions, make the employer work. It shows the recruitment team or hiring manager that you are interested in the job and the company. Take a nice notebook and write down your questions, which shows good preparation and professionalism. You could ask questions like: “How would the successful candidate’s time be split between working and learning?” or “What sort of future opportunities could there be in this company after completing the apprenticeship?”

How are you getting there?

There’s nothing worse than unnecessary stress before an interview. Believe or not, many people do run late for interviews. Whoever’s interviewing you will be busy people, so it’s not a good idea to affect their schedule by making them wait.

It’s a good idea to aim to arrive at least 30 minutes in advance. It’s better to be waiting, going through some last-minute prep, than rush and turn up hot and bothered. Getting there early not only looks good, but it gives you time to compose yourself so you can go into the interview nice and relaxed. Sometimes things just go wrong – the bus is late or there is a traffic jam. If this is the case, make sure you ring up and let them know.

Things to take

Do not forget your CV and any exam certificates you have, they will probably have your CV printed off already, but make sure you have a spare. A notepad and two pens are useful. Asking to borrow a pen is embarrassing! Writing notes down in the interview shows you’re paying attention. It’s a good idea to take the job description so you can refer to it during the interview. As previously mentioned, don’t forget any questions you wish to ask.

What to wear?

The night before nerves, what to wear...? It of course, depends on the role you’re applying for, but smart is definitely the safe option. Why not confirm before the day, ask if there is a dress code, it will help ease the nerves. It might not always be easy to get a suit, so why not borrow or hire one for the day? Otherwise, ensure you’re smart. If you feel good, then you’ll feel the part and no doubt be more confident.

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