Six tips to ace an apprenticeship interview

How to make sure you're ready

Before you attend any kind of work interview it’s always a smart idea to prepare. 

Not only will you have learnt more about your potential new employer but you will also feel far more confident and knowledgeable about the opportunity that you’re applying for.

For tips on how to write a winning application, check out our PDF here provided by the National Apprenticeship Service. 

Or if you've already got an interview lined up we have six tips that will help you ace your interview. Good luck.

1. Research the company

First up, make sure you have thoroughly researched the company you have the interview with. The chances are that when you applied you checked them out and made reference to this in your application. Great stuff, you’re half-way there. But now you have an interview it’s even more important that you swot up.

Make sure you’re ready for the big question – “what do you know about our company?” . You can learn about them by browsing the “about us” section on their website.

But to get all of the up-to-the-minute information it’s definitely worth checking out their social media. What are they tweeting or posting about on Facebook? Also check if they have a LinkedIn business profile and read their latest updates. 

When you’re asked the question, don’t waffle on, and just make reference to some of the things you've seen. If they've just won an award or a new contract casually congratulate them – mega brownie points for you.

2. Understand what the apprentice role is all about

Make sure you have read through the job description carefully. If there is anything on the job description that you don’t understand, call the employer and ask before the interview.

Write down key points they are looking for and write what why you are the best person to fulfill that role and how your skills and experience are relevant. Go over these notes regularly so that come the interview, when they ask a question you’ll be able to confidently talk about your skills and how they will enable you to do a super job.

3. What do you want to find out from the employer?

Asking questions about the apprenticeship on offer is a good thing. It shows a hiring manager that you are interested in the job and the company. Write down your questions neatly in a note book and take them to an interview with you:

  • What’s it like to work here?
  • What would a typical day be like?
  • Why are the business taking on apprentices?
  • What qualification will I achieve at the end of the apprenticeship?
  • How will my time be divided between working and learning?
  • Are you considering offering apprentices positions after the apprenticeship programme?
  • What have apprentices gone on to do once they have completed their apprenticeship?

4. Plan your route to the interview

You will be amazed how many people are late for interviews. Recruiters and hiring managers are very busy people. If you are late then their whole schedule is affected.

Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes in advance. Sometimes things go wrong – the bus is late, there is a traffic jam or car breaks down. It’s not the end of the world, just make sure you call them as early as possible to let them know you are going to be late.

Getting there early not only looks good. It gives you an opportunity to compose yourself so you can go into the interview nice and relaxed. If you arrive really early then you could take a wander around the block a few times and get to your interview about 10 minutes before it's scheduled. 

5. Things to take

Your CV: they will probably have this but make sure you have a spare copy to hand.
A note pad and pen: do write down notes in the interview. 
The job description: you can refer to this in the interview. 
Your questions: make sure you write down the answers to show that you really care about them.

6. Dress how you want to be addressed

How you dress will sometimes depend on the type of role that you are interviewing for. To make you feel at ease don’t be afraid to ask the employer in advance if they have a dress code.

While it’s not always easy to get hold of a suit, make sure that you look smart. If you feel you are dressed appropriately you will undoubtedly feel more confident.

And when you're in the interview...

  • Smile. As soon as you enter the building you are being noticed. You will be nervous (the employer is expecting this) but do smile. Employers will always remember a happy person.
  • Shake hands.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Introduce yourself. They will probably ask how the journey in was – it’s always good to reference your pre planning to make sure that you arrived early.
  • Ask them how they are.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell the employer if you are nervous. Anyone interviewing an apprentice will try to make you feel as comfortable as possible – remember they are just humans. Many interviewing managers are equally nervous about interviewing young people as it’s not what they do every day.
  • Be yourself!
  • Listen – make sure you are answering the questions that are asked. If you don’t understand the question then say so. Don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat the question.
  • Ask questions – rememeber to bring out your prepared list of questions. The hiring manager will love that you have been thinking about the interview.

Check out our apprenticeships hub for more information and advice about apprenticeships, including these seven busted myths about apprenticeships