Even for the most seasoned professional, interviews can be stressful. When it’s your first ever interview the worry can be overwhelming.
On applying for an apprenticeship role, you will be interviewed by the employer in much the same way as any potential new staff member would be. You aren’t being singled out, everyone goes through the same process when applying for a new job, and like anything, the more preparation you do beforehand, the less anxiety and stress you will go through.
TRN have put together a list of some of the best hints and tips to help you be successful in your next interview.
Before the interview.
The saying “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” is defiantly true when it comes to interviews. It might sound obvious, but a lot of people think they can turn up to an interview and breeze through it without any preparation, in our experience those are the interviews that fail. Being prepared alleviates stress and needless worry, no matter what interview questions you may be asked you will hopefully have the answer already prepared.
Research Your Potential Employer
Whenever you are invited to an interview it makes sense to do some research into the company, who with luck will be your future employer. TRN will supply you with a description of the job role and a short summary of the company who are recruiting. Read all of the literature supplied to you by TRN. Conduct your own research, start by reading through the employer’s website. Make notes on how you see your skills and experience benefitting your future employer and what makes you the ideal candidate for a role within their organisation.
Know your CV
Make sure you know your CV inside and out, you can guarantee you will be asked questions relating to it. Failing to expand with confidence on items on your CV could trigger red flags with the interviewer.
Some standard interview questions you’re more than likely to be asked
Q: Why do you want to do and Apprenticeship with us?
Q: What are your interests and hobbies?
Q: What are your main strengths?
Q: What are your weaknesses?
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Q: Tell me about yourself?
Even if you don’t get asked these specific questions, it’s good to be prepared for them, learning how to answer in full statements rather than with just one-word answers. Try and do some roleplay interviews with family or friends to help you prepare for the big day, practice makes perfect.
Prepare Your Appearance.
Wear colour coordinated professional attire. Make sure that you have your clothes freshly washed and ironed in advance of your interview date. Avoid jeans and trainers as they can come across as more causal than professional. Also make sure your shoes are clean and polished.
You want to minimise stress on the day and not worry about how the cat managed to leave fur all over your best suit when the suit was safely hanging up in the wardrobe well out of reach from your feline companion.
Be immaculate in your appearance. Perhaps get a haircut and manicure your nails if required.
During the Interview
Make sure you’re on time for your interview, it’s better to arrive 10-15mins early so you can prepare yourself before your interview starts. If possible, do a practice run to the venue prior to your interview date, that way you’ll be able to judge how long it will take you to get to the interview with plenty of time to spare.
A good first impression is always important, and your aim is for the employer to get a positive impression of you within the first few minutes of meeting you. Smile when you walk into the interview room. Shake hands with all the members of the interview panel.
Your interviewers will understand that you’re probably feeling a little bit nervous so try and make yourself as comfortable as possible. Try to relax with a few deep. If you’re offered a glass of water, accept it as it’ll come in handy if you get a dry mouth or throat during your interview.
Pay Attention to Your Body Language
- Sit well back in your chair to look more relaxed and comfortable. Don't slouch or hunch your shoulders.
- Smile as this shows friendliness and openness.
- Hold your head up to avoid mumbling into your chest.
- Maintain good eye contact throughout the interview as this shows sincerity and confidence. Begin answering a question by looking at the person who asked the question, then try to move your eye contact evenly to each member of the interview panel.
- Don’t cross your arms as this will make you look guarded.
- Don’t fumble or fidget with jewellery.
- Nod when you are in agreement as this shows you are receptive and paying attention to what is being said.
- If you do not understand a question, ask the interviewer to rephrase or repeat the question.
- Stay calm, take your time and think about a question before answering it.
- Focus and pay attention to what the members of the interview panel are asking you.
- Show confidence and enthusiasm when talking about your role and your career plan.
- Ask questions about topics such as responsibilities, expectations, training, support, evaluation, and company goals.
- Show you have done your research on the company by including relevant details within your questions and answers.
- You must sell yourself. You need to be able to talk about who you are and what you feel are your most important skills and abilities. Don't be shy, highlight your assets, it is vitally important that an interviewer understands all of your capabilities.
- Show that you have confidence in yourself and that you are the candidate the employer is looking for because you will be an extraordinary employee and an asset to their organisation.
It’s really important to be yourself this will help you come across as a genuine person. Answer the questions how you think they should be answered not what you think the interviewers want to hear because that can come across to scripted.
Don’t forgot the people interviewing you have been in the exact same position as you. They will understand how you’re feeling and understand that it can be a daunting experience. The interviewers want you to do well and make their decision to employ you an easy one.
The end of the Interview
When the interview is over, thank the members of the interview panel for their time and shake hands with everyone.
Keep in mind that smiling and your body language is still important.
Following these tips will benefit you in any interview situation and should help you get on the Apprenticeship you want to start your journey into full employment.
It’s worth remembering in most cases only one person can get the advertised Apprenticeship, don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not successful, the experience you have gained is invaluable and can be used in future interviews.Check out 10 benefits of enrolling onto an Apprenticeship Check out the apprenticeships TRN have available