Interview tips for Apprentices

Today's the day!

Your CV has met the job criteria, you've been invited to be interviewed and now it's your chance to impress your future employee by LISTENING and ANSWERING their questions.

This is your time to talk positively about yourself, feels odd, but the more prep you do the easier it becomes!!

Here are some tips and advice from our recruitment team who are experienced in interviewing candidates like you...

Interviews via phone call

• Know who is calling and be ready 10 minutes beforehand

• Have the job description to hand with highlighted notes with examples of experience

• Sit somewhere quite so you are not disturbed

•Research the company - know a bit about them

• Slowdown, talk calmly and clearly

• Smile -body language can be sensed over the phone

• Listen to the full question before responding

Interview via video call

• Do atrial run beforehand – make sure you have the right software

• Set up the camera and mic/head set before your interview – check it’s clear and at the right height

• Check your background, make sure its clean and tidy or use an appropriate virtual background.

• Dress professionally - make an affect as if it was a face-to-face interview

• Avoid making too many hand gestures it can be distracting to the interviewer Face to Face, in person

• Turn up 10 - 15 minutes early – but don’t interrupt their interview system

• Dress to impress, think about your shoes, personal appearance hands, nails, hair etc.

• Be mindful of your surroundings, look around the waiting room get info which may help you in the interview

• Be prepared have a mock interview, prepare some example answers you can refer to


1. Dress appropriately and present yourself well!

• Dress professionally in simple business attire. That means, no jeans, trainers etc. You should be in a shirt and tie (boys) and smart trousers/ skirt and shirt/smart top (girls).

• Do not smoke directly before an interview – the smell of smoke can be very overpowering and can be smelt through chewing gum

•Remember to give a firm handshake at the beginning and end

•Maintain eye contact throughout the interview

2. Be on time!

Practise getting to the venue to see how long it will take. Public transport may be unsuitable, the traffic may be heavy, but whatever the reason, it won't affect the fact that your chances are reduced if you are late. Always remember - You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Aim to be early - you can always find a nearby cafe/shop to wait in. If worst comes to worst and you are going to be late, then definitely ring in and let them know.

3. Be enthusiastic, positive, and confident!

Don't criticise previous employers, particularly within the industry. Focus on positive achievements and views. Make sure you communicate positively, professionally and with a pleasant manner.

4. Don't talk too much/too little!

Communication is a two-way thing so ensure you are answering questions fully whilst also making sure you give your interviewer a chance to ask them!

5. Be prepared!

Look at the employers' website and learn something about the company before you attend your interview. This is essential as a lot of companies will ask the question ‘What do you know about us?’ and saying ‘nothing’ will show a lack of interest/enthusiasm

6. Write down and practice possible questions!

Writing them down and practicing them with someone will make it easier to remember when you get to the interview. Avoid sounding as though you assume the job is yours. Have a look at the attached document which lists some possible interview questions and gives advice on how to answer them.

7. Be honest!

There really is no point lying about your background and/or skills. Job interviews are about matching needs - if there isn't a good match, then chances are that the job won't work out.

8. Check your CV for possible gaps!

Make sure you know how you are going to explain time gaps on your CV.

9. Talk about specific achievements!

Interviewers like to know how you felt about a particular success. Some will ask for specific examples of things you've done that you're particularly proud of; how you solved problems; how you learned - and improved - from difficult situations.

10. Take a spare CV and your certificates with you!

Your interviewer won't be expecting it so you will impress them. It also helps them remember you after the interview.

And finally, don’t give up! The fact is that you will not be offered every job however perfect you think you may be for it. If you have been unsuccessful to get a second interview or even the job, either phone or write to employer, ask politely if they can give you any feedback for the future -there's a job out there for you somewhere.

Common interview questions

What are your strengths?

This is one of the most common questions you will be asked and no doubt, have already been asked in previous interviews. You have to remember here - try to give ananswer relevant to the position you are applying to. The interviewer is trying to find if your strengths match the job. For example, if you are applying for a job where accuracy is an important issue, one of your strengths could be that you have an eye for detail.

What are your weaknesses?

Again, another common question and 99% of the time you will have been asked this before. A common mistake to make when answering this question is saying something negative like "I am shy" / “I’m never on time”. Use this question to your advantage by actually turning a negative into a positive. For example, "I need to improve my typing skills and to combat this I have recently enrolled on a typing course". This will show you can identify your weaknesses but at the same time, you are willing to improve. Finally, and most importantly: do not mention a weakness that is any way related to the job you are being interviewed for! This might sound obvious, but it is a common mistake!

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

All too often, this question is answered the same "I enjoy music, socialising and reading". If possible, avoid using this type of answer. Instead, try to aim your interests someway to the job you are applying for. If you have done some voluntary work this may be good to mention.

Why did you leave you last job?

When answering this question make sure you do not give a negative answer. For example, "I did not get on with my boss" or "I did not agree with the way the business was managed" - this will make you sound negative and will greatly reduce any chance you have of being offered the position. If possible, try to answer the question so it shows you are looking for career progression. Also, if you were made redundant - say so. There is no reason to hide this fact!

Why should we choose you for this job?

Tell them your personal qualities, how motivated you are. Explain how you researched their company before coming to make sure it was a right fit for you. Talk about how you feel that the company and your skills and personal qualities will go well together.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

A good answer here would be something along the lines of wanting to study andparticipate in training that will assist you in your job and aid in yourchances of progressing within the company.

Why do you want to work here?

This is an opportunity for you to show the interviewer how enthusiastic you are about the job / industry. Try to think of an answer that shows your interest in the job. No doubt you will be asked this towards the end of the interview. Make sure you do ask a question as this shows your seriousness and interest in the position. Maybe you could ask about how you will be trained for the position. Do not ask about salary or holidays though!!

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