How to help your child prepare for an apprenticeship interview
Interviewing can be nerve-wracking, so it’s worth reassuring your child that interviewers are not looking to catch them out and pick fault with them. Quite the opposite! They are just as keen to find the right person to take up their apprenticeships as students are to find the right opportunity!
That said, employers like to be taken seriously as there’s a lot of time and money invested in the interview process. There are some fundamental must-dos before moving on to some of the tips that could make your child stand out from others.
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Fundamental things they should do for interview:
Dress smartly, irrespective of whether the interview is face-to-face or online. Be fresh, clean and alert (make sure they have not been out partying the night before!). Wear smart, suitable shoes (no trainers, slip-ons or open toes). No brightly coloured nail varnish and minimal cosmetics. If the interview is online, make sure the background is appropriate and uncluttered;
Find out about the organisation. Your child must be able to supply a heartfelt, credible reason why they want to work for whomever is offering the apprenticeship – if they’ve had work experience with them already, so much the better;
Be on time! It reflects very poorly to arrive late for an interview – even if it is just a few minutes. In most cases, interviews will run to a tight schedule; aside from making a poor initial impression by being late, they will have less time than others to make themselves stand out – the interview is unlikely to be extended;
Allow some contingency. Make sure your child plans their journey so they can arrive with time to spare. If there are problems with public transport or traffic en route, they will have factored in a buffer. If they need to visit the rest room, they will have time. If it’s hot outside, they will have chance to cool down in air-conditioning. If they are suffering with nerves, they can get a glass of water;
Check whether they will be expected to give a presentation – and prepare for it if so;
Be able to talk fluently on what they have mentioned in their CV and application. It can be a long time between making the application and getting the interview. Also, brush up on anything relevant that has happened in between.
Preparing for an interview
To help your child prepare for their interview, a list of commonly asked interview questions have been included in this guide. The aim of this is not to encourage your child to learn answers off by heart, but to help build their confidence in speaking around these topics.
Research the company and job role
Questions on the company itself are likely to be asked - so make sure your child has researched carefully the values and aims of the business. Direct them to the required skills / competencies found in the job description to gain a better understanding of what the employer is looking for and how they can demonstrate these in their responses.
Get your child to write down some short-hand answers to each of the questions on page 71. Preparing thoroughly prior to the interview gives your child thinking time and will help them to provide considered responses to difficult questions.
Reflect on past experiences
Make sure your child can support their answers with specific examples of when they have previously demonstrated the skill or character trait they are talking about.
One of the key things employers will be looking for is good communication skills. Encourage your child to practise their responses out loud to improve the way they come across. You may wish to role-play interviews with your child using the list of questions obelow. Pay particular attention to what your child says, how they speak and their body language.
Questions about the company:
Why do you want to apply for this apprenticeship?
Why do you want to work for this company?
What do you know about this company?
What qualities do you think are important to this role?
Which part of the job role do you think will be the most challenging?
What do you think are the most challenging issues facing the company at the moment?
Questions about the applicant:
Tell me about yourself.
What skills can you bring to the role?
What do you think makes you stand out from other applicants?
What are your three key strengths?
Do you have any weaknesses? (the answer is always yes!). What are they and how are you addressing them?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
What do you think you would like least about this role?
Give an example of why you feel you are a good communicator / team member?
How have you influenced team decisions?
How do you respond to stressful situations / under pressure / difficult customers?
What are your hobbies and interests?
Prepare your own questions
It is very common for interviewers to ask their applicants if they have any questions at the end of the interview. This is a great opportunity for your child to demonstrate their interest in the apprenticeship. Help your child to prepare some questions in advance. A good way to this is to get your child to find a recent news article on the company / industry they are applying in. Based on what they have read, help them think of a question they might like to ask at the interview.
Questions your child might ask:
Where do you think this company is going to be in the next five years?
What do apprentices usually go on to do?
Will there be the option to continue my training after the apprenticeship finishes?
How regularly will my work performance be reviewed?
For more information on apprenticeships and why they might be a first-rate option for your child, take a look at The Parents’ Guide to Apprenticeships
We always love to hear from you, so do let us know if there are any subjects you’d like us to chat to you about. Stay safe and keep happy, Vanessa and Darius - email@example.com