When applying for an apprenticeship standard, most candidates will receive an interview, in the same way that they would for any other job role. In order to make it a little easier for people who are applying for an apprenticeship and who have perhaps never had to attend a job interview before, we have included some of the apprenticeship interview questions that are likely to be asked.
“Tell us a bit about yourself…”
This is a question designed to put you at your ease and allow you to open up a bit about who you are and what your interests are. It is a chance to explain any interests that you have, that you find relevant to the application.
An example might be “I have always had a keen interest in motorbikes and have been taking them apart and putting them back together for years now…” This would obviously be an excellent answer when applying for an apprenticeship with a mechanic as it would demonstrate a level of skill that has already been achieved through hands-on practice.
They will then almost certainly follow up on at least one of the points that you have mentioned. Remember that there is nobody who is there to try to trip you up and if you need to take a breath or ask for a drink of water, nobody is holding it against you. Everyone there knows what it was like to be young and to be thrust into their first interview. You will be viewed sympathetically and treated well nearly anywhere you go.
“Why Have you Applied for This Apprenticeship?”
This is one of the key questions that you will get asked in the interview. They are keen to understand your motivations and just looking at your shoes and mumbling that you weren’t sure what to do after school isn’t going to cut it. Apprenticeships are competitive and it is important to assure the interview panel that you do actually want to do the specific apprenticeship that you have applied for.
When this question is asked, they mean why have you applied for their apprenticeship specifically, out of the many thousands that are out there to choose from. You should do your homework beforehand and learn as much as you can about the company. Being able to add in bits and pieces of information about their products or the way that they are perceived internationally for some good work that they did recently can really rack up the brownie points.
Having this kind of information to hand can mark you out as being someone who has tailored their interview preparation specifically for this apprenticeship and who is a keen learner. Just be careful not to make it sound like you are trying too hard to mention every single achievement the company has ever had. Try to focus on the present and their plans for the future, because if the interview goes well, this is exactly where you will fit in.
“What Skills can you Bring to the Role?”
It is not necessary for a school leaver to have all the skills that you will need, already baked in. You definitely don’t need to be the “finished product” when you haven’t even started an apprenticeship yet. If you have good transferable skills, be sure to mention those.
If you find it easy to communicate difficult ideas in simple ways, or if you are naturally good as a team player and ensure that everyone is treated fairly. These are the kind of skills that you can give examples of from your time in school or with your friends.
Should you genuinely believe you have some hot shot mechanic skills then by all means mention them, but people with these will be in a tiny minority amongst the applicants.
You should go on to talk about the skills that you would like to be able to develop. You can find these on the apprenticeship standard documentation and you can explain how they interest you and which of them seems like a really good fit for an aspect of your personality. This is obviously very individual but if you have thought it through before the interview, it should come slightly easier to you.
“What Would you say is your Biggest Weakness?”
This is a question that flummoxes adults who take job interviews all of the time and the answer doesn’t have to be hard, it actually isn’t meant to trick you but is aimed at getting to know you and your capabilities better.
An honest answer to apprenticeship interview questions works best and some of the kinds of answers that work well are “Timidity or a lack of assertiveness, I sometimes struggle to make my voice heard and get my ideas across when there are others speaking as well” and “Lack of patience, I am always keen to get started and get on with things and sometimes when that isn’t possible I can get a little nervous and tetchy.”
These are good answers because the first one says that you have ideas that you would like to contribute, if you could get over the timidity, and the second says you are keen to get started and that if they can help you to do this, they will get the best out of you. These are exactly the kind of things that interviewers like to hear.
“Do You Have Any Questions for Us?”
This is always one of the apprenticeship interview questions that people hate. Don’t just say yes or no, and try to steer away from information about apprenticeships generally which you should have already covered. Instead, try to ask about the job role specifically and how many people you’ll be working directly with, or even turn the tables on them and ask what prompted them to start an apprenticeship scheme at their company. Perhaps ask about previous apprentices at the company, how many there have been before you etc.
Apply for an Apprenticeship Today
If you feel that you are ready to apply for an apprenticeship and have read the reasons to start an apprenticeship and who can start an apprenticeship pages, you can visit our dedicated apprenticeship jobs board today to find something suitable in your area.