Preparing for an interview

A job interview can be scary, but if you prepare well there’s nothing to be afraid of. Be confident in how you present yourself; think about what you say and the job could be yours!

Here are a few useful tips:

Research the company

During an interview it is likely that you will be asked questions about what you know about the business and what they do. Take time to look at the company’s website and find out as much as you can about the business. It is always a good idea to print off this research and take to the interview, so the employer can see your preparation.

Practice

Think about the questions the employer would ask you, for example “Why do you want to work here?” or “What can you offer to the company?” and practice your answers to a parent, friend, or in the mirror so you can answer confidently when asked in the interview. List your key strengths on paper to remind you when you practice.

Dress to impress

Turning up to an interview in an old pair of jeans, a hoody and dirty trainers will not impress any employer. Wear smart trousers, and if you have one, a suit to look the part. Avoid chewing gum during the interview.

Don’t be late!

If you know you have to travel by car or public transport to your interview then plan your route at least a day in advance before your interview and make sure you know where the building is. Sometimes being late can’t be helped and if you are running late due to a road accident or train and bus delays, telephone your Skills Made Easy advisor as soon as you can to notify them of the problem. Courtesy counts.

Beware of body language.

Don’t slouch or fiddle with your hands or clothes. Avoid crossing your arms, staring or touching your face too much. A good, strong handshake always helps to impress too!

Don’t panic!

It’s true that interviews can be a scary situation, but if you keep calm and think about your answers before you give them you will show you are confident.

Ask questions

At the end of the interview, the interviewer will say “Do you have any questions?” Don’t say no or shake your head. Think about what you would like to know about the position, remember that you are trying to find out if the job is right for you! Write down five questions to ask beforehand and take them with you.

Here a few example questions you might like to consider:

  • What is the next stage in the process and when do you think you’ll be making a decision about the vacancy?
  • Can you give me some examples of the type of work that I’ll be undertaking, if successful?
  • What qualities are you looking for in a candidate?
  • Can you give me an example of a typical working day?
  • How does the company measure success?

But avoid asking questions about:

  • Pay, time off and benefits - your employer will advise you of this later in the interview process
  • What the company does – ensure that you have an understanding of what the company does before the interview. Research, research, research!
  • Gossip or being overly familiar with the interviewer
  • The length of lunch breaks or policies about being late for work/ sickness
  • Whether the company monitors internet usage or email.

After your interview

After your interview has finished, your future employer or your Skills Made Easy advisor will let you know whether you've been successful or not. You may be invited to spend a trial period working with the business. 

If you aren't successful, don't get disheartened. Remember that apprenticeships can be competitive. Treat the experience as a useful learning opportunity. Ask your employer and advisor at Skills Made Easy for feedback and think about how you can apply what you've learned to your next interview. It may just help you to be more successful at your next interview!