Five steps to conquering a job interview

Congratulations: you’ve been called for an interview for your dream job! This is the stage in the application process where people often feel the most nervous – but you don’t need to be. Read our five step guide below to stop you breaking out in a cold sweat, ace that interview, and secure yourself a prestigious apprenticeship offer!

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare!
There’s nothing worse than going into an interview feeling unconfident and ill-prepared. Make sure you spend some time reading up on the company and the job description, and think about possible questions the interviewers might ask. Common questions include: Tell Me About Yourself, Why do You Want to Work in this Industry? and What are Your Strengths and Weaknesses? If it helps, write some practice answers down and say them out loud to yourself or a friend– just be careful not to sound too robotic in the interview! You’ll also likely be asked if you have any questions, so prepare a few in advance.

2. Dress to impress
Think about your outfit choice; you want to look like you take the job seriously. If in doubt, always err on the side of caution and dress smartly such as black trousers and a shirt. Take a notepad and pen along with you too!

3. First impressions count
Your interviewer only has a short space of time to decide if they think you are the right fit for the job, so likewise you only have a small window to make the best impression possible. Shake their hand when you first meet them, make eye contact throughout the interview and answer questions honestly and politely!

4. Remember to Breathe!
If you feel yourself panicking mid-interview, take a deep breath to gather your nerves. It’s also fine to pause for a moment before answering questions; this allows you time to think of how best to answer as well as calm yourself down.

5. Follow Up With a Thank You
Make sure you stay in the forefront of your interviewer’s mind by sending an email thanking them for their time. Let them know you enjoyed meeting them and ask them to contact you if they need any more information.

I always struggled in school as I wasn’t very academic, so knew learning on the job would be a better option for me. I would find it difficult to get up for 9am but now I wake up and look forward to my day. I wanted to try a hair apprenticeship as I’ve always been interested in hairdressing, and by the end of the first week, I already loved it!

Jaimee Benson, Level 2 Hairdressing

I have developed a range of new skills through work including the technical, industry skills required for the job, to personal development such as ensuring I am always on time. The biggest change since leaving school is adjusting to the independence you gain from earning a salary. My advice to anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship would be find what you like doing, and go for it!

Will Birch, Level 2 Bricklaying

Since starting the apprenticeship, I’ve become far more confident. In a classroom, you only interact with your classmates, but through working you develop your people skills as you interact with customers on a daily basis. At school, you are closely monitored and parented, however I am now more independent and feel grown up

Sam Collard, Level 2 Light Vehicle and Maintenance Repair

The most important thing I’ve learnt since leaving school is that there are other routes to success than just academia. I failed my GCSEs, as I never suited the school environment. Now though, I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship as I’ve discovered I learn more through hands-on practice.

Ben Freeman, Level 2 Carpentry

I would just like to thank you and your team for all the amazing work they do, you have provided me with the most invaluable experience which has helped to pave the way of my future. The work you do for young people is incredible!

Luke Kowalski, Teaching Assistant and former apprentice at Sir Robert Gefferys School