Before going to an interview you should prepare so that you are able to make the most of the opportunity.
These are some simple steps to help you:
- Look again at the job advert to remind yourself what they are looking for
- Look at your application to see what you wrote and if there was anything you missed you could tell them on the day
- Think about the questions they may ask you about and prepare some answers
- Think of some questions to ask them - remember that you need to know if you will enjoy working for them too
- Check the date/time and location of the interview and work out how you are going to get there in time. Do not be late.
- Think about what you are going to wear. The most important thing will be to look neat and tidy. Then remember the simple things: brush your hair, polish your shoes, iron your shirt or blouse. Make sure you feel comfortable in what you are going to wear so that you feel more relaxed on the day.
Questions about you eg. what you studied at school, experience of work (Saturday or holiday jobs, school work experience), other interests and experience (including playing a sport or being part of a club).
Questions about your skills eg. give me an example of using a skill related to the job or apprenticeship you are applying for? Think of examples from practical work you have done in class or in another activity. Take a portfolio of class work with you to show them.
Questions about your abilities eg. give me an example of when you have worked well within a team? This could be completing a school project or taking part in an activity or sport.
Questions about your motivation in applying for the role eg. why are you applying for this apprenticeship? Tell them how you became interested, what you have done and what you want to learn more about as well as the hopes you have for your career.
Phone interviews: these are normally used to talk to a large number of candidates to decide who will be asked to interview. So remember they are just as important as the interview day itself. Be prepared, make sure you are in a quiet place where you can concentrate on the call. Sound enthusiastic and ask them some questions too as that shows your interest.
Online video interviews: these will be increasingly used during the current COVID19 crisis and may become a feature of first round interviews for the future. Key things to remember are that you must prepare in the same way.
- You will need think about where you will sit and what the background will be, it is best not to sit in your bedroom for example.
- Remember to dress properly and look at what your image looks like for them.
- Try to have the camera of your phone or computer about eye level. Also make sure there is plenty of light and the device you are using is placed on something - don't try to hold it through the interview.
Panel interviews: there may be more than one person in the interview and they will often have different roles within the company. Answer directly to the person who asks you the question and consider their role within the company. For example someone from the HR department may be more interested in your attitude while a technical manager will be more interested in your skills.
It is good to remember a few things that will help you during the interview. How you present yourself and thinking about how to behave will help you feel confident about what you are saying.
- Turn your phone of before you go in, and if you forget apologise, reject the call, turn it off and continue.
- Remember your body language will say a lot about you. Walk in confidently, smile, sit up so you look interested in what you are talking about and where possible maintain eye contact. Also remember what you are doing with your hands - try not to fiddle with your hands or cross your arms for example.
- Show you are interested, listen carefully to what they ask and if you don’t understand a question ask them to repeat it, or be honest and ask them to explain further.
- If you can’t answer something be honest - it may be something you haven’t had experience of in your studies or in life yet. They will appreciate honesty. You can say that you are willing to learn new skills on the job.
- Also if you have a particular skill or experience you know will be of interest do tell them about it. If you haven’t been able to bring it into an answer to a question, then take the opportunity to tell them at the end. They will often ask if there is anything else you want to add? Sell your strengths.
- Remember they want to know about you as a person too so tell them about what you have done outside of school/college as part of a group or club, to help others including your own family and what your interests are.
- Remember to thank them for their time on the way out and don’t be afraid to ask when you might hear back from them.
The interview is not the end of your opportunity so here are a few tips on how to follow up.
- If you are still interested in the role it may be worth emailing them to thank them for their time and if you didn’t get the chance to ask them when you might hear back.
- If you are not interested in the role any more having been through the interview be honest with yourself and the company and let them know. You can always ask them to let you know about other opportunities.
- If you are not successful, you may be able to ask for feedback although often this is difficult due to the number of candidates. If you are still interested, you can ask them to keep your CV on their database for future opportunities.