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How to be Professional… in interviews

18/04/2016 Sophie

As opposed to a regular job interview, where you will do everything you can to convince the employer to hire you, an apprentice interview requires a slightly different approach. Even though you will still be performing a role or duty and getting paid for this contribution to the company, a large part of being an apprentice is learning and developing as an individual.

So, along with telling the interviewer about your experience and expertise, you can also ask questions about the training and support on offer as well as what full-time employment would be like afterwards. Several people think that interviews are a one-way street, but it is important to engage in two-way conversations that demonstrate interest and enthusiasm.

Another crucial thing to bear in mind is professionalism. In many respects you are still a student, acquiring new knowledge and skills as you progress. However, you are also a representative of the company, which means you must remember the following if you want to succeed at an apprenticeship interview.

Before the interview

First and foremost, conduct a little research into the company. A good place to start is their website, paying close attention to the
company culture, core values, and recent projects. Interviewers will be impressed by the fact you have taken the time to find out more, as it demonstrates passion as well as professionalism.

You should also have another look at the apprenticeship description to see what will be expected of you. Try to think of previous examples where you demonstrated similar acumen or astuteness. It is good idea to look at typical apprenticeship interview questions and answers too, some examples of which can be found here.

First impressions

As you are no doubt aware, making a good first impression could potentially make or break your apprenticeship interview. Something as
simple as a handshake can impress and disappoint in equal measure from a professionalism perspective too.

However, by concentrating on the basics such as making sure your smart clothes are straightened out, saying please and thank you, being polite when chatting before hand, and maintaining eye contact with the interviewer, you can’t go far wrong. Don’t be afraid to accept the offer of a drink either, as water can prevent getting a dry mouth from nerves.

Answering interview questions

In order to convey professionalism, give your interview answers real conviction. By having confidence and self-assurance when describing what you can offer the company and why you should be considered for an apprenticeship, the interviewer will have great belief in your abilities.

Before answering a question, take a few moments to think about your response and try not to ramble on for too long about something
completely irrelevant. Another thing to be mindful of is the speed of your speech, as you won’t come across as a professional candidate by rushing your replies.

Closing the interview

An interview isn’t exclusively about assessing your abilities; it also gives you the opportunity to find out whether you actually
want the position. If you do, try and leave the interviewer with an accurate and affirmative opinion.

To achieve this, ask if there is anything else you can provide such as references or work samples. This demonstrates transparency and a willingness to go the extra mile. You can also reiterate your interest in the position and ask about the next step in the process, finding out how and when to get in touch. Again, this shows enthusiasm but also a respect and high regard for the employer.

There is no secret to coming across as professional in an apprenticeship interview; simply observe the aforementioned advice and you
should be able to express both confidence and competence.

Good luck!

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