Around 2/3 of my job is helping the teens do well in their apprenticeship interviews. I’ve always been really into giving careers advice so being able to use this in my work is really cool.
I’ve had a lot of interviews in my time. Some of them bad, some of them good and a few of them ridiculously bad. But I’ve formulated an interview structure that helps my students feel calmer, to get their strengths in the conversation, and to end on a high.
Step one: Prepare the opening
The first question you’ll be asked is usually “tell me a little about yourself”. While this sounds like a gentle ice breaker, it’s the perfect time to tell them your strengths without much interruption.
Firstly, take out the job description again, and a few highlighter pens. Highlight in colour one all the skills (things you can do) that they ask for, that you have. In a second colour, highlight all the strengths (things you are) that you have. In a third colour, highlight all the things which you don’t currently have.
Secondly, make a list of your skills that relate to the job. Include a few of the ones that they ask for as well, for good measure.
Thirdly, follow the structure of: intro – what you can do – what you want. Make sure to drop those skills and strengths into the second section! So, for example, this structure for me would look like this: “My name is Charlotte and I currently work in apprentice recruitment. Using my teaching skills and ability to connect with young people, along with my solid knowledge of the recruitment world, I am able to hit targets and help my candidates get excellent jobs. Moving forward, I would like to work more with teenage mental health and work with young people with such challenges.”
You can see that I waste no time – I’m giving details of my experience and my skills, being upfront about what I can do in the role.
Extra tip! For the things that you highlighted as you’re not able to do yet, phrase these as things you’d like to know more about. Obviously, if it’s a huge skills relating to the job then you’ll have to show initiative, like taking online courses.
Step two: Do your research
It seems a bit obvious, but people still do need reminding. Aside from looking at the company’s website, also look at their Twitter feed to get a good idea as to what’s important to them right now, and also the LinkedIn profile for the person interviewing you. Of course, they’ll be able to see that you stalked them, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Any info you can get could be useful in the interview.
Step three: Have questions planned
The last question they’ll ask you is if YOU have any questions! ALWAYS SAY YES!
Good examples of questions are:
“What challenges would someone in this role face?”
“What would be expected of me in my first three months?”
“How would you describe the team I’d be working in?”
If you feel that you made a good connection to the interviewer, feel free to ask them about their own career history (if you’ve LinkedIn stalked them, try not to sound creepy!)
Do you have any interview pro tips? I’d love to pass them on to my students!