Published: September 30, 2021

What 10 Mistakes should I avoid at my Apprenticeship Interview

Our learners and some of our team tell you the most common mistakes people make at their apprenticeship interview

There are many reasons that people do not get the apprenticeship they have applied for. On many occasions they have not spent enough time on the application form and just cut and pasted from other applications they have made for different jobs and the skills do not match (we’ll look at applications in another news article!), sometimes they do not have the right qualifications, for example, GCSE grades in maths and English.

However, if your application is good, you have secured the interview, but you are still failing to impress the prospective employers, then maybe you are making one of the following mistakes.


1. Using slang and speaking unprofessionally

Swearing and thoughtless comments must be avoided at all costs! Making jokes is high risk and will rarely score you points with the employer. Especially avoid self-deprecating jokes or jokes that are designed to make you look like you are trying to be over-friendly with the interviewer. They are interviewing potential apprentices, not potential friends! Calling the interviewer ‘mate’ is a no go!


2. Not asking any questions at the end of the interview

Lots of candidates never ask any questions! An apprenticeship interview not only enables the potential employer to assess your skills and suitability but it also enables the interviewee to assess if the company is, in fact, a good employer and someone you would like to work for. At least ask something about what you'll actually be doing and who you'll be doing it with. Apprenticeship adverts rarely give a sense of what an actual day in the job will feel like.


3. Dressing Sloppily

Don’t turn up to your interview sporting jeans, tracksuits/Joggers, unkempt hair, and a dirty T-shirt. That is not what you would be expected to wear and look like at work. If you can’t make an effort for your interview and set a good first impression, the employer will think you are not interested and you won’t make any effort if you got the apprenticeship!


4. Speaking negatively about past employers/colleges

Remember, you are not running from somewhere but to somewhere! No employer wants to feel that you are joining them just because you had a disagreement at work/college or you are bored and you think that this it's better than where you are. Instead, show that you are excited by the opportunities the apprenticeship can give you and what the employer represents. Also, how do you know that they are not good friends with someone you decide to speak negatively about!


5. Not understanding transport arrangements to/from the apprenticeship

If you haven’t researched the transport arrangements to the employer, how will you know that you can get there when they want you to start? If you must use public transport is there a bus that takes you there or is the closet bus stop a 20 min walk away? These are things you need to know before the interview as if you are not willing to walk then it might not be the job for you! Some employers may be willing to change your hours of work to help you with transport if they think you are the right person for the apprenticeship!


6. Saying “I just want aa apprenticeship” and not explaining why you’d be the best person for the apprenticeship

Your application form will tell the employer a lot of information about you, but you still need to explain why you are the best person for the apprenticeship. Tell the employer what you can do for them, how you can help their business. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself but don’t makeup things you can’t do!


7. Lacking personality - smile & engage with the interviewer

You might be nervous but don’t sit looking at the floor! Body language can say a lot about you so try not to play with your hair or touch your face. Did you know that 67% of interviewees don’t make eye contact with the interviewer and 38% don’t even smile! Make sure you sit up straight, don’t cross your arms and acknowledge what the interviewer is saying to you by nodding and talking back.


8. Giving one-word answers

What is most impressive is the candidate that expands on the answer, showing how they understand what is being asked of them. This is of cause unless the interviewer requires a 'yes' or 'no' answer! What is a common issue is when candidates ramble on forever like they're fishing for the right answer saying everything they did in their last job, whether or not it's relevant to the question.

Listen to the question and answer it thoughtfully and concisely. If you need clarification about the question, definitely ask. But don't try to squeeze in every great thing about yourself when you're asked a specific question.


9. Not showing enough interest or enthusiasm

You have taken the time to write the application form and show up for the interview on time!! Now show the employer you want to be there and want the apprenticeship. In a survey of 2000 employers, 33% claimed they know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether they will offer someone a job. When the employer comes to meet you, say hello and comment on how easy it is to find, how nice the office/building looks. Show them you are interested and enthusiastic about working for them for them


10. Inadequate research about the potential employer

With access to the internet and most companies having a social media presence, there is absolutely no excuse for not knowing anything about the company you are applying to complete your apprenticeship with. You should as a minimum do your research on what it is and does, but also give thought to where it's going and how you would contribute.

If the company sells a product or provides a service, do you know about it or if possible have you tried out the product/service even minimally before coming to interview. How does it look if the interviewer asks you what you think their product /service and you respond with “I've been meaning to try it', but……". It doesn’t help to read the textbook after you've sat the exam!

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