How do I ace my interview?

Now for the nerve-wracking bit! You’ve found the ideal apprentice placement with the perfect company. You’ve cleared the first hurdle of the application form. It’s within your grasp.

You just need a couple more tips to see you over the finish line in first place. You might even manage to keep your nerves intact.

Before the interview

Preparation is the key to victory. If you’re well prepared, you will know how to answer more questions and you will feel less anxious about the whole situation.

If your school or college offer mock interviews, arrange one. Being able to get used to giving answers will be invaluable practice. If there are no mock interviews available, have someone ask you some questions. That will help you gather your thoughts and put them smoothly into words.

Go over the job description a few times to make sure you can provide examples of how you fit the bill. Be prepared to say more too about what you put on the application so you can convince the interviewer you’re offering what they’re looking for.

Prepare a couple of questions yourself to demonstrate how much you are thinking about how you might develop within the company. This is also your last opportunity to find out more about the company, but make sure any questions give the impression of an enthusiastic, dedicated potential employee. (Don’t ask about the salary or how many holidays you get.)

On the day

Dress appropriately. Best bet is suit, jacket and tie, dress or skirt. You can get a feel for what everyone in the workplace wears once you’ve started in the job.

Firm handshake and good eye contact will do a lot to give the interviewer confidence in you. (Don’t stare too long or crush their hands, though, as that would not help your case at all!) Sit up and keep your arms unfolded to keep your body language positive and looking interested.

Bring in a neat copy of the job description and your application that you can refer to during the interview and a pen to make notes.

Take your time when answering and give full, honest answers to every question. If you need a second to think before you answer, take it. They will appreciate you considering the question properly, and you’ll kick yourself if you rush it and forget something important.

As with your application, have examples ready of how you show the skills or personal qualities the job needs. Giving good answers here will do more to get you the job than anything else.

Again, if you have any questions that occur to you during the interview, ask them. You might not get another chance.

Remember, you are at the beginning of your career and the interviewers won’t expect you to have tons of work experience, but if you demonstrate that you are willing to work, polite and professional, and genuinely interested in the job, you’ll be in a good position.