How To Interview An Apprentice

Written on: 15th June 2017
Written by:Amanda McCombie

When it comes to recruiting an apprentice, the whole process can seem quite similar to recruiting any other member of staff. But careful consideration needs to be taken when it comes to interviewing and managing your own expectations, and those of the various candidates you may see.

An apprenticeship candidate is different. They will not have years and years of on the job experience and a list of qualifications as long as your arm. This is why you need to do things differently.

It’s more about finding out about them. Their passions, their hobbies and interests, and getting as much out of them as you can in that short space of time. You may not have interviewed an apprentice before, so our quick guide to interviewing apprentices is here to help.

Don’t focus too much on workplace experience or qualifications

Yes, your apprentice will be another employee but unlike other staff, they may have little to no workplace experience and just have the qualifications they have achieved at school. Allowances for this must be made and you must remember, this experience and gaining their qualifications are why they want to start their apprenticeship journey with you!

Look for their passion and enthusiasm.

What a candidate lacks in workplace experience and formal qualifications, they should make up for in enthusiasm and a positive attitude towards their prospective role and you as an employer. Use your interview time to identify whether their personality and attitude will work well within your business and the rest will follow.

Just remember, this could be the candidates first ever interview, the questions you ask them need to be well structured and require more than simply “yes or no” answers. This will help the candidate open up and express themselves better, and allow you to see the research they will have undertaken prior to the interview.

Example questions to ask an apprenticeship candidate

Why have you chosen the apprenticeship route?

Does the candidate understand the commitment they are undertaking and the great opportunities that an apprenticeship can offer over a college course for example?

What do you know about the company and our product/service?

Has the candidate done their research? Can they describe your company and what you do? Have they looked at your website and have they researched into the history of the business and your values and mission statement?

When studying for your GCSE exams, did you have a revision or study plan, or did you leave revision until a few days before?

Depending on their answer, you will be able to determine how they may tackle their workload. Do they plan and schedule their tasks to work effectively or do they rush into things and leave things with little time to spare? Both styles of working can work, it depends on the individual and what you want for your business. A quick look at their exam results can help you determine if their style of working is right for your business or not.

Can you give an example of when you have had to work independently and use your Initiative?

Their response to this questions can determine how confident the candidate is in their own abilities, and how much guidance they may require going forward in their day to day role.

Where do you see yourselves in three years’ time?

Does the candidate discuss their options after their apprenticeship? Their progression opportunities to a Level 4 Apprenticeship or into a full-time role within the business? Can they see themselves qualified and does this prospect excite them? Their response to this questions could give you some insight into whether they are seeing this opportunity as a job, or the start to their career.

We could go on all day listing various questions to help you get the most out of your candidates but these 5 questions are a great place to start when you are thinking about what you could ask your prospective apprentice.