Interview and Application Tips

So now that you've decided an apprenticeship is the best route for you, it's time to think about your application. To give yourself the best chance of success, consider these top tips to help you apply for an apprenticeship:

1. Do your homework thoroughly

  • You'll need to know the role inside-out to make the best application and prepare for any possible interview.
  • Find out as much as you can about the Council, look on the website and speak to anyone you know who works for the Council.
  • Think about whether the apprenticeship and the Council behaviours are right for you, and why you would be the best person for the role.
  • Think about practical stuff like the location of the workplace (how will you get there, how long it will take to get there and the cost of travel). 

2. Make a list of your skills, qualities and experiences, not just your hobbies 

  • This will be useful when completing your application.
  • You can use it to compare and match with what the Council is looking for in its apprenticeship description, and make sure you think about how it will relate to the job you're applying for.
  • Ensure that you include your predicted qualifications in the free text question section to show how you meet the essential criteria for the post.

3. You'll need to be able to write about yourself

  • If you're stuck, ask teachers, friends, and family to help you list your three top qualities.
  • You'll need to give examples to prove what you're talking about.
  • Please note we do not accept CV's for Apprenticeship applications and these will be removed prior to shortlisting.

4. Don't just spellcheck your application

  • Good spelling, punctuation, and grammar are important.
  • Once you've finished, read through it again and then print it out as it's much easier to spot mistakes on paper.
  • Before you send it, ask your friends and family to have a look through it too.

5. Think about your contact details

  • Are all of your details correct?
  • You should think about the methods you are using.
  • Remember to check your emails and voicemail regularly to track the progress of your application.

6. Final checks

  • Remember to check that you have completed all sections of the application form.
  • Attach any supporting information before you press the 'Apply' button.

In interviews, recruiters look for evidence of competencies by asking candidates questions to help them understand how you would respond in certain situations or with certain tasks. This style of question requires candidates to give situational examples of times in the past when they have performed particular tasks or achieved particular outcomes using certain skills.  Competency based questions, usually start with phrases such as "tell me about a time", "give me an example of", "describe a situation when"

The best place to look when trying to think about the questions you might be asked is the role profile. The competencies and behaviors sections tell you what you will be accountable for and how your performance in the role will be measured.  This is a good place to start and gives you some idea of what the interviewers will be looking for.

Different type of models to help with answering achievements/competency based questions but we find the STAR model helps deliver a more detailed answer and we would encourage you to use this model when answering interview questions.

Star model

  • Situation - WHERE were you, WHAT were you doing, WHO was involved?
  • Task - highlight any challenges or constraints.  Give details such as deadlines, budgets, costs
  • Action - what did YOU do in this situation. What skills and behaviours did YOU apply
  • Result - what was the end result: was there an improvement made, problem resolved, did you save the company money.  

Examples

Watch the video to see how the STAR Method (YouTube) can be used.