10 Apprentice Interview Questions and Example Answers
Apprenticeships are a full-time job just like any other.
That means you will have to attend an interview and make a good impression on the employer. Interviews can be the most daunting part of the application process. There is a lot of pressure riding on that meeting, and many of us struggle to put our best foot forward.
If you have found the right apprenticeship and made it to the interview stage then we’d like to help out. We’re going to discuss 10 apprentice interview questions and example answers you are likely to come across.
How to Ace Your Apprenticeship Interview
The best thing you can do to prepare for an interview is research. Research the business you’re applying with, the industry you’ll be working in and the person who is interviewing you. The more you know about the role, the better you’ll be able to demonstrate your experience and connect with the interviewer.
The next best thing you can do is practise! Employers often use standardised questions to learn more about your skills, experience and personality. The 10 apprentice interview questions and example answers in this article are some of the most common topics you’ll encounter.
Take some time to really think about each question and prepare some talking points. Time spent practising now can save you from fumbling for the right answer when you’re actually sitting in your interview.
Example Apprenticeship Questions and Answers
Here are some common apprenticeship interview questions and example answers you can use to prepare for your interview:
1. Tell me about yourself
This is a classic question that’s asked in almost every apprenticeship interview. This question is designed to start the conversation and give you a chance to provide basic information about you and your previous experience. Be aware that this question isn’t asking for your life story. The focus here should be your professional experience and skills.
Example Answer: “I have always been interested in working in the automotive industry. When I was young I used to help my parents fix their classic cars and it was something I really enjoyed. At the moment I’m working in retail and I really like the people there, but it’s time to get serious about my career. Last year I completed a pre-apprenticeship through TAFE and now I am looking for a full apprenticeship to really get my career started.”
Tip: Keep your response to a minute or two. You just need to give the interviewer some basic details about your work experience, qualifications and schooling. Your answer to this question should also show that you’re well-prepared and excited about the opportunity.
2. Why did you apply for this apprenticeship?
This is a very broad question that’s common in apprenticeship interviews. The challenge here is understanding what the interviewer is actually looking for. They don’t want to hear that you’re applying for every role you come across because you need a job. They want to hear why you are applying to their business and this apprenticeship specifically.
Example Answer: “An electrical apprenticeship with your business would be a great opportunity for me. I saw online that you install smart home systems and that’s an area I’d like to specialise in eventually. Plus, those photos you posted from your Christmas party looked great and I’d love to work with a team that knows how to have fun.”
Tip: This is where your research comes in. Show off your knowledge about the business you’re interviewing with. If their website says they value attention to detail or punctuality, you can describe how those things are important to you too.
3. What skills will you bring to this apprenticeship?
Relevant skills and experience are some of the most important things you can bring to an apprenticeship. Employers often ask this question to get an idea of your work history and industry experience. This is your chance to showcase valuable skills and how they will help you succeed as an apprentice. If you’re just getting started, don’t be afraid to mix in experience from school, sport, or work in different industries. Every little bit helps.
Example Answer: “Although I haven’t worked in the electrical industry, my part-time retail job has given me great experience in dealing with customers, working on a team and picking up new skills. I expect all of those things will help me get started as an apprentice so I can make a real contribution to your team.”
Tip: Honesty is the best policy when it comes to questions like this. Don’t make up skills or experience you don’t have. Even white lies might come back to haunt you if you’re ever asked to demonstrate those skills while you’re on the tools. Employers know that young apprentices are just getting started, so you don’t need to be worried about having limited experience.
4. What are your biggest strengths?
Knowing your own strengths isn’t an invitation to brag. It’s simply your chance to show you are self-aware and that you are proud of the skills you have built during your life. When discussing your strengths, it’s best to list skills that are relevant to the apprenticeship you’re interviewing for, and give examples of how those skills would be useful in your day-to-day duties.
Example Answer: “I think my biggest strength is my problem solving skills. At my current job I spend a lot of time figuring out how to fix little issues that come up, and I have gotten very good at finding solutions quickly. I think that would transfer very well to a plumbing apprenticeship because I wouldn’t get stuck every time I came across an unusual problem or needed to think outside the box.”
Tip: Do your best to give examples of how your greatest strengths would relate to your day-to-day work as an apprentice. Your strengths will usually be professional skills, but general traits like leadership and communication are also valuable to potential employers.
5. What is your greatest weakness?
If you know your strengths then you should also know your weaknesses. Being able to identify your own weaknesses is one of the most important skills for your career. When discussing your weaknesses, try to identify the actual weakness, how it affects your work and anything you have done to improve the issue.
Example Answer: “I struggle to ask for help when I need it. I prefer to figure things out on my own, but that means I sometimes avoid asking for advice even though I know my supervisor could speed up the learning process. It’s something I’m aware of and I try to limit how long I struggle with issues before asking for help. Doing that ensures I don’t waste time on a problem when someone else already has the solution.”
Tip: Avoid giving answers that try to spin a positive trait into a weakness. Interviewers have heard it all before. Saying you are a perfectionist to a fault is transparent and untrue. It’s better to give an honest assessment of your weaknesses and show that you’re able to learn and grow.
6. What are your career goals?
Training an apprentice is a big investment for an employer. Over the course of your apprenticeship they will spend hundreds of hours building your skills, supervising your work and supporting your study. That means employers prefer to hire apprentices that are in it for the long haul. This question is designed to gauge whether you are serious about completing your apprenticeship and if you will stay on with the company once you are qualified.
Example Answer: “Ultimately I would like to run my own diesel fitting workshop. But to get there I obviously need to complete an apprenticeship and spend some time gaining experience in the industry. At this point I think I want to specialise in working on mining vehicles, which is one of the reasons I would love to work with your business. I saw on your website that you service mining trucks and that’s something I’m very interested in learning more about.”
Tip: Be honest within reason. It’s okay to admit that you have career ambitions beyond your apprenticeship. Just be careful not to make it sound like you’re going to jump ship as soon as a better offer comes along.
7. Do you know anything about apprenticeships in this industry?
Young apprentices often have little or no experience in the industry they’re applying for. Employers know this, and they use questions like this to figure out how much you know about the work you’re applying for. If you have worked in the industry or completed a pre-apprenticeship then you should be able to answer this question easily!
Even if you haven’t worked as an apprentice, you should still be able to discuss your day-to-day responsibilities and the work you’ll be doing. If you’re unsure what type of work you will come across during your apprenticeship, do some research beforehand. You start with our apprenticeship trade profiles.
Example Answer: “During my pre-apprenticeship training I was placed with a cabinetmaker who specialised in new home builds. I learned about some of the main techniques they used to speed up the process and had a chance to practise the basics of building cabinetry. Day-to-day I was responsible for tidying up the workshop, helping out with the finishing work and supporting the cabinet makers, so I should be able to bring those skills to your business.”
Tip: A pre-apprenticeship is a great way to gain experience in an industry without committing to a full apprenticeship. Pre-apprenticeship training allows you to get hands-on and learn more about what will be expected of you during an apprenticeship.
8. Describe a time where you overcame a challenge at work
Every workday is different. Sooner or later you’re going to encounter a challenge that requires a clever solution. Employers ask this question to test your problem solving ability and find out how you perform under pressure. Make sure your answer clearly defines the challenge you encountered, what you did to solve the issue and details about the outcome of the situation.
Example Answer: “In my current role we often receive multiple large orders at once. Recently I had a situation where I was the only one on shift who could receive two orders that were accidentally scheduled for the same time. The delivery drivers would have been held up for a long time, so I asked my supervisor if I could have help from other team members. The others don’t normally do this sort of work, but I was able to give them a quick lesson so we could get all the products unloaded and stored quickly.”
Tip: You can use your answer to this question to show off your work ethic. If you have the initiative to come up with resourceful solutions, employers are more likely to value your contributions.
9. Describe a time when you made a mistake at work
Everyone makes mistakes. The important part is how you handle them. Interviewers ask this question to find out what went wrong, what you did to fix the issue and how you learned from the experience.
Example Answer: “At my last job I messed up a customer’s order. The product I supplied wasn’t what they asked for and they were annoyed that there was going to be a shipping delay while we ordered the correct product. In the end I apologised and asked my manager if we could give the customer a discount or speed up the shipping process, which made the situation a little better. After that I started triple checking all my orders to make sure I didn’t make the same mistake again.”
Tip: Be open about your mistakes, but don’t focus on the negative impacts. Instead, come up with an answer that shows you resolved the issue.
10. What do you do for fun?
Employers aren’t just looking for hard workers, they also want candidates who’ll fit in with their team. This question often comes up as one of the last in the interview. It’s an open-ended question that’s designed to allow you to show off your personality.
There’s no right or wrong response to this question. Just remember that you’re in an interview. It’s best to avoid answers that could reflect on you poorly. Stick to hobbies like playing sports, travelling, reading or making things. That can help you make a good impression and connect with the interviewer on a personal level.
Example Answer: “I love going surfing with my friends. We recently spent the weekend exploring some hidden beaches for the best surfing spots. This summer we’re also planning a trip down the coast where we’ll stop and camp at every beach we can find.”
Tip: Don’t be afraid to share your interests when answering this question. It doesn’t matter what your hobbies are specifically. A good response to this question just needs to show that you’re passionate, interesting and spending time doing things you love.
Land the Perfect Apprenticeship Opportunity with MIGAS
Interviews can be the most stressful part of applying for an apprenticeship. Making time to practise answering common apprentice interview questions can help you put your best foot forward and get started along your career pathway.
If you are looking for help with landing a great apprenticeship opportunity then get in touch with MIGAS. We are a group training organisation that offers apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities across the country. We partner with leading businesses and employers to connect skilled people with the work they’re searching for.