Apprenticeship Interview Tips
Congratulations! You’ve applied to an apprenticeship and been selected for an interview! This is your last hurdle before officially starting your next career. Every apprenticeship has a different method on how they implement their interview process, but there are some universal tips you should know.
Get enough sleep the night before!
You want to be completely alert and oriented the day of your interview. Make sure to get at least a full 8 hours of sleep the night before to feel refreshed and ready to go. It will make a bigger difference than you think.
Arrive on time!
No. Be EARLY. Make sure to read your paperwork. Some apprenticeships will schedule you for a 9 AM interview, but the paperwork will say to arrive at 8:30 to get seated and orientated prior to your interview. If you show up at 8:45 thinking you’re early, you’ll be denied entry and will have to wait for the next round of interviews which may be another year. Do not do this. Fully understand what time you need to be there, and give yourself ample time to arrive.
This means different things to different people. Many will argue you want to dress up, others say dress for the job you want. When I did my interview, people showed up in everything from suits, to button up shirts and jeans, to dirty work boots and a company work shirt. Personally, I think somewhere in the middle is appropriate. Wear a nice pair of boots, preferably clean work boots. Nice jeans or khakis, and a well fitted professional button up or polo. This shows both that you’re ready for a physical job, but you can look professional at the same time. Showing up in a suit and tie might give the impression that you don’t understand what you’re getting into.
Mentally prepare yourself!
Understand that it will most likely be a panel of board members from the contractors association interviewing you. If you’re interviewing for the IBEW apprenticeship, you’ll have members from both the contractor’s association and the union in the room asking you questions. It can feel very intimidating being in a room with so many people watching and listening to you. Practice breathing exercises before your interview to help calm your nerves. You want to walk in friendly, confident, and eager to engage with them. They are looking for apprentices who are willing to learn and ask questions.
Prepare for questions!
It’s difficult to know exactly what they will ask in your interview, as every chapter has different standards. Some may be very general easy questions, others may get very specific and want you to prove yourself. When answering, remember their perspective; you are an investment. They are paying for your schooling, and they want to ensure that their investment is not wasted. They want to hear that you are eager to learn and are dependable.
At a minimum, I would have answers prepared for these questions;
- Why do you want to be an electrician?
- What do you think you will be doing as an electrician apprentice?
- Why do you think you would be a good fit for this apprenticeship?
- What sets you apart from the other candidates?
- What are some of your hobbies?
- Describe a time when you, a friend, a co-worker, or a family member was injured. What did you do?
- Tell us about a time at work, or in school, when someone really got on your nerves.
Regardless of whether or not you are asked these questions, you want to have answers and anecdotes ready that show you understand what you’re getting yourself into, that you are physically competent to do a hands on job, you know what to do and can remain calm in an emergency situation, and that you can work well in a tense environment. These are all key to success in the electrical trade.
Below is an actual IBEW apprenticeship interview rating form. Some locals may use it, some may not. When I did my interview, none of my questions were this hard. Some locals are more competitive however, and you want to be prepared for the worst. If you have the above answers prepared AND practiced for the questions in this form below, I guarantee you’ll score very high in the interview.