Oct 2016 / Blog

Leslie Chandler, a 17 year old Marketing and Business Development Apprentice from Cardiff, admits that interviews are daunting, especially for those who are young and have very little experience of professional recruitment processes.

However, there is no time for nerves and self-doubt when the employment market is fiercely competitive. Young people need to do all that they can to make themselves stand out as the best candidate for the job, just like Leslie did. Leslie aced her interview for her current role and was offered the job over ten other candidates. Today, she has kindly revealed to us her tactics that helped her on the day.

1: Preparation

The most important part of my interview, even before getting there, was preparation. I researched the company so I could get a heads up about the company and what they do. I think employers like to see that candidates have taken their time to research and find out about them because it shows that you are keen and that you can use your own initiative. On top of this, I also found ACT’s Pre-Apprenticeship Programme useful in helping me get mentally prepared for the interview – this programme also helped me prepare a CV and cover letter which got me the interview in the first place.

2: Rehearsal

Before attending the interview, my tutor from the Pre-Apprenticeship Programme conducted a mock interview with me. This helped me get an idea of what kind of questions the employers would ask and gave me some time to think about and rehearse some answers – practice makes perfect after all! My tutor also gave me some valuable feedback on how to improve. This was extremely helpful as it helped me to figure out how to improve my answers in order to ace the questions in my interview.  

3: Appropriate clothing

I thought very carefully about my interview outfit. I went for a black and white skirt, a white blouse and a pair of small heeled shoes. I really wanted to look professional and give a good first impression of myself and this obviously did the trick. I think the clothing you wear can be really important in an interview; you must make sure you look neat, tidy and professional.

4: Attitude and posture

Whilst in the interview, I always sat up straight, made eye contact and smiled. Although they are only little things, I think they can make a big difference to the way the interviewer thinks about you. Not only do you come across as a friendly person who would fit well in their organisation, but smiling also makes you feel good about yourself and puts you in a positive mood, which is a good frame of mind to be in during an interview. I showed a keen, positive attitude so that the employer knew I was rearing to go and extremely interested in the position. I made sure to never be negative about myself and focus on every positive I could think of in an attempt to show myself off and make myself sound the best I could.

5: Confidence

The biggest part of acing an interview is confidence, don’t let the nerves show. It can be hard but the more confident you seem within yourself the better you look. It’s all about mind over matter. I made sure that I never let the nerves take over and tried my hardest to look calm and collected on the outside – even though I was really, really nervous on the inside!