Business Growth

11 Best Apprenticeship Interview Questions for Trade Businesses

Finding the right talent can be hard, especially when it comes to hiring apprentices. With an apprentice, you’re entering an agreement with an employee and a future tradesperson wanting to work in your expertise industry. 

Having a roster of apprenticeship interview questions is necessary, as there’s much to discover about a potential apprentice. Personality, skills, and how they will fit with the team: everything is important to finding the best fit for your business and identifying a great future apprentice.

We’ll cover 11 of the best apprenticeship interview questions for your trade business and examples of ideal responses.

1.  Personal Introduction: Tell Us About Yourself!

Break the ice with this apprenticeship interview question! Most candidates you interview are going to be nervous, which makes sense. If anything, a degree of nervousness is a good sign, as going for a goal you want to achieve can be nerve-wracking.

It is important that your potential apprentice has prepared their answers: while it might not be formality they’re used to, and formality most people don’t regularly use (especially while working,) remember that this is a professional meeting. It should bring candidates out of their comfort zone, putting their best foot forward to meet you as a mentor and professional. 

Example Ideal Response

‘I grew up around here with my family and finished year 12 at the local high school. I’m someone who’s committed, hard-working and focused. My parents both worked, so my sisters and I did chores to keep the house running, I was always taught that everyone contributes. I love footy and play on the weekends, and I had to learn to manage my hobbies, schoolwork and chores.’

2. Prior Experience Discussion: Do You Have Previous Work Experience?

This is one of those apprenticeship interview questions that can be tricky to have an ‘ideal’ response for. Not everyone will have work experience; sometimes, they’ve focused on school and hobbies, and some parents don’t want their kids to be working before they’re 18. Some might have experience, but it’s not formal experience like working at Maccas, so they might not have a reference to call.

There can be a lot of reasons why they don’t have a ‘yes’ answer to this question, but what’s important is that your candidate has come prepared!

Example Ideal Responses:

‘Yes, I was previously employed as a cashier and stocker at a local supermarket. During my time there, I developed customer-facing and management skills, as well as the ability to perform under pressure. I have the benefit of this experience for my future roles and will bring these skills to my apprenticeship.’

‘While I don’t have previous work experience, I have gained plenty of hands-on, practical training during vocational subjects during my senior high school years and my studies at TAFE. During my time as part of a local sports team, I developed teamwork skills and learned to manage both training with my academic requirements.’

3. Understanding Personality: How Would Your Friends Describe You?

It can be hard to address questions about ourselves and what we’re like. Mixing up apprenticeship interview questions like this is another way to get a feel of potential employees and their personalities. When we consider how our friends perceive us, we look in from the outside and see both the flattering and not-so-much.

The answers for this one might be more informal, but it’s important that an interviewee remains professional.

Example Ideal Response

‘My friends would describe me as friendly, funny and someone they can rely on. I’m someone that supports my friends and I enjoy being around a lot of people. When disagreements or arguments occur, I’m a person who tries to defuse a situation, and sometimes, that takes a joke or separates people entirely. They would also say I’m determined to get the job done, whether it’s school or work.’

4. Motivation Check: Why Did You Apply for This Apprenticeship?

This covers two kinds of apprenticeship interview questions: personality and ambition. 

It doesn’t matter the trade, from brickie to sparky, there are specific reasons why a student picks one trade over another. Maybe they liked it from the start or tried a few and found they liked this trade the most. Maybe they just feel it’s right for them.

Besides the trade itself, it’s also important to know why they went for your business. Apprenticeships can be competitive, and it is a job interview at the end of the day, so you want to hear why they want to work and learn as part of your team. 

Example Ideal Response

‘I applied for this apprenticeship as it will provide me with the opportunity to gain practical experience whilst building on my training. I am passionate about this trade and want to take this next step with a great business/company/team like yours. After researching different opportunities, I believe I will be a great fit for this apprenticeship and would be proud to be part of your business.’

5. Assessing Self-Awareness: What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?/Can You Tell Me About Your Biggest Strength/Weakness?

This is one of those very formal apprenticeship interview questions. It can be tricky to prepare for, but almost every job interview under the sun will ask it. Asking for some strengths and weakness or their biggest strengths/weakness is up to you. This question often doesn’t cover a ‘weakness’ but is an excellent opportunity for you, the interviewer, to assess how much preparation a candidate has done.

Some will be more honest about their strengths and weaknesses: it can be refreshing! Those who have carefully prepared an answer will be able to show how they account for their weaknesses, and it’s important that interviewees show they’re self-aware.

Example Ideal Response

‘My biggest strength is my ambition, which has been key in my commitment to study and work in this trade. I am passionate about my goals and doing my best, which has occasionally contributed to overcommitment or overdoing it. What I want to do and what I can do, they don’t always align, and I’ve become more aware of my limits during my studies with time-management skills.’ 

6. Identifying Skills: What Skills Can You Highlight That Could Contribute to a 

Working Environment?/What Skills Can You Offer This Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship interview questions aren’t just about assessing a potential employee as a person but also their commitment to their learning. With this question, you can get into the nitty-gritty of the current skills of your potential apprentice. This ties into strengths but differs in that you don’t want general strengths. You want answers that outline why this apprentice will be the right fit for your trade industry.

Bonus points to answers that include specifics about your business! It means that a potential apprentice has done their research on your work and how they would fit in your team. That extra touch shows they’re willing to put the work in.

Example Ideal Response

‘During my studies, I have gained experience through theory and practical training in this industry. I am determined to learn everything I can in my studies and from my mentors and instructors. In addition, my work experience in customer service has allowed me to develop teamwork skills, even in a high-pressure environment. It’s also given me experience in customer-facing skills and an understanding of the importance of customer satisfaction when providing a service. I know how important it is to contribute to your business in all areas.’

7. Time-Management: How Would You Rate Your Time-Management Skills?/How Are You At Time-Management?

This interview question is important as many apprentices will still be adapting to life that isn’t structured entirely by school. Whether they’ve done work alongside their studies or just getting used to tertiary education, time management is a vital skill that comes at you fast.

As with all apprenticeship interview questions, interviewees who give concrete examples as part of their answers get a big tick. It shows they’ve prepared for it beforehand!

Ideal Response

‘During high school and my time at TAFE, I’ve had to manage schooling and personal responsibilities. For example, in my last year of high school, I had to balance my senior studies, vocational subjects and training for my footy team. It was difficult and I learned a lot about preparing in advance and identifying future time crunches. I’ve learned to prioritise what’s most important and urgent and go from there.’

8. Problem-Solving Abilities: How Did You Overcome a Work/School/TAFE Challenge?

Another one of those apprenticeship interview questions that will change based on previous answers. You can also leave it as open-ended rather than specific and leave it up to the interviewee to choose their answer. The answer should be specific and address the question directly. 

Challenges aren’t just problems to be solved, they also demonstrate what a person is like: how they respond to a challenge, if they’re committed to solving it even if it’s a problem caused by another person.

Ideal Response

‘During my studies at TAFE, I struggled to understand one of our units. I tried to review the material but still had trouble, so I approached my instructor and the TAFE for assistance. My instructor and the support services helped me understand the unit and prepare for the test. It was more work, and I needed to postpone plans, but I passed the unit as a result.’

9. Assessing Adaptability: How Do You Adapt to New Technologies or Methods?

Some apprenticeship interview questions might seem a bit redundant. You’re probably thinking that if there’s one thing students and apprentices these days know how to do, it’s use tech! But it’s not just apps and the internet they need to adapt to. It’s specifics and understanding why methods are done as they’re done.

It’s important that apprentices are committed to learning the ins and outs of methods, using both creativity and practicality. 

Example Ideal Response

‘I’m committed to learning new technologies and the required methods for this trade. For example, during my time at TAFE, I needed to learn about their online learning system to access resources and submit assessment work. Part of my training has been focusing on safety requirements and regulations and the necessity of following safe methods during work.’

10. Receptiveness to Feedback: How do You Handle Constructive Criticism?/Feedback?

It’s hard to receive constructive criticism, but it’s required to develop new skills. Getting a sense of a potential apprentice’s receptiveness to mentorship is important: you want to know that your experience and skill will be appreciated and taken on board.

As with many of these apprenticeship interview questions, a concrete example to demonstrate their answer is best. 

Example Ideal Response

‘Like all students, I’ve received a lot of feedback about my academic performance. I started to truly appreciate the importance of feedback and constructive criticism after I started my vocational course. I received a lower grade on an assessment during my first year, and after reading the feedback and sitting down with my instructor, I appreciated that the criticism had the goal of improving my work. I took it on board and received a better result the next time.’

11. Goals and Ambitions: What Are Your Future Goals?

A great way to round off an interview with a positive. Many of your apprenticeship interview questions will be heavy, but this one returns to the heart of the interview: goals. The apprenticeship is a goal, an opportunity, and an interviewee with solid goals is one who will be committed to the opportunities they receive.

And you never know, the next apprentice you hire might just be with your business for a long time!

Example Ideal Response

‘After I complete my apprenticeship, it’s my goal to work in this industry full-time. I wish to gain more skills and continue to learn specialisations in this trade to better my skills and knowledge. In the future, I want to start my own trade business, and I’d like to accept apprenticeships and assist other students in reaching their goals.’

Securing Top Talent for Your Trade Business

Finding the right team is vital for the success of your growing business, and it takes time to build. Managing your team effectively can be challenging, and you want everyone to be on the same page when it comes to projects and communication. 

AroFlo’s field service management software takes the tangle of paperwork, timetables, payroll, and more and streamlines them into one accessible suite. Try our demo today to see how your trade business can benefit from software designed for the industry!

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