How do I prepare for an interview and what can I expect on the day?

Even some of the most experienced people get nervous about job interviews so we asked Anna Dixon, one of our Resourcing Specialists to provide some expert advice.

06 March 2019
interview

Before the interview

You will feel more confident during an interview if you are prepared.

At most job interviews you will be asked about why you are suited to the position and this is no exception for an apprenticeship. Think carefully about your strengths and why they make you a good fit for the apprenticeship.

Interviewers are keen to hear examples of your strengths in action. For example anyone can say they work well as part of a team or have good attention to detail but your interviewer will not be convinced unless you provide them with a real life example.

To familiarise yourself with the key skills and behaviours required for our apprenticeships take a look at the careers page of the Burges Salmon website. If you are currently studying you may not have a lot of work experience but do not underestimate the importance of your extracurricular activities.

You can develop valuable skills from playing sports, volunteering or taking part in activities such as the Duke of Edinburgh award. Your interviewer will also be interested in talking about your hobbies because this is a great way to get to know you. We want you to be yourself so let your personality come across.

It is also important for you to research the firm. Read the website, social media platforms and news articles to ensure you understand not just the type of work we do and who our clients are but also what the culture is like and how we engage in initiatives such as responsible business and the environment.

Think about why you would be a good fit for the firm and why you think it would be a great place to work.

During the interview

It is likely that your interviewer will collect you from a reception area or an interview waiting room and this may be the first time you meet them. First impressions are really important so make sure that you shake their hand, smile and maintain eye contact.

You may be nervous but this will not come across if you present yourself confidently. Try to present yourself in this way throughout the interview. Sit up straight and try to be conscious of any nervous habits such as playing with your hair or fidgeting.

The interviewer will show you where to sit and make sure that you are comfortable before the interview begins. They will introduce themselves and explain how the interview will be structured, how long it will last and that they will be making notes throughout. Listen carefully as they do this to help you prepare. There should be no surprises; we will not try to catch you out.

Don’t worry about whether there is a time limit to the interview, try not to rush your answers. Make sure you accept a glass of water and pause to drink every time you need to. Speak slowly and clearly and do not use slang.

Although we want you to be yourself, how you act should be the best version of yourself. You may be asked to talk about how you think the selection event has gone so far. Try not to be negative about other candidates as this will give the interviewer the impression that you are not a team player. The same goes for previous or current employers. Even if you didn’t have the best experience, try to remain positive and upbeat about all of your employment to date.

We find that a lot of candidates answer the question they wish they had been asked.

Listen to the question carefully and think about how best to answer it. It is ok to ask the interviewer to repeat the question and you can make notes if this helps you structure your answer.

If the interviewer asks a further question this is because they feel that you have been too vague or not provided the answer they were looking for.

Pause, breathe and take time to think. Be conscious of what you are saying and not how much you are talking. Sometimes not being aware of when to stop can be worse than giving a vague answer, as it gives the interviewer the impression that you are not self-aware.

Try not to repeat yourself. The interviewer will make notes and will not miss any of the points you make.

Time will always be allocated for you to ask questions. You may have had the opportunity to find out more about the apprenticeship during the selection event and feel well informed, however it is really important that you still take the opportunity to ask questions as it demonstrates enthusiasm.

Your interviewer will either be a member of the resourcing team or a partner/senior business professional and they will be able to tell you more about their role or provide insight into life at the firm.

An interview is a two way process. Although we are looking to discover whether you would be a good fit for the firm it is important that we are a good fit for you too.

And above all - relax, be yourself and remember the interviewer has been in your chair at some point during their career, so knows exactly how you feel.

For more information on our apprenticeship scheme, visit our apprenticeship page.

Burges Salmon careers

We work hard to make sure Burges Salmon is a great place to work.
Find out more