Updated On: Mar 22, 2024

What is the Apprenticeship Interview?

The apprenticeship interview determines your placement on the ranked list of eligible candidates.

The interview is approximately ten to fifteen minutes in length and will take place in front of a panel of 4–8 committee members.

They will review your documents and will ask you a series of questions about how you have handled various situations. You can give examples from work, school, or your personal life.

The basic format they are looking for is: "What was the situation? What did you do? What was the result?" 

Interview Tips

First impression. The interview committee is invested in the future of the electrical industry. They are looking for candidates who are enthusiastic about the opportunity to interview and to join the industry. A good first impression involves calm confidence. Arrive a little early, so you can calm pre-interview nerves. A little nervousness is expected, but be sure to arrive prepared, so you are not so nervous that you cannot communicate effectively.

You can make a good impression by smiling, practicing good posture and eye contact, and avoiding nervous gestures like crossing your arms and tapping your fingers. A good way to avoid fidgeting is to fold your hands on the table.

Attire. Clean pants or jeans and a button-down shirt are appropriate. Good hygiene and grooming are important, but avoid excessive cologne, perfume, jewelry, and cosmetics.

Application portfolio. The panel will review anything you bring to your interview such as a cover letter, resume, letters of recommendation, photos of trade-related projects or hobbies, and industry certifications. Because of the rapid pace and the high volume of interviews, it is important to draw their attention to your portfolio items that emphasize your work ethic, ability to work under pressure, and any experience and skills that transfer to the construction industry.

Behavioral Interview Questions. These are questions like, “Why should we choose you?” The interviewers are getting a sense of your experiences and how they will translate to your role as an apprentice. Do an internet search for behavioral interview questions — this will give you an idea of what to expect.

Before your interview, think about life events or experiences that demonstrate your knowledge of the construction and electrical industries, your interest in the electrical apprenticeship, your ability to work well with others as a team, and your ability to be self-motivated; responsible; and dependable.

Now that you have a list of experiences, prepare a response for questions that they may ask. Use the basic format of: "What was the situation? What was your action? What was the result?" 

Situation or task – Describe the event or task; taking care to use enough detail for the interviewer to understand, but not so much that you burn up a lot of time.

Action – Describe what you did to complete the task or to resolve the situation. If it was a team effort, keep the focus on what you did effectively and how you worked with others.

Result – Conclude your answer with a description of the result of your efforts. Include lessons learned if you learned something from the situation.

Be concise, but not too concise.  Keep your answers positive and specific, and avoid rambling.  You have ten to fifteen minutes. Make them count by being succinct, to the point, and focused and avoid one or two-word answers. Ask for clarification if you don’t know how to answer a question.  

You chose electrical work, why?  Explain why you want to become an electrician — why not a carpenter, sheet metal worker, or plumber? Why is being an electrical worker important to you?  The selection committee is looking for team players and leaders who have a strong desire and drive to be an asset to the electrical industry workforce. You should arrive at the interview with a thorough understanding of what electrical workers do.  What are the environments they work in? What are the expectations of the apprenticeship program? 

Websites to help with your research: Construct Your Future and Central Iowa Building Trades and Our Programs

Practice.  Ask your friends and family to practice interviewing with you. The more you practice, the more relaxed and confident you will be in the interview.

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