A job interview is a two-way street. As well as an employer testing the responses of an applicant, and subsequently gauging their fit into the existing team in terms of skill, ambition and personality, jobseekers often come with questions of their own.
You may only be in the early stages of taking on an apprentice or trainee in your workforce. In which case, we recommend signing up to Apprenticeship Central. With our collection of resources and a database of ready and willing applicants, this initial step will help you hit the ground running when starting an apprenticeship or traineeship program.
Once you start the interview process, it’s often helpful to give the candidate a chance to ask you questions. Not only does it give them the opportunity to learn more directly from you, they will likely reveal some crucial information about themselves in the process.
However, you won’t want to be stumped by a difficult question from your potential candidate. Here are some common queries they might ask that you can be prepared for.
1) What is the company culture like?
Company culture and engagement are “urgent” matters to get right, according to a 2015 Deloitte study of business leaders’ top concerns. Employees crave it too, though research from Gallup suggests that only 31.5 per cent consider themselves engaged.
It’s likely that your candidates will want to know a little more about how the company interacts with employees through its cultural setting. It’s particularly important for those in traineeships or apprenticeships, as they will spend a lot of time learning from in-house mentors with whom they’ll hope to have a connection.
When answering, it’s important to be honest, and explain exactly where you see the candidate fitting in.
2) Why is this position vacant?
According to The Ladders, this is a common question for inquisitive candidates to ask. Have you already tried hiring an apprentice and it didn’t work out, or are you taking your first forage into mentoring a trainee?
The candidate is gauging their chances of completing their certificate in your company, so assure them of your plan to effectively build their skills.
3) What are my promotional prospects after completing my course?
It’s good when your apprentice or trainee is thinking long term. By asking this question, they want to know how they will progress in your company in one, three or five years – or even longer.
In answering this question, a good route to take is to explain how others have scaled your company’s career ladder, using a real-life example to help them understand their prospects.