How to measure up . . .

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Judging is about to kick off for the Registered Master Builders Carters 2010 Apprentice of the Year competition.

To give employers and entrants an insight into what the judges are looking for, we spoke with judges Dave Mudge (RMB), Maurice Blair (Carters) and Graeme Paton (BCITO) about how to gain a competitive edge in the critical judges interview.

What basic tips would you give apprentices preparing for their interviews?

Maurice Blair: Being prepared and knowing the job that you have submitted for your entry is the best advice I can give. Also, reviewing the plans before coming to the interview is important. But most of all, be yourself.

Graeme Paton: Go over your submission in your mind. Identify your key points, and have a practice run in front of your friends, family or boss.

What should apprentices think about when talking about their industry knowledge, previous projects and their own personal interests?

Maurice Blair: Industry knowledge involves anything you have learnt along the way. It’s important to think about things you’ve learnt outside your apprenticeship programme, as well as within it.
It’s great to hear about what you do outside of your working day, including any other studies you are working on, or community and sporting activities you are involved in.

Dave Mudge: Have a general knowledge of products and legislation. You don’t have to sit down and memorise all the legislation, but have an understanding about what sources you would need to use if an issue arose.

Graeme Paton: Be honest. If you don’t know something, say so. Think about and explain the interesting or tricky areas or tasks of your project. Think about your out-of-work activities and how you will explain those.

What are some of the common interview slip ups?

Maurice Blair: Not being prepared, and not knowing the job that they have submitted for this competition. Mistakes are ok — it’s good to see how you handle yourself under pressure.

Dave Mudge: The main thing is making sure you know your submission. The worst possible thing you can do is go into the interview without knowing what you have submitted in your entry form.

Graeme Paton: Not listening to the questions being asked, not making eye contact, and poor personal presentation.

Name three key things every apprentice should remember before the interview?

Maurice Blair: Have a little knowledge about the building acts and regulations, a good understanding of building materials, and knowledge of health and safety and whose responsibility that is on site.

Dave Mudge: Be relaxed, alert and sound of mind. Just make sure you are mentally and physically prepared.

Graeme Paton: Relax — the judges are there to like what you’ve done. Reflect on the key points of your project, and take your time.

How important is presentation and dress for the judge’s interview? 

Maurice Blair: It’s like going for a job interview — high standards are always what we are looking for. You don’t need to hire a suit, but we do look for tidy dress.

Dave Mudge: You don’t want to be coming straight from the building site. An interview is an important occasion, so it’s important to look the part — smart, casual jeans are fine, but it is important to make an effort.

Graeme Paton: Personal pride shows professional pride. Good presentation reflects on you as a person and as a tradesman.

What makes a good apprentice great?

Maurice Blair: A good work ethic, confidence in what they are doing, passion for the industry, high standards and being a team player. A great apprentice is a positive and motivated person who is not afraid to ask for help.

Dave Mudge: Someone who is committed and has a passion for the building industry. We’re looking for someone who is in the industry for the long haul, and who wants to continually learn and develop in a number of areas.
It is important they are always looking to move up the ladder, so to speak.

Graeme Paton: Being confident but not over the top, as well as being honest. Think of this competition as a learning opportunity that will help you in your future career path.

We hope these interview tips help our regional finalists through the interview process. Look out for the results in August — and all the very best to this year’s entrants.