We’ve provided some ‘helpful hints’ to guide you through the apprenticeship application and interview process. We’ve also provided an overview of what to expect during your interview and how best to prepare for it.
Is this the position for you?
You need to make sure that this is the position for you. If you haven’t already, read through our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section and make sure that you understand what the position involves and what will be expected of you.
Before you complete the application form
Once you’ve decided that you want to go ahead with the application; read through the application form carefully making sure that you understand all of the instructions and questions.
Tips for completing your application form
The purpose of an application form is for you to tell us why you’re perfect for the position and why we should invite you for an interview. When you apply for a position you’re competing against a lot of other people so it’s very that you make a good impression and stand out from the crowd.
Before you submit your application form, check it one last time for typing mistakes and make sure that you’re 100% happy with what you’re submitting.
We receive thousands of applications so if you’re not successful, we can’t provide feedback as to why you didn’t progress to the next stage of the interview process.
The apprenticeship interview process
The apprenticeship interview process has several stages; we assess both your experience and your potential.
Stage 1 (Online application form) – If your application form is successful, you’ll progress to stage 2.
Stage 2 (Online maths and English test) – We use online testing to make sure you meet the requirements of the qualification. When looking after our customers and booking holidays for them, great maths and English skills are really important. (Tests can be completed anywhere, as long as you have internet access and a computer). If you successfully pass the online tests, you’ll progress to stage 3.
Stage 3 (Telephone interview) – We’ll contact you and arrange a telephone interview. The telephone interview enables us to learn more about you and what you can bring to our team! You’ll have time to prepare so think about your experience (work or school) and how you’d work in a team, sales and customer service environment. If you successfully pass the telephone interview, you’ll progress to stage 4.
Stage 4 (In-store interview) – The is the final stage of the interview process! You’ll be invited to one of our stores (or sales centres / head office) so you can see and explore the environment you could be working in. During the interview, you’ll be asked to complete a short presentation and a role-play exercise. You will be given the presentation topic in beforehand, so you can prepare at home. You may even want to complete some online research to understand what a great presentation looks like.
Tips for preparing for your telephone interview
- A telephone interview is still an interview; you need to be as prepared and well presented as you would be for a face to face interview.
- The length of the telephone interview will vary, depending on how detailed your answers are. Plan enough time for a telephone interview – we’d suggest you ensure you’re available for up to an hour.
- Prepare any notes you need and print a copy of your CV so you can refer to it. It’s best to be organised and to have everything you need close to hand.
- Make sure you’ve charged your phone – you don’t want your battery running out half way through your interview!
- Smile when you talk on the telephone – you’ll be more relaxed and you’ll sound more confident and assertive.
Tips for preparing for your interview
Being invited to an interview means you’ve passed the first three stages of our interview process and that your application has made a good impression. You’ll need to prepare yourself to make sure that you make a good impression in person and you’re successful in securing the position.
Research Thomas Cook Co-operative Travel. You’ll probably be asked some questions about who we are and what we do. Learning about our business will hopefully help you to feel confident when answering any questions you’re asked.
You could also talk to friends and relatives about interviews they’ve had in the past and what types of questions they were asked.
Plan your journey
You should try and arrive 10 minutes early; turning up late to an interview doesn’t make a very good first impression. You could even make the journey before the day of your interview to check how long it’ll take and to find out where you need to go. If you need to, ask us for directions, bus routes or where you can park your car.
Create the right image
The first thing your interviewer will notice is your appearance. You don’t have to buy a new outfit but what you wear should be neat, clean and tidy. Avoid anything too casual such as t-shirts with logos on them, jeans or trainers.
Gather together the information you’ll need at the interview; you might want to prepare notes or cue cards if you think you may need a prompt during the interview.
Take the things your interviewer has asked you to bring, such as certificates, ID, etc.
Prepare some questions to ask your interviewer – an interview isn’t just about finding out information about you. It’s also a chance for you to find out a little more about the company and the role you’ve applied for.
On the day – before you leave
Give yourself plenty of time to get ready and make sure that you’ve got all of the relevant paperwork with you. If you are delayed, contact the interviewer as soon as possible to explain, apologise and if necessary, arrange an alternative appointment.
When you arrive
Give your name to the receptionist or whoever is there to greet you. If your interview is at one of our retail stores and everybody is busy with customers, wait patiently and someone will acknowledge you and advise the interviewer that you have arrived. They will be expecting you.
Turn your mobile phone off or to silent. You do not want your mobile phone to start beeping or ringing during your interview.
Most importantly, try to relax and keep calm.
At the interview
It is natural to feel nervous, have a fast heartbeat and feel ‘butterflies’ in your stomach. These are the body’s natural way of reacting when faced with a challenge and these natural reactions can sometimes help you.
First impressions are formed in the first few minutes of meeting someone and it is no different at interviews. Once you have made a first impression, it’s hardly ever changed and that is why it is important to make a good first impression.
You may find that there are two people interviewing you. Don’t be worried if this is the case. The first person is there to ask you questions and the second is there to make notes from the answers that you give. The second person may ask you to expand on your answers but don’t worry, they just want to give you the best chance to prove yourself suitable for the position.
Below are some helpful hints and tips to help you during the interview. You may feel uncomfortable with some of the things you should do such as shaking hands and introducing yourself, however, your interviewer will understand this and will appreciate the gesture and that you are willing to move outside of your comfort zone.
Things you should do
- Enter the room confidently, shake hands and introduce yourself
- Be polite, friendly and look the interviewer in the eye as soon as you enter the room
- Check that it’s ok to use cue cards or notes during the interview
- Try to maintain eye contact with the person that you are talking to
- Answer questions as fully as you can, avoid just saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and try to give examples
- Tell the truth
- If you don’t understand a question, ask the interviewer to rephrase it
- Speak clearly
- Sell yourself – get your good points across and be positive
Things you shouldn’t do
- Sit down until the interviewer asks you to
- Fidget, slouch in the chair or fold your arms
- Swear or use slang words. Even mild swear words can cause offence and are not acceptable in a working environment
- Criticize your past employers or teachers
When your interview is finished, shake hands with your interviewer(s) and thank them for their time. It is just as important to leave with a good last impression as it is to start off with a good first impression.