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Advice for School Leavers: What Employers Want

School leavers around the country are busy looking into their options, with a large proportion researching the jobs market and booking interviews for a variety of roles. A new survey, commissioned by independent training provider Lifetime Training, states that it takes on average just seven minutes for an employer to make a hiring decision. Furthermore, 85% of employers are looking for something other than a degree or academic qualification. So, what is it that employers truly want and what are the pitfalls when it comes to succeeding at interview?

There was some agreement amongst the 1000 One Poll survey respondents about what makes a good interview candidate. This is our ‘What Employers Want’ list:

  • Relevant experience
  • Being engaged/asking questions
  • Good timekeeping
  • Eye contact in an interview
  • Apparent common sense
  • A tidy general appearance
  • Good personal hygiene
  • A smart outfit
  • A good smile
  • A solid handshake

George Dee, Learner Recruitment Manager at Lifetime Training, commented:
“We conducted this survey to help young people in their pursuit of work experience nail their job interviews, while proving that relevant job experience remains a key driver for hiring decisions. In fact, the survey highlighted that six out of 10 employers are looking for relevant experience, which is just one of the benefits of completing an apprenticeship.”

The survey asked hiring managers to provide instances of poor interviewing practice. Here’s our list of what not to do:

  • Don’t turn up late
  • Don’t answer your phone in an interview
  • Don’t forget to prep
  • Don’t giggle nervously throughout
  • Don’t argue or challenge the interviewer
  • Don’t mention holidays
  • Never turn up in a clown costume (true story)

As of 15th August, Lifetime Training had 1,333 apprenticeship vacancies open nationally.

To search Lifetime Training apprenticeships vacancies visit


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