Tough Interview Question - Do you have any plans for further education?

Do you have any plans for further education?

Similar interview questions:
What is your view on training?
Are you finished with going to college after you graduate?
Do you have an interest in pursuing a higher degree?
We have a college tuition assistance plan. Do you plan to use this type of assistance?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
This is a double-edged sword question. On the one hand, the employer will typically want you to pursue further training and education that will help you to succeed in the role. On the other hand, the employer is typically not interested in candidates who are only using the role as a stepping stone to higher education and potentially going on to other employers.

The best approach to answering this question:
You need to fully understand the further education needs of the role. In most cases, the role for which you are being hired requires only the education you will be completing by graduation. However, there are some roles where firms expect you to go back for further education at some point in the future, even to the point of financing your advanced degree. So know the role and know the requirements before you answer the question. Then answer the question in a way which shows that you are committed to both learning the role and preparing yourself for potential future advancement.

An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
"While I don’t have any plans at this time to complete an advanced degree, I am always open to further education in terms of either internal or external training. Since technology changes rapidly in our field, I do my best to stay on top of these changes through my own personal research. In the past, my employer has also sent me to industry training on a periodic basis to make sure that my skills are being kept current. What further training and education do you recommend for your employees in this role?"

An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
"I view learning as a lifelong process. Even though I will be graduating in the spring, I want to continue to learn as much as I can to be an effective _____. So if that is a combination of internal and external training, I am ready and prepared to continue to learn in the role…"

An example of how you should not answer this question:
"I’ve been in school for almost 16 years and I’m ready to put on the grad cap and then call it quits, at least for a while. It’s time to earn the big bucks. Although maybe in a few years, I might use your tuition assistance plan to go back to school to get a law degree. I understand that’s where the really big bucks are made."

Remember to answer each interview question behaviorally, whether it is a behavioral question or not. The easiest way to do this is to use an example from your background and experience. Then use the S-T-A-R approach to make the answer a STAR: talk about a Situation or Task (S-T), the Action you took (A) and the Results achieved (R). This is what makes your interview answer uniquely yours and will make your answer a star!

Further review: know the answers to these Standard Interview Questions to be fully prepared for your interview!

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