Tough Interview Question - How much training do you think you'll need to become a productive employee?

How much training do you think you'll need to become a productive employee?

Similar interview questions:
How quickly do you think you will come up to speed in this role?
Do you think you will need lots of supervision as you start out in this role?
What gaps are there between your education and becoming effective in this job?
How well does your education prepare you for this job?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
The interviewer wants to know what you see as your needs for becoming a productive employee. In the case of some roles, the employer is expecting the new hire to be productive day one (this is often the case with experienced roles). For other roles, there will be a planned series of training events before the individual is expected to be productive (this is often the case with entry level roles). So the question is designed to make sure that expectations are aligned for the role.

The best approach to answering this question:
It’s important to know in advance what the employer standard will be for the role. Some of this can be understood from the job posting itself, but you may need to dig deeper by researching the company website (including the careers section, if there is one) and/or employer reviews. Once you have an indicator of expectations, do your own personal gap analysis to make sure you are prepared for the role requirements and reflect that in your answer.

An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
"Given my background and experience, I’m confident that I will be productive immediately. I will need to take time to familiarize myself with your internal systems, which I would be happy to do off hours before the start date. I understand your need to fill this role as quickly as possible and I will be ready to be productive on day one…"

An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
"My education and internship experience has prepared me well for this role. I understand that you also provide internal training for new hires related to the role and your company. Given this training, combined with my education and experience, I’m confident that I will come up to speed quickly in this role…"

An example of how you should not answer this question:
"Well, I’ve never really done this type of work before, so I’m going to need a lot of training and hand holding to get started. Will you be sending me away to classes or do you do the training internally?…"

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 100 Standard Interview Questions to be fully prepared for your interview!

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