If you dream of creative work, you have to look for a job outside of big corp. Because in big corporations they have processes in place for everything. Employees are trained how to do even the simplest tasks in their jobs. Some people like it though. At the end of the day, the schooling system has already killed creativity in 90% of young adults once they reach the age of 25. They are more than happy to be told what exactly to do in the job, then do it day after day, and receive a nice paycheck for doing that. Working as a corporate trainer, you will help them make this dream come true.

Of course, you will also try to enhance their knowledge with seminars, lectures, and whatever. At least that’s what they typically advertise on a job description. But the core of your job will always consist in making sure that they follow the procedures in place, and help the corporation achieve their goals. Before you can do this interesting job, which pays in average about $60,000 annually in the US, you’ll have to pass a typical corporate interview, consisting primarily in behavioral questions. But they will also ask you some questions about your motivation, goals, etc. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular questions now, one by one.


Why do you want to work as a corporate trainer?

You should combine a few things in a perfect answer. First one is a meaningful purpose you see in the job. No doubt new hires need training, so do existing employees. People are the most important asset of every business, and unless we move forward as an organization, our competitors will get ahead and “eat us alive”. You understand the importance of corporate training, the impact you can have in this job, which is highly motivating for you.

Secondly, you should list at least some skills and abilities that make from you a good candidate for the job. Perhaps you are an excellent listener, have amazing organizational skills, can explain things clearly, have passion for education and continuous learning, you do not find it hard working with all types of personalities and characters (that no doubt meet in every big corporation). Perhaps you also have some relevant experience. In any case, you believe to have what it takes to become an outstanding corporate trainer, which is the main reason why you applied for the job.

Last but not least, you can also connect the job with your future, or the goals you have in your career. You find the offer attractive, with everything that belongs to it (duties, salary, benefits), and perhaps down the road you can progress to even a better role in their organization. What’s more, you believe you will enjoy doing the job, which is no doubt the most important thing.


How do you imagine your typical day or week working as a corporate trainer here?

This one depends a lot on the organization in the company. You may be responsible for planning the training sessions, for the entire organization of training events, and everything that belongs to it. In such a case, it is crucial showing proactive approach to work. That means trying to identify training needs, and consequently taking action–organizing and perhaps also leading training sessions for employees in question.

In some places though, corporate trainers are responsible solely for leading the training. Again, the corporation already has processes in place, meaning that they clearly defined when and who should get the training, including both new and existing employees, and trainers should simply deliver expected lesson(s) over and over again. In such a case your day will be more dull…

Another alternative is saying that you believe something like a typical day does not exist in this job. Sure, you may teach the employees always the same lessons, but each person is unique, with their own strengths and weaknesses, and you just cannot lead the training in exactly the same way with everyone, as long as you want to achieve the training goals with each employee.

Most corporate employees are busy. How will you make sure that they find time and motivation for training?

This is probably the biggest problem trainers encounter, especially when working with staff that has been with the corporation for a while. New employees enjoy sitting in endless training sessions (and getting paid for it). But existing employees have their duties, meetings, dozens of emails waiting for their attention. Many of them have no time (and motivation) for continuous learning. Even if they take part in the training, their mind often wanders elsewhere, or they check their mobile phone half of the time.

You have a few ways of addressing this problem. One is trying to make continuous learning an integral part of company culture. Obviously this is easier when you have support of the management, or when you yourself have decision power (which will be the case just in some corporations). Once employees understand that attending training sessions and seminars (and gaining new skills and abilities in the process) belongs to the core of their work, instead of taking their attention away from the core of their work, they tend to approach these sessions with a completely different mindset.

Another idea is saying that you will try to make your training sessions as interactive and engaging as possible, making sure that employees are truly engaged, actively participating on the training, instead of just sitting on a chair making some notes, and wandering away in their heads. You can do so by simply involving them in all sorts of team/individual exercises, letting them express themselves, and also by using interactive materials such as videos, educational games etc, so the lesson isn’t boring.

* May also interest you: Why do you want to work in HR? 7 sample answers.


In your opinion, what are the core skills we have to develop in our employees?

You have a few option here. In my opinion, the best one is emphasizing individual approach to each employee, each position in the company. Depending on the job of a person in question, their strengths, weaknesses, and also their goals, you will identify appropriate training needs, and what you should work on with them. Of course, you may have some limitations, such as inability to lead individual training sessions (one on one). You’ll have to make some compromises. But you will try your best to apply individual approach to each employee you’ll work with as a corporate trainer.

Second option is focusing on generally important skills that matter in every job, plus adding something field specific to the mix. Communication skills, leadership, time-management, you name it. Speaking about field-specific skills, this of course depends on your future place of work. As an example, if you’ll work as a corporate trainer in a fast growing start-up with dozens/couple of hundred employees, you may focus on agile project management, adaptability, etc.

Last but not least, you can also emphasize the importance of corporate values, goals, and procedures they already have in place. If something works for the company now, and the results are as expected, there’s no need to abruptly change something. Teaching the employees how to do X, Y, or Z (leading a sales talk, analyzing a spreadsheet, delivering a weekly report of work), exactly as other people do it in the company (that’s the death of creativity I talked about earlier), plays a major role in a job of a corporate trainer in many places.


Tell us about a time when you struggled to get your message over to someone you coached, trained, or taught.

You do not necessarily have to talk about another corporate experience. At the end of the day, we communicate with someone our entire life, and getting the message over is pivotal in such interactions. Any situation you narrate, show them that you are patient, that you do not give up easily.

Using practical examples, demonstration, and perhaps even breaking the problem to smaller issues (that are easier to understand) are just some of the ways you use to get your message over to your audience. The key is to show that you are ready to adjust your teaching/training to the abilities of your audience. You aren’t in the room to show off your talking skills or your knowledge of terminology. You are there to help the employees learn something new, and something important. Hence you will do all you can do get your message over…


Other behavioral/situational questions you may face in your corporate trainer interview

Just like in any other big corp interview, you will face some questions starting with “Tell us about a time…“, “Describe a situation when…“, etc. Regardless of whether you work as a corporate trainer, financial analyst or marketing specialist, you’ll deal with some tricky situations and challenges in the workplace. Hiring managers try to understand your approach to them. These are some of the questions you can expect:

  • Describe a conflict you had with a colleague.
  • Describe a situation when you reached a (training) goal and tell us how you achieved it.
  • Tell me about an obstacle you overcame.
  • Describe the most difficult decision you’ve ever made.
  • Describe your experience working in a fast-paced environment.
  • Give an example of an occasion when you used logic to solve the problem.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision without all the information you needed.
  • Describe a situation when you faced a particularly demanding problem or challenge in your personal life. How did that affect you in your job?
  • Tell me about a time you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
  • Describe a situation when your work was criticized.
  • Describe your experience working in a multi-cultural environment.
  • What would you do if you witnessed someone doing something wrong?

Special tip: To help you with this challenge, I put together a list of 50 behavioral questions they commonly use while interviewing applicants in Fortune 500 companies, and three to seven sample answers to each question, including answers for people with no previous working experience. You will find them in our eBook – Ace Your Behavioral-Based Job Interview. Check it out if you want to have a competitive edge in your interview, and be ready for each difficult question they may throw at you.


Final words

Corporate trainer is an interesting and popular job. The entry barrier is relatively low, and unless you apply for the position in some unknown company, you will face a tough competition in this interview. I led one hiring process for a job of a corporate trainer in the past, in a smaller company. We didn’t even advertise the job that much but still got over 100 applications

Luck favors the prepared mind though. Get over the questions once again, and try to prepare for each one. And do not forget to do a good research about your future employer, their corporate culture, and what role does employee training play in it, but also about everything else. Information will help you with some of your interview answers, plus you should feel more comfortable once you are at least a bit familiar with the company. I wish you good luck!


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Matthew Chulaw
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