Training specialist trains new hires, conduct orientation sessions, help the employees to improve on their skills, and evaluate the effectiveness of training programs. It is an interesting and rewarding position, but you will have to pass a difficult interview to get this job. The typical interview process for training specialist consists in three parts:
- A brief phone interview with HR manager or HR generalist (screening questions),
- A face to face session with one of the managers or with an external recruiter (behavioral and technical questions)
- A personality test (optional but common in big companies).
In many cases though, you will deal with all questions in a single interview session. Let’s have a look at some of them right now.
How would you identify the training needs?
Without a proper skills gap analysis, we can hardly do a good job. Stress the importance of this step, and demonstrate your knowledge of most common tools that help us understand the level of desired skills of new hires, such as assessments, practical case studies, interviews, performance reviews feedback, etc.
Do not forget the very first step (which is often forgotten by HR professionals), the proper understanding of desired skills for each given position, the so-called “ideal candidate/employee profile”.
How would you train a new sales person?
Hiring an excellent salesman is one of the toughest tasks in recruitment. Training someone to become a good salesman is not much easier. Despite of that, many companies follow similar road: They will hire anyone with motivation and decent communication skills, for an entry level sales position. Then they hope that the Training Specialists will turn these people into top-notch salesmen.
In my opinion that’s not possible. But your success in an interview is not about my opinions… It’s about convincing the employer that you can do whatever they expect from you. Talk about the training, step by step, and do not forget to mention that successful salesmen from the company should lead the training (or at least prepare the training material).
Can you create training materials from scratch?
In an ideal case you should give them an example how you did this before—how you designed training materials from scratch. But even if you have no experience, you should show confidence in your abilities. Say that you consider yourself a creative person, and should not struggle with creating training manuals from scratch. Once you understand the training needs and goals you want to achieve, you should be able to put together decent materials.
Why do you think you can be a good training specialist?
You should say that you have good communication skills, can recognize the weaknesses and the strengths of other people in the team, and know how to help them to improve on their weaknesses. You can also say that you love the nature of the job, and that you have relevant experience (if true).
You should show some confidence while answering this interview question. Show them that you believe in your skills, and they will also start believing in them.
How would you evaluate effectiveness of an educational/training program?
Things are sometimes easier as they seem, and that’s exactly the case with this question. There’s no point in going into lengthy debates of effectiveness of various training programs, comparing internal and external education, e-learning with traditional form of teaching, and so on, and so forth.
Simply say that the key is to measure (as accurately as possible) the level of certain skill and ability before the training, and after the training. Needless to say, a proper skill gap analysis and training needs identification is a prerequisite for your ability to evaluate effectiveness of any training program or method…
Apart from the technical (role-specific) questions, you will have to deal with difficult behavioral questions, questions that examine your attitude and approach to various situations that do happen in a job of a training specialist. For example:
- Describe a situation when you were under pressure in work.
- What’s the most challenging training scenario you have faced? What did you do?
- Describe a conflict you had with your colleague, someone you were training.
- Tell us about a situation when you reached a goal and how you achieved it.
- Describe a situation when you had to motivate someone in work, for example one of the new hires.
- Narrate a situation when you struggled to communicate something to your colleague, one of the new hires. How did you manage to get your message over?
- Describe a difficult decision you had to make in your professional career. How did making this decision affect you?
- Describe the biggest failure of your professional career.
Final thoughts, answers to all 25 interview questions for Training Specialists
Training specialist is a popular job title, and you will always compete with many other people for the position. Interviewers will ask you a variety of personal and behavioral questions, trying to understand your readiness for the job, motivation, and attitude to various situations you will encounter in this job.
If you want to stand out from the competitors in an interview, and tell the hiring managers exactly what they want to hear from you, have a look at an eBook I wrote for you, the Training Specialist Interview Guide.
Multiple brilliant answers to 25 most common interview questions for Training Specialist, including all dreaded scenario-based questions, and winning interview strategies, will help you outclass your competitors and get the job.
Some questions are answered directly on the eBook page, so even if you do not want to purchase anything, you can still check them our here. Thank you, and I wish you best of luck in this difficult interview!
Matthew Chulaw, InterviewPenguin.com
* You can also download the list of questions in a simple one page long PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later:
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