Did You Enter This Position Through A Formal Training Program?

When this question is put out there, it’s often because someone is unsure how their training and education is going to work for them on the job market. Often, they have been referred to you as part of that program, and they are trying to understand whether your company takes interviews with people who are new to the profession seriously or if you are more oriented toward hiring experienced staff members. It can also be a way of understanding how upwardly mobile positions that are obtained through these programs might be, and even if your answer is “no,” it’s a good idea to find a way to highlight their actual core concerns about the role their training will play in their career development.

Points to Emphasize

Keep these ideas in mind as you frame your answer.

  • If you are saying no, then it is still important to talk about the role those programs play in hiring at your company.

  • It’s also important to discuss how or why you might have a different story if you did not come through a program but your company does rely on them for recruiting.

  • It’s also key to discuss how continuing training and professional development is supported, because many employees from training programs are interested in going further.

  • Highlight the opportunities available and the ways that the program prepares candidates, to show what the company values.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

Here are a few ways that your answer might miss the mark. Try to sidestep them.

  • It can be tempting to use this as a way of talking about how you were hired, but that misses the main point of the question about training programs.

  • Keep it concise, because the more turns your answer takes, the more chances you have that it will be misunderstood or unclear.

  • Never let yourself make sweeping or absolute statements, because they can be taken literally by applicants who simply do not know your company yet.

  • Remember the stress that comes with interviewing, and avoid using dramatic language or other heightened narrative techniques that could set the wrong tone.

Sample Answer

Here’s one example of a solid answer that hits the right notes.

I did not, but that is because there isn’t really a formal training program for human resources. I did get the job after doing an internship here at the company, and I did that during my last year of college. For most of our medical personnel, we do recruit right from training programs, and the company usually promotes from within for positions that are below the executive level.

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