5 Steps To Show Your Willingness To Learn During an Interview
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published September 29, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
One significant way hiring managers gauge which candidate to choose is by the interviewee's willingness to learn. A committed, eager learner informs their employer that they are self-driven and disciplined to grow their skills, abilities, and experience. Learning more can also lead to awards for achievements, more opportunities, improved salaries, and more freedom to work. In this article, we discuss what willingness to learn is, learn its importance, and discover how to show it in an interview.
What is a willingness to learn?
A willingness to learn satisfies your desire for knowledge and curiosity by gaining information, enhancing your skills to improve your work output. You can fulfill this desire through strategic means rather than randomly collecting pieces of information. Individuals willing to learn are always eager to accept opportunities to develop and improve their work performance.
A willingness to learn is a great way to prove to the hiring manager you're the right fit for a job, especially since you're first inducted into the company before working independently in your specific role.
Related: How To Improve Your Learning Skills
Why is it important to be willing to learn?
The following are the benefits of being eager to learn:
It helps you gain new skills and abilities that can lead to salary raises and promotions. Most senior-level management positions require greater skills and experience. When you gain the necessary skills, you may get promoted.
It helps you solve more problems and use better methods to solve the issues. This can lead to inventions, greater recognition and make it easier for your employer to run their operations. Since many challenges at work are unexpected, a willingness to learn helps you solve these challenges and learn more.
As you learn, you better understand your strengths, passions, and weaknesses. This informs you about what you excel in and what needs improvement. Gaining knowledge and advancing your skill set can give you greater confidence at work and motivate your team.
New skills open up more opportunities. For example, if you have two certifications, it may mean that you can now apply for two different jobs with different employers. Employees who are willing to learn make it easier for their organizations to adopt new strategies, technology, and methods to grow the organization.
How to show you're willing to learn in an interview
Experienced hiring managers have discovered how to differentiate between the levels of applicants' eagerness to learn. They recognize evidence in resumes, cover letters, references, and even some cues as you speak during an interview. It's essential to show your willingness to learn during the interview naturally. The following are some ways you can use to show you are willing to learn:
1. Ask relevant questions whenever necessary
A simple way to show you are eager to learn is by asking plenty of questions concerning the position and the company. To ensure you stick to the topic, prepare your questions by researching the company before the interview.
When you ask questions, hiring managers understand that you are trying to determine that you are not under or overqualified for the position. A person who asks questions during an interview shows that they won't hesitate to ask for help as they perform in their role or when they wish to learn more about a particular task or responsibility.
Related: Preparing for a Mock Interview
2. Show your desire for gaining new skills
During the interview, it may be beneficial to mention unique learning experiences you have had. These can include attending field-related functions, taking short courses on a specific area of focus in your career, or even meeting up with known people in the same field. Show the interviewer that you seek learning experiences out of your own volition.
You can further mention how you leveraged the skills you gained to help the company or solve challenges. This can be of significant benefit, especially when you have little or no experience to attach to your resume. It's clear evidence that you can take the initiative and gain the needed skills without guidance and supervision despite a lack of specific skill sets. Select which experiences to highlight as you prepare for your interview to help you be concise.
Related: Interview Preparation Tips
3. Earn certifications and take additional courses
While interviewing for the position, mention a few certifications and additional courses you may have taken. They can make your portfolio more appealing. If the job requires more skills and training that you may not have, you can show your plan to gain these skills. Pursue training to gain knowledge and experience in areas you are not proficient in or with which you aren't familiar. Research online to know the best way to get certified in a particular field or skill set. Besides your base course or degree, you can study another related field to expand your capabilities and improve your performance at work.
4. Ask about training and growth opportunities
As you ask questions about the company and the role, include a few questions about the employer's opportunities to train and grow. Some companies may pay for their employees to receive training or additional education, and some may sponsor you to study a field of your choosing. By asking whether such opportunities are available shows that you're an avid learner and can prove your willingness to improve your performance at work by gaining the required knowledge. Companies may prevent employee turnover by looking for candidates seeking to advance to senior positions through learning.
5. Pitch new ideas based on your research
Applicants who have taken their time and effort to research more about a company impress hiring managers. For example, if applying for a job with an IT firm, take your time to explore the different software the organization uses in its daily activities. You can then establish some of the different ways they can make the software more efficient and make these suggestions during your interview, showing the hiring manager that you are eager to learn.
How to use your willingness to learn to advance your career
Once you get the job, your learning does not end. To use your willingness to learn to advance your career, follow these tips:
Attend training workshops and career events
Webinars, workshops, social gatherings, and conferences within your field of focus are a great way to continue learning and growing your skills. Some employers also organize such events, and attending them can be a great career booster. These events expose you to new skills, strategies, procedures, and technology that you can use to enhance your work performance. Networking is also an advantage of attending these events, and some job opportunities come through network referrals.
Volunteer for additional responsibilities
Volunteering for additional roles and tasks, however challenging they are, is a great way to learn. These roles push you out of your comfort zone or your usual work tasks. Additional roles extend your capabilities, equip you with new skills, and give you experience that you can use later in your career. For example, if the head of your department says they are overwhelmed, volunteer to help with some of their tasks.
Put what you learn into practice
As you take additional courses, training, and certifications, use what you learn to solve common problems, improve efficiencies, and increase the quality of your work. You can also take it upon yourself to train your subordinates in what you already know.
Remain up to date on technological advancements
It's good practice to stay up to date with modern trends and advancements, especially in technology. The world is moving at a fast pace, and problems are being solved daily. Almost all businesses use technology in their workflow to manage customers, market their brand, recruit employees, manage payroll, or even keep inventory. Staying in touch with advancements helps you improve your ability to use new software. You can go further and inform your supervisor on how to integrate these advancements to improve the organization.
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