Insider’s Guide to Answering Corporate Trainer Interview Questions

You found a corporate training job you\’re interested in and applied.  Now they want to interview you.  How should you prepare?  What kinds of questions are they going to ask?  That\’s what this article is all about.

In my over 20 years of experience in corporate training and development, I have been on both sides of the  interview and I know what you are likely facing. Here are ten common questions along with how to answer them.

For more interview advice, be sure to check out my Ultimate Guide to Getting a Learning and Development Job article.

Interviewing for a combo job such as Training Specialist?  Use this guide together with Insider\’s Guide to Answering Instructional Design Interview Questions.

Want to watch on YouTube?  Check out Top 10 Questions for Corporate Trainer Job Interviews 

For a FREE printable cheat sheet of all of these questions, click HERE

Question 1: What experience do you have?/Tell me about your Experience

Why they ask:

You can pretty much count on this question in some form or fashion.  To me, it\’s kind of a \”check the box\” question that everyone feels compelled to ask even though they have already seen your resume\’.  I get it, though.  They want to hear it from you.  The resume\’ tells part of the story but you are the one who can really bring it to life.

How to Answer:

This is one I would practice. A lot.  You want to give the interviewer a good idea of what you have done (and, thereby, what you can do for them) but you don\’t want to babble on and on to the point that they are bored.

Hit the main job roles and responsibilities.  In particular, highlight any that directly pertain to the job you are interviewing for.  For example, if the job posting mentions that you will be conducting software training then I\’d definitely mention \”at XYZ Company, I facilitated classes on the EPIC system software.\” Or whatever makes sense.

You want to be able to give a compelling answer within around 2 – 3 minutes.  That\’s why I\’d not only practice but I would even use a stopwatch to see how you do with timing.  Remember, the idea isn\’t to give them your whole life story.  It\’s to succinctly tell them what you have done and then, if there is something in particular they want to hear more about, they\’ll ask.

(By the way, if you are worried about a lack of experience, I have a FREE tool to help you brainstorm ideas of what to include in your resume and use to answer this question.)

Question 2: What is your favorite aspect of Training?

Why they ask:

It seems like a bit of a \”fluff\” question but it can actually help to see how much you know and your experience level.  It can also give an idea of where you are likely to focus your efforts.

How to answer:

Early on in my career the part that I enjoyed the most was the performance aspect.  I liked being in front of an audience and having them listen, laugh and react to me.  If that is true of you, that is ok.  You can certainly mention that you really like public speaking and enjoy that aspect of training.  Just be careful not to be too \”me\” focused.

The interviewer wants to know that you are equally, if not more, concerned about your learners.  So, think about what it is you like as it pertains to them and be sure to mention that. Even better, cite a specific example where you witnessed one of your learners have an \”a-ha\” moment as a result of your training.

Question 3: How do you handle a difficult participant?

Why they ask:

We would love to believe that every person who attends our training classes wants to be there and will be an enthusiastic participant.  The reality is that, sometimes, (SURPRISE!), there are people who don\’t want to be there or who don\’t buy in to the training message.

The interviewer wants to know that you can handle these situations with professionalism.

How to Answer:

The best way to answer this is with a specific example.

\”In a recent new employee orientation class I was facilitating, one of the participants kept looking down at her phone and texting.  I had reminded the class at the beginning to keep their phones put away and mentioned it again but she kept doing it anyway.  On a break I asked her if everything was ok since I noticed she had been texting throughout the class.  She apologized and told me that her sister had gotten a flat tire on the way to work.  She was keeping in touch with her to make sure triple A had shown up and that she was ok. I told her if she needed some extra time for the break, that was fine and to just keep me posted.\”

That\’s just an example, based on some real situations I\’ve had.  I like an example like this where the trainer doesn\’t rush to judgment about the participant.  If you don\’t have a lot of experience with teaching adults, you might be tempted to give a more \”disciplinarian\” answer where you put someone in their place for being disruptive.  In almost every instance I\’ve had with a \”difficult\” participant, there was an underlying reason for what was going on besides them just being difficult for the sake of being difficult.

If you don\’t have a specific example you can use then just explain how you would handle a situation.  Give a  scenario and describe how you would show empathy while also minimizing the disruption to your class.

Question 4: How do you prepare for a training class?

Why they ask:

Basically, they want to know how seriously you take your training duties.  They want to know they can count on you to show up and be ready to train.

How to answer:

In your answer, you want to demonstrate that you are a consummate professional.  You make sure everything is in place for your training sessions so the learners can have a productive, enjoyable experience.

This could include any of the following:

  • Going over the presentation
  • Adding notes to the presentation
  • Making updates to the presentation
  • Send communication to your participants
  • Set up the room
  • Check on any equipment being used for the class
  • Print out any materials needed for the class
  • Make sure there are enough supplies for the class
  • Make sure software is loaded on classroom computers

Of course, which ones you mention will depend on the types of classes you teach. Again, you just want to make sure the interviewer understands that you are a professional and will have everything ready to go.

Question 5: Are you comfortable training both in person and online?

Why they ask:

This may be asked when the primary method of teaching is one way but the employer is thinking about adding the other.  Basically, they want to know how versatile you are.

how to answer:

It may not be worded just like this but if there is a question related to your ability to teach in person as well as online, you definitely want to be able to say you can do both.  More and more, trainers are being expected to conduct their classes online using tools like Zoom, Webex and Microsoft Teams.

Any examples you can give would be good here.  Particularly, an example where you took an existing class and converted it from in person to virtual.

Question 6: How do you keep training participants engaged?

Why they ask:

Most corporate training is pretty boring. The interviewer wants to know what you do to keep yours interesting.

How to answer:

You definitely want to have some examples ready for this one.  I like to give examples of traditionally boring topics that I\’ve been able to make engaging.  For example, I used to teach a section about EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) law in a class.  I looked up real cases and used those to teach.  I gave the class the case and asked them what they would do.  Then, I\’d tell them how the court ruled and why.  It made the material alot more interesting and was way more effective than just lecturing.

Think of what you do in your classes and use whichever example makes the most sense for you.

Question 7: Give an example of a class that didn\’t go as planned.

Why they ask:

Even when we plan everything out, things can go wrong.  The purpose of this question is to hear how you handle these types of situations.

How to answer:

If you have been training for any length of time, you will have an example.  Equipment break downs, sleeping participants, fire alarms going off in the middle of class…I\’ve had all of these and more happen to me.

One of my \”best\” worst experiences was coming in early to set up for a class only to discover that someone had stolen the projector.  Like, they actually ripped it out of the ceiling!  That was fun.

Whatever the situation, you want to describe how you professionally and cool-headedly handled it.  In that case, I made a phone call to our A/V department and asked them to bring a replacement.  They did and the class never knew the difference.  Ok, yes, they did…it\’s hard to ignore a big hole in the ceiling with wires hanging down… The point is, the class went on without a hitch.

Question 8: What software/tools do you use?/Are you familiar with ______?

Why they ask:

If the job you are applying for is mainly training delivery, you may not be using a whole lot of software.  Still, the interviewer will want to know about any that you have experience in.

How to answer:

Obviously, if they have listed a specific software in the job posting and you have experience then you\’d want to mention that.  As with other questions, I\’d also talk about a project where I used that particular software.

Specific software could include presentation software (e.g. PowerPoint), meeting software (e.g. Zoom), or anything else you may use as part of the job.

If there is a new program you\’ve learned recently, I\’d mention that as well.  You want to show that you are constantly learning and staying up to date.

Question 9: How do you measure the success of the training?

Why They ask:

The fact that your latest course had a fun game, cool videos and catchy music is great but what were the results?  Did people learn what they were supposed to learn?  How do you know? That is basically what the interviewer wants to know with this question.

How to answer:

There is usually at least some kind of mechanism in place to measure training.  It could be an evaluation form filled out after the course.  It could be the number of people who completed and passed a quiz.  Whatever example you can give, you can mention.

You should also mention any successes you\’ve heard about anecdotally.  For example, if someone has increased their sales after taking a sales course you taught, talk about that.

Question 10: Show me how you would Train on __________

Why They ask:

This is a common request for a training position.  They want to see what you can do.

How to answer:

I go into detail about this in Creating a Job Winning Training Presentation for Your Interview.

Usually, you will have been given a topic or told to choose a topic ahead of time.  The main thing is to make sure you have prepared and practiced ahead of time.  That seems super obvious, and it is, but you\’d be surprised how often people get to this part of the interview process and bomb because they weren\’t prepared.

Final Thoughts

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all questions you could possibly be asked in a corporate training interview. It should, however, be a good start to get you thinking about your experiences and projects so that you can answer just about any question they throw at you with confidence.

Do you want a FREE printable cheat sheet with all of these questions (and answers)?  See below!

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2 thoughts on “Insider’s Guide to Answering Corporate Trainer Interview Questions”

  1. Pingback: Insider’s Guide to Answering Instructional Design Interview Questions – Your Learning Career

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