Self-development and you: Lavandi discuss some ideas on how to talk about it in an interview


Anyone who has ever been for an interview knows ‘the questions’ are coming. There are a few of them. Those terrible, awkward, difficult to answer questions that are bound to come up at some point. One of these is usually about self-development. Whether it is the ‘where you see yourself in five years?’ question or the ‘what can we do to help you achieve your career goals?’ showstopper, we all struggle with them.

So, here are a few thoughts from us at Lavandi Talent on the reason they are so common and how to answer them.

The self-development questions are important

Never fall into the trap of thinking that these questions are just standard procedure. They are far from it. They are common because they are asking about a fundamental part of your new role. Your self-development is important because it leads to job satisfaction, which is important to you and the employer.

Clear goals are very important

Try to avoid being vague when you answer these questions. If there is a specific training goal or qualification you want, say so. If you have a set of skills that you want to develop, be precise about what they are. For example, rather than saying you want to develop your team working, say you want to focus on your teamwork when it comes to problem-solving or leadership. Give context; it shows you are not just giving a stock answer.

Can you SMART your self-development?

Remember S.M.A.R.T. when it comes to thinking about your self-development and plan to answer that way. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timed.

So rather than ‘I want to learn to be a manager’, go with ‘I want to learn to manage project teams and be running my own in two years. It would be great to do some short training on time management, which is a weakness of mine currently, because that would really help me develop in the role.’ Look how much more the interviewer is taking away from a SMART answer.

Motivate yourself with your self-development

It goes without saying that the more you are motivated, the better you will perform and the more likely you are to get where you want to be. When you talk about self-development at the interview, you are committing to a path. It’s important that you are committing to something you really want to happen because it will be a goal that will motivate you for a long time.

Explain the growth factor

Self-development is all about growth, change and, well, development. You would be surprised how often a candidate doesn’t explain how they will grow as an employee or a person because of their development plan. Without a reason for your development, it means nothing. See the final thought below for why this is important.

A final thought

As a last thought on this, it that it is worth just going back to something we mentioned earlier. The reason these questions about personal and career development are important is that the employer is looking for someone who wants the same thing they do.

The goal of employing someone is to find an employee who can do the role, grow within the business, and have a long career with a decent work-life balance. Which is exactly why you are considering the job in the first place isn’t it?

So, if you are both looking to achieve the same thing, then it stands to reason that being clear about what you want is going to help create a mutual blueprint for success. Sometimes people ask us, ‘what if my career goals and the potential to achieve those in the job are different. Does that mean I won’t get the job?’ Actually, no, it may not mean that because a lot of the time, a job role has a little wiggle room for a good candidate.

Be honest, though, because if your needs and the needs of the employer do not match, then that could mean the job isn’t right for you. It is best to find that out early, isn’t it?

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