To Ask or Not to Ask?

“During an interview, can I ask the employer what the company policy is on personal development training?”
An associate asked me this morning.

“What would keep you from asking?” I replied.

Well apparently my associate had been told in the past that you shouldn’t ask about training opportunities during the interview process because:
a. you put the employer in an awkward position, in the case they don’t have a policy in place and
b. you comes across as quite demanding asking a question like that before you are even offered the job.

I was shocked! Surely in this day and age all organizations recognize the crucial role of personal development and have some sort of policy (and budget) assigned to training. Even if their policy is that they don’t offer training -not advisable if they want to retain top talent.

Or maybe the organization relies on ad-hoc training opportunities depending on the needs of the individual employee. So they wouldn’t know before that person is hired.

Nevertheless, an answer could still be provided along the lines of “Yes we do provide training opportunities and they are based on the individual’s needs. So you will have the opportunity to discuss this further with your manager after your x month review.”

Or the employer could be honest and say: “Our training budget has been cut, but will be reviewing it again in x months”.

Our Advise:
MAKE SURE you ask that question. In fact, you ought it to yourself to ask that question.

Remember an interview is not only about the potential employer assessing whether you are suitable for them, but also you judging whether this organization is suitable for you. Would you ever tell the interviewer “oh you shouldn’t have asked me that question, because you sound too demanding?”

An organization that doesn’t even like the question of training coming up during an interview it is not worth associating yourself with. Unless of course you want to be stuck working within a hierarchical culture that expects you to be “thankful” for being given a job rather than being recognized and valued for what you contribute to the organization.

For the next x number of years you will be spending most of your life producing results for this organization. And any organization that doesn’t recognize the importance that personal development plays in producing these results doesn’t deserve to have you onboard.

“Our people are our most important asset” is a mantra well rehearsed by organizations, but unfortunately a lot do not match their words with action.

So ask the question and watch carefully how it is answered. If you are not happy with the answer you get, then run, run far away.

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