The good thing about interviews is that a skilled recruiter will typically give hints as to the answers they want from an interviewee. This is particularly true if “discuss your educational background” is one of the interview questions your encounter. The inquiry may also come in the form of “what degrees do you hold?” or “what did you study in school?” Your interviewer is seeking to learn more about how your educational experiences have influenced you and built your skills.
The best way to answer is to emphasize this more than the logistics of your education. Perhaps you only attended high school and have no college experience. Rather than revealing this, you can discuss what skills you developed in high school and how you might apply them to the job. The objective in responding is not to give a list of the schools you attended but to show that your schooling has had a part in preparing you for the position at hand. If you can relate it to the job skills needed, you can nail the question no matter what level of education you might possess.
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How to answer the ‘Discuss your educational background’ interview question
1. Be honest about your achievement
If you left some of your schooling uncompleted, or if you never attended college, you may be self-conscious about sharing these details with an employer. Telling the whole story is important, though, and leaving out details can lead to awkward clarification. Instead of shying away from or misrepresenting these facts, briefly tell an interviewer the history of your education and offer any explanation you feel is appropriate. They will likely care more about how you discuss your education than how much of it you have.
Interview questions such as “discuss your educational background” are looking for more than just an overview of the schools you attended. Never make the mistake of hiding your education or representing it falsely to an employer. They will either find out or expect you to have experience you cannot fake.
2. Discuss the greater context of your education
An interviewer who asks you to “discuss your educational background” wants to know what knowledge and experience you have. While information about your high school and college performance are relevant, details about your course of study and what classes you took are more relevant. You should be able to tell a recruiter how your education relates to the position you are applying for.
Even if you did not study anything directly related to the field, you can tell him or her how you gained skills that may be necessary for the position. This places your education in a context that increases your value as a candidate and keeps your abilities at the forefront of the conversation.
3. Discuss your education’s past, present and future
If you have been out of school for years or plan to attend school again in the future, you may think you lack relevant information to answer this with. On the contrary, discussing your educational background should involve mentioning your past, present and future endeavors. This shows interviewers that you are committed to continual learning and it’s also an opportunity to discuss your goals.
You should answer interview questions such as this with an emphasis on the connection between your educational aspirations and the position at hand, too. This solidifies the skills you have that are relevant to the job.
Sample ‘Discuss your educational background’ interview answers
The job description noted that there are certain educational requirements, and the rest of the posting indicated the position necessitates excellent time management and communication skills. My educational background includes my high school diploma and some time in college, where I studied business management. I completed three terms of higher education, and in that time, I honed my communication and time management skills in classes such as marketing and English. The knowledge I gained in these and other courses would be directly beneficial to this position, and I plan to continue developing these skills in both my education and work by taking more classes and pursuing new challenges in the workplace.
My educational experience includes a recently completed college degree, which contributed greatly to my development of skills such as sales and teamwork. I noticed that the job posting listed these as essential skills for the position. The classes I took and projects I completed were for a marketing major, and they imparted many of the concepts necessary to understanding good sales techniques. I also often worked to complete presentations with classmates, and this helped me hone my ability to collaborate constructively. My educational background has prepared me well for this position and for a successful career path. I also plan to pursue further coursework in the future in order to keep learning and gain the qualifications to advance in this field.