You're at a job interview and it's going quite well. Suddenly they ask:

What's the most important thing you learned at school?

It can be an overwhelming question!

Sheldon from Big Bang Theory breathing into a paper bag

Hang on. Breathe. You've got this!

Of ALL the knowledge, skills, and experience you learned, what's the best info to share that will help you get the job?

Why Are They Even Asking You This?

Giphy of Man Asking Why

  • They want to dig deeper into how you think and what you value the most in relation to the role and the company.

Are you a good fit?

  • This reflective question reveals your level of self-awareness.

  • It's an opportunity to set yourself apart by sharing experiences unique to you.

Keep In Mind

  • Context! Connect your personalized answer to the role and company (vision, values, etc).

  • Avoid saying that you didn't learn anything. It shows a lack of awareness.

  • Steer clear of stalling: "Ummm...good question..." Instead, pause briefly then answer calmly.

  • Stay focused to avoid rambling about everything you learned. The operative word is MOST (as in your most important lesson).

  • Center your answer on academic & professional lessons (problem solving/teamwork) rather than social ones (making lots of friends).

Two women at a job interview in an officePhoto by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Approach #1: General Answer

Flaticon Icon

Think about it broadly. School teaches us many things beyond subject knowledge in class.

Frame your answer around working hard for achievements or skills like public speaking, preparation, teamwork, etc.

Flaticon IconExample answer:

The most important thing I learned in school was how crucial it is to be prepared when giving a presentation. Details matter. Remembering this makes me thorough when I pitch to clients. I do my research, focus on their needs, and assure them that they can trust me. This is vital in sales and customer relations, which are at the heart of this role.

Approach #2: Subject Specific Answer

Flaticon IconFocus on a particular subject that shows you want to do the type of job you're applying for. Show off your strongest qualities.

Flaticon Icon

Example answer:

The most important thing I learned in school was mathematics. Working with numbers in real life scenarios was like a fun puzzle to me. It sparked my passion for problem-solving and data analysis. I consider it a strong point of mine and part of why I am a suitable candidate for the Data Scientist position at this leading company.

Quiz

At an interview for a customer service job, you're asked, "What's the most important thing you learned in school?" What should you talk about?

The bake sale you organized

How many friends you made

Psychology, your favorite subject

How you didn't learn anything valuable

Take Action

interview job GIF

Compose your answer confidently.

License:

Your feedback matters to us.

This Byte helped me better understand the topic.

I feel confident that I can apply what I learned.

I would recommend this Byte.

Connect with Rumie learners

Browse more content, receive support, share your expertise, and keep learning through text and voice chat!

This Byte has been authored by

KG

Khethiwe Gumede

Multimedia Lecturer