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 office Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Approach #1: General Answer

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

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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.


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?

Take Action

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Compose your answer confidently.


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