The best managers are not just invested in their teams’ present, but in their future as well, and interviewers want to see that you’ve thought about how your employees can continue to learn and grow.
Being able to truly support individual employees in their professional growth means you have to get to know them. The only way to learn of your staff’s potential is to be an observant leader, looking out for their strengths and opportunities for improvement. This takes time. You can make it clear that in order to answer this question fully, you’ll want to be able to see your staff in action for at least six months before you can determine what training would benefit them most.
Then you can give some examples of what professional development you might suggest. To answer this question you should be familiar with the relevant industry conferences, certifications, and trainings and what they offer. Take the time to learn which ones are best suited to the organization and position you’re interviewing for and why. Get specific about what you’d want each role on your team to get from the possible development opportunities you suggest: What do you want your customer service employees to learn about conflict resolution and why? Do you want your team to be proficient at public speaking and to what end?
You can also share any past experiences of supporting employees taking on a training or advanced education and how it impacted them, the team, and the company. What were the benefits? Were there any pitfalls to watch out for, such as it impacting their ability to handle their workload in a timely manner because they missed meetings to attend classes? Did they develop a new skill, such as video editing, and then leave the company to do more of it elsewhere? If you’re not an experienced manager, you can share what professional development training you’ve benefited from in order to vouch for why you think it’s useful for staff.