A PayPal exec's favourite interview question reveals the skill all good employees should have

Derek Hann PayPalDerek HannIt’s all about applying what you’ve learned, said PayPal chief learning officer Derek Hann (pictured).

Never stop learning.

If nothing else, will make it easier for you answer PayPal chief learning officer Derek Hann’s favourite interview question. As CLO, he focuses on implementing learning and development initiatives at the worldwide online payments system company.

“I would ask this of any candidate — what did you learn this week?” Hann told Business Insider. “Even if it’s only Tuesday. What’s something new you learned this week and how did you apply it in what you do?”

Hann, who previously worked in human resources at Citi, Heineken, and GE, said you should be committed to learning something new every day. It’s a habit that will boost your chances at PayPal — and tech, in general.

“You should be learning with that level of frequency,” he said.

But it’s not just about rattling off some fun facts you picked up on Jeopardy. It’s about applying what you learned to to what you do. If you need inspiration, you can try incorporating informative websites, helpful mental habits, or extra reading time into your daily routine.

“Being a lifelong learner is really important — learning something and applying something new every day,” Hann said.

Hann isn’t the only exec who’s committed to lifelong learning. In an interview with Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget, Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio explained that he expects his team to make mistakes, and to learn from them. “You learn from mistakes and learn from pain,” he said. “Mistakes is one of the best sources of learning, right. Successes mean you do the same thing over again, and ok, that’s fine, but mistakes that are painful stick. When I look back on my career, I think that the mistakes were the best thing that happened to me.”

Major companies like EY and IBM encourage employees to keep gathering new skills through online learning programs for which graduates earn “digital badges” that certify they have completed the course. In fact, reported Business Insider’s Abby Jackson, certain IBM badges can be used toward Northeastern professional master’s degree programs.

They all seem to agree: No matter when you learn new skills, they can pay off forever.

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