I Need an Instructional Designer: Now What?

Need an instructional designer? Here are some steps that will help identify your specific instructional designer needs.

Analyze the situation.

Chances are, you’ve noticed a gap in your team’s instructional design abilities or just don’t have enough resources to get the job done. You’ve identified that your project needs augmentation and that there’s a specialized need for an instructional designer. If you think you need help in your hiring efforts, contact a staffing firm or recruiter.

Design your ideal candidate.

The first step is to determine exactly who you’re looking for. Make a list of job requirements for the position. What tools should the candidate know? How many years of experience should he or she have? Are you concerned with the candidate having experience specific to your industry? Once you have created your list, determine what your priorities are, and rank each requirement. Don’t get distracted by what isn’t on the list.

Develop assessment criteria.

Check with your HR department or the staffing firm you’re working with to see if they have a hiring assessment specific to instructional designer positions. Even if there’s no assessment, consider giving the candidates a small project to work on. This will help determine whether they can follow directions, and it is also a good indication of whether or not their resumes match their actual skill sets. Besides an exam or project, the interview process is another good way to assess candidates for specific instructional design skills. Some questions you should ask include:

  • What experience do you have interviewing subject matter experts? Ask them to describe an instance where they had trouble getting information from a subject matter expert and how they overcame it.
  • What are some of the instructional design methodologies you’ve used in previous projects? After they’ve shared their experience, ask them to pick one and describe how it was applied to specific steps in a project.
  • Do you have samples of your instructional design work? Look for good work even if it doesn’t exactly match the work they’ll be doing at your company. For example, the instructional designer you hire may work on training for the construction industry, and the candidate may only have samples from training he or she created for software development. The important criteria for a good sample are that it’s clean, creative, and free of errors.

During the interview, you can also gauge if the candidate has other general skills that are just as important for a successful hire. These include people skills, professionalism, and the ability to clearly communicate. Fit with the company brand is another area to consider. Some candidates may look good on paper but do not have the personality to work with the other members on your team.

Implement your decision.

If the instructional designer you’ve found matches your job requirements list, is a good fit for your company’s brand, and embodies most of the other skills you’re looking for, don’t delay. Good instructional designers go fast, so it’s important to be active during the hiring process. Make your staffing decision as quickly as possible because top talent won’t stay on the market long.

Evaluate your process.

After you’ve chosen the right candidate, examine how the selection process went. Revisit your requirements list, and see whether the candidate you chose matches it. Did your priorities change? Why? This will help simplify the hiring process for other instructional designer positions. If you screened candidates yourself, evaluate the amount of time and effort you spent, and see whether a staffing firm may be a better option in the future.

Let us know if you have any questions or need help finding a local instructional designer.

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