Tips on Interviewing and Evaluating Instructional Designers – Part 2 of 2


How do you find the best candidates to train your team?

The instructional design field attracts a wide variety of individuals with diverse training and instructional development experience. Choosing the right instructional designer can be a challenging process as you consider the needs of your organization while reviewing stacks of resumes and work samples. You want to ensure that the individual you hire has the desired skills and experience and is the right fit for the position and your team.

ProEdit’s team of instructional design managers and staffing specialists can help you navigate the hiring process.

Part 1 – Reviewing Resumes and Work Samples

Interviewing Candidates

Before the interview process kicks off, prepare a set of questions to help you keep the interviews focused and relevant. Print a copy of your list before each interview, and include plenty of space between each question for notes. Here are some questions and prompts to help you get started:

  • Tell me about a recent project. Have instructional designers describe recent projects on which they worked. At ProEdit, we consider recent work to include anything within the last five years. Ask instructional designers to describe their process or methodology and any tools they used.
  • What experience do you have working with subject matter experts? An important part of instructional design is getting along with the experts in your industry. Ask them to describe an instance where they had trouble getting information from an SME and how they overcame it. Their responses may give you clues about their collaborative style and whether they will be a good fit with your own SMEs.
  • What experience do you have working in a collaborative environment? Each team is different, but many instructional design projects depend on more than one individual for successful deployment. Listening to their experiences will give you insight into how they may work out in your particular environment and with your team.
  • What is your favorite part and least favorite part of instructional design work? The answer to this question can be a revealing look into what the candidate is passionate about and where the sticking points may be with the job and your team.
  • What sort of training deliverables have you produced? Has the candidate been exclusively producing instructor-led training materials or only elearning modules? Do they have experience with other types of learning, such as mobile learning? Decide how their experience in getting content out the door fits with your company’s needs.
  • What content development tools have you used? It’s important to get a feel for how comfortable the candidate is with current technology. If you need someone to be up and running tomorrow, this is the time to find out whether they have skills in the particular tool your company uses.
  • What instructional design methodologies have you used? Again, a candidate may be limited by the methodologies used in their previous employment. The key is to see whether the candidate understands how to be flexible and still meet the needs of learners. Also ask the candidate to discuss the pros and cons of various approaches to instructional design.
  • Describe your ideal instructional design position. Don’t hire someone that will be unhappy three to six months down the road; get a reading on whether they are looking for the type of position you are filling.
  • Do you belong to any instructional design associations or training industry groups? Candidates who are actively engaged with others in the field will bring enthusiasm to their position and may be more familiar with current best practices in instructional design.
  • What sorts of learning experiences have you had recently? An insatiable hunger to learn is one of the hallmarks of a great instructional designer. Ask about books they’ve read and courses they’ve taken. Is the candidate actively improving their skills and reaching new goals?
  • What do you like to do when you are not at work? Asking this question at the end of the interview signals to the candidate that it is time to relax and open up a bit. Their answers can reveal whether they will be a good fit for your brand.

Evaluating the Candidates

After each interview, take a few minutes to jot down your thoughts and impressions. Make notes about the following issues while the interview is still fresh in your mind:

  • Do you want to work with this person? How would you feel about interacting with them on a daily basis?
  • Did the candidate have a positive energy? Or, were there negative comments sprinkled in?
  • What personality traits stood out with this candidate?
  • How much time will the candidate need to get up to speed with your company’s training environment? With your industry subject matter? Are these important considerations?
  • Will this person’s personality fit in with your company’s brand?
  • Does it seem like the candidate will mesh with the team and get along with your SMEs?
  • How enthusiastic was the candidate about instructional design as a profession?
  • What is your gut feeling about this candidate?

Try not to overthink the exact details of the interview. Your interview notes should be sufficient. Concentrate on your general impressions, and write a few descriptive adjectives that will help you remember when comparing applicants.

TIP: Understanding a candidate’s resume and work samples is the first step in effectively interviewing and evaluating instructional designers.

Hiring an instructional designer shouldn’t be a tedious exercise. Knowing how to screen resumes efficiently, ask the right questions, and evaluate candidates afterward should help you make a well-informed and wise instructional design hire.

Read Part 1 – Tips on Interviewing and Evaluating Instructional Designers: Reviewing Resumes and Work Samples

We find the most talented and creative Instructional Designers.

  1. We gather applicants.
  2. We rate experience.
  3. We interview the best.
  4. You choose who you want.

At ProEdit, we are experts in placing instructional designers for a multitude of industries throughout the U.S. Contact us today for more information or help finding the right candidate for your instructional design needs.

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