Top 4 Tips Illustration

No matter what field you’re in, finding the right person for the job is never easy. Whether you’re new to e-learning, or you’ve just never been involved in the hiring process before, interviewing potential Instructional Designers (IDs) can be a daunting task. Community member Jessica Brown started a discussion recently about how to interview an instructional designer that turned up some stellar advice, so I thought I’d write a quick recap a few of the highlights.

#1: Have them send you their portfolio

If all you have to judge a candidate on is their resume, it can be hard to choose which ones to interview. Andrew Winner reminded us that a good way to tell if they’ve got what it takes it to have them send you a portfolio of some past projects, so you can see concrete examples of their work.

#2: Ask them to explain something complex in a few words

A big part of instructional design is taking complex concepts and breaking them down into a series of easy-to-understand chunks. Depending on the subject matter, this can be easier said than done. So how do you know if your candidate has what it takes to get the job done?

Bob S nailed down a technique that allows him to test this skill during the interview process: “Ask them about a hobby they love that has nothing to do with their career in any way. Draw them into a short conversation about it and finally ask ‘So if someone were interested in getting started in that, what would you say are the first four things they should do and why?’ I've used this question to gauge how well they can break down the complex into simple ordered chunks.”

#3: Prepare a “homework” assignment for them

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of candidates, Bob S, David Glow and Sharon Gregerson all agree that the best way to pick out the cream of the crop is to prepare a hands-on “homework” assignment for them. For example, you could provide them with an example of typical course content and ask them to create a mini-module. This will allow you gauge not only their skills (ability to structure content, graphic design, etc.), but also how interested they are in the role, based on how much effort they put into their assignment.

#4: Ask them about their methods

As a follow up to the “homework” assignment, David Glow suggested asking the candidates questions about their methods to get a feel for how they work and determine if they are the right fit for the job. For example, you could ask them how they went about creating the module and how they chose the color scheme.


And there you have it! This list is by no means exhaustive, so don’t hesitate to share any other skills and interview hacks in the comments section below. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and come back to E-learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.

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J Carp
Cathy Edwards