Interviewing eLearning Professionals
Whether you're a Fortune 500 company who is looking for an eLearning professional to develop your compliance training, or a small eLearning firm who needs an eLearning freelancer to work on a contractual basis, conducting an interview is a time consuming, but necessary, task that will help you to choose the ideal candidate. However, there are some tips on interviewing eLearning professionals that can make the process much more productive and less stressful for everyone involved.
1. Always ask to see their eLearning portfolio.
First and foremost, you should always ask to see a candidate's eLearning portfolio, as this will give you a good indication of his/her skill sets and talents. Candidates may say that they are well versed in a particular topic, or that they are familiar with a specific eLearning authoring tool. However, their work samples are going to tell you if this is really the case. Many eLearning professionals are now putting their portfolio online, so ask them for the web address in order to view it before the interview.
2. Discuss their previous use of eLearning software.
eLearning professionals have to wear many hats these days, and having professionals on your team who know their way around a variety of eLearning software will give you the upper hand. Ideally, the perfect candidate should be up to date with emerging technologies and tools, and have an understanding of at least a handful of eLearning authoring tools and Learning Management Systems. Even if a candidate is not familiar with the eLearning software your company uses, the fact that he/she is willing and able to learn about new eLearning tools is a big plus.
3. Encourage them to discuss recent eLearning projects.
Even if the candidates have written out all of the past experience in their resume, you should still ask them during the interview about it. For example, inquire about the eLearning software they used, the challenges they faced, and the goals they achieved. In addition to the completed eLearning projects, you may also want to give them a hypothetical project to see if they can come up with a strategy then and there. If a candidate states that he plays guitar, ask him to define the top five things a learner would need to know in order to start playing guitar. In addition, you can ask which eLearning authoring tools and instructional design theories she/he would use to design an eLearning deliverable based upon this subject matter. By doing this you not only learn more about their eLearning development process, but also how effectively they communicate their thoughts and ideas.
4. Have them develop learning objectives and goals on the spot.
There are probably a number of candidates on your interview list who can create content and design multimedia components. However, creating effective learning objectives and learning goals is an entirely different story. As such, you will want to make sure that your new hire can craft learning goals and objectives by asking them to do so, on the spot. Give them a list of key points and ideas regarding a specific topic, and then have them design two or three key objectives and learning outcomes based upon the information provided.
5. Don't forget about teamwork and collaboration!
There are two aspects to this particular tip. Firstly, you'll learn about their collaboration skills and see if they are effective team players. Secondly, if they are effective project managers. Collaboration is essential in both roles, so hiring a candidate who can work in team environments, is critical. Ask them about past eLearning projects that involved an eLearning design and development team, and then encourage them to talk about the obstacles they faced, how they overcame these obstacles, and what they learned from the experience. Inevitably, every experienced eLearning professional has had his/her fair share of challenges with subject matter experts. As such, you'll want to ask about any challenges they've faced in the past, and how they came to a resolution. If they have not dealt with subject matter experts, then ask them if they've been in conflict with a colleague or peer and how it was resolved.
6. Ask your short-list of candidates to complete a sample eLearning assignment.
After you've created a list of candidates who you think might be a great addition to your team, why not ask them to complete an eLearning assignment that will make one stand out from the others. For instance, you could give them all the same topic- preferably one that isn't mentioned on any of their resumes or portfolios- and ask them to create a short eLearning course or module that features learning goals, multimedia elements, and learning activities. You can then review all of their submissions and determine who has the skills and talents you really need to create the most effective eLearning course for your organization.
Use these eLearning interview tips to determine if an eLearning professional is the ideal person for the job. Interviews only offer you a small glimpse into their qualifications, personality, and skill sets, so you'll need to ask the right questions to find the right eLearning professional.
Want to learn more about the skills you should be looking for in an eLearning professional? The article Top 10 eLearning Skills That eLearning Professionals Should Have features the skills that eLearning professionals should have to be successful and stand out.
In addition, the article Top 10 Instructional Designer Skills features the top 10 instructional designer skill sets that you may want to keep in mind when interviewing potential candidates.