How to Find (and Hire) the Perfect Instructional Designer for Your Team

Building a great course takes a team, but at the center of that team is an instructional designer.

The instructional designer (ID) is the person who can take all of your writing and planning to life in a course. The instructional designer makes what would otherwise be a bunch of documents into learning tools.

If the process is new to you, finding the right candidate can feel like a difficult job. There’s no one right way to hire a perfect instructional designer. It takes some investigating and research and talking to a lot of people. However, with the right guidance, you can make a successful hire. 

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Here, we provide you with valuable tips and resources to help you find the perfect ID for your needs.

First, let’s look at what an ID is.

What Does an Instructional Designer Do?

Depending on the nature of your course, and if you’re creating it internally, you will need an ID and/or a writer. The ID takes the instructional material and arranges it in a way that’s informative, engaging, and serves your teaching-related goals. In other words, they design the online course. 

For a closer look at what they do, you can read ID Christy Tucker’s firsthand experience and what she does for a living.

Your ID may or may not be the same as a writer. For instance, at Talance, we tend to work with an independent curriculum writer who specializes in editorial content. This person works closely with the ID to create an interactive course that educates.

Both of these roles can be saved for outside consultants.

Decide Your Minimum Needs.

Before you begin the hiring process, it’s important to figure out your needs and goals for hiring an ID. 

Think about what particular skills and qualifications you are looking for in a candidate, as well as the particular projects and tasks they will be responsible for. This will help you narrow down your search and make sure that you find a candidate who is the perfect fit for your team. 

Here’s a quick list you can use as a starting place:

  • Degree in instructional design or related field
  • Previous instructional design experience
  • Ability to develop content
  • Multimedia skills, such as eLearning authoring tools or graphic design tools
  • Project management or strong organizational skills
  • Ability to conduct needs analyses

 Additionally, think about your long-term goals and how the ID will add to them.

Write a Great Learning Designer Job Description.

As soon as you’ve scoped out what you want from your ideal candidate, write a job listing that fits.

Creating a detailed job description is important when hiring an instructional designer. This will help you attract qualified candidates who have the particular skills and qualifications you are looking for.

Optimize by using information about the responsibilities and tasks the instructional designer will be responsible for, as well as any particular qualifications or certifications needed. Use keywords that candidates might be looking for, like “animations” or “blended learning.”

Also, think about including information about your company culture and values, as this can help attract candidates who match up with your organization. 

Use Multiple Sourcing Channels.

When searching for the perfect instructional designer (ID) for your team, cast a wide net and use multiple sourcing channels. This will increase your chances of finding qualified candidates and make sure that you have a wide pool of applicants to choose from. 

Some effective sourcing channels to think about include:

  • job boards
  • professional networking websites
  • industry- particular forums
  • referrals from fellow workers
  • industry contacts

Review Resumes and Portfolios.

Once you have received applications from possible ID candidates, it’s time to review their resumes and portfolios. This step is important in deciding if a candidate has the necessary skills and experience for the role.

Look for relevant experience in instructional design, as well as any certifications or specialized training.

Pay attention to the instructional designer’s portfolio, which should showcase their previous work and show their ability to create engaging instructional materials. Take note of the quality of their work, their creativity, and their ability to customize their designs to different learning styles.

Narrow down your list of candidates and identify those who are the best fit for your team.

Ask Thoughtful Questions During Interviews and Tests.

Once you have narrowed down your list of possible instructional designers, it’s time to do thorough interviews and tests to further evaluate their skills and fit for your team.

Prepare a list of interview questions that will help you gauge their knowledge, experience, and problem-solving abilities. Ask about particular projects they have worked on and how they approached instructional design challenges.

Also think about conducting tests or assigning a small project to assess their ability to create instructional materials. This will give you a better understanding of their creativity, attention to detail, and ability to meet deadlines. During the interviews and tests, pay attention to their communication skills, their ability to work collaboratively, and their passion for instructional design. By doing thorough interviews and tests, you can make a more informed decision and hire the perfect instructional designer for your team.

Follow Up on Good Candidates Quickly.

Chances are, if you like a candidate, others will too. If you’re ready to make a hire, do it right away. At least be in touch to schedule next steps. Those steps might mean more interviews or some other test to find out if they’re a good fit.

If you follow these tips for creating a structured approach to hiring a solid instructional designer, you’ll find the rest of your training team will fall into place.

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