How to Prepare to Interview for an Instructional Design Position

We’ve been interviewing for a manager-level instructional design position. I’ve met some really interesting people and had some great conversations.

I will say one thing I’ve been disappointed by is the lack of preparation on the part of candidates in terms of asking questions. The questions candidates ask are just as important as the answers they give to our questions. Good questions show desire and curiosity.

Every candidate is told who they are going to interview with, and my LinkedIn profile is public and includes references to places I’ve worked, papers I’ve written, a link to this web journal, and so forth. I know some of the candidates visited my profile, and all of them should have. Yet I didn’t get a single non-generic question about the firm or about my background.

“I see you have a doctorate in curriculum and instruction. How have your studies helped you in your current position?” “I saw on your web journal that you wrote recently about X. What do you think about Y?” Or whatever–something that shows the ability to formulate interesting, challenging questions.

Some of that is ego stroking, to be sure. But the larger issue is that, at least for instructional design positions, showing curiosity is vital because curiosity makes you a stronger designer, as does showing initiative and an interest in forging personal connections. Preparing for interviews is a design task itself.

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