So you’ve made it to the interview stage of your instructional design job search, congratulations! You should be deep into your interview prep by now which means you need some questions to ask during your interview.
Preparing questions to ask during your interview shows:
- Your interest in the position.
- Your interest in the company itself.
- You are prepared for the interview.
- You are a competitive candidate.
Don’t forget, the purpose of this interview is not just for your interviewer to determine if you’re a good fit for the position. Asking questions during your interview will help you decide if you want the job (if it’s offered to you).
If you’ve been following my advice for how to create a killer resume, you applied for this job in the first place because the job description sounded like your dream job. If you’re prepared with the right questions to ask during your interview, you’ll learn more about the job and the company culture. It could turn out this isn’t your dream position after all, and that’s okay!
So how do you know what to ask that will make you seem like a go-getter AND help you decide if it’s a good fit for you? Arrive prepared with a list of questions to ask during your interview!
15 Questions to Ask During Your Interview for an Instructional Design Job
Interviewers will ALWAYS ask, “What questions do you have for me?”, so make sure you have a list ahead of time, write them down in case your mind goes blank! I’ve broken up 15 great questions into four different question categories:
- The position
- The organization
- Your interviewer
- Instructional design specific questions
So skip ahead to the category that speaks to you or skim through the whole list. As you can see, a lot of these questions are useful for any job interview!
Questions About the Position
Before we jump into these enlightening questions to ask during your interview to learn more about the position, I’d like to point out one important thing. None of the questions here are things you would typically figure out from reading the job posting.
While asking questions is a sign of an engaged, interested, potential employee- asking questions that you’d learn the answer to from thoroughly reading the job description or doing a quick Google search will have the opposite effect! Never ask a question that you should already know the answer to.
With that said, let’s look at a few topics that the job descriptions don’t typically cover.
What is the biggest challenge of this position?
First, this answer will show you what skills you’ll need to be successful in practice. Often, the desired skills on a job posting reflect Human Resource’s idea of the job instead of the real-life practice.
Your interviewer’s response may also reveal areas where the existing team struggles. For example, if they say “well communication is key, you’ve got to be on top of your teammates to make sure you get the content you need and can stick to your deadlines”. To me, that sounds like right now, the team isn’t communicating well!
Maybe communication and organization are strengths of yours. In which case, you can use this question both to learn about the job AND to work in another way you could contribute in this position. See what I did there? Questions can lead to follow-ups from you that further highlight your strengths.
What do the day-to-day responsibilities of this position look like?
Here you’ll get an idea of what your daily routine would be in this role. It’s also another opportunity to figure out which required or desired skills you’ll actually be using.
If the interviewer would be your direct superior, you can also use their answer to get an idea of what they personally expect from the employee on a day-to-day basis. This means if you’re offered the position and you accept, the expectations are already on the table.
Where can I provide the most value to the team right away?
Another great question that shows your willingness to dive right in! You might learn what your interviewer considers to be an area where there’s a gap that you can fill or a weakness you can strengthen.
What would be my first project?
Get your interviewer thinking about you in the role is a great tactic because it attaches your name to the role and, better yet, a specific project that’s coming up.
How would my performance be measured in this position?
Here’s another question that asks your interviewer to imagine you in the role. If you’re not comfortable going there quite yet, don’t sweat it. You can always leave this as a follow-up if you’re invited in for another round of interviews!
If your interviewer has a clear answer, that’s great. That means there are clear expectations as well as indicators of whether those expectations are being met. There may be a formal process the company uses for evaluations or it may be department specific.
On the other hand, maybe there’s not a straight answer for this question. That can also reveal a lot about a position and the company you’re interviewing for.
Questions About the Interviewer
An interview that feels more like a conversation leaves a better impression on your interviewer. Since your first goal is to stand out as a candidate, you want your interviewer to leave the conversation feeling good about your talk.
Asking questions engages your interviewer and allows them to talk about themselves, their work, and their company.
What is your leadership style?
Have your interviewer describe what they’re like as a leader or what approach they take to project management. Whether the management style seems strict or casual, you know what style works best for you. Use this information to better decide if this is the right environment.
If you’re speaking with a recruiter, you’ll want to skip this question. But you can still get a good idea if you’re interviewing with a senior team member who wouldn’t be your direct superior. Just ask “what’s the leadership style like from management?” instead.
What do you like most about working for this company?
This is one of those questions to ask during your interview that hits multiple goals. First, you get the interviewer to talk about him or herself.
Second, you’ll learn about the company culture. Notice if your interviewer mentions their colleagues, the value of their work, the office environment. These might all just be personal preferences, but they can also shine a light on what’s great about the company.
Notice what’s not said too, but bear in mind this is just one person’s opinion!
What changes or innovations in the company/industry are you looking forward to or most excited by?
This last one is one of my favorites. It shows you what your interviewer is passionate about and it can be a way to learn about exciting new projects that the company has in the pipeline.
It’s also a good way for you to stay up to date on trends in the field.
Questions About the Organization
Your expressed interest in the organization shows that you care about the wider reach of what your work would be if you were on the team. You can also learn more about the company’s culture than what you’ll find on their website or LinkedIn.
What are the other roles on the team?
Enthusiasm about teamwork is always a good look! Plus you’ll learn if there’s an e-learning developer, a graphic designer, a training facilitator, a video editor, etc…
Does the company offer any career development opportunities?
So many companies understand the importance of upskilling their current workforce with in-house training. Show you’re passionate about life-long learning opportunities for yourself as well as the learners you design for.
How would you describe the culture here?
When you’re working in the same place, with the same people day-in and day-out, you’ve got to feel like it’s the right environment for you. Whether it’s casual or traditional and whether colleagues are Facebook-friends or just-talk-to-me-at-work friends. Just like management styles, different work environments suit different people. It’s all about what works best for you.
Instructional Design Specific Questions
When you’re brainstorming questions to ask during your interview, you might not automatically think of instructional design-specific questions. Especially if this is your first position in instructional design!
I’ve got a few good questions that will give you insight into a specific company’s instructional design process.
Do you have a preferred Instructional Systems the team follows?
You can preface this by stating which process you’ve used before or are most familiar with. Or, follow up with this after you’ve been asked what your process is.
How do you handle graphics/video editing / eLearning development?
If these things haven’t already been mentioned, it’s worth an ask! Especially if you’re interviewing as a consultant or for a company that doesn’t already have an instructional design strategy.
I’ve interviewed to work on multiple projects where the company didn’t fully know what an instructional designer does. If I hadn’t asked this question, they wouldn’t have realized that their vision for training needed a whole team, not just an instructional designer.
How involved would I be in course implementation?
I asked this question in one of my first instructional design interviews with a university. The team had given me a thorough run-down of their process and didn’t mention anything about the implementation or assessment phases.
The teacher in me loves to improve on a course after it’s been implemented, so I asked! They were impressed to hear that I cared about how training was received and appreciated my eagerness. Unfortunately, the answer was, “we send the course off and never get to touch it again.” That position wasn’t for me, but the question is one I’m keeping in my back pocket.
Want to gauge your performance during an interview? Why not ask:
How do I compare to other candidates?
If you’re feeling pretty good about the conversation, this is a great way to see how you stack up. If you’re missing key skills or other candidates have notable strengths, it’s good to know so you can start working on those things!
Still, need some help? Join the conversation in my Facebook community, The Hangout for new and aspiring instructional designers. I did a live session on how to rock your instructional design interview. You can also schedule a one-on-one coaching session with me for even more interview tips.
Need help becoming a qualified instructional design and eLearning developer, without getting another degree? Check out my 12-week immersive program: Instructional Design Lab & Tech Certificate Accelerator.
The Testimonials are In:
Working with Shanwtay and Katie at the Instructional Design Company was a dream come true. Their creativity, expertise, and professionalism throughout the entire process was beyond top notch. I engaged them to help turn my first book into a training course, and I could not be happier with how the final product turned out. If you have an instructional design project and you’re considering which company to work with, you can stop your search and thank me later. They are truly the best in the business.
I joined the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program because I struggled to find jobs in instructional design beyond the development phase. I’ve done a couple of training programs with lots of random projects, but I was overwhelmed, not connecting the dots, and not good at structuring my writing to hit learning objectives. I was looking for motivation and direction at beginning a better Instructional Designer.
After taking the Instructional Design & Tech Certificate program and joining my fantastic team for support, I found the structure and approach to be what I need to take my next steps, evening improving my skills in the development stage.
Teacher, Future Instructional Designer
I love how this course let’s you work at your own pace. I got great tips and learned many things. The ongoing support for multiple people and groups is what I love the best. You are never alone in this process. I have been able to adjust my resume and began creating a portfolio of work I’ve completed to add when applying for jobs. I use many of the PowerPoint skills in my lessons and trainings. I would highly recommend this for anyone wanting to become an instructional designer.
Teacher, Future Instructional Designer
I have searched for the last few years to find some suitable career change where I wouldn’t have to earn another degree and where I could use the talents and skills I already have as a teacher. When I came across the Instructional Design Accelerator course, I loved the fact that Shawntay was a former teacher and could relate to a teacher’s need to transition from the classroom. This was what sold the course for me. Her experiences are invaluable especially when translating teacher duties to instructional designer duties. I would (and have) recommended this program to other teachers I know who are looking to transition out of the classroom. I do appreciate ALL of her feedback on my projects!
L&D Project Manager
The Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator certificate program is one of the most comprehensive ID programs out there for beginners. If you’re looking to grow your schools in ID and development then I highly recommend this program. Not only will this program give you an overview of theory, but you will receive a thorough walkthrough of how to apply what you have learned. Although I had already secured a position in Learning & Development when I bought this course, it helped me to move up into a new position as a Learning & Development Project Manager!
Future Instructional Designer
If you have any interest in ID, sign up for this program NOW! Shawntay and her team are top notch! The course content exceeded my expectations in a big way and the encouragement and support continues to be so valuable. You will not feel alone going through this course, you will learn so much, you’ll have many cheerleaders, and you will have fun!
Future Instructional Designer
I am really enjoying this program! It’s prerfect for someone who is thinking about a career shift to Instructional Design and does not have a lot of experience. This is my first real introduction to Instructional Design and it’s been the perfect beginner course to help me get my feet wet. The modules are broken down well and it’s great to go at your own pace and at your own time. The modules themselves are very comprehensive and you learn a lot from all of them. I really like how each one build upon each other and you’re working towards the bigger project of designing your first training course from scratch. I’m learning so much from going through this course! I was provided great feedback from Katie and Shawntay through the process via Trello Boards, comments on the Google documents, and Facebook group. This course has been well worth the time and effort and I appreciate the fact that I will always have the resources available to me after I complete the training (just in case I’m not quite ready to transition yet).
Future Instructional Designer
I can’t say enough great things about the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program! The length of the program is perfect; it doesn’t feel rushed and there’s just the right amount of structure to give you the accountability you need. There are so many opportunities to get live answers to any questions you have related to the course content or anything ID-related! This program gave me the support and structure I needed to both feel affirmed in the relevant skills I already had coming in and to fill in the gaps I had as a career-changer going into ID. Shawntay, Katie, and all the coaches are super helpful and supportive. I now feel confident that I have the tools and access to resources I need to apply for ID jobs without wondering if there’s something I’m “missing” in the preparation process. I’d highly recommend this program to anyone wanting to transition into ID or who just wants to brush up on their skills in the field.
Krista Johnson Awomoyi
Freelance Instructional Designer
I’d highly recommend the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program. I’m blown away by how much I learned in just 12 weeks. I had ID experience prior to taking this course and was just looking to get a better understanding of applying adult learning principles. This course well exceeded my expectations! Not only did I gain a clear understanding of adult learning principles, I was also able to apply those principles by creating assets for your portfolio using PowerPoint, Adobe Premiere Pro and Storyline. The hands on support that we received was top notch.
This program is one of the most robust yet fulfilling L&D programs I’ve seen. I learned so much about the industry and about the limitlessness of my own capabilities. I am so appreciative of Shawntay and all of the trainers who took part in the program. They went above and beyond with not only guiding, but communicating live and working one on one or in small groups. If you are on the fence, I say take the leap and you will not regret it! There’s so much to learn, not only from the trainers, but also the learners in your group. Everyone comes in with their own skills and can be additional support and guidance for you. Thank you for creating this program!
Instructional Designer Training Facilitator
Shawntay is an amazing individual. She is very knowledgeable in all aspects of ID and eLearning. She is also very compassionate and loves to help and see everyone around her grow and prosper. Shawntay has been a great mentor to me and she has helped me mature as an instructional designer and eLearning developer. She has provided me with opportunities when others have overlooked me. I am very grateful to have met and built a lifelong relationship with Shawntay.
I recently got hired into my first instructional design / training position and Shawntay was one of the first people to congratulate me!
Freelance Instructional Designer
My teacher-to-instructional-designer journey began two years ago when I left my teaching comfort zone and started my first freelance ID job. Now, I’m stepping out of the classroom and taking my freelance work full-time, so I’m thrilled to be joining the Tech Accelerator program. Adding technologies like Articulate 360 and Adobe Premiere Pro to my qualifications will help me take my courses to the next level and attract more clients!
Teacher Transitioning into Instructional Design
I am genuinely grateful for this course. I wanted a real-world perspective and feel like I got it. I’m teaching now, but nearing retirement age but can see myself working as an instructional designer well into my retirement years. My other goal is to take as many courses in statistics as possible in hopes of bringing some mathematical precision to the ROI question. Like you say, getting accurate metrics to measure ROI can be a challenge, but I intend to work on that part. That’s unimportant right now, what is important is the fact that I feel like this course was well worth every penny I spent and I would to it again in a heartbeat. I have too much going on right now, but as soon as I get some time freed up I intend to take your course in project management.
Turns Your Written Thoughts Into a Masterpiece!
Shawntay Skjoldager can turn your written thoughts into a masterpiece. She is great to work with and the most organized person I know!
President and CEO, The Creative Entreprenuer
Shawntay has been incredible!
Shawntay has been incredible and her team is responsive and effective in translating my training programs into professional presentations. Don’t hesitate to contact her for your project.
Beth B. De Lima, MBA, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP
President and Principal of HRM Consulting, Inc.
IDC is My Secret Weapon to Soar Above My Competition!
The IDC team has been my secret and special weapon of success. They have delivered above and beyond with every single project out in front of them. They have met and beat timelines. They have been Uber responsive every step of the way. I keep them on speed dial and have and continue to recommend them to friends and clients. If you are in need of instructional design and plenty more, this is THE ALL-STAR team that will more than deliver and help make you and your project soar above the competition.
LT. COL. Jason O. Harris
U.S. Air Force Officer, Special Operations Pilot, U.S.A.F. Academy Instructor, Motivational Speaker
A Tremendous Asset to the Project Team!
Working with Shawntay and the Instructional Design Company has allowed our university to meet the growing demands of our programs. Shawntay’s expertise allowed for the course development to be completed on time and met all of the university requirements. Shawntay’s project management skills were phenomenal and allowed my team to work on other areas while she completed this project for us. Her work is of high quality and her professionalism and willingness to help made her a tremendous asset to the project team.
Academic Quality Assurance Specialist, Abilene Christian University
Creative & Highly Talented!
Shawntay is a creative and highly talented instructional designer. She brought a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and leadership that enabled her to own the design and creation of a full scale facilitator curriculum and train-the-trainer program. It was a pleasure to partner with Shawntay, her project management and communication skills ensured the project was on time and on budget.
Breaks Down Mammoth Projects
“Shawntay is quick study and carefully synthesizes information for presentations that are clear, concise and captivating. Her personality draws the audience in and her content mastery is excellent. A team player and organizer, Shawntay has the ability to break down mammoth projects, keep everybody on time and on task.”
Author, Speaker, Strengths Coach
“I have had many opportunities to work with Shawntay—mainly in the support of implementing new eLearning initiatives. I have been very impressed by her ability to quickly learn how to use rapid eLearning development tools and effectively use them to create multiple courses within a short timeframe. Shawntay’s enthusiastic nature, attention to detail, and dedication to her work make her a pleasure to work with and a great asset to both Texas A&M University-Commerce and the broader training community within the Texas A&M University System.”
Director of Learning Strategy, Caveo Learning
Top Notch Professional
Working with Shawntay has been an immense pleasure. She is atop notch professional who brings enthusiasm and extensiveexpertise to professional curriculum development and execution. Her knowledge of tried and true techniques to maximize the effectiveness of presentations is invaluable.
Nancy Drapeau, PRC
Vice President of Research, CEIR - Center for Exhibition Industry Research
Fortunate to Find Shawntay!
“I was fortunate to find Shawntay when our organization was looking to expand and update our educational offerings. Shawntay proved herself to be an educational and personal development expert who immediately made an impact with our clients throughout Europe. Everyone who came into contact with Shawntay was immediately impressed by her level of expertise and willingness to share her knowledge with those around her. I would not hesitate to recommend Shawntay to anyone looking for an education subject matter expert.”
Director of Qualifications and NSD Services, Mary Kay Inc.
Short Turn Around. On Time. Under Budget!
“We hired Shawntay to develop a training facilitator’s guide and PowerPoint slide deck for an operations manual heavy with technical content. The project was made more challenging by a very short turn around, 5 business days, and the fact that the operations manual wasn’t complete and was being updated simultaneously with the facilitator’s guide and slide deck. Despite these challenges, Shawntay delivered as promised. On time and under budget.”
Dave Beeman, CPP
Vice President, Andy Frain Services
Need an Expert Who Consistently Delivers?
“Working with Shawntay you will immediately notice her professional presence and poise, but over time her tenacious pursuit of excellence and her skills in instructional development and adult learning will really impress you. I worked with her at Mary Kay, and was able to experience firsthand her great rapport with regional partners in Europe, understanding their unique sales force training needs. In addition, Shawntay consistently exhibited grace under pressure, made executive decisions to move business forward. If you are looking for an expert who consistently delivers and goes the extra mile to get things done, contact Shawntay!”
Marketing Director, Academic Partnerships
Quality Products & Solutions!
“I had had the pleasure of knowing and working with Shawntay on more than a few occasions. I found her to be a very good business partner and very committed to delivering a quality product or solution in a timely manner. I have always had a positive experience in partnering with Shawntay and would recommend that you consider leveraging her talent.”
Judy Owen, CPC
Transformational Leadership Coach
“Invest in yourself and take your skills to the next NEXT level!”
Get yourself signed up for Shawntay Skjoldager’s Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program today and be on your way to success! Within the first week of taking her course, you will experience growth! Be sure to plug into her Facebook Q&A sessions for personalized help, too. This is THE course to take if you are new to instructional design or have landed on the training team and need help getting started.
Managing Partner, PHiG
“Her enthusiasm for adult learning is contagious!”
Shawntay has exceptional knowledge and experience with all aspects of creating and implementing effective, performance based training for adults. She is exceptional at needs analysis – identifying target audiences and collaborating with business owners to keep training focused on business needs. And she is great to work with – always providing great support to get projects done on-time and on-target. She is always on the look-out for new and more effective ways to engage learners. Her enthusiasm for adult learning is contagious!
eLearning Developer/Instructional Designer, Vivos Therapeutics
I have known and worked with Shawntay as a education program director and use the expertise of ShawntayMichelle for the development of my presentations. The service has always been “spot on” with professionalism, care and attention. Shawntay’s recommendations to my ideas make me look good to my clients.
Al Lomas CMP, CEM, CMM, CFE
Owner, Certified Consulting Services
“Shawntay Skjoldager reached in and made my training life so much easier!”
I am new to the training design and development world and I was SO excited to get in there, but I really lacked the real-world knowledge that would set me apart from my peers. And, then Shawntay Skjoldager walked into my life with an outstretched hand and a seemingly endless list of ways to knock every training out of the park. From the Training Analysis Form to the Tay Tay tips, this course made my life so much easier and even ironed out the review process that I had been struggling with for months.
Take time to invest in your own learning and make sure to put Shawntay Michelle at the top of your personal development list!
Training Specialist, LegalShield