5 Things to Look for When Recruiting an L&D Professional
Learning & Development is a key function for all organisations, as all staff require some form of education in the workplace.
Whether you need an L&D professional to onboard new staff or have a whole department to upskill your employees, you want to get the right person for the role.
This is a specialist area, so getting a professional that suits your needs can be a tricky task. We’re here to tell you about the five things you should watch out for when recruiting the L&D professional of your dreams…
While you might be planning to invest in all the training that your staff need, they may not always see the reasoning behind this.
Your L&D professional has to be able to communicate the need for this training and help them to see the light. Employees can be reticent to take on training, if they feel like their schedules are already busy or have additional learning needs.
Your new L&D professional has got to be able to get need for training across, even in a high-stress situation. Luckily, an interview can be the perfect environment to put them through their paces.
Experiential questions will allow the good communicators to really shine. These can be questions like:
- “Can you tell me about a time that you identified a training gap in the workplace; what did you do about it?”
- “Have you ever dealt with a situation where an employee came to you for additional training; how did you communicate this further?”
- “What would you do if a member of staff didn’t want to join an L&D activity?”
This is a great way for you to find out more about their work history too! As they take you through their experience, you’ll get an understanding of where their communication strengths lie.
You could also ask for the candidates to prepare a short five-minute presentation, so they can teach you about an area that they are passionate about. This is particularly important for anyone that will be conducting in house courses as part of their duties, as presentation skills are key.
While they’re undertaking the presentation, think about how they put across the information. Ask yourself if you’re likely to remember the information, if the format is engaging and whether they have the confidence to present to larger groups.
The very best L&D professionals have a real passion for what they do, it’s what keeps them innovating, engaging and doing their best for your employees. To gauge this, ask about their past projects and future goals.
When teaching others, you’ll see this passion really impacting the process. The last thing you want is a teacher in your organisation that doesn’t give a presentation the energy it needs to be enjoyable and memorable. You don’t want an L&D professional that delivers information in a monotone voice!
Candidates that are able to use their passion to adapt the basic materials and deliver them in an exciting way will be your best assets. They should also be ready to evaluate what they’ve done and build on it to make it better for the next course or group of attendees.
Often, the courses that are required to be taught within an organisation can be boring, or cover ground that employees think they already know.
This is where that passion and fire for teaching really comes in handy! Great L&D professionals can take this material and the preconceived notions that come along with it, which leads to a much higher rate of engagement.
Andy Lancaster, Head of Learning and Development Content at the CIPD states:
“In our fast-changing world, a passion for learning is non-negotiable. Whilst learning and curiosity is a natural inclination for children, it’s something that can wane in adulthood. However, if we neglect our commitment to learning we choose stagnation.”
No matter what size of business you’re working in, you’ll know that organisation is key. The L&D professional has to be organised, as they have a lot to juggle at any given time.
They have to deal with ongoing training, as well as arranging for onboarding training for new members of staff. On top of this, they should also be preparing the delivery of activities, evaluating strengths and identifying new training opportunities.
Ideally, you want to hire a person that uses technology to their best advantage when it comes to organisation. If they want to teach others about adopting new systems, then they should be ready to lead by example.
Systems like Google Calendar can ensure that everyone knows when they have training scheduled, where and who with. This cuts down on wasted time and missed sessions that could cost you money.
Getting a sneak peek into how they organise their time is a brilliant way to understand what makes your candidates tick. If you already use a team organisation platform in your workplace, then think about how they will fit into this.
Bringing up skills gaps with management, delivering training and engaging employees requires real confidence. Challenging the status quo is hard, but this is what allows the L&D professional to be really successful in what they do.
The environment of the workplace and the reception that these suggestions get will influence how ready they are to bring them up. Make sure the culture is right and that they have the confidence to make some waves when they must.
This also ties into the organisation factor, as those that are ready to defend their case with facts have an added burst of confidence. For example, if staff are polled about a lack of knowledge and a skill gap is identified, then they can approach management with the facts directly from staff.
Confidence will also allow them to take constructive criticism, as a lack of confidence can make this feel more like a personal attack. Willingness to receive feedback and adaptability both stem from confidence.
To build this confidence further, a relevant qualification can give the L&D professional a better grounding to create their programmes. CIPD qualifications in L&D cover a variety of topics to improve their efficiency, from designing activities to developing their professional practice.
The person that you put in charge of learning and development should be ready to set an example for other employees. This gives them something of an elevated status and additional responsibility, so choose the successful candidate wisely.
If the person in charge of training is disorganised, brushes off important lessons or runs late to sessions – what does this tell employees about the training they are imparting? Lapses in delivering key points of the training can lead to big issues further down the line, especially in cases in which training is required for compliance.
This also comes into play when selecting employees for further training, which will fall under their remit. If the L&D professional exhibits favouritism or unprofessionalism, this can have a negative impact on other employees.
This also underlines their suggestions, as it’s a lot easier to have confidence in those that treat others well and don’t have unclear motives.
During the recruitment process, it’s possible to get a sense of this. Timekeeping and their response to probing questions will quickly show you how they will act in a professional environment. If they speak badly of their current employer, get heated or have poor timekeeping – then these are clear red flags.
An L&D professional can whip your workforce into shape with training programmes that make a big difference to productivity. Make sure you get the right person during the recruitment process, then you can reap the rewards within your organisation.
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