One of the things I sometimes do as a Business English training consultant is help HR departments recruit freelance trainers to work in-house. The whole job involves deciding, often within a short space of time, just how suitable a teacher might be for a particular position. Teaching qualifications are a useful start, but they rarely show evidence of someone’s ability to work in an in-house training context. Experience counts too, of course, but just because a candidate can boast years of experience does not mean that the person necessarily knows what they are doing – there are a surprising number of experienced trainers out there who lack elementary knowledge and skills. What we are basically looking for during a job interview is evidence of a person’s competence as a trainer, as well as potential for development. This is where models like KSA (knowledge, skills and attitude) can be particularly helpful, because they provide a framework within which to work.
Here we are looking for evidence that the candidate has theoretical knowledge not only of the teaching / training world, but also of the business world. Here are some questions we might ask:
- How do people learn languages?
- How would you explain the difference between training and teaching? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each in a corporate context?
- Can you describe a recently published course book aimed at ESP / Business English learners? What do you like / dislike about it?
- What would you understand by the term “business process”?
- What can you tell us about our industry and our company?
Here we are talking about the practical techniques that a competent trainer would need to be able to use in a corporate training context.
Here are some questions we might ask:
- What do you understand by the terms “needs analysis” and “course design”. Give some examples from your own experience.
- Can you describe some materials you designed or adapted to suit a particular group?
- Can you explain some different ways of evaluating a course? Give some examples from your own experience.
- How would you explain the difference between role-plays and simulations? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each in a corporate context?
- How might you adjust your training style to suit a group of executives, a group of factory workers, and a one-to-one client?
- What can you tell us about your own professional development?
- What do you think a client might expect from you as a trainer?
- What is the difference between a good trainer and a great trainer?
- Who is most responsible for training success – the trainer, or the trainee?
- Can you describe an awkward moment in some training you were doing? How was it resolved?
Do you have the KSA to get that job? Please feel free to share your thoughts and/or experiences below.