Before you can start training your trainers, you need to know who your ideal trainer is, their learning style, and their presentation style. Check out the blog below and get clear on how to hire world class trainers.
So you’ve been asked to train your trainers.
What do you do?
This is part one of a four part series that will spell it all out and give you what you need to create a world class training program.
- Part 1 – [You Are Here] Hire the right training candidates
- Part 2 – Train the trainers
- Part 3 – Coach the trainers one-on-one
- Part 4 – Optimize the trainers moving forward
This blog starts with part 1: How to hire the right training candidates for your business. Both your customers and your staff will find that “This one is huge…has incredible importance.” At least that’s what one of my clients said. He went on to say…
“HR here badly needs something like this list. HR doesn’t actively recruit trainers – they wait for applicants to come in and see if there’s a good fit, but they don’t know how to actively go out and pursue them. Anything that will point the recruitment process in the right direction would be a huge improvement.”
I couldn’t agree more, and if you’re situation is anything like this company’s, I think you will agree this is a great area to improve as the positive results are specific and measurable. It is a huge issue for most teams when they invest a year (or on average more than 18 months) in bringing a trainer(s) on board and then they don’t work out.
My client told me they needed (and what I have now seen that every small business benefits from immensely), is a list or “some sort of HR approved/Sales approved implementation document” for how to identify what to look for in a trainer when hiring for a new project.
They needed this. They got it. They implemented. It took off like wildfire.
Now, if only there were only a step-by-step process for how to hire and interview trainers applicable to your situation.
What you have here is an elegantly simple and very powerful 3 step process that will show you exactly how to see big results that matter for your trainer hiring process.
Step 1 – Find the Right Training Candidates
The first thing you need to do is to find the right training candidates. One of the best places to start is in the schools.
Teachers make great trainers!
I spent years interviewing training candidates, and the more I did this, the more I found that former high school and middle school teachers make incredible trainers.
They have the practice and know-how to teach adults. Adult learners are defined as anyone over the age of 13. And if a teacher can teach a 13 year old algebra, then trust me, they can teach your employees any content you throw at them.
Did you know that in many states, there are 100 teaching applicants for every high school teaching position?
Those 99 teachers that didn’t get the job are GREAT pools for you to pull from.
Try this: Put an article in the local paper called: “Calling all Teachers”…then describe the training role with something like this…”Small business looking for trainers to teach classes to employees. If you have teaching experience, you may be the right fit.” Post this same ad online in various teaching academies and you’ll find dozens of candidates that come out of the woodwork that you never would have found before.
Step 2 – Interview the Training Candidates Effectively
The next step is to Interview the training candidates.
The problem for most small businesses is that they don’t know how to do an interview that really separates the cream from the crop.
You see, most people that apply for training positions are really good at “pulling the wool” over the eyes of the employer.
Unfortunately, it’s not until it’s too late (after they’ve been hired and fired) that the employer realizes the true nature of the trainer.
Instead, what you need is a set of interview questions that REALLY finds out whether this trainer can actually “walk the walk” rather than just “talk the talk”.
As a business looking for good candidates, you first need to know what qualities good candidates have.
Below are the top 7 qualities of the best trainers.
- They can COMMUNICATE
- They have APPROPRIATE JUDGEMENT about how to handle situations.
- They have the ability to understand and apply PROCESS
- They have a great deal of RESILIENCE even when things don’t go their way.
- They have the ability to ADAPT to nearly any situation.
- They have good ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS
- They can MANAGE THEIR TIME
Step 3 – Give Each Candidate a Training Panel
The third step to hiring your trainers is to give the training candidates what I refer to as a “training panel” to see if they can actually teach effectively in real time. The training panel process for you, the employer, has two parts. First, you will need to describe to the training candidate what your expectations are of the panel. I have described that for you below.
But next, and perhaps even more importantly, you will want to have an assessment of that panel that your staff members (who sit in on the panel as “students”) can use both during and after the panel to evaluate the training candidate’s effectiveness as a trainer. Here is a link to get access to that panel assessment rubric.
Let’s start with the description. You will want to send the following description of this panel to each candidate prior to the panel so that proper expectations are set.
The panel is a 20-minute training exercise each candidate gives to a small group of three to five of your staff members. These “students” will typically ask questions throughout the session so each candidate does not need to allow extra time at the end for them.
The training candidates may select any topic they wish. I suggest something that they consider themselves knowledgeable in.
By the end of the panel the “students” should be able to:
- Explain why the topic is important (what’s in it for them).
- Define key terms related to the topic.
- List steps needed to accomplish a task related to the topic.
- Understand a difficult concept(s) related to the topic. Concepts are not a list of steps (that’s #3) or definitions (that’s #2).
For example, if the panel topic were simple addition, then the “students” should be able to:
- Explain why simple addition is important to know.
- Define the 1’s, 10’s and 100’s place.
- List steps to add three digit numbers.
- Explain why you have to carry the one.
Each training candidate may bring any props, handouts, etc. that they feel would enhance the learning of the students. However, the use of PowerPoint as a presentation tool is not allowed. This is so that the 20 minute panel focuses on the training candidate’s skills, not the power point, to teach the information.
You as the small business interviewer should provide a dry erase board; and you may even want to throw in a few markers.
Once the training candidates’ “students” arrive, you should prompt the training candidate to start.
From this point on, the training candidate is in charge. He/she can sit or stand. He/she can ask the “students” questions, and can bet they’ll have some. It is the training candidate’s responsibility to monitor the time.
You want to evaluate each training candidate’s panel on the effectiveness of their teaching and presentation skills. You also want to evaluate the candidate’s ability to build rapport, whether the students are engaged and if they “get” the topic. Finally, consider an overall assessment of how enjoyable the presentation was to attend.
That assessment needs to get at the issues rather than the symptoms of the training candidate. For example, for someone who has a cold and a cough, the cough is a symptom; the cold is the issue.
Similarly, with training candidates, being organized is a symptom, but the ability to train in a way that the students “get it” is the issue.
The assessment needs to assess the ISSUES.
The assessment also needs to be measurable.
The key with any assessment is to create numerical DATA that you can use to rank different candidates and ensure every staff member that helps in the hiring is on the same page.
Even more importantly, it assures every training candidate has the same rubric to assess them.
If you’re a training manager, and this blog was helpful, send me an email at Jason@ruletheroom.com. And, if you want to give your new trainers a leg up with course they can watch to learn the fundamentals of adult learning techniques, click here: Adult Education Mastery.
Founder/CEO – Rule the Room