My interview experience for the position of Instructional Designer

Prashanthi Anand Rao
21 min readSep 4, 2022


Instructional designers play a big role in putting together educational content, making course materials, writing curriculum, and teaching teachers how to put designs into practise. For people who are interested in education, design, and technology, this job can be very rewarding.

What is your background?

The person interviewing you wants to know how the work you’ve done before will help you do well in the new job. This is probably the most common interview question about instructional design, so you should be ready to answer it well.
Be sure to learn as much as you can about the company and the job you’re applying for. You should know what the work will be like before the interview so you can put together a customised portfolio of your previous work (like an online course you made) that shows how it applies to the new job.
If you don’t have a portfolio of past work, you can make up examples of how you would approach a new project and make what is basically a virtual portfolio of work that you could do.
When you show your work in your portfolio, talk about the software tools you used and the ideas behind the designs. You should also talk about who the project was made for, why it was made, what it was used for, how it was evaluated, and what the results of the analysis were. Show interest in everything you do. Enthusiasm is contagious and can help you get a new job in a big way.
Find the problem you’ve dealt with in the past and how it relates to the keywords for the new job. Tell me how you solved the problem and what great results you got from it. Say something like, “The number of positive satisfaction surveys went up by 50%.”
Example:An example of how my past work in instructional design could help me do well in a new job in the K12 segment is a project I worked on for a school district. The goal of the project was to create an engaging and interactive online course to teach high school students about financial literacy.
To begin the project, I conducted a needs analysis to determine the learning needs of high school students in the district. Based on the results, I created a detailed instructional design plan that included learning objectives, assessments, and a storyboard for the course.
Using authoring software, I developed the interactive course, which included video scenarios, simulations, and interactive activities. I also collaborated with a subject matter expert, a graphic designer, and a voice-over artist to ensure that the course content was accurate, engaging, and visually appealing.
After the course was launched, we conducted an evaluation to measure its effectiveness. We analyzed user feedback and student performance data to identify areas for improvement and make revisions to the course.
As a result of this project, the school district was able to provide an engaging and effective online course on financial literacy to its high school students, leading to increased knowledge and awareness of financial concepts. The course was also well-received by students, with satisfaction surveys showing a high level of engagement and enjoyment.
This project demonstrates my ability to conduct thorough needs analyses, create engaging and effective instructional materials, collaborate with subject matter experts and designers, and evaluate the effectiveness of training programs. These skills would be directly applicable to a new instructional design position in the K12 segment, allowing me to create effective and engaging learning experiences for students.

2. What professional experiences from outside instructional design have you had that have prepared you for this role?

Employers might prefer to hire people with experience in instructional design, but many people who work in this field came from other fields. This kind of experience can sometimes be very useful. For example, if a candidate has worked in education or technology before, they may have special skills that will help them as an instructional designer. So, an interviewer might ask you this to find out if you have any special skills that will help you do well in this role. Be honest in your response, discuss your previous experiences, and make practical connections.

Answer: “I used to teach high school and college level students, but I’ve been an instructional designer for the past three years. As a teacher, it was up to me to make my own lesson plans, find interesting things to teach, and come up with a curriculum. This taught me how to explain complicated ideas, help other people understand them, and find new ways to get people interested. I think it helped me get ready for what I have to do as an instructional designer.”
For example, measuring skills can be taught by opening a new book store.
Students can be asked
(i)what they would need to plan to open a bookstore?
(ii)What do they need for the shop?
(iii)What are the hall’s dimensions in the bookstore?
(iv)How should the books in the bookstore be set up so that customers will want to buy them?

3. How do you intend to collaborate effectively with subject matter experts?

Instructional designers are often asked to work with subject matter experts as part of their jobs (SMEs). SMEs give designers information about specific topics or processes, and designers rely on experts to give them information throughout the whole process of developing a material. An interviewer might ask you this question to find out how you work with small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and if you can build professional relationships with them. In your answer, talk about how you plan to work with SMEs and how you’ll handle any disagreements that might come up during that process.
Answer: “I think that is one of the most important parts of being an instructional designer is being able to work well with subject matter experts. I work with them as a team. I often have different ideas about how content works, and I use those ideas to come up with questions for SMEs that we can use to start working together. Most of the time, SMEs offer their expertise, and we all work together to make the content. Some SMEs are harder to work with than others, but I try to bridge the gap by changing how I work from expert to expert based on how they like to do things.”

4. What methods do you intend to use to assess the success of your course designs?
Typically, instructional designers utilise data to influence their profession and gauge the implementation effectiveness of their ideas. To do this, they may employ different data collecting and analysis techniques to acquire a comprehensive understanding of how well and why their designs function. Therefore, an interviewer may ask you this question to determine your degree of expertise analysing designs and how you would handle this assignment when you begin your new position. In your response, discuss the methods you use to evaluate the effectiveness of your designs and how you utilise this data to influence your workflow.

Answer: “Measuring success as an instructional designer is difficult since we must comprehend how well our designs match predefined objectives and how effectively they are applied in practise. Typically, in order to verify whether my designs fit organisational goals, I generate an alignment map that helps me to see which components are present and which may be absent. To evaluate effective implementation, I often request teacher and student comments on how well the course meets their requirements. This comments will be used to enhance my ideas and alter next projects.”

5. How do you go about increasing student engagement with course material?
Instructional designers have the main role of increasing students’ engagement with course content, and they usually seek to maximise the interest their designs generate. Not only can effective designs grab the attention of audiences, but they also keep students interested throughout the whole educational process. An interviewer may ask you this to learn more about the approaches you employ to successfully engage audiences in your designs. In your answer, discuss the multimedia and technology elements you employ to attract your audience. You may also ask the interviewer to see a portfolio that demonstrates your utilisation of these elements.

Answer: “I recognise that having engaging designs is a crucial component of instructional design work. Typically, I include interactive multimedia components, such as quizzes and games, into my course content. In addition, I allow for the inclusion of numerous technical devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, in my designs so that users may choose the format that best suits their learning style. One of my favourite projects throughout the course of my career was a self-directed class in which audience members managed their own learning using a fictitious character as a proxy.”
I generated material to teach mathematics and physics topics such as distance, time, velocity, and sound using the narrative of the talking cave.

6. How would you handle the situation if your boss asked you to change your design to improve its efficacy?
Instructional designers typically must be well-versed in offering and receiving feedback as shifting designs depending on client and audience member needs is common place. An interviewer may ask you this question to evaluate how well you can handle receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work. This question may also allow an interviewer to assess whether you might be a strong fit for their organization’s cultural environment. In your answer, describe your willingness to learn and make adjustments depending on the needs of each individual project.

Answer: “As an instructional designer, I eagerly await any opportunity to provide or receive feedback. Feedback can help me improve as a professional while also meeting the needs of my clients. If a supervisor demanded that I change my design to improve its efficacy, I would undoubtedly consider their viewpoint and devise a strategy for implementing the necessary changes. At the end of the day, working as a designer is less about my opinions of my work and more about closing instructional gaps, so I frequently go to any length to achieve that goal.”

7. What methods do you employ to train instructors on how to use e-learning platforms?
Since instructional designs often appear on e-learning platforms that instructors must operate to teach their courses, designers may need to offer technical support and training as part of their role. An interviewer may ask you this question to evaluate whether you have experience training instructors and what strategies you use to help them successfully facilitate lessons using e-learning platforms. In your answer, describe the methods you use to guide instructors effectively and consider offering an example that describes how you’ve approached this task in the past.

Answer: “To train instructors, I typically offer instructional videos along with written guides that inform the instructor how to operate a specific e-learning platform and navigate the course content. Sometimes, though, instructors require a more involved training process. For instance, last year I worked with an instructor named Robert who didn’t have much experience with technological components, so I provided direct training to him via video conference. During the conferences, I would answer any questions Robert had and walk him through the platform until he could operate it independent of me.”

8. What types of learning content do you have experience building?
Instructional designers can build content for courses in a variety of subject matters and industries. Some designers spend the bulk of their careers creating educational content for students in schools, while others work in specific industries creating training manuals and certification courses. An interviewer may ask you this question to assess whether you have a sufficient level of experience building a diverse array of materials and if you can offer the skills they need. In your answer, discuss your level of experience and affirm that you’re comfortable building content of various types.

Example : “I’ve worked as an instructional designer building educational course material for students in K-12 schools for the past three years and self-learning materials for adults,but I think I would be capable of building learning content for various purposes.’

9.What is an instructional designer?
An instructional designer is a professional who develops instructional materials to create engaging educational solutions. They create course designs, including job aids, handouts, participation guides and presentation materials. They also conduct training evaluations and assess the impact and effectiveness of learning solutions. Instructional designers can work in various industries, including the military, government, business and education.

10.What does an instructional designer do?
An instructional designer applies educational models and theories to develop and design experiences, content and other materials to aid in skills and knowledge acquisition. Instructional designers first conduct needs assessments to understand the requirements of both the learners and the organizations. Then they use this information to develop individualized learning and training solutions. They create and implement instructions to make learning more engaging and fun.

Here are a few tasks an instructional designer is typically responsible for:

(i)Collaborating with subject matter experts
Instructional designers collaborate with subject matter experts to curate the content to include in a course. They ask questions to ensure they’re providing correct information in their instructional materials. They work with experts to devise interaction and assessment modes to ensure optimum efficacy of learning.

(ii)Planning and analyzing training processes
Designing instructions for a learning program involves a comprehensive understanding of the course expectations and a thorough assessment of a learner’s goals. An instructional designer designs a curriculum based on that information. They also gather feedback and implement it into future training solutions.

(iii)Creating multimedia tools
Modern training methods often require many types of multimedia tools, including PDF files, graphs, videos, infographics and links to sources. An instructional designer works with subject matter experts and technology and design teams to improve the content format and choose the most appropriate tools. Creating these multimedia tools ensures learners can access course data quickly and easily.

(iv)Structuring and designing e-learning systems
The effectiveness of an e-learning course depends on the structure and flow of the content. Instructional designers organize this content in a clear manner. They ensure that courses are appealing to learners and easy to follow so they remain engaged.

11.How to become an instructional designer?

1. Learn about methods, principles and theory
One requirement to succeeding as an instructional designer is understanding the theories and frameworks of the field. The decisions that instructional designers make are guided by theories such as Merril, ADDIE Model, Gagne and Bloom’s Taxonomy.

It’s also important to understand the science of why and how people learn so you can apply this knowledge in your instructional designs. These theories include specific learning theories, such as situated cognition theory, inquiry-based learning and discovery-based learning.

2. Become proficient with relevant software and tools
Many employers require entry-level instructional designers to know how to design e-learning experiences using standard industry tools. Software programs used in instructional design include Adobe Creative Cloud, Lectora, Adobe Captivate and Articulate 360.

Practice these programs to become comfortable using them to create materials. It’s helpful to watch online tutorials or how-to videos to learn the features of these programs. This practice can help you become proficient in the use of these tools.

3. Develop essential skills
Instructional designers may have many responsibilities, such as researching new initiatives, developing curricula and courses and interviewing experts. It’s important to develop a relevant skill set so you can perform those tasks successfully.

Communication and writing skills are vital for conveying objectives and messages to an audience. Instructional designers also use interpersonal, organization and problem-solving skills to manage projects with team members and subject matter experts. Other essential skills for an instructional designer include:

(i)Creativity: Instructional designers use creativity to find new ways of presenting content to learners. Creating visually stimulating and interactive content can increase engagement and improve the learning outcomes.
(ii)Research: It’s helpful to have research skills so you can stay updated on industry trends and incorporate them into new educational solutions. Instructional designers also use these skills to research the course content to make sure it’s accurate.
(iii)Time management: Instructional designers frequently work on several projects at the same time, which may be in different stages of development. Time management skills are essential to keep each project moving forward and get it completed on time.
(iv)Communication: Being a good communicator can help an instructional designer keep the audience’s attention so they can meet the learning objectives of the course. Instructional designers also use written communication skills to create high-quality educational materials.
(vi)Video development
(vii)Graphic design

4. Build a portfolio
Typically, instructional design employers focus on a candidate’s experience and skills, rather than their academic qualifications. Gain relevant experience by pursuing internships and volunteer opportunities.

While doing so, put together a portfolio of instructional materials you have designed or helped create. Choose a variety of materials to showcase your skills and knowledge. Consider creating a professional website so you can provide potential employers with a link to your recent work.

5. Apply for jobs
After gaining skills and experience, you can begin to apply for instructional design jobs. You can prepare for the hiring process by making a resume and practicing your interview skills. When putting together your resume, choose relevant skills to highlight, such as technical skills, curriculum development and problem-solving.

Prepare for your interview by practicing your answers to frequently asked questions, such as why you chose the field, what experience you have and what value you can bring to the company.

12.Which software and learning management systems (LMS) are familiar to you?
Utilizing the most up-to-date and effective software applications is a crucial aspect of an instructional designer’s job. You must be proficient in all major learning management systems (LMS). Determine prior to the interview which LMS and software are used by the position for which you are applying, and be prepared to explain your competency in depth.

Most job postings specify the software tools that are typically used in the profession and need a minimum level of expertise with them. However, several of these tools are rather simple to master. You do not require in-depth knowledge of every tool since several tools serve comparable purposes. You might seek freelancing assistance to swiftly become proficient with any tool for which you lack specialist knowledge.

You should be familiar with popular software like as Captivate (and other Adobe tools), Storyline, and Blackboard, as well as its purpose. Instructional designers must be proficient in visual design, have a working knowledge of programming, and have technical knowledge of common software tools and systems.

A significant portion of this labour is keeping up with the latest software tools. To keep up with advances, it is essential to include learning how to utilise new tools as part of your ongoing education. The most effective method to express this to an interviewer is to have a list of the tools you’ve used on previous projects and a list of the technologies you’re currently studying and learning.

Answer: I have used Articulate rise 360, Adobe captivate for e-learning, worked in moodle platform to create quizzes.

13.How do you keep students interested?
Engagement with course material is a key performance indicator that must be improved for student outcomes to get better. The fact that the interviewer wants to know about everything you’ve done made the students more interested in the materials. This can be seen in the use of gamification and interactive multimedia in courses.

To make a good impression on the interviewer, you should have examples from your portfolio that show how you successfully engaged students. If you have an in-person interview, bring a laptop with your portfolio on it. For a remote interview, make sure your portfolio is online.

Walk the interviewer through the multimedia elements and let him or her try out your best examples. Be ready to show how the KPIs measure engagement and share details from a previous analysis, such as how well students did in the course before and after adding engagement elements.

A good way to get a job is to make a short trivia game about the company where you want to work. The answers should include the company’s history, mission statement, and other important facts. The way you made the quiz shows how good you are at graphics, and the questions show that you did research on the organisation before you applied.

14.Have you ever suggested a change to the curriculum or a course?
A lot of an instructional designer’s work is done with other people. It’s important to be able to give and take constructive criticism. A good instructional designer adds useful ideas to a project without being too bossy. It’s important to be able to talk to other people and give an alternative point of view in a way that is clear and convincing without being argumentative.

With this question, the interviewer wants to see if you can find flaws in a strategy and suggest changes to the project that will move it in a better direction. Instructional designers should be sure of what they think and be able to say it. Your answer shows how well you know what’s going on right now and how well you can convince others.

The best way to answer this kind of question is to give a real-life example and talk about how you dealt with it. Talk about a project you worked on where you suggested a change that turned out to be a good idea. Explain why you wanted to make the change, what people said about it, how you overcame their objections, and how the change helped the project.

Explain the details of the suggested change and the performance metrics that were used to show that it would be a good thing. Talk about the results of statistics. For example, you can talk about a project in which quizzes showed that cutting each lesson plan’s length by 20% helped students remember the information 15% better. A detailed example shows that you know how important the job is and that you have the skills and drive to make the changes you suggest to the people making the decisions.

15. How do you teach instructors how to use a new e-learning platform?
As an instructional designer, you might make courses for students or plan courses for other teachers to teach. You need both technical and administrative skills to make a course that students can understand and to teach other teachers how to use the system.

The person interviewing you wants to know how you would teach a teacher. How is your method different from the way students are taught? Can you get along with other people? This question is about being able to think about a design from more than one user’s point of view. There may also be a third level of system administrators who need you to teach them how to use a new system in a technical way.

When talking about a method for teaching instructors how to use a new e-learning system, you should talk about specific ways to teach, like using videos, written guides, and one-on-one training with tech support. The important thing here is to show that you can test how well the instructors understand and pass on their knowledge.

Make sure to explain how you would teach instructors who have different levels of technical knowledge or who might not know anything about technology at all. Use an example of how you helped someone who knew nothing about a new e-learning system to learn enough to be useful. Explain the problems you faced and how you solved them so that every instructor could understand the material on a practical level.

If you have never taught an instructor before, choose a platform you know well to use as an example. Teach the interviewer as if they were a teacher who just found out about the system. Show that you know how to explain complicated systems in a way that people can understand.

16.Do you have experience working with subject matter experts (SMEs)? In instructional design, subject matter experts (SMEs) are frequently used. An effective instructional designer must be able to manage relationships with subject matter experts (SMEs). This question is used by the interviewer to determine how you will approach gathering information from SMEs, even difficult ones, and whether you can translate expert knowledge into understandable course content.
Your response should include how you intend to recruit and collaborate with SMEs. Explain who you know, especially if any SME you know played a critical role in a previous successful project. Explain how you intend to obtain cooperation from unknown SMEs and how you intend to manage the relationships.
Mention that you are aware of the difficulty in obtaining interviews with SMEs who do not place a high value on discussions with instructional designers. How will you deal with interview cancellations while still meeting project deadlines?
Discuss the entire process of cold calling a SME, getting to know him or her, setting up an interview, and developing trust with them. Give examples of open-ended interview questions that will be used to extract as much information as possible from them. By demonstrating these abilities, you give the interviewer confidence that you can obtain critical information from SMEs even if they are reluctant to participate.

17.Can you describe the design process you use?

Because design is such an important part of your job, the interviewer will be curious about how you approach the instructional design process.

This question aims to assess your understanding of popular instructional design strategies.This tests your understanding of big picture concepts and how those concepts influence your steps in the design process as well as your work methods.The interviewer would like you to describe your organisational and project management abilities.

Organize your response into three levels. The first level is to provide an overview of the top-level instructional design strategies that you are familiar with and employ. Second, go over the steps you’ll take in the design process. Third, describe a typical workday to demonstrate your ability to prioritise project elements and manage your efforts to a successful conclusion on time and within budget.
Instructional design theories and models include:
(ii)Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Objectives
(iii)Individualized Instruction
(iv)Merrill’s Principles of Instruction
(v)SAM Model
(vi)Situated Cognition Theory
(vii)Sociocultural Learning Theory

Incorporate the ADDIE model, as well as other instructional design theories, into your response. Connect your design process steps to established models using behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism, and social learning theories. Expect a follow-up question asking you to explain why you prefer certain methods over others.
Be open-minded about the various methodologies, but speak confidently about them. Demonstrate your understanding of popular theories and practical methods in the field. Show how you will use this knowledge in your design process. Use specific examples of how a particular method worked well in your previous work if possible.

18.Describe a learning programme you created using the ADDIE method.

Analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation comprise the ADDIE process.

It is the most widely used instructional design model.The interviewer wants to know if you’ve managed a project through all stages of the ADDIE model, including prototyping and iterative development.

A comprehensive response would cover all stages of the ADDIE process, from initial project analysis to project evaluation. Most interviewers do not consider a candidate’s experience with only parts of the ADDIE process to be sufficient. The key to this model’s effectiveness is success with its full rendition. It can be used to describe any experience.

19.How do you ensure that you’re meeting audience needs throughout your design process?Mention that you are aware of the difficulty in obtaining interviews with SMEs who do not place a high value on discussions with instructional designers. How will you deal with interview cancellations while still meeting project deadlines?
Discuss the entire process of cold calling a SME, getting to know him or her, setting up an interview, and developing trust with them. Give examples of open-ended interview questions that will be used to extract as much information as possible from them. By demonstrating these abilities, you give the interviewer confidence that you can obtain critical information from SMEs even if they are reluctant to participate.
It is very effective if you also show a project design that had unexpected results and what you did to remedy the situation. It is a significant part of the design process to be able to repair failures and make corrections based on the project analysis.
Answer this question specifically about why you chose certain KPIs and what the analysis results meant. Connect your KPI selection to an established learning theory.
Using gamification methods, for example, your KPIs could be the percentage of students engaged in study games correlated with the percentage of improvement in examination scores. The answer demonstrates how the use of a gamification study system affects overall testing scores. A KPI that demonstrates positive project design results would be statistical significance in the correlation of improved test score with participation in study games.
Do not be afraid to discuss project failures. This makes your previous experience valuable, especially if you can demonstrate how you improved the design after a failure.

20.What is your greatest strength as an instructional designer?

Learning Enthusiasm Bordering on Obsession
Instructional designers have a shared enthusiasm for education. The outstanding ones, however, are fascinated with studying anything and everything related to education. They continually seek new things to study and teach, regardless of the sector or field.

I began teaching mathematics to diploma and engineering students after finishing a Master’s degree in mathematics and a Bachelor’s degree in education. Later, she taught mathematics in many curricula, including Samacheer kalvi, CBSE, and IGCSE.

During the pandemic, I began to work for a publishing company.I worked as a mathematics content reviewer, where I learned how to utilize the review section in Microsoft Word. I subsequently worked with the design team and learned how the design works.To prepare the e-books, I learnt to code in order to make GeoGebra simulations.I authored the social networking post. Thus, all of them are nothing but skill.

17.What are your salary expectations for this role?
18.How would your previous supervisor describe your skills?
19.Are you willing to relocate or travel as a part of this role?
20.How do you approach working in a collaborative environment?

21.Why are you interested in working in a design capacity for our organization?
22.What motivates you as an instructional designer?
23.What values do you bring to your work as a designer?
24.Discuss the type of challenges you expect to encounter in this role.
25.What are your career goals over the next five years?

26.What is your level of experience as an instructional designer?
27.What is your educational background?
28.Do you possess any certifications relevant to instructional design?
29.What learning management systems (LMS) have you used in previous roles?

31.Have you ever played an active role in creating a storyboard or script?
32.What experience do you have editing instructional materials?
33.What type of instructors have you trained in your past roles?
34.Do you have experience analyzing performance data and using it to inform your work?
35.What technological delivery options do you have experience with?


34.What design theories, if any, do you prefer to use apply in your work?
35.Which factors do you take into account when evaluating instructional materials?
34.How do you incorporate feedback into your design process?
35.How do you plan to stay up to date on emerging instructional technologies and methods?
36.Can you describe an instance in which you offered successful technical advice to a client?

38.Which instructional materials are you most proud of creating? Why?
39.How do you approach situations that require instructional interventions?
40.Are you capable of forming intelligible instructional road maps for programs you develop?



Prashanthi Anand Rao

teaching mathematics and design, Sharing the experiences learned in the journey of life.