61 Instructional Designer Interview Questions (Plus Sample Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 31 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As an aspiring instructional designer applying for open positions, you may have an interview with the hiring manager of the company. Interviewers may ask instructional designers questions about their academic experience and their approach to designing curricula. If you're preparing for an interview, reviewing potential questions and practising your answers can help you improve your performance. In this article, we explain what instructional designer interview questions are, list general, background-related and in-depth questions and provide interview questions with sample answers to help you prepare your own.

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What are instructional designer interview questions?

Hiring managers can use instructional designer interview questions to learn more about who you are and what makes you a great candidate for an instructional designer position. The hiring team may ask you questions about your background, education and experiences. They may also pose hypothetical situations to learn more about how you approach problems and resolve conflict.

Related: How to Answer Open-Ended Interview Questions (With Samples)

General questions

These are 22 general interview questions a hiring manager may ask to learn more about who you are:

  1. Can you tell me what you know about this company?

  2. Describe your ideal work environment.

  3. How did you hear about this position?

  4. How would your friends describe you?

  5. How would your previous colleagues describe you?

  6. Tell me about your salary expectations.

  7. Tell me about your work style.

  8. Tell me about yourself.

  9. What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

  10. What's your greatest professional achievement?

  11. What's your preferred management style?

  12. What makes you the best candidate for this position?

  13. What's the first thing you'll do if we hire you?

  14. What's your biggest weakness?

  15. What's your favourite subject to work with?

  16. What's your favourite aspect of being an instructional designer?

  17. What's your greatest strength?

  18. Where do you see yourself in five years?

  19. Why did you apply for a position with this company?

  20. Why do you want to be an instructional designer?

  21. Why is it a good idea for us to hire you?

  22. Why work in education?

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Questions about background and experience

Hiring managers may ask questions about background and experience to determine if you're a good fit for the role. Here are 18 questions they may ask:

  1. Are you interested in pursuing an advanced degree?

  2. Can you tell me about the languages you're fluent in?

  3. Describe the curriculum you've worked on of which you're the proudest.

  4. Did you get along well with your last team?

  5. Do you have any experience leading a design team?

  6. Have you ever worked with a subject matter expert who made it challenging for you to gather information? How did you handle the situation?

  7. Have you had other positions that aren't related to instructional design?

  8. Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership skills with your design team.

  9. Tell me about a time you used conflict resolution in the workplace.

  10. Tell me about the last instructional design project on which you worked.

  11. What did you like least about your previous position?

  12. What's your greatest professional achievement?

  13. What was your biggest failure in your previous role?

  14. What was your previous workplace environment like? What did you like about it?

  15. What's the largest team you've worked with while creating course designs?

  16. Why did you choose the university on your resume?

  17. Why did you choose this major? Did you plan for a career in instructional design?

  18. Why did you choose to leave your last position?

Related: How To Answer 'What Is Your Greatest Achievement?' Interview Question

In-depth questions

In-depth instructional designer questions test your knowledge of the subject and help the hiring manager learn more about how you function. Here are 18 questions they may ask:

  1. Detail your process for instructional design.

  2. Do you follow any specific theories about instructional design?

  3. Do you like to participate in the storyboard creation process?

  4. How do you approach the process of ensuring your course plans cater to different learning abilities?

  5. How do you approach the process of teaching others how to use e-learning systems?

  6. How many courses have you designed in your career?

  7. If I gave you a course one of our interns designed, what would be your process for critiquing and improving it?

  8. Tell me about a time you helped the team finish a course by the deadline.

  9. Tell me about the subjects you've managed during your career.

  10. Tell me about the learning management systems and programmes you're familiar with.

  11. Tell me about your process for gathering information from experts.

  12. What are the measures by which you determine a learning plan's quality?

  13. What's your course design success rate?

  14. What's your process for gathering information about students?

  15. What's your process for working with professors?

  16. When creating new courses, do you develop more than one prototype?

  17. When working with a team, how do you and your colleagues determine if a course is successful?

  18. You're designing a course and working under an approaching deadline. You discover major errors in the introduction and middle sections. What do you do?

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3 instructional designer interview questions with sample answers

These are some sample questions and answers you can use to prepare for your next instructional designer interview:

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

While employers may prefer to hire instructional design candidates who have experience in their field, many in this profession enter their roles with experience in other industries. Sometimes, this type of experience can pose significant benefits. For instance, coming from a role in education or technology may allow candidates to offer unique skills that can serve them well as an instructional designer. An interviewer may ask you this question to evaluate whether you have any special competencies that can help you succeed in this role. In your answer, be honest, discuss your previous experiences and make practical connections.

Example: 'While I've worked as an instructional designer for the past three years, I previously served as a secondary school teacher. I was responsible for designing my own curriculum, creating engaging content and drafting plans for delivering material on a day-to-day basis. This experience taught me how to communicate complex ideas, help others understand the material and find ways to increase engagement. I think it prepared me well for the duties I've had as an instructional designer.'

2. How do you plan on working effectively alongside subject matter experts?

Instructional designers often work alongside subject-matter experts (SMEs) as a part of their role. SMEs offer designers information about topics or processes in specific disciplines and designers rely on experts to offer their knowledge throughout the material development process. An interviewer may ask you this question to assess how you approach collaborating with SMEs and understand whether you're capable of fostering professional relationships with them. In your answer, discuss how you plan to work with SMEs and outline your approach for handling any discrepancies you may face in your collaboration.

Example: 'I think working with subject matter experts effectively is a crucial part of being an instructional designer. I approach my relationships with them in a collaborative sense. I often have various ideas about how content works and generate questions for SMEs based on those ideas to start our work together. From there, the SMEs contribute their expertise and we work together to develop the content. While some SMEs are more challenging to work with than others, I try to overcome discrepancies by modifying my work style from expert to expert, depending on their preferences.'

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3. What methods do you plan on using to evaluate the success of your course designs?

Instructional designers typically use data to inform their practice and understand how successful their designs are upon implementation. To do this, they may use various data collection and analysis methods to gain a full portrayal of how well their designs work and why. An interviewer may ask you this question to gauge what your level of experience is in evaluating your designs and how you might approach this task when you start your role. In your answer, describe the strategies you use to measure the success of your design and explain how you use this information to guide your workflow.

Example: 'Measuring success as an instructional designer involves understanding how well our designs meet predetermined goals and how successful they are when implemented in reality. To understand whether my designs meet organisational objectives, I typically create an alignment map that helps me visualise what components exist and which ones might be missing. To evaluate the success of an implementation, I typically solicit feedback from instructors and course users who can offer information about how well the course met their needs. I use this feedback going forward to edit my designs and make shifts in future projects.'

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