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EP 06: How to Recruit, Hire, and Retain Top L&D Talent
Episode 67th May 2024 • Learning Matters • ttcInnovations
00:00:00 00:43:03

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Join us this week as we dive into the world of recruiting and maintaining instructional design talent with Nicole Whitney, Director of Talent at ttcInnovations. Discover the keys to crafting standout resumes and portfolios, acing interviews, and navigating the ever-evolving landscape of corporate learning. Learn how Nicole stays ahead of industry trends and fosters a culture fit within her teams. Plus, uncover insider tips for recruiting success and maintaining your mojo in the hiring hustle. Tune in for expert advice and actionable strategies to build your dream team and drive results.


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Welcome back to Learning Matters. I'm Doug Wooldridge, your host. And today I'm joined by Nicole Whitney, the Director of Talent for TTC Innovations. She spent over a decade successfully sourcing, attracting, and retaining top tier talent in the L &D industry. She excels in developing innovative recruitment strategies and collaborating seamlessly with stakeholders at all levels to understand hiring needs and deliver tailored recruitment solutions. Let's get to the interview.

Thank you so much, Nicole, for joining the podcast today. I just want to start off with how you got into recruiting and talent acquisition. What initially pulled you into this field? You know, I kind of just fell into it. I think that happens more often than people think. Yeah. I was, I was coming out of undergrad, all set to go to law school. And then something was telling me, no, just go get some life experience, figure a few things out and then go back to school if you want to. And I landed at a...

consulting firm based in Minnesota doing HR, just kind of general HR operations, but very specifically kind of landed square in the middle of recruitment activities. And I had mixed feelings overall, to be honest. There's aspects of it I absolutely love. I love talking to people, which I'm an introvert, so you'd think that wouldn't be my forte, but I really enjoy getting to know people.

I kind of found my niche. I'm a good listener. And so there was a lot of aspects to the recruitment space that I kind of fell in love with. And I, again, I just never left the field. So I spent a handful of years at that initial company and then found TTC five or six years ago. And that's been it. Again, there's a lot of TA aspects that I really enjoy everything from sourcing, but really it's just talking to people.

being a good listener and making that alignment. So yeah, again, I just kind of fell into it and then never left. I hear that so often on this podcast, especially for the learning and development space. Um, they just kind of find yourself in and go, Oh, here I am. Uh, and, uh, transitioning from that, uh, previous position to TTC, how do you approach talent acquisition in a field like learning and development? Uh, it must be.

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quite different than other industries that have a little bit more broad hiring needs. Yeah, I was actually really fortunate. Um, and pure coincidence that my last company had a lot of L and D roles. Um, and so it was one of the reasons that I was actually a really good fit for TTC was that a lot of the alignment was already there. So I had been used to talking to people about staff augmentation roles in the L and D space for years. Um, but in general,

when you do have kind of a narrow field, there's a lot of aspects that you have to think about. You really have to know your audience. You really need to know the industry. It's very hard to fake it in the L and D space. It just, it moves quickly like many industries do. You have to be in sync with what clients are seeking in the moment. You know, if you're thinking about yesterday, you're too late. You're already reacting versus being proactive in your recruitment efforts. And so,

really understand the direction that the industry is going in and being able to speak to it intelligently, you know, is something that is quite difficult. And it's one thing to ask a question and be able to, you know, document an answer, but to really understand the industry, the trends, what clients are likely going to be asking for, not just today, but tomorrow, next quarter, a year from now is really the strategic aspect of talent and.

It makes having a narrower field like L &D almost simpler in a way, because your sole focus is, you know, honing in on these types of individuals and where will this industry be? Not every industry, like many recruiters have to deal with. I like having that very niche field to focus on. You can really tailor vetting process, your, you know, your, your end strategy to the industry. So that's really how I approach a narrow field, but.

There's pros and cons to each. Sure. And what do you do to keep up with those ever evolving changes within the industry? You got to read a lot. You got to keep up with, you know, industry pieces, whether that's, you know, the association for talent development, whether that's local chapters or general outputs. TTC has a blog that I like to keep up with, you know, information, but my favorite way is really just talking to people. When I'm able to interview.

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It's, it's not only me collecting, you know, alignment information. It's me gathering what's going on, what's going on in the industry, what are clients doing these days? It's very simple to ask the question that people love to talk about what they're up to. And again, it, it's kind of a two birds, one stone situation for, for me to keep up with the industry, but also to, you know, how do they align to TTC's clients? Um, and so.

I would say, yeah, the biggest piece for me is asking the right questions in an interview and just talking, networking, you know, being out there on LinkedIn. There's a lot of great groups out there that, you know, keep up and we're kind of on this cusp of AI playing such a big role in the industry that, you know, I don't have all those answers. And so I'm looking to the learning experts to say, you know, tell me, um, I know we have a webinar today, uh, from one of our, our folks putting on, again, those are great resources to keep up with, with those sorts of trends.

And what are some of the challenges in attracting or maybe just finding that great candidate for L &D?

Oh, this is a big question. There's a lot of challenges. I would say that culture plays such a big component in identifying the right resource. But in terms of kind of going back to the attracting piece, there are a lot of things that you can do as a company to make sure that you're attractive and attracting the right talent. So first and foremost is, you know, being organized in the upfront. Don't be

too quick off the draw and just put up a job posting. You are not going to be very successful that way. You know, conduct the analysis ahead of time. Where are there gaps? What is this role filling for your organization? And so specifically in the L and D space, do you need a jack of all trades? Do you need someone who's very specialized? What are you needing for this to push your organization forward? What expertise does that require? And so not only do you need to have your ducks in a row in terms of role description, but

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understanding how this plays a role in your organization. So is this person, you know, very client facing? Like what are, what does the role entail? Not just the task list. Um, and so again, starting with what you're posting, what you're putting out there, is it clear and concise? Are applicants, candidates going to look at your role description and say, I fit that bill or that's a 12 page role description. I'm never going to fit that. Or it's a one -liner and they're like, I don't know what this role is.

So out of the gate, kind of setting those clear expectations. I think that's a general theme across good recruiters is being clear, concise and communicative. I mean, just making sure that you're setting those clear expectations out of the gate. So in terms of attracting, there's things that you can do even again, before a job goes live to make sure that you're set up for success. And not just you, but the candidates are set up for success too, because.

You give them that amount of information, they're walking into it with, you know, a very good understanding as opposed to, well, let's just see what happens. Absolutely. I mean, let them self -qualify in a way. Again, you're doing yourself a disservice if you're not utilizing application questions. And again, good role descriptions, even going down to where you're posting, you know, have a diverse lineup of different locations, whether that's, you know, casting a broader net to get a more diverse.

applicant based. There's a lot of different ways that you can approach and attract again, the type of candidate you're looking for. But in terms of challenges, finding kind of the right talent, I think a lot of it comes down to culture. Like I said, I think that there's it's one thing to just, you know, go down the matrix and say, yep, they can do X, Y, and Z. That doesn't mean they're the right fit for the role. It could be right. But

there's a lot of things that you have to think about that impact your organization far more if they can do things on a role description. So EQ, you know, can they communicate well? Can they receive feedback well? There's a lot of components that aren't specifically, you know, tasks that you're going to want to look for to identify the right talent and knowing your organization is the biggest piece, who they're working with, what the dynamic of the team looks like, and then going from there. So,

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It's again, it's a lot of different components when you're kind of looking at the challenges of identifying the right talent. But again, EQ culture, having clear expectations out of the gate are all going to play a big role in that. And going back to something that you mentioned just briefly earlier, a good amount of work for TTC innovations is project based. So I want to talk about the innovators on demand program.

and how that's kind of changed the organization's approach to bringing on talent because these folks are more client facing than, you know, the typical project team where you just get the deliverable request, your head's down, you're in the work, you may, you know, you may speak to the subject matter experts occasionally, but you're not really in the true team for the clients. For the innovators on demand, they really are stepping directly into that organization.

and working with their team directly. Yeah. It's, you know, it's a different environment altogether. It's a different strategy. Um, the innovators on demand is our staff augmentation division. So very much the lone rager approach compared to the more team oriented project based services. And when you are, you know, stepping in to find talent or a specific role, a specific client,

there are lots of advantages. I love that scenario. Like you said, a lot of our work is project based. And so my typical, you know, hiring process is to get people into our network to, you know, quote unquote, fill our bench. But when a staff augmentation role or innovators on demand opportunity pops up and I have the opportunity to be more granular, I take it. It changes the way I ask questions.

Again, I'm tailoring it to the client. They are stepping into the client's team. They're gonna integrate into their culture, follow their process. And so I will look to add application questions. Will they fit this particular role? Again, I love that opportunity. Again, the more you can give me, the more information I can get from a client or a project request, the more that I can ask and the more I can align talent to that in the best way possible.

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which again is a great opportunity. But again, it does present some challenges. Not everyone's gonna be a fit. Your pool of people narrows for sure. And when they're directly working with the client, there isn't that barrier or the protection of the team type of mentality. There is no TTC project manager walking through the project with them. And so there are things that I will make sure that they're aware of that.

your expectations are set and that I know that they can execute on them. And so there's definitely considerations when talking about an innovators on demand opportunity versus someone to step into our network for project based services. It's just more tailored, you know, and take that opportunity when you can. Again, you want to push them into the deep end, but you want to know that they can swim first. Exactly. Exactly. Yes.

Awesome. I've got a couple of questions here from the Learning Matters community. I think focusing on some of the things that you're looking for with a candidate when they first apply. So maybe let's start with, what do you look for in a resume? Oh, this is a deep cut. I could talk all day about resumes. So let's go. Where to start. So first things first, you don't have a lot of time to

catch the attention of a recruiter. Depending on the size of the organization and the roles that you're posting, you could be one of many resumes they are looking at that day. And so my biggest recommendation is keep it to about two pages. And I think that's very difficult for some contractors who have project after project of relevant experience. And not that I don't want to know about that, but I need it to be in a way where I can, you know, kind of quickly digest. And so again,

Maybe three pages max, four pages if like, it's a very specific role that you need to show that alignment. But in general, consolidate, you know, anything past, you know, a certain point in time, maybe 10, 15 years out, let's just summarize, you know, let's not have full fledged bullets, but have a great summary. You do not need an objective. I don't, I know you're applying for the role. I know you want the role if you're applying. So don't feel the need to put an object.

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anything like that, just a summary at the top. I love to see a bulleted list of tools and even skills or services that they, you know, excel within. Um, and then very clear. This was my project or employment and dates. Um, again, you don't need to have, um, your address on there. You don't need to give a summary of the client. What was your role in that, in that space? Um, using metrics are.

phenomenal if you can say, you know, I did X, Y, Z by this date and increased, you know, X percentage by this much. Those are great things to put on a resume that shows that not only were you doing the work, but you were successful in that work. And so action items, but keep it, keep it concise. You don't need everything on there. That's not necessary. But that would be, those would be some of my hot takes on the, the resume. I love it.

And you mentioned tools there, any particular tools that really stand out to you that once you see those in a bulleted list, you're like, okay, I know that I can trust that this candidate can meet the needs of our current client roster. That's a great question. You know, in our client base at the moment, Articulate is very much at the top of the list. Both Storyline and Rise are well utilized tools.

That being said, we have some clients who are using very specific smaller tools that if I see it, I'm like, oh my gosh, that's amazing. But it wouldn't be a clear yes or no. It has to build on the bigger story of their application and resume. But again, Articulate, big one. Vyond for us is a big one. Again, Captivate is in the mix at times, but not nearly as popular as it once was.

But we have some, you know, smaller tools, things like what fix Xylem, Evolve, what fix? I don't know if I said that one. You know, that are just tools that you don't see on everyone's resume. But again, might align to our particular project needs at the moment. And so those are ones that I'm like, oh, that's that's a great one to jot down to make sure I ask about in the interview. But I wouldn't say that tools are a make or break necessarily. I mean,

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That being said, if Flash is listed or I can use Gmail, those I'm like, okay, okay, we'll see. But don't date yourself too much on a resume in terms of the tools. If you're not kind of up with the times, maybe just leave it off the resume. Yeah, let's focus on the newest and brightest tools for the resume, folks. Exactly. And another question.

How about a portfolio? This is a big one because, you know, senior instructional design or just instructional design in general is different than a lot of roles. And while your resume showcases what you've done in the past, your portfolio is really what showcases what you can do. And with the client needs for TTC Innovations, you really have to see that portfolio and see the work that you've been able to do in the past.

before you can even pass that person into the interview stage. So what are you looking for on a portfolio? Oh, so many things.

The portfolio for instructional designers at the moment is one of the most powerful tools to get you noticed. Without it, you won't go very far on the interview process. You might make it through, but it will likely limit the roles and the services that you're able to provide clients if you're not able to show. But what I'm looking for is essentially diversity, versatility, creativity. I like to see a pretty dynamic

mix of different samples. I like to see the beginning stages of the instructional design process. So things like needs analysis, job task analysis, don't disclude those from your portfolio because they're not flashy. I think a lot of people miss that opportunity to showcase some of their expertise because they're just looking at the end deliverable, you know, the development phase, what they've created. And again, do not overlook kind of some of those initial

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Work efforts that go on in the instructional design process because I want to see that I want to see it badly Actually, I'm gonna ask for it if I don't see it. So you might as well just add it in there if you got it But you know In terms of you know, e -learning is of course something that you know boomed with kovat Clients are you know expecting that type of expertise, but that's not the only expertise out there So don't again limit yourself to just e -learning instructor -led training

virtual instructor led trading, job aids, infographics, anything that you can showcase what represents your skill set is what I want to see. Again, similarly, are you well versed in the design phase? Are you an expert in detailed design documents? If you are, show me. Give me that opportunity to put you on a project to showcase that expertise. So for me, it's really kind of having a well -rounded

portfolio. I know a lot of people struggle with proprietary samples that, you know, they just don't own the work product. And again, I respect that. My advice is take the time and create some samples then if you can create your own little project, because your portfolio is almost your best marketing tool. As an instructional designer these days, very few clients, you know, just push people through. Again, they want to see

They want to see it with their own eyes before again, moving forward. And it's just become the norm in this industry. And so it is a super important part of the vetting process. I think that's a really well, well said statement that it's your best marketing tool for yourself and your business. Uh, the ability to showcase the actual work that you can do and to showcase it in its entirety while not, you know, throwing too many.

examples into the fire here, but really making sure that you are able to showcase everything from analysis to design to development. I think that's really impactful. And the hiring process is wild to me. So you really only get a few short moments with folks before you get to the point of onboarding. And so what are your tactics to be able to make the most out of that small window of time with these folks?

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And how are you able to note applicants strengths and maybe pick up on potential red flags or culture fit issues or things like that? Yeah, I will say I've gotten comments where, you know, folks are like, you have a very robust vetting process. And I'm like, Hey, I, we only talk to you two times, two conversations in a portfolio of you on the middle. Um, and you're right. It's such a short kind of moment in time where you really have to make the most of it. And.

it's really all in the prep and it's been years in the making for us to kind of develop this vetting process. And we've held study with it now for a few years, which is long in the life cycle of a vetting process because it's been successful for us. And so, you know, we focus on culture, kind of the logistical aspects of partnership in the initial conversations, you know, dabbling in some skill sets pieces.

but really we dive into the skillset then in the second conversation, which is all around process, some scenario -based questions, how they would operate within our project teams, things of that nature. And I think that has been very successful for us in terms of really getting that baseline of, okay, I think they have what it takes in terms of EQ, in terms of communication, in the initial conversation, and then moving into the more logistical aspects of how are they, you know,

What makes them tick as an instructional designer? Does their process, you know, align with ours? And I think instructional design, everyone uses different terminology. And so that is one of the trickier pieces, I think, for new recruiters in this space is understanding that, oh, they're saying the same thing, just with different words. And so again, I think it comes with a lot of time, understanding again, what follow -up questions to ask. And we have...

a set list of questions that we ask every candidate, but then it's the follow -up questions that really get into the weeds of, you know, where are they best aligned? You know, you very much share the passion with L &D experts. They want to talk L &D and you can tell when we hit on a topic that they're really passionate about, whether it's diversity or analysis or whatever the case may be. Again, they just speak to it differently. Again, they're just so eager to share their experience.

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And that's really where I pick up on the alignment pieces. So between culture, between what services that they excel at, that is all building on how I would recommend them then to kind of kick off within our project space, where they would best align from a client perspective. You know, some are more rigorous, more process oriented type folks who thrive in that environment where others are more, you know, go with the flow. Let's see how things roll. And so you really have to discern that.

pretty quickly and it does come down to kind of questions prep. Scenario based questions are really good in this arena. I know a lot of people don't like them necessarily, but understanding how people react in a certain scenario is super important. I'm not one to like trick a candidate, but I do like to throw in a question, you know, towards the middle or the end of that interview that, you know, not when they're expecting.

You know, if they're interviewing time and time again, you know, everyone asks kind of the same questions, you know, something that is just like, oh, let me think about it and how they respond and how they communicate back to me. It's super important in those scenarios. And so I really, I really do like that, you know, and I'm looking for things like, you know, are they clear and concise when answering me? Do they circle the question? And I'm like, do you, do you know, do you know the answer to this question? Again, it's, it's.

It's very much both an art and a science to this recruitment piece. And again, I think the more that you can immerse yourself within the industry and be, again, I'm not an L and D expert, never claimed to be, but I do claim to be an expert in talking to L and D experts. And so again, drawing out where that expertise lies and similarly where maybe some potential red flags lie. Again, some folks I flag stepping into the network to say, Hey, I think they're going to be great.

in this spot, do not align them, at least for their first project with this client or in this scenario, because I don't think they'll be as successful. So again, it's really reading between the lines at times. And again, you kind of just find the groove again, you probably will get burned. You know, it's not a perfect science by any stretch, but yeah, it's fun.

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And how do you make sure that you're always kind of on your guard there? Uh, with my short time that I was working a part of the, uh, talent acquisition team here at TTC, I always found myself becoming like best friends with folks while I'm just talking with them. And while that's a really nice way to just kind of introduce the company as a whole to candidates, it's not always the best way or approach to finding the right talent. It doesn't surprise me Doug, uh, in the slightest that you became best friends. Um,

Yeah, I think starting off with a very heavy HR component, it was like there was always a line in the sand. It was always this role as the interviewer that really has these set boundaries around me. And don't get me wrong, I really enjoy these conversations that we call interviews. But at the end of the day, I'm doing a job. I'm making sure that this candidate.

is receiving the exact same experience as the next candidate and really putting aside all biases, it's very difficult to sometimes separate that, but it's almost second nature now. It's just, it's a regimented list of questions. It's my scorecard, it's my matrix. I'm going off of this very objectively factual.

Again, there are some gut feelings that come into play, of course. And there definitely are people who I could sit and talk to about, you know, the weather for, you know, hours on end. But it's just not the environment that I set up. I would say it's again, and it really just comes back to that HR background, I think is just, you know, it's just so ingrained in me that it's, you know, that's just not the dynamic in the interview. So, you know, if they come into the network and we want to chat about the weather, great.

But it's just not the time or place, you know, for me. And again, I've never really had too much issue, I guess. And maybe I just don't don't allow myself to kind of veer down, you know, those types of conversations to get outside of the scope of the conversation of L &D. But it sounds very rigid. But again, it's kind of just second nature. Again, we've worked really hard to create a very consistent, compliant.

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experience across the board and that really kind of helps just again keep those boundaries in place essentially. And I had another question from the community here. What would your advice be to folks trying to just break in to that corporate L &D world? So maybe they're coming from either higher ed or maybe just education in general. Maybe they just don't have

a bunch of experience in the corporate world. Where do they start? Ooh, that's a, that's a good one. Um, the corporate space is a bit unique. Again, it varies from higher ed K -12 nonprofit government. Um, I would say network, talk to people, you know, who are in the corporate space if you can. Um, again, mentorship is always a great option, but exploring your portfolio.

Would be my biggest piece if you're really looking to come into the corporate space You know do a bit of research get a grasp on the differences, you know between corporate and whatever environment you're coming from If you're on, you know, the very junior side, maybe you know think about taking some classes within the instructional design space But ultimately, you know having that clear understanding of the differences and being able to build out a portfolio that showcases I do have the skill set Is probably

my biggest piece of advice. But again, network with the people around you who are in the space. Ask questions about the projects they're on. Get a grasp on the trends of what's in the industry at the moment. Because it is, it's an intense environment. There's quick turnarounds. Know the expectations. But again, it all goes back to if you want the role, you're going to have to have samples typically that align.

So even if you can pull from past experience, great, show how that aligns. But that would be my biggest piece. And yet it's probably a bit of research and, you know, again, a bit of work to get those samples put together. But I think it would be the best path forward. And switching gears here just a little bit, how do you change your approach when it comes to adding team members on the corporate side of TTC innovation? So how does that larger pool?

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of talent maybe less niche than IDs or PMs change things? And does it make it more difficult in some ways? Yeah, easier and harder in different ways. I love bringing on employees. I love having a partner in crime to kind of work with to understand the needs. If it's someone outside of my team. So in terms of bringing on employees within our TTC corporate space, you know, I like to have a

an analysis session to say, you know, what does this person need to do? What does this person need to be successful? You know, what does this role look like three months from now, six months from now? And it's really just exploring, you know, who will be the right fit. Um, I know TTC culture. So in that, in that regard, no problem. I got that piece, you know, I don't, I don't need to go down that, but, uh, understanding what the needs of this opportunity are, how they collaborate with other team members.

things of that nature just set me up for success. So, but I love having essentially like a hiring manager to work alongside me. I don't have that when we're, you know, bringing in folks to our network. It's just kind of the talent acquisition team is tasked with that. And so, you know, having someone to be like, so what do you think? You know, I'm not the expert in this space. So you tell me.

And it's really exciting. Again, I love kind of starting from scratch and, you know, working on the role descriptions, application questions, scorecards. Um, so again, there's a little bit more upfront time because again, I'm not the expert. Again, I can talk to L and D folks all day long. Um, you, you asked me to bring in someone in marketing. I, I got a lot of questions for you. Um, so, you know, that, that makes it a bit more challenging, um, but in a great way. So again, easier in the fact that.

I know the type of people who, you know, match our core values, who, you know, would likely align very well to collaborating within our team. Um, but from a, from a tools, from a task list, from, you know, a strategy point of view for the role, I need that partnership. And again, I, that's one of my favorite things to do. That's awesome. I want to talk just a little bit about diversity and inclusion. So.

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What does TTC do during the talent search to prioritize DEI during the hiring process, either for internal folks or for that corporate or excuse me, from the corporate side of things or for instructional designers? Yeah, that is a really good question. I love this question. We have a few different ways in which that we try to essentially develop.

more diversity across the board. DE and I is so important to me. I think developing essentially a diverse candidate pool. So are you posting in the right locations? I think it's one thing to post up to your careers page and LinkedIn, but are you going out to the smaller job boards? Are you even making sure that your language that you're using on those job boards or in your role descriptions is inclusive? Is it gender neutral?

Can you essentially just focus on the skills and the abilities and avoid some of the unnecessary pieces, maybe like the nice to haves? That could exclude people in your job search that could be great fits. And so I think that that's important. And then kind of going back to that, creating an unbiased screening process. So again, I know it's.

Everyone is such a good friend in the process, but again, creating those boundaries like I was talking about, just ensures that there's an even playing field across the board. Again, we're using the same set of list of questions. Everyone is given essentially that same consistency across the board to ensure that the vetting process is as unbiased as possible is another way.

But again, I think a lot of it does come down to language, whether it's in the interview, whether it's in your postings to ensure people feel that D &I presence. We actually ask about diversity on our interviews for almost every role that we interview for. It's a part of our set list on our matrix. But yeah, this is a passionate one. I could probably talk for a very long time on what I hope this looks like in the years to come.

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But those are a few of the ones that we are currently executing on. Definitely. And how do you nail down that a candidate has the ability to meet the diversity and inclusion needs that, let's say, our clients are requesting when building out training? So a lot of things have changed over the years in instructional design where even the character designs have changed and beyond and things like that to really have inclusive characters.

and you know, stock image polls have a lot of diversity options within them now as opposed to years prior. How do you make sure that instructional designers that you're bringing into the team are able to meet those needs and jump in on that and make it a focus of their training builds? Yeah, I mean, going back to, you know, me asking the question and the vetting process, you know, it's setting the expectations out of the gate. This is something that we care about, that our clients care about.

I will absolutely make note of samples and portfolios that do a good job of this. And so it's more of an, not excluding candidates necessarily, it's identifying those who do it really well and how clients will respond to that. And so, yeah, there's a lot of opportunity in the interview to really kind of hone in on this piece. And we've had really good candidates in the recent years who have had opportunities to work on.

diversity, equity, and inclusion projects. And it's been so fun to hear about these projects and how that they've been so successful. And it's fantastic that clients are taking note and they have been. This is something that's kind of evolved over the last few years. And I'm hoping it really keeps rolling. But it's one of the roles that clients seem to be really interested in. Again, this D in iSpace seems to be a...

not a gap because there's definitely projects rolling and people who have the experience, but it's remaining a focus, which is so important. But I think it's a missed opportunity when people are like, oh, you know, it's just second nature that I think of diversity. And it's like, no, I think it has to be at the forefront. I think it has to be something that you're actively always thinking about when you're creating training specifically, you know, not just knowing your audience, but how you can create a deliverable that

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is inclusive, that you think about accessibility, you think about all of these different components of DE &I that aren't necessarily second nature to everyone. Again, it might be to some, but I think it is actively having that know that let me ask the questions, let me talk to the client. But these are the things that I try to get out of an interview, again, and set the expectations that this is something clients are looking for.

And if there's one piece of advice that you could give to a candidate that's trying to nail the interview or even just get their foot in the door for an L &D organization, what might that be? Oh man. I don't know if I can do just one. I would say be clear and concise. Again, don't feel like you have to expand on everything. Again,

answer the question and move on. I think that there's a lot of folks who think if they keep talking about projects and how they align, that it's gonna build on their success in an interview. That's not always the case. Listen well, understand the question, ask followups. And actually, I can't just share one. Okay, so my second one would be ask questions. Ask questions. It is not an insult to me if you're like, hey, I need to clarify something here.

It's as much your interview as it is mine. I mean, like, let's have this be a two way street. If you step into TTC and don't understand the expectations, that's a miss on my part, on your part. Ask the questions. If I'm unclear on something, if you're like, hey, this wasn't covered, or I would love to know this, or maybe you got burned on your last roll and are like, hey, I just want to make sure. I love questions.

I think that again, it's a missed opportunity when people are like, oh no, you know, this has been a robust process. Let's just jump into it. I love a good question. So don't ever feel like you can't ask the questions. And if you think of it five minutes after the interview ends, email, email or communicate with whoever you're partnering with to say, Hey, I just have a couple of follow -up questions if you have time. And again, know, know what you're stepping into again, don't miss an opportunity to ask the questions upfront because.

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Again, I want to make sure that you're a fit for TTC, but you need to make sure they fit on the opposite side, that TTC is a fit for you. So again, those are two very broad answers. So again, I could go down the rabbit hole, but yeah, those would be my top two. Awesome. Well, thank you for that. One last question before I let you go today. How do you stay motivated?

So it's not easy talking to new folks day in and day out. And it's not like you're just having a conversation about the weather or, you know, what your kids are doing or what you just read on Facebook. Job interviews are stressful on both sides. So is there anything that you do in between interviews to really refresh yourself, get back to that baseline? Yeah, I try not to do too many back to back to back.

It's inevitable that it'll happen though. And I usually either just need a snack or to step outside for a moment and I can kind of refresh. But my biggest piece of advice is to be prepared. So, you know, do the research ahead of time the day before if you need to look through resumes, applications, have your scorecards ready to go. When I'm behind the eight ball or a last minute conversation pops up on my calendar that I don't have proper time to prep for is when I get just frazzled that by the end of the day, I am just fried.

And so yeah, I think but what truly keeps me motivated is that you know at the end of my workday I've got two toddlers who I'm picking up with and it just you know the role shift, you know It's never for very long and then I'm on to the next thing and trying to be present in the moment So I take that, you know, very similar. It's how I do interviews. I like to be very present I'm not you know multitasking while I'm doing interviews or anything like that My sole focus is that and then I'm moving on to the next thing

So I'll take a day of interviews over a day of admin any day of the week. So I find a lot of joy in those conversations. Oh, that's awesome. Well, thank you so much, Nicole. This has been a really fun conversation. And I think this was incredibly insightful for folks, not only just new to the industry, but also seasoned veterans. Maybe you're making that transition into the contracting world or whatnot. So thank you so much.

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And I hope to talk to you again soon on this podcast and keep hearing more about talent acquisition and all of the ins and outs and the craziness of it as well. Absolutely. Thanks for chatting. Awesome. That's it for this week, folks. Join us next week as we discuss Idle courses with Idle's Robin Sargent, the CEO and founder. And if you'd like to hear more great tips on how to nail your next interview, make sure to sign up for our newsletter, The Buzz.

And as always, like and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you next time.




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