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Recruitment Tips


We are currently expanding the number of courses we offer and are looking to recruit freelance trainers. We need a blend of expererience, excellent subject/technical knowledge and good training skills where the trainer can really engage the audience.

I normally ask the candidate to prepare and deliver a 10-15 minute presentation during the interview followed by 15-20 minutes of questions. So far we have been lucky with our selection.

There must be a better ways to assess candidates. Any tips or exercies would be appreciated.


Tracy Murray

Tracy Murray

11 Responses

  1. Arian Associates Ltd
    Also in the North East, we too use freelance trainers – but we recruit using word of mouth rather than through advertising. We find that good trainers will usually only recommend other good trainers, otherwise their own reputation ends up under scrutiny.

    email us and we can see if our consultants match up to your requirements – the broader the networking the more opportunities.

  2. Freelance Trainers
    Totally agree with previous contribution in terms of referrals. I can certainly recommend about three and will be happy to do so

    Your existing ideas are great.We use them. Have you thought of asking the potential trainer to lay on a free course – one day – of her/his choice for your delegates or staff. Then look at the evaluations thereafter

    We have done that to good effect

    Good luck


  3. a view from the other side of the fence
    Hi Tracy

    I am a freelance and have been for many years, I have worked as an associate with many organisations, generally for a long time.

    I think your current system is good and if anything would suggest you ask the trainer to be on their feet for longer than 15 minutes.

    The other suggestions similarly are sound…I have joined through recommendation and recommended entire teams to clients.

    Another respondent has suggested the free day….it is worth remembering that the freelance is never given any guarantee of work so for an individual to provide free training to a company is a very one sided risk….probably not what was intended.

    Rus Slater

  4. Do something different
    Do you specify what the person must present on or do they have a choice.
    To get a better understanding of their all-round abilities get them to present on a subject of your choice but not one that you would expect them to train on. Give them something different like the life cycle of a matchstick or the ‘off-side’ rule to see how flexible they are.

  5. thanks for help so far
    Thanks for the tips so far. Referrals would be a brilliant way to find training associates but unfortunately I’m not really in a loop for that.My background is not in training or HR.

    Some of the training we do is highly specialised and technical so we tend to look for experts in their field who have excellent communication and training skills coupled with real enthusiasm and love of their subject. So as well as technical questions we need to assess training skills.

    Would potential training associates really be prepared to do a one day for free???


  6. Advertising can work
    I would be the first to endorse the view that personal recomendation is the best way to recruit trainers (and most other positions as well). As with Tracy however this may not be practical – at least in the short term.

    Some years ago I was running a major programme to install new computer technology in a major retail travel chain. Originally we planned to use area managers as trainers but eventually decided this was not practical. We therefore needed to recruit 24 trainers quickly.

    This was very successfully achieved – the implementation of the technology went incredibly smoothly. Our post recruitment assessment concluded that this was because:

    1. the wording of the advertising was very carefully crafted to create interest in the roles

    2. We were flexible in where we advertised and were greatly surprised that adverts in The Grocer brought the highest quantity and quality of response.

    3. We ran assessment centres. These work well in general but particularly well for trainers. The ability to observe people for 6 hours in a wide range of situations, including training simulation and interview maximises the potential for making good decisions and tests the endurance of the candidates – a key requirement for effectve trainers.

    Tony Bennett

  7. Recruiting Good Trainers
    We are always on the look out for good training consultants and like you recruit experts rather than generalists who can turn their hand to anything. Recommendations are best but failing that we use the following process:

    Firstly of all we ask to see a CV or profile to get a feel for their background

    Next we invite them in for a meeting with two of our business managers so that we can get a better understanding of their expertise

    The final stage is for us to observe (no longer than a couple of hours) a training session which they are delivering for one of their own clients. If that means signing a confidentiality agreement before we attend, that’s fine.

    We would never use a training consultant for a piece of client work unless we had seen them train so for us its an essential part of the process. If a training consultant isn’t able to arrange this then we don’t take the relationship any further.

    Hope this helps!

  8. Run an assessment centre
    We found freelancers who pushed our buttons by (1) using to advertise the opportunity to freelancers – it’s free; and then (2) once we’d sifted through the CVs, we invitied those we thought might fit the bill to attend an assessment centre, which is a day’s worth of activities.

    In an assessment centre you run a variety of exercises, which all the applicants undertake pretty much at once (up to 20 people per assessment centre is practical, depending on what you need to do with the tests).

    Activities might test for training abilities, subject knowledge, team working, written communication skills and so forth, with the two or so highest scoring trainers going forward to an interview on another day.

    We chose to let about 50% of the trainers go at lunchtime (by that time it was clear which applicants wouldn’t make it to the final cut) so that we could focus on the remaining trainers in the afternoon. But the great thing is that by the end of just one day, you’ve puta large number of applicants through an entire day’s worth of realistic activities: it tells you a hell of lot more about the people you end up hiring than you could find out otherwise.

    Of course being freelancers they might find it financially off-putting / generally offensive to attend an assessment centre for up to a day when they’ve only got a 1 in 20 or so chance of getting the contract. So either the opportunity has to be particularly attractive, or else you might consider making a token payment of, say, £100 per attendee.

    Hope that helps. Feel free to use the assessment centres resources we’ve published at this link:

  9. Don’t forget equality and diversity
    Whichever way you recruit, make sure you have clear criteria against which you’re judging people, otherwise you could end up facing accusations of discrimination.

    Apart from any possible legal consequences, the risk of recruiting by word of mouth is you end up with people from similar backgrounds, who all think alike – a recipe for business stagnation.

  10. Not as open as they appear
    >>>>Of course being freelancers they might find it financially off-putting / generally offensive to attend an assessment centre for up to a day when they’ve only got a 1 in 20 or so chance of getting the contract>>>

    This is true you might also like to consider the fact that many of these organisations charge the freelancer a fee for membership. The freelancer is therefore paying a closed network to hear about job opportunities. Normal recruitment agencies dont do this – they question arising is should the candidate pay to hear about vacancies and are you tacitly supporting this?

    Certainly there are many aspects of business ethics to consider.

  11. Freelance Recruitment
    Mmmm Cant help but feel a little bit of power crazy and carrot dangling going on.

    Interveiwing potential employees of whatever ilk is hard enough. However to expect freelance trainers to provide a course day free of charge is like taking a days profit from you. Ask the question would you work for nothing?? I know the answer would be NO. I feel word of mouth, CV’s and, as one person has suggested, attending one of their courses ‘free of charge’ is a much fairer alternative. You as a recruiter can drop any freelancer for whatever reason whenever you like. In my experience this is due to the reluctance to guaruntee work or contract for longer than a month.

    Think about exactly what you require and then send the feelers out. You will be amazed at what comes back. In short HALF YOUR WORK DONE FOR YOU FREE OF CHARGE!!

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