Justin Miller helps you build your training solutions company.
How Do I Recruit Instructors For My Online Learning Platform
When I started designing my first education technology company, I decided I wanted my site to be free and open to all. But when I needed a good contractor for my platform’s website development, I couldn’t find anyone to take the job, not even in my price range. What happened? Did I need to pay double to get a designer like I wanted?
Here’s what I think should be different this time around:
First: Instead of hunting, ask. Not everywhere should have free, full-service design services. Do an extensive search online. That Google or Amazon search, I can understand. But the rest of the internet is littered with people listing exactly what they’re doing and it’s often not clear what additional work you need to do. That’s because I think you shouldn’t be a contractor for your site unless you already have the design skills, knowledge, and experience that will get it to where you want it to be. Everyone knows design skills are hard to teach (a plus if you don’t care what kind of experience you get) and knowing the important details of your end-user’s life and problems is a huge advantage in design. But finding someone to design your site is an easy task. How hard is it to set up a website? Ask your family or friends for referrals. You don’t need to commit to a particular design or a particular contractor, and using the internet to find the right candidate should get you much farther than your personal search history. I’m not suggesting you create an open bid process on your site, but I am suggesting that if you have your sights set on developing your own platform, you ought to make the search for a talent team as easy as possible.
Second: The right mentor has to be in-house. It’s better for your business to have all the people you’ll be using on your platform working with the right people. Second, there are a few great team types who can go well outside your startup’s office and embed themselves in existing organizations and backgrounds. There are people who can start right on your site and help shepherd you toward your goals. They also bring an inside perspective that can help steer the platform in directions that might have been difficult to discern by yourself. Especially if you work for someone that has an important network of early-stage entrepreneurs, I think it’s wise to invite that person to lead your hiring process. The talent marketplace is becoming more open, but it’s still not universal. So as I made my transition into the service space and designing online learning platforms, I started to use my company connections to find very talented people to work for me. I ended up with a team that includes incredibly experienced developers and data scientists. What was my initial pay? Nothing, to be clear. But it’s worth it in the long run. I think companies like mine depend more on the expertise of the people they trust to work for them, and it’s the best relationship I can have, one that includes a passionate, smart, hard-working group of people who want to be on the platform and make it their own.
How do you get the right talent for your business?
Zachary Gordon is a co-founder and chief technology officer of SmartSchool, a free education-tech marketplace that connects educators with more than 200 K-12 educational brands. He also leads the company’s global initiatives, including partnerships with schools, universities, and others to promote the adoption of technology-based solutions that improve the educational experience. Follow him on Twitter at @smartschoolventures.