Hiring your first L&D Manager

Getting ready to hire your first Learning and Development (L&D) Manager is a big step. This person will be key in helping your team get better at what they do. It’s a big job, but we’re here to help with five detailed tips to guide you.

Tip 1: Understand the Role
Before you even begin the hiring process, it’s crucial to clearly define what the role entails. Think about what tasks you want the L&D manager to handle. For example, do you need someone to develop training programs for new hires, or to create ongoing professional development courses for all employees? Take the time to write out a detailed job description that outlines all responsibilities and requirements. A company, for instance, once hired an L&D Manager with a clear focus on developing leadership training programs, as they identified that their middle management needed more support. This clarity in role definition led to a successful hire and improved leadership within the company.

Tip 2: Look at Their Experience
A candidate’s past work can give you valuable insight into what they might bring to your company. If a candidate has a history of successfully developing and implementing L&D programs, they may be a good fit. For example, if a candidate managed to cut training costs while improving learner satisfaction at their previous job, they could bring similar efficiencies to your organization.

Tip 3: Ask About Their Approach
In the interview, you should ask candidates about their philosophy and approach to learning and development. This can provide insight into how they’ll design and implement programs for your team. For example, one L&D Manager might prioritize hands-on experiential learning, while another might prefer a more traditional lecture-style approach. One successful L&D Manager I know introduced a “learning by doing” approach at a tech company, which involved practical tasks and real-life problem-solving exercises that significantly improved the team’s problem-solving skills.

Tip 4: Check Their Communication Skills
The ability to clearly explain and teach complex concepts is a crucial skill for an L&D Manager. During the interview, you could test this by asking them to explain a complex concept or process. For example, you might ask them to explain how blockchain technology works. If they can break it down in a way that’s easy to understand, that’s a good sign. An L&D Manager at a financial firm I know was praised for their ability to make complex financial concepts accessible to all employees, regardless of their background.

Tip 5: See If They Fit Your Company Culture
Finally, the new manager should be a good fit with your team and company culture. You could ask them about their preferred work environment, how they handle feedback, or what they value in a workplace. For example, if your company values open communication and the candidate prefers a more hierarchical structure, they might not be the best fit. A startup I worked with hired an L&D Manager who was a perfect cultural fit – they were agile, open to feedback, and had a growth mindset, which echoed the company’s culture and values.


Hiring your first L&D Manager is a big task, but with these tips, you’re well-prepared. Remember that you’re not just filling a position, but investing in the future of your team and company. As you make your decision, keep your company’s needs and culture at the heart of your choice. I wish you all the best in your search!

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