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Cobalt Instructional Designer Interview Questions & Reviews

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Instructional Designer Interview

Instructional Designer
Seattle, WA

I applied through a staffing agency and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Cobalt in September 2012.

Interview Details – The interview process was pleasant, and I enjoyed talking to a future colleague candidly about what the position was like. I learned from this person that she had to "hit the ground running, then felt she had been running ever since". This suggested that I would be expected to put in extra hours beyond the 40 hr week or manage my stress somehow.

I was to be a replacement for a person who had left rather suddenly, specifically to finish a long-delayed project. I had hoped the job would allow me to develop professionally in designing e-learning courses, and that was promised, but only after the current project was done.

I was hired initially as a contractor through a company called Dataset. Since Cobalt belongs to ADP where internal security is important, there is a long process where your "background is checked". This appears to be basically a verification that you actually held the jobs you listed on your resume and that have named the correct dates of those jobs.

On my tour around the office, I was introduced to low-wall cubicle-land, with a sea of faces all looking down, unsmiling, hard at work. No one looked up, even in the department where I was to work. It seemed like they were all stressed out. I've since learned that's not the case, but that's how it felt then.

I concluded that in the interview that I didn't want the position, and told my recruiter so. But he called back saying Cobalt wanted me, and that, yes, I probably would move into elearning as soon as my project was done. I should have known that having only a 6 month contract on a long project meant that I'd never get the chance to work on anything else.

So, I took the position, and was offered full-time at the end of the 6 months. At that point I was the lead on an unfinished project, and so had earned some job security.

On the first day I was to begin the job, my background check had yet to clear. The staffing agency neglected to tell me this, so I rode an hour into downtown Seattle on the bus, only to be sent home, because I wasn't allowed to work yet. This was probably just a basic failure of communication but it was disappointing.

In summary, I've been very glad I said "yes", even though I went through some rocky times.

Interview Questions

  • Tell me about your workflow and how you go about designing a course.   View Answer
  • Tell us about what you would do if the subject matter expert assigned to work with you is not forthcoming, and you can't ever seem to schedule time to meet with him.   View Answer

Negotiation Details – I didn't negotiate my acceptance as a contractor, nor when I was hired full time. But I did look up the industry average for instructional designers and found the compensation to be very adequate.

Having not worked in private industry before, I was (and am) astonished at how much I got paid.

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