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Benchmark Reports

Association Director of Education: Position Benchmark Reports

Posted by Mitch Corlett on June 10, 2015

When faced with a stack of resumes, what's the best way to differentiate the top performers from their peers?

Based upon hundreds of interviews with hiring managers and candidates, this Position Benchmark Report will help you identify the factors that are most likely to drive performance in a role like this.

What does a typical association Director of Education role look like in this market? What should you expect to see from a Top Performer?

Whether the position involves doing conference education programming, continuing education credits, certifications, or distance learning, employers usually tell us they want to see some combination of the following from candidates (note that hiring requirements vary widely and are unique to each employer’s situation):

  1. Does the candidate work with senior leadership to set the education program agenda? Do they continually monitor, recommend, and implement teaching and learning techniques, technologies, and delivery methods for the improved delivery of their association's education offerings?
  2. Have they revamped an existing program to make it more current and relevant? Do they have a success record of developing educational offerings that people attend or buy? Can they show business-driven results?
  3. Are they creating the strategy and ideas that inform the education program's direction? Do they develop long-term goals and priorities for educational products and services that are based on their research and aligned with their organization's strategic objectives?
  4. Have they developed a long-range plan will allow future program offerings to keep pace with technology, member needs, and changes in the industry? Do they evaluate and modify current programming on a continuous basis?
  5. Do they have a thorough understanding of adult learning principles? Are they applying andragogy concepts to make education offerings highly engaging? Relevant and current?
  6. Are they innovative? Have they expanded delivery of education content to include online video, webinars, mobile apps, and self-paced web training? Do they deliver education programming at conferences and events? To large and small groups?
  7. Do they evaluate the interest level in a presented topic and develop expanded follow-on offerings? Are they creative with their packaging and pricing strategies? Do they retool, repurpose, or repackage information to offer it at another time or in another format?
  8. Are they continuously conducting market research to understand their organization's industry and members? Do they conduct surveys? Do they work collaboratively across departments and partner with like-minded associations to identify hot topics and what members want to learn?
  9. Do they work closely with marketing to raise the visibility of education offerings? Do they develop descriptions and collaborate on copy for marketing to use in messaging to members?
  10. Does they experience include interacting with volunteer leadership and working groups? Are they the liaison to committees? Do they work with stakeholders to identify needs? Prepare necessary reports for the board on behalf of the committees?
  11. Do they identify and negotiate contracts and manage vendors? Do they manage a departmental-level budget?


What are the key factors that distinguish Top Performers from their peers? 

To be competitive for a role as an association Director of Education, a candidate must be able to articulate how they've driven business goals through education programs. Can they talk about the impact education had on members? On operations? Can they quantify how many programs they delivered for how many attendees last year, and how that compares to the previous year? Did their budget grow or shrink -- and why?

In our searches for senior level Education professionals, exceptional candidates distinguished themselves by taking tangible steps to know what's happening across adult education and making sure their programs are the most cutting-edge, vibrant, and exciting.

Often candidates do not move forward in this kind of role because they are perceived as being mismatched in terms of number, sizes, and complexity of programs. Other strike out factors include having insufficient experience developing strategy or a lack of innovation. Finally, the ability to understand and cultivate volunteers is critical.

So, as a hiring manager, what can you do to make hiring more personal?

How can you get the attention of top candidates? As the job market tightens and recruiting becomes more challenging, how can you update your hiring process so you are not trapped in the land before time? How can you organize your recruiting efforts to appeal to the most selective people?

Most job advertising budgets are wasted on ineffective ads that don't reach the right people. Effective job postings attract the right people for the right reasons, so you spend your time interviewing people who will fit into your culture and stay long enough to deliver results.

Download “6 Steps to Writing Job Descriptions that Attract Great Candidates to learn how to make your job postings twice as effective:

How to Write Job Descriptions to Attract Great Candidates

Topics: Position Benchmark Reports, Education