Puppy Talk – Puppy Picking Day
The day has finally arrived! It’s ‘Puppy Picking Day’!
Six months after we signed up with our Australian Labradoodle breeder, we are finally winging our way up the A34 towards Swindon to view five girl puppies. We’d seen a few photos of the tiny bundles of fur, all snuggled together with their mother ‘Coco’, but we have no idea how we might choose ‘our’ puppy.
As we near the breeders home the conversation turns to, ‘What are we looking for in a puppy?’ Ignoring my husband’s flippant quip about four legs, two ears and a tail… we conclude that we’ve done enough research to know we have the right breed, and the right breeder (we also know that two puppies from a previous litter were chosen to become assistance dogs, so feel encouraged that one of our main criteria, to have a pup with a good temperament, has a better than average chance of being met! But as I tend to make decisions mainly based on instinct, (which has never failed me yet), I feel hopeful that our puppy will naturally become obvious to us!
Sat on the floor being climbed on by the pups, I look for tell-tale signs for which one should be our family companion for the next decade! Some snuggle in, some scamper off. Some whimper and some yapp. Some are adventurous and some look for a safe haven, especially from our rather bouncy 5-year-old son! But in the end, it is the largest of the girls, with her white streak down her chest and her rather independent roaming, and occasional soft bark, that wins our hearts. Maisie has been selected! (Although, had I not been there, I suspect she would have been named Megatron instead!)
Making the link to L&D – Trainer picking day
So, you’ve been invited to attend an interview for a Training role. Even if the company has considered their ideal Trainer (breed), and have done their homework when it comes to recruitment options (Breeder), they still have to select the right Trainer for their company … it’s their version of puppy picking day!
For Trainers, recruitment events often involve; a group activity, a presentation/micro training session and an interview. I’ve had my share of being an applicant and a panellist at these events, and it’s not always the obvious things that get people the job. I could offer an entire books worth of advice on do’s and don’ts for this topic, but instead, I will offer just six things that would make me sit up and remember you as a prime candidate for the role:
1. Create a role for yourself. Become the flipchart scribe, facilitator or time monitor. If you don’t have a role you don’t have a purpose!
2. READ and clarify the objective! As a panellist, I want to see who can; understand what is being asked of them, facilitate others to stay on track and be creative all in one go.
The Presentation/Micro teach session
3. Showcase your skills. You can include a lot of different facilitation formats in a short space of time; flipchart, PowerPoint, discussion, activity, post-it notes, handouts etc. Just ensure they are appropriate for the audience and the topic. If it’s only a very short session, have a handout that highlights how you would have run the session with; a) more/less time, b) more/less delegates c) different pitch levels d) traditional training V an alternative way to learn etc.
4. Take your own flipchart pens! So many companies have faded flipchart pens! Get some brightly coloured, even scented pens and be prepared! You don’t want your well-planned flipchart activity to look poor just because the pens they supply aren’t great!
5. Have examples. Most companies still use competency based question. So, ensure you’ve thought of good examples such as; overcoming a challenge, implementing a programme of training where there was resistance, dealing successfully with senior stakeholders etc.
6. Listen to the questions! Not just so you can answer it correctly, but so you can look for hints on the challenges the company is facing and weave your answer around this.
Out of a group for five puppies, we chose Maisie because she stood out for us. The way she interacted with the other pups and how she reacted when we paid her more attention. It was also lovely to hear the breeder’s son say that she was his favourite too, (references). You can never be 100% sure you’ve made the right choice, as a Trainer or an employer (or as a new puppy owner) until the commitment has been made, but at least you’ve made it past the selection process!
(Nikie Forster is Director of Curious Lighthouse Learning Consultancy, where she specialises in enabling Trainers and Facilitators to enhance their performance, whether they are at the very start of their journey or experienced professionals ~ including working in partnership with people who have the potential to create a career in training. Interested ~ check out www.curiouslighthouse.co.uk)
Nikie Forster & Maisie the Austrialian Labradooble
When we decided to get a dog, I combined our new arrival with my passion for Learning and Development (L&D) to create these blogs. Challenging myself to link each new dog experience with L&D.