2020 Tips: Hiring the Best Instructors and Common Mistakes

The founders of 20/20 Armor are school owners with six schools and over 2000 students. We are dedicated to helping school owners succeed. We’re lucky to have an incredibly active social community full of professional athletes, experienced coaches and successful school owners with over 12,000 members across all of our social platforms.  Every day we ask our community questions. We post some of the best answers on our site. Join our Facebook page and become a part of the conversation. 

Question: What Do You Look for in the Instructors You Hire? What Are the Most Common Hiring Mistakes? 

“A common mistake is that school owners don’t have a hiring process,” said Master Jim Nam, President of Taekwondo Instructor Placement Association (TIPA), long time school owner and board member on the American Sabumnim Association.  “It’s much more than just hiring. You have to understand your culture, be able to know who you’re looking for what position, what that position will have to have as far as skills and personality goes, and being able to identify in the people you interview and hire through a process that weeds out the ones who do not fit. It’s having the right expectations and being able to provide the potential rock star with the vision of how you as a leader will fulfill their needs. It doesn’t sound like this is a hiring process but it starts with your Mission Statement, Value Statement, and Vision Statement.”

“You’re looking for instructors who are kind, patient and enthusiastic!” answered Master Josh Arcemont, owner and head instructor of Hero Martial Arts Academy in Spring, TX. “I’ve made the mistake of hiring without proper on-boarding and continuous instructor training process put in place.” 
We asked Master Arcemont what process he had put in place for proper on boarding and continuous instructor training. 

“We’ve done a lot of work in this area,” replied Arcemont. “We instituted weekly instructor training, Bi monthly instructor seminars, Quarterly staff development, annual off site instructor training with others in the industry and an Instructor certification course.”

“The most important things we look for are reliability, that the teachers are trustworthy, able to relate with all members and care thoroughly for them,” said Carla Bacco Marcilio, head instructor at Black Belt World Burlington. “I think that if they meet the qualifications on paper that you are looking for, you still needed to put them into the class for training for at least a month so they know your expectations, and the schools culture and the overall day to day operations. That way, there are not surprises on either side of the employee and employer.”

“You’re looking for someone with good communication skills with staff and students,” explained Master Amanda Min Rego, who manages the Before and After School Martial Arts Program – K. H. Min Taekwondo. “I’m looking for a good role model for my students. A mistake I have made in the past is hiring students because I grew a close relationship with them but they did not do a good job.  It was tough to switch from personal to professional for them and not me. I raised many of these students from young ages. It’s kind of like hiring your son because it was personal but professionally they did not meet the requirements. It was a harsh realization. Luckily I still have a good relationship with them even though they do not work for me anymore.”

“Place communication and character above martial skill,” commented Master Jason Smith, owner and director of Spirit Taekwondo in South Wales, Australia. “Skills can be taught but being decent and respectful and responsible are character traits that your staff should own.”

Thanks to our gracious community members for their excellent advice. We hope that it helps you in your hiring process. Join our Facebook group to become a part of these conversations and help others with your expertise!

Take Aways

  • Know your mission statement before you begin hiring. Knowing your school’s cultural values is hugely important when making a hire. 
  • Be sure to properly onboard all instructors. 
  • Watch over new teachers carefully for the first month of lessons so proper expectations are set for employer and employee
  • Be careful when hiring former students that you have established the proper employer/employee relationship