How to hire a tutor: A step-by-step guide

A step by step guide on how to hire a tutor

From preparing lessons to reviewing subjects, tutors have a critical impact on their students’ success. Hence, while hiring a tutor, it is essential to know how to spot and recruit only the best.

Knowing how to hire a tutor doesn’t necessarily mean knowing how to identify talented candidates just from their resumes. Instead, you need to look at the entire recruitment process, from posting the job description to onboarding new tutors.

At the end of the process, you should have tutors with critical thinking skills who can effectively help students understand and learn new concepts and apply their knowledge when completing projects. However, to achieve this, you need a strategy that enables you to hire tutors efficiently.

Below, you’ll find a comprehensive guide on how to hire a tutor. Here, we will explain what a tutor is and what they do. We will also discuss where to find tutors, the skills to look out for, and how to test for them.

What is a tutor?

A tutor is a person who helps a person or a group understand various concepts and acquire new knowledge. They clarify and review topics with the aim of deepening their students’ comprehension of a given subject.

Essentially, tutors use different teaching strategies to equip their students with the skills they need to solve problems. 

Unlike teachers who work with large groups to cover a broad range of topics, tutors often work with students individually, which makes them much more flexible. They focus on key concepts to help their students understand them better and can adapt the lessons to each person’s learning ability and proficiency. 

Typically, tutors work with smaller groups of students or even with individual students in a one-on-one setting. This lets them pay attention to each person, thus leaving no one behind in the learning scheme. Because of this, we can say that tutors teach at a more individualized level.

Since every individual learns differently, tutors develop and use personalized teaching methods and techniques that are tailored to each student’s needs. These methods could include using practical exercises or teaching materials such as flashcards and graphic organizers during the lesson.

Asides from improving the students’ knowledge of various topics, tutors also keep track of their learning progress. This involves communicating with parents or guardians to establish learning goals and provide updates as the students progress.

Tutor hard skills

Hard skills such as technical knowledge and research skills enable tutors to perform their roles effectively. However, the right hard skills vary based on what subject or topic your tutor will assist with. Nonetheless, here are four hard skills your tutor must have:

Four hard skills your tutor must have

1. Technical knowledge of the subject

Having technical knowledge of a subject means that the tutor has an in-depth understanding of the topics within a particular field. This enables them to explain each topic to their students effectively and use different approaches to help solidify the acquired knowledge.

For example, a math tutor must have technical knowledge of numerical operations, algebra, geometry, and more. They must possess strong mathematical skills, including spatial reasoning and knowledge of fractions, percentages, and ratios.

Although technical knowledge is specific to the tutor’s field, some tutors are more flexible than others. These tutors have primary knowledge of the key concepts of various subjects and can comfortably teach those topics.

In any case, when recruiting a tutor, you must consider the level of technical knowledge each candidate has. This ensures that you hire a tutor with vast knowledge of the subject who can effectively transfer that knowledge to others.

2. Research skills

Tutors with top-notch research skills are game changers. This is because tutoring requires not only having a lot of knowledge on a given subject but also keeping up to date with recent developments and helping students do their own research. 

Strong research skills enable tutors to use critical thinking to find answers to challenging questions and simplify the information in a way that their students can understand.

Research skills also improve the productivity of tutors in delivering knowledge: If a particular technique isn’t working for their students, capable tutors can look into alternative approaches. 

3. Language proficiency

Language proficiency describes how well an individual understands and communicates in a particular language. It allows tutors to transfer knowledge to their students effectively. 

For tutors to teach their students, they must be proficient in the language the students speak. This demands that they know the intonation, grammar, and basic principles of the language – i.e. that they can express themselves freely in it. 

This means they won’t overthink or search for appropriate expressions while teaching, both of which could disrupt the learning process. 

4. Situational-judgment skills

Тutors face different challenges when teaching students. How well they deal with such unforeseen circumstances shows the level of their situational-judgment skills.

Tutors with great situational-judgment skills know how to respond to students’ behavior and can handle complex challenges effectively. They make decisions based on their students’ reactions to the teaching methods to improve their experience.

Tutor soft skills

A tutor who has the right hard and soft skills will have no problem teaching an individual or small group: Soft skills enable tutors to effectively communicate and work with students to help them achieve their learning goals. 

So when hiring a tutor, soft skills are one of the primary factors you should consider. Below are some soft skills for which you should keep an eye out during recruitment:

Seven soft skills your tutor should have

1. Communication

Good communication goes way beyond verbally describing and discussing topics. It encompasses facial expressions, hand gestures, intonation, and writing skills. All these elements come together when ensuring that the other party understands what the speaker is saying.

An excellent tutor can explain complex or challenging topics in a straightforward way, helping students understand them better. They can also provide feedback to students’ parents, guardians, or other people interested in their learning progress.

To track students’ progress effectively, feedback must be concise, clear, and constructive – and identify key areas of improvement. 

To get their point across, a tutor with excellent communication skills will use:

  • Clear speech
  • Positive body language
  • Listening skills

They’ll also be able to provide plenty of examples and advice. 

In short, tutors need strong communication skills to effectively develop rapport with students and their guardians and foster a relationship of trust and openness. This helps enhance the learning process and, ultimately, improves students’ results. 

2. Empathy

For students to understand a topic better, motivation and inspiration can really help. Whether tutoring sessions take place online or not, empathy facilitates learning.

In an online setting, however, this can make a huge difference: According to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), 76% of undergraduates struggle with motivation for online learning.

To help address this, tutors need to know how to motivate their students. And they can’t achieve this without empathy. Empathic tutors try to see a particular issue from the student’s point of view and find ways to encourage them.

Here are some of the ways in which an empathic tutor can motivate students:

  • Set realistic performance goals
  • Give rewards for meeting these goals
  • Use relatable examples
  • Switch teaching strategies if the initial one doesn’t work

All in all, empathy helps tutors cater to the individual needs of their students, even those who struggle to stay motivated. 

3. Adaptability

Every person learns differently, which is why the tutor has to adapt to each student. Some students need more time or a different approach to understand a topic. Hence, for the tutor to pass their knowledge to them, they need to be adaptable.

Effective tutors have strong adaptability skills and are very resourceful. In situations where their initial tutoring style isn’t effective, they can switch gears and use another one on the spot.

Adaptability shows determination to get the job done and is a skill that tells you how resilient your tutor is. By not giving up and trying alternative tutoring styles, the best tutors can help all students succeed.

4. Patience

Your tutor will meet students from different backgrounds, ages, cultures, and beliefs. It is not unusual for your tutor to come across students who can’t understand the topics as fast as others.

Patience allows your tutor to address those situations calmly without giving in to frustration. It also enables the tutor to look deeper into the reasons why a student may find a particular topic difficult.

Patience brings about empathy, adaptability, and dedication in tutors, helping them find new ways to deal with students’ challenges. This could be by changing their teaching method or using incentives to motivate students.

5. Problem-solving

Problem-solving is perhaps the most crucial soft skill for tutors: Most of the skills mentioned earlier are related to finding solutions to problems while tutoring. Hence, you need to look out for candidates with excellent problem-solving skills.

Tutors with strong problem-solving skills will be able to identify what challenges their students are facing, come up with ways to solve them, and prevent disruptions in the learning process.

For example, if a student is having difficulty with a particular concept in math, the tutor can ask the student to explain it back to them to understand it better. From there, they can decide to use classic real-world examples to solidify their comprehension of it. 

Finally, they can also consider breaking down the concept into smaller chunks of information to smoothen out the confusing bits. 

As you can see, problem-solving skills will ensure your tutor gets their job done, satisfying all parties involved, including you.

6. Analytical skills

Tutors need sharp analytical skills to evaluate the learning abilities of their students and assess their progress. This enables tutors to know when a teaching method isn’t working and use an alternative. 

Tutors with good analytical skills can understand their students’ challenges and create tailored solutions. They take time to adapt their teaching strategies to suit their students’ needs, which makes them more efficient.

Moreover, tutors need strong analytical skills to make decisions concerning their students’ learning plans and provide a top-notch tutorial experience. 

7. Cognitive ability skills

Cognitive ability refers to a wide range of skills needed to carry out core activities such as critical thinking, reading, interpreting, and memorizing information, solving problems, and more. 

Cognitive ability tests can help you assess someone’s overall intelligence and performance potential, which is crucial for tutors. 

Tutors with excellent cognitive skills can easily see if their teaching methods are effective and adapt them to each student’s needs. They can also break down a given topic into subtopics and help students look at it from different angles to understand it better.

Strong cognitive skills also help tutors remember students’ difficulties while learning and use different approaches to solve them.

How to test tutor skills

Relying solely on resumes might not be a good idea, mainly because, most times, they aren’t entirely accurate. Statistically, around 46% of resumes contain discrepancies that pop up during background checks.

Thankfully, pre-employment tests are an excellent way to test a potential tutor’s skills. These tests assess your candidate’s skills, experience, and knowledge. Thus, they not only save you time while recruiting, but they also ensure you hire the best person for the job.

Finding the right pre-employment testing platform might be your next challenge. However, this is where TestGorilla comes in: With our wide array of bias-free tests to examine various tutor skills, finding the right match is easy. 

For the best results, use tests before you interview applicants. Our platform scores tests automatically and ranks applicants based on who performs best. This enables you to focus on the best candidates during the interview stage.

Below are some of the tests you can administer to evaluate your tutors:

1. Problem-solving skills test

The Problem-solving skills test helps you review a candidate’s ability to identify problems, analyze them, and make the right decisions. This test can help you spot tutors who can transform how students see learning and build their motivation to study.

Candidates who pass the Problem-solving test can quickly spot issues and work through them to find a solution. This 10-minute test is excellent for hiring tutors who think outside the box and are able to handle difficult situations.

2. Communication skills test

TestGorilla’s Communication test is perfect for examining the tutor’s reading, speaking, writing, and listening skills. In essence, it helps measure how well a tutor can communicate with their students.

Applicants that perform well on this test have what it takes to clarify and summarize topics in ways students will easily understand them. These tutors can use their communication skills to build trust with their students.

3. Language test

Language tests help you evaluate tutors’ vocabulary, grammar, sentence composition, and understanding of a particular language. These tests let you find the perfect tutor who can comfortably communicate with students in their language.

Essentially, language tests ensure you hire tutors proficient in whatever language you desire. Successful candidates can hold social and professional conversations in that language.

Depending on your requirements, you can choose either a beginner-, intermediate-, or expert-level test to assess the tutor’s language proficiency.

Beginner-level tests help you spot candidates with a primary knowledge of a particular language. With these tests, you can find tutors who can compose basic sentences. However, they may find it difficult to hold long conversations in the language.

Intermediate and expert-level tests, on the other hand, help you spot tutors who are comfortable speaking a language. They have more profound knowledge of it and can communicate better with the students.

4. Time-management test

Since tutors spend limited time teaching their students, they must achieve their goals within this period. This means they must ensure that each student understands the topic they’re teaching before the end of their tutoring session.

To do this, they need good time-management skills, which is why it’s important to test for those during tutor recruitment.

TestGorilla’s Time-management test is an intermediate situational-judgment test focused on measuring how well candidates manage time. It assesses their ability to prioritize, strategize, and execute plans and projects.

Using the time-management test helps you hire tutors who can achieve their goals and make full use of the time they have with each student.

5. Critical thinking skills test

Our Critical-thinking test is perfect for measuring tutors’ inductive and deductive reasoning. With this test, you can identify tutors who can skillfully evaluate situations and come up with innovative solutions. 

This test is excellent for identifying tutors who can take information in and process it efficiently using their critical thinking skills. These tutors analyze the students’ challenges and weaknesses and come up with the best possible course of action.

Where to find tutors

Finding the perfect tutor demands that you know exactly where to look. But first, you must define the tutor’s functions.  For example, you might be looking to hire a tutor for homeschooling and homework help or for regular online sessions.

Platforms like Chegg Study and Skooli are great for comprehensive tutoring services and homework help. Platforms like Pearson’s Smarthinking and Mathnasium are fantastic for improving your kid’s writing and math skills.

Another factor to consider when choosing a platform to find tutors is whether to hire an in-house or freelance tutor. Understanding both types of tutors will help you decide which tutor to hire. Let us take a look at both and see what they entail:

In-house tutor

An in-house tutor is also called a full-time tutor, and they usually work about 40 hours a week. In-house tutors typically work on long-term projects rather than for short periods.

In other words, unlike freelance tutors, in-house tutors work with you consistently for a longer time. This gives them more time to bond and develop new methods to teach students.

Here are some pros of hiring an in-house tutor:

  • They take their time to identify the areas in which the student is having challenges 
  • They can come up with better tutoring strategies
  • They can serve as mentors, because of the long time spent with the student

Here are some cons of hiring an in-house tutor:

  • It costs more to get an in-house tutor
  • The student might not like the tutor, and changing them will also cost more
  • The presence of a full-time tutor may put too much pressure on the student

Freelance tutor

A freelance tutor works independently and earns money on a job-by-job basis. Such a tutor might have a different job but use tutoring as a side gig to earn extra cash, or they might tutor multiple students.

Freelance tutors mostly have no fixed workplace and can tailor their working hours to suit their clients and themselves. Additionally, freelance tutors take care of their own taxes. Generally, a freelance tutor is ideal if you are hiring for a short-term job or to reach a specific goal.

The pros of hiring a freelance tutor are:

  • You pay for the number of hours the tutor spends with the student(s), which can help keep costs low
  • The talent pool to pick from is broader
  • You don’t have any associated costs for employee benefits
  • Freelance tutors have flexible working hours

Here are some of the cons of hiring a freelance tutor:

  • The number of hours spent with the student each week or month might not be sufficient to reach the learning objectives
  • It might be difficult for the tutor to bond with the student
  • Freelance tutors operate on a more flexible schedule, so they might not always be available when you need them
  • Often, the cheaper the freelance tutor, the lower the quality of tutoring
  • Communication with a freelance tutor might be a bit more difficult

Tutor job description template 

A job description template can help you hire top-notch tutors quickly: It reduces the stress of writing a job posting from scratch and helps you save time.

Job description templates also help you avoid common errors and biases, because they give you structure; this increases your chances of attracting talented candidates. 

Below is an example of a tutor job description template you can copy and personalize when drafting your job description


Here you should state what title comes with the role. In other words, what kind of tutor will the applicant be? For example:

“Intermediate physics tutor at [NAME OF INSTITUTION].”


In this section, you introduce your company to potential applicants. This section must be clear as it helps the candidates check if they fit your company’s standards.

While drafting your company introduction, you could include your goals, a brief history, and important persons at the institution. Below is an example:

“[COMPANY NAME] is an institution founded in [YEAR FOUNDED] by [FOUNDER NAME]. Currently, we have 200 tutors and over 3000 students. We aim to provide quality education and train our students to be the best.”


This states what department the tutor will work in. It is usually a concise section of one or two lines. Here’s how it goes:

“As an intermediate physics tutor at [NAME OF INSTITUTION], you will work with the science department.”


This section includes the essential details of the job. You could state where the tutoring will take place and how long the job will last. For instance:

“This tutoring job is a remote one which would last for [JOB DURATION]. However, during this time, you must attend [COMPANY NAME]’s meetings once every month.”


Here you’ll include the tasks and duties you expect the tutor to perform. This varies based on what kind of tutor you are hiring. Below is an example to help:

“As an intermediate physics tutor at [NAME OF INSTITUTION], you will:

  • Attend sessions on time and serve as a role model for students
  • Lead the tutoring sessions with a detailed study plan and schedule
  • Provide detailed session reports at the end of every tutoring session
  • Maintain professionalism and academic integrity at all times
  • Be open when communicating with the tutoring coordinator”


In this section, you’ll need to state the level of qualification and experience you are searching for. Please note that the qualification will vary, based on the subject and the students and their level and objectives. Here is how it goes:

“To qualify for this position, you need to:

  • Have earned a grade of B+ or higher in physics
  • Have graduated with a cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Have critical thinking and problem skills
  • Be empathic and eager to listen to the students
  • Possess excellent communication skills.”


Here, you must specify the benefits of the role and the salary you’re offering in this section. The primary aim is to give qualified candidates the final push to apply for the post. So, it is advisable to state the benefits clearly. Below is an example:

“As an intermediate physics tutor at [NAME OF INSTITUTION], you will have:

  • The opportunity to enhance your people-management skills
  • Flexible working hours
  • Opportunities for professional development
  • A competitive compensation package”

Feel free to include details about the compensation package you’re offering.

How much does a tutor cost?

On average, full-time tutors in the US earn around $23,96 hourly. However, this varies based on the tutor’s expertise, qualifications, and core subject areas. The type of engagement also plays a role: Freelance tutors might charge more per hour than in-house, full-time tutors. 

Therefore, depending on the type and skills of the tutor, you might pay more or less than the average tutor’s salary.

The cost of a tutor could also vary according to what type of tutor they are. So, before deciding what to pay your tutor, you must know what kind of tutor you want. You must also consider how much experience they have, their reviews, and your budget.

Here are some of the median hourly wages of full-time tutors in the United States:

Tutor interview questions

Interviews allow you to properly assess a candidate’s experience, skills, educational background, and professionalism. However, if you don’t conduct the interview properly, you might end up with a bad hire.

One of the most important elements of the interview process is picking the right interview questions. Planning your tutor interview questions in advance enables you to have a clear strategy and focus on screening the candidate rather than on thinking up questions on the spot.

Below are some tutor interview questions you can use:

General questions

  • Why did you become a tutor?
  • What skills do you possess that make you a good tutor?
  • What days of the week can you work and for how many hours?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What are your weaknesses?

Background questions

  • How long have you been a tutor?
  • What kind of results have you achieved with students in the past?
  • How do you measure a student’s progress?
  • What did you study in college?
  • What is your tutoring style? Has it changed over time and why?

In-depth questions

  • What was your greatest challenge as a tutor, and how did you overcome it?
  • How do you make your tutoring sessions more interactive?
  • How do you reward students that are doing well?
  • How do you deal with challenging students?
  • How do you break down complex topics?

Find your next tutor with TestGorilla

Hiring a tutor requires a well-defined recruitment strategy, which should include writing a detailed job description, defining the right interview questions, and, ideally, using a pre-employment assessment to evaluate your candidates’ skills. 

Pre-employment tests undoubtedly make recruitment a lot smoother, faster, and more objective – and with TestGorilla, you have more than 300 tests to choose from. 

Using TestGorilla’s pre-employment tests doesn’t just make your recruitment smoother; it helps you eliminate hiring bias and save money. Sign up for free and start hiring the most talented tutors, the easy way. 

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