Things to Consider when choosing a CFII
Your instructor should have signed off at least 5 instrument students in the past year. If they haven’t, they most likely are not up to speed on teaching instrument flying (they may be very good at doing it themselves if they work for an airline or as a professional pilot somewhere part time, but they will not be able to effectively teach you instrument flying unless they are teaching it regularly.
Titles and Awards
If you find a CFII that also has a IGI (instrument ground instructor certificate), while it doesn’t automatically mean they know any more than anyone else, they have at least gone the extra mile to get an additional certification added to their instrument knowledge, and passed another test to earn the certificate.
AOPA Instructor Awards. Want a list of the top CFI’s and CFII’s in the country that live close to you? Check out the AOPA flight training experience awards and see who was voted the best CFI’s by their students and AOPA.
Using a retired airline pilot as a CFII can be great since they probably have 25,000 hours of instrument flying, however that was experience in a two person cockpit flying at high altitudes at very high speeds (pretty much the total opposite of what you will be doing in your Cessna). Try to find a CFII with lots of IFR time in GA aircraft and preferably lots of recent experience, not experience from 5,10 or 20 years ago.