Part 2 of the Tips and Tricks Series.
Advice from the real-world fitness professionals…
Now the first stage of the application process is the same – just apply. Doesn’t really get any simpler than that. See the last article to summarise. It must be said at this stage there can be many differences so I will summarise as best I can.
Now we enter Stage 2 – the interview process for budding Personal Trainers.
Whatever the process, there will be a face to face interview. Take all the examples from the last article and apply them here:
- Do not be late.
- In fact, be 30 to 45 minutes early and take the opportunity to walk around the gym. Familiarise yourself with the equipment the gym uses, as you may need to answer questions on them later.
- If you cannot make the date provided, let the recruitment team know in advance. YOU SHOULD NEVER simply not turn up. This will undoubtedly blacklist you from any future application, and most likely piss the interviewer off.
- Prepare accordingly – do your research, plan your answers to competency questions and be ready to describe your interests within the industry.
- Make sure you have your qualifications with you. They will want to see the certificates.
- If you don’t have your qualifications to hand or are still waiting for the certificates, say so.
- Be energised and full of enthusiasm through the entire interview.
Now the Personal Training process will be more challenging than the Fitness Instructor, which is as it should be. It is a different role. As a result, the following extras have been added:
If you are newly qualified or merely new to the industry, you will be lacking in hands-on training experience. When I say this, I mean hands-on ‘coaching’ experience. I cannot tell you how many newly qualified “PT’s” come through my recruitment doors, and just because they’ve “lifted for years, bro,” they think they are phenomenal coaches even though they have never coached, or entirely based on a portfolio of having “trained their mates”.
Which ties nicely into my next point. Do not be arrogant.
There is a distinct difference between confidence and arrogance. If you are entering the fitness world as an employee for the first time, remember you are entering this world as a newbie. For some reason in the fitness industry, recruits forget this and think they know everything. If you are new to the game, your learning has only just begun. It’s easier than ever to get a quick, online PT qualification. This neither makes you special nor impresses anyone. Remember this.
Again, at this point, it is important to say your first position will be equivalent to an intern position. I have 10+ years in the industry and am still learning every day – I value humility in my staff. If you are coming into this world there is so much more to learn than that Monday is “chest day”.
So back to the recruitment day. There will be some sort of sit-down conversation or group meeting, which will likely involve Q&A. Here you will have an opportunity to showcase your (hopefully!) charming personality. It’s very important that you are personable. In this industry, as much as we all love the training side, remember a big part of it is that you need to sell. Yep, that’s right, you will have to sell yourself, and then sell the members PT sessions. How else will you get paid?
People buy from people they like, so that’s what we look for in an interview. If you’re a dick, then nobody will like you. If they don’t like you, they won’t buy from you. If you don’t sell any PT sessions, you don’t deliver any, and then you don’t get paid. Leading to you getting your ass fired due to poor performance.
So the take away from all of that is don’t be a dick. Be personable, make the employer like you, and you’ll get through to the next stage.
Next up will come some sort of physical coaching to assess your hands-on ability. Relax here. You are new to the industry and we know this. We are not looking for a Dr. Joel Seedman or a Dr. John Rusin when you turn up for your first interview – that would be unrealistic and impossible (and if you don’t know who they are, follow them. Follow them now! I’ve even linked you to their websites, so no excuse!) Take your time, assess the question or task asked and proceed when you’re ready. It’s advised here to have a notepad and pen and write down several ideas to help you focus. Most tasks will revolve around coaching through certain movements or exercises (Upper Body (UB), Lower Body (LB), midsection (core), UB push, UB pull, squat, hinge, carry). I would highly recommend learning at least one from all areas so if that comes up you are ready to rock:
- UB Pull – Row Variant
- UB Push – Floor Press
- Squat – Goblet Squat
- Hinge – Wall Hinge
- Carry – Farmers Walk
- Conditioning – Tabata
Never be afraid to regress exercises where needed, and always remember every individual will be different. This is ok to say! Know your physical standard at this point, and the standard of the person that you are coaching. If you don’t know them or have been given a body, you will have to make a quick assessment of their standard and adjust accordingly.
After you’ve nailed this, there may be a business plan presentation. Do your research and prepare accordingly. Design a 12-week plan on how you’ll be successful. Good topics to include are as follows:
- Days you will be in the gym – plan the day. Have an idea of what you will be doing and when. A calendar/diary works well here to illustrate any timescales on paper.
- Activities that you’ve planned – gym floor challenges etc.
- Your aims when walking the gym floor – introductions and clients booked in for taster sessions.
My greatest pieces of advice here are as follows. If you take note of anything, make it these:
- Prepare accordingly.
- Do not be late.
- Know the facility you are working in and endeavour to be as likeable as possible.
Keep your eyes peeled for Part 3 of the Tips and Tricks – How to Gain Clients & Smash your Probation Period in the First 12 Weeks as a PT… Coming soon!
Go get some!!
Be ready for anything.
Author - Luke Sale - Head Coach & Mentor
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