top of page

Session #004 - Top 5 Tips for a Personal Trainer Interview


Show notes:

Hi there, and welcome to the epic personal trainer podcast. I'm Marc and today we are going to be talking about some tips for attending your personal training interview. Okay. Top five tips.

So we've interviewed a lot of trainers over at Invictus Athletic Club in Bangalore and, you know, it's really difficult finding good trainers. Finding trainers is easy, you could throw a stone and hit 10, but finding good ones is going to be difficult.

And as a gym, you know, we're not just looking for good knowledgeable trainers. You also need people that are going to be a good fit for the gym, a good fit for the team.

So I wanted to go through these five tips that are going to help people perform better in an interview, just have that little bit of extra help. So these five things are not by any means all the things that you could do to perform well in a, in a basic interview, but they do cover some of the most common issues and areas that we see personal trainers fall down with when they apply to us.

So, uh, I wanted to get around a few small things first which should be obvious. Number one, make sure you're actually a certified trainer when you're applying for a gym or a company that delivers personal training services.

Are you surprised by me saying this? I think. It's actually a little bit sad that I should have to. Now, when we get a job opening, we get so many people. Uh, applying. Um, and I would say probably about 80% of them don't have any kind of certification. Whether you need one or not is kind of a separate discussion, but for us as a gym, it shows that you value learning and investing in yourself if nothing else.

So for us, it is an important thing. And when you attend your interview, make sure that you have your CV or resume prepared uh, and some original copies of your certificate. Okay. I've actually had people show fake certificates for my own course. Uh, expecting to get a job here. How amazing is that?

So, you know, for an employer um, to be able to see an original and be able to verify these things. That can be important. Next, make sure that you're dressed properly. Many interviews will have a practical element to it, which means that if you are not dressed properly, you might miss an important part of the interview.

And It means that we can't make our minds up about certain candidates, if that happens. So it's going to reduce your chances of getting the job.

So moving on, uh, to start off with, I wanted to just give you a little bit of an idea of the background of the process that we use for Invictus. I've had interviews that lasts anywhere from 10 minutes up to two hours. Uh, But that was obviously only when we get into the face-to-face stuff. The interviews we perform these days kind of go in stages and if you don't pass one stage or you do really bad at one stage then quite often we won't move on to the next. So, you know, it's good to be efficient in this way. And it was a waste of time going through this long drawn out interview process when you know things aren't going to work out.

So the first part is where a trainer will apply for a position, maybe through a jobs website or through a trainer referral. You know, they hear about our position available, and they're gonna make contact. We're then going to check out their CV and make sure that everything is all good there. Um, Then once that is done and they pass that, then we're going to move on to a quick telephone interview.

Now the telephone interviews is generally done by a member of one of our front desk team where they will do this kind of pre-screening and fill out a form while they're talking to an applicant. So what they're doing that they're going to be sort of check-in points from the CV, they're going to be assessing your communication skills and they're going to be asking you

uh, things like, um, do you have an online presence that we can look at? Um, They're going to be checking if you are humble, uh, which we'll talk a bit more about later. And they're going to give feedback uh, and let me know whether this applicant is going to have a good potential for an interview.

And if all that checks out, we'll call back and set up a time to come into the gym for a face-to-face interview. Now that interview also has a few steps. So after some basic introductions and a bit of chat, there's a small theory assessment, uh, so this is to check out what kind of knowledge they have right now. So we already know that a person is certified, but we want to see what kinds of things they remember, because that stuff you've got to remember if you're going to use it with clients.

Next we'll ask them to write a program for a hypothetical client and see what comes of that. And then we'll also have a practical element where we're going to see how the applicant teaches and that they can perform a few basic lifting techniques themselves. And, you know, again, you'd be surprised a lot of trainers do not know some of this basic stuff.

Um, Going back to some of the shockers that I've had, I've had interviews where trainers do not understand gravity. They do not know the difference between things like a, an RDL and a conventional deadlift, uh, or or they could only perform bodyweight squats. I even had a person once with a degree in exercise science that had never lifted a barbell or dumbbell in their life.

So, we do need to check these things, even if they are basic. Okay. So moving on.

Sometimes, um, we get our trainers to do a personality test as well, which is called the Enneagram. Um, We find it really useful to see how people tick. Um, We can discover things that will motivate them or even de-motivate them and put them off. And it will also help us see if they're going to be a good fit for the rest of the team.

Now I know a lot of gyms won't go through all of this process is quite involved. Um, Probably 99% of gyms it is going to be a 10 minute thing before they decide to hire you. But I do, even though some gyms that go through even more, some have a six-week process, with case studies and stuff like that.

Now, why am I telling you this? And just not getting started on these five tips? Well, if you are a trainer that really values your work and the people that you work with then, I assume you are because you know, you are listening to this podcast, then you want to find a gym where they value these things. If you go to a gym and there's no real interview process, then I'm guessing that that is probably going to be a red flag for you, it's not going to be the gym for you.

Obviously, if they're not able or willing to do proper checks on you as a trainer, um, then they don't really value their members or the rest of their team very high. So hiring you is probably quite a low priority for them. Um, So if you see yourself as a proper fitness professional and

you don't really get much of an interview, then take it as a warning, get out of there quickly and look for a place that is going to match your ambitions, your expectations and your standards. And like I said, if you're listening to this podcast then I know you have standards because you're putting in that effort already.

So anyway, having said all of that, let's get into the top five. Uh, And we start at the beginning, number one. Be punctual. Now this is also kind of an obvious one, but it is one that is really important. Now, I don't know if you've heard the saying, "if you're on time, then you're late". So, what that means for us is basically if you have say a 6:00 AM session, then you should be ready to start the session at 6:00 AM. If you have an interview at 1:00 PM, you should be ready uh, at 1:00 PM to start not just coming through the door at 1:00 PM. And, you know, as a trainer, you might have 30 plus appointments uh, in a week and you have to be on time for all of them.

It doesn't matter what kind of trainer you are, whether you're at gym or online, if you're doing virtual check-ins or anything like that. If you have an appointment or a time that you need to keep to, then you need to be on time. And it's a really small thing that can go a really long way. Now, if you do turn up late for anything, especially an interview, which is something that we would assume is important to you. Then it sends us a warning about how you're going to be when it comes to being on time with your clients.

So being punctual is, it's a basic cornerstone of professionalism, really uh, and not enough trainers have it. You know, Uh, I know no one is on time all the time. Certain things do happen that are out of your control, you know, unexpected traffic from an accident, mechanical issues on your bike, flat tires.

All those things do sometimes happen. But if you turn up late for an interview, you need to have a really good reason to justify it. And if you know, you're going to be late uh, call or a message beforehand, um, before you're due to arrive is always really appreciated. And it does show that you have a level of professionalism within you, even though uh, you know, you're going to be late.

So that's number one and you know the reason we pay attention to that is because it shows us how important this role is to you. It shows us how important your career is to you. And how you're going to be when it comes to working with clients. If you can prove you'ree on time, then that is a very, very good thing.

So be on time, especially when you're trying to impress. Okay. So that's number one. Let's go on to number two.

Number two is to be open-minded. Now I truly believe that every trainer you meet can offer something for you to learn. So even if you've got more experience, even if you charge more money or any of these things, you should always be open-minded about your learning.

You should talk and have conversations, looking for the opportunity to learn from any trainer that you interact with. And it's the same for your interview. If you go into an interview thinking that you know it all, then that for us as a gym is a bit of a warning.

Okay, and this is why. All the systems and processes that we have as a gym and the way that we do things is going to be a little bit different to what you might've done before. And we'll be worried that you're always going to think, you know, better.

And you're not going to stick to how we like to deliver our services. And you're going to go off on your own. And that creates a lot more headache than it's worth, to be honest. So we look for people to be open-minded when it comes to learning, having that growth mindset, no matter who you are, and that you'll be able to stick to our way of doing things. So the gym can run smoothly and consistently.

So we try to be, uh, the same as a gym as well when it comes to learning. So we're happy to take feedback from trainers and from members so that we continually improve. And if we think we know it all already, then we're never going to improve because we're not paying attention to the opportunities to do so.

Uh, That's what happens when you feel like, you know, everything and everything is perfect. So always be open-minded and always take criticism in a good way. Criticism doesn't have to be a bad thing. Instead of taking offence, use it as an opportunity to learn and improve. Uh,

And if there is an issue and you're not selected, sometimes you can go back to the same gym and reapply and do better at later date. You know, a lot of gyms will reinterview people that didn't make it through at some point previously. You have to remember that when there's a position available, it's not that the only person, the only suitable person, is selected. It's just that they were seen as the best fit out of the people that did apply. So when we have positions available, we might get two or three people that are suitable. It's just that we've only got one position. Then, you know, obviously we're only going to take the one that we think is the best candidate overall.

So just because you're told no, at some point it does not mean that that is going to be a no forever. So go, uh, going back to our, our original point be open-minded. Be open to learning, have that growth mindset where you can have a good discussion in an interview. And it would allow you to demonstrate your professionalism and knowledge, but also listen to the needs of the gym, of the members, uh, of your future employers.

Okay. Tip number three. So tip number three is to talk with confidence. Now, especially if you're an in-person personal trainer you need to talk with confidence so that you can build confidence in you. So if you come through the door and you know, you're very shy, you're very quiet. That can be a bit of a red flag for us. Not because we don't like it or you can't succeed, but because it would generally be a lot more difficult for you to succeed, especially if you wanted it to work in a commercial gym.

So this role is one where you have to be willing to go and talk to strangers. To sometimes have difficult conversations to keep clients on track. And if you can't or won't have those conversations, then it can really affect yours and your client's success.

Now if the sound of that scares you a little bit, that doesn't mean you can't be a personal trainer. It just means that a different environment might suit you better. So maybe being an online trainer rather than in-person would be a better fit for you.

I've also seen a lot of trainers that are a bit shy and the clients kind of walk all over them.

The clients dictate the sessions rather than the trainer and this can obviously lead to a lot of frustrations and a breakdown in the relationship with your client. So you need to be the expert and the expert has confidence in what they're saying. An expert will be able to give good instruction.

An expert delivers so confidently that a member is going to listen to them. Also if there's a lot of noise and you don't have a voice that can carry over the sound of the music and the treadmills and the banging weights and stuff like that, then it's also not going to inspire that much confidence in you and the knowledge and the service that you're delivering.

Talking with confidence can inspire the people that are listening. It creates confidence in their mind, and when that is a client it can help with them being more motivated, more consistent. Uh, and stick to the plan and the process a lot better. They'll have confidence that they're on the right path and that you are doing the right thing. And by listening to you, it's going to get them to where they want to be. So, like I said before, being able to talk with confidence is going to build that confidence in you.

Okay, so now tip number four. Tip number four is to admit when you do not know something or when you're wrong about something. So obviously when somebody comes for an interview, they're trying to impress and trying to impress the people that are giving the interview and that's perfectly normal.

Kind of the aim, to be honest, isn't it. But what you have to remember is quite often the person interviewing you is going to know more about the role and about the job than you do. So if they ask a question, especially if it's something technical or related to something you should know as a trainer, if you don't know it's better to just admit that you don't.

Better to do that than to try and talk your way around it, trying to convince us that, you know, something you clearly don't. Because the interviewers would often pick up on that. They'll pick up on your rambling, uh, again, because they know you're not talking with confidence because you don't know what you're talking about. So rather than kind of trying to lie your way through a question with ramblings and types of, maybe disinformation or misinformation and guesses, just say, you don't know. So we don't expect every trainer to know everything and that's okay.

Saying I don't know is by far the best thing to do, because we know not every trainer is going to know everything and we don't expect trainers to know absolutely everything because we ourselves don't know everything. So the best thing you can do is be honest. If you say something, it turns out to be wrong or you really don't know, just admit it. Because again, it shows going back to tip number two, that you're open-minded and you're willing to learn. And it also shows a level of humbleness uh, and confidence in yourself, you know, it takes a lot of confidence to be able to say that you don't know something or that you made a mistake and both are going to be very valuable to an employer.

So it's going to show you have what it takes to achieve number five. And number five, I've mentioned it a couple of times, and that is to be humble.

Now the fitness industry is littered with so many insecure people that think they know everything, which nobody does. It's filled with people that would prefer to pull others down so that they can rise up and it can be a pretty horrible industry at times. So the solution to try and hide all of this for many is to kind of overcompensate and show a lot of ego.

Now at the end of the day, if you're going to fit in with a team or like a team of trainers or work under some kind of manager, then you need to be humble. So why? Because it's always going to be somebody that knows more than you. And it has knowledge that you don't. And having an ego is going to prevent you from taking opportunities to learn and grow.

So when you're open-minded you get a lot of opportunities to improve. And as an interviewer, we're looking to see if you can fit in with the current team. And if you're going to be able to be coachable, uh, and if you're going to be able to follow instructions. So for a lot of companies, you as a trainer need to know the certain systems, processes, protocols uh, that help us deliver a consistent level of service and results.

That all falls apart if a trainer starts to do their own thing. Each trainer is different and instead of having a team of 10 people delivering on one promise, we end up with 10 different trainers delivering on 10 different promises. So everything becomes a mess. Nothing is measurable and when things go wrong it can be really difficult to try and get to the cause of it.

So most trainers will use an employed position as a stepping stone so use it for what it is, a great place to learn and grow and develop your skills. Now there are other benefits to be in humble. A humble person will be able to create a better rapport with their clients.

And they're going to have a lot more empathy for their clients and the situations and obstacles they're going to run into. So this helps you create realistic solutions and not just tell people what to do, but also help them do it, which is the role of a proper coach. So the higher levels of rapport also will mean you'll probably enjoy your time better. You'll create a better experience, which leads to an increase in compliance from your client, better results and better retention.

So employers want to know that you're going to fit in and treat members and clients well by understanding their issues and coaching them through those issues. And at the end of the day, it means that you just really actually have to give a crap about your clients. Not because someone told you to, but because it's just, it comes naturally and instinctively to you.

So, you know, you need to realise that you only succeed through them.

Okay, so to wrap up here, Um, my top five would just summarise them quickly. Number one, be punctual. It's a very easy way to show that you are a true professional. Number two, be open-minded towards learning. It's such a great opportunity when you get into a new job. So you need to show that you are open to learning and the interview and taking the feedback that is given. Number three, talk with confidence. No one follows a person that can not talk with confidence and you need to lead your client in a session. You need to be the boss of that session. You need to talk with confidence, which will inspire that confidence in you.

Number four. Admit if you don't know something. It shows and reinforces point number two, which is about you being open-minded. It reinforces point number five, about you being humble. It shows that you're willing to learn and that you are coachable. And number five. Be humble. Humble people are going to fit into a team much better in general, a lot better in fact.

Uh, They're going to be easily coached and trained, and they're going to communicate much better with their clients show some empathy, create better rapport and get better compliance from the clients and therefore better results.

Okay. So that's it for me. I really hope this episode helps you if you've been thinking about applying for a new position or even going for your first personal training role, anytime soon. Thank you so much for listening.

I'll see you in the next session.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page