Interviewing for a new job is exciting and can be intimidating – if you let it be. Taking the time to prepare and plan will result in a better interview experience. Here are some aspects to consider and steps you can take to make sure you’re ready to ace the interview and possibly land the job.

Research the organization.

Nothing guarantees a failed interview quite like neglecting to research the organization or gym you’re about to interview for. Set aside a couple of hours of your time to thoroughly investigate the organization’s website, social media, mission, vision, values, and services available. In doing so, you will be better prepared to communicate how you see yourself fitting into the organization’s structure and staff. You will also impress the interview committee with your working knowledge of their services and goals (if they have a strategic plan available on their site). 

Bring extra copies of your resume.

You don’t need to pass these out to the interview committee unless it is requested, but it’s a good idea to have extras available at a moment’s notice so you can adequately highlight the skills you feel you would bring to the job by referencing what you’ve stated on your resume. 

Organize a portfolio.

Because personal training is a varied field and filled with professionals with different niche businesses and services, including a brief portfolio with samples of your workout designs, social media campaigns, and client testimonials allows you to showcase your unique self and the work you do. A portfolio can give an employer a sneak peek at your creative talents and help create a visual of how you would might seamlessly mesh with existing staff. 

Plan a workout.

This is a question to ask your interview committee or the hiring manager ahead of time. Not every personal training interview will require a structured demonstration of your group fitness skills or one-on-one client skills. However, it’s best practice to be prepared so that you might be able to provide a mock client or small group fitness class a taste of your style and approach to fitness.

Dress the part.

This is another area to question the hiring manager about. Most interviews will require business attire, but it’s somewhat of a gray area in the fitness industry. Some employers and interview committees will want to see how you dress for the part. In other words, use your best judgement (workout pants or leggings and a shirt that covers the torso and/or isn’t a spaghetti strap tank-top are all appropriate options). If business casual is required, bring a set of professional looking workout clothes in case a demonstration is expected.

Prepare questions to ask.

After reviewing and researching the organization, prepare a list of questions to ask to demonstrate your level of interest and commitment to the employer. Don’t forget, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Some questions to consider (if they aren’t already answered via the website or other social media channels) include

  • What are your overall goals for this organization/studio in the next 3 to 5 years?
  • What does your risk management plan include?
  • How do you support the continuing education efforts of your existing staff?
  • What do you see as your biggest challenges? Or who is your largest competitor?
  • Can you tell me a little about the culture of this organization?
  • In what ways do you see the person you hire for this position contributing to the overall growth and strategic vision?

Take a tour.

If time allows, visit the facility you’re interviewing for. Doing so presents you with the opportunity to critically evaluate the space, the set-up, and how the staff interacts with members or other colleagues. More importantly, you have a chance to observe and identify strengths of the facility and area of opportunity upon which you can build in the interview. Never underestimate the power of vision and don’t be afraid to communicate how your talents can achieve that vision.

Arrive early.

Plan to arrive 10 minutes early. This small but crucial window of time will allow you to breathe and center yourself before meeting the committee or the hiring manager. Enter the interview calm and focused so you can appropriately address their questions and wow them with your talents and skills.

Interviewing for a job is tough stuff. But it’s the tough stuff that helps us grow and through growth we achieve. Even if you don’t land every job you interview for, you are practicing for the ones you will.

Dr. Erin Nitschke

NFPT-CPT, NSCA-CPT, ACE Health Coach, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Therapeutic Exercise Specialist, and Pn1 is a health and human performance college professor, fitness blogger, mother, and passionate fitness professional. She has over 15 years of experience in the fitness industry and college instruction. Erin believes in the power of a holistic approach to healthy living. She loves encouraging her clients and students to develop body harmony by teaching focused skill development and lifestyle balance. Erin is also the Director of Educational Partnerships & Programs for the NFPT. Erin is an editorial author for ACE, IDEA, NFPT, The Sheridan Press, and the Casper Star Tribune.

Visit her blog at: belivestaywell.com

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