Paul Swainson is the Head of PT at Future Fit Training, the first ever training provider to win Training Provider of the Year for two consecutive years. With over 15 years experience as a personal trainer and tutor, Paul is a highly respected advocate of the need to raise standards of PT training across the industry and has been instrumental in Future Fit’s acclaimed ‘Raising the Bar’ campaign.
We spoke to Paul about the most important attributes to look for when recruiting a personal trainer
When it comes to qualifications, the more doesn’t always mean the merrier. You need to check that the candidate has trained with a reputable provider, has completed both practical and theoretical parts of the course and has relevant case studies to back up their knowledge and demonstrate their ability. Added extras, such as courses in psychology, behavioural change or coaching, can be a real bonus as their importance is gaining greater recognition throughout the industry and will be invaluable to enhance the PT experience.
It sounds obvious, but a personal trainer needs to be able to get along with all your members and be approachable, so why not put this to the test. Add a practical element to the interview and ask the candidate to walk the gym floor, getting to know your members. Before recruiting a personal trainer, observe how comfortable they are in the gym environment and gauge their ability to build a rapport with members of varying ages and backgrounds. You can usually trust that their technical competence is of a good standard, but in terms of the softer skills which are harder to teach, there’s no better way to judge than by having them show you.
Passion and enthusiasm is a must for any new trainer. They shouldn’t just enjoy exercising personally, but must love the feeling of helping others, and being part of a client’s journey to reach their goals. They should understand that fitness isn’t an ego driven business and they need to be in the mindset of helping others to progress, no matter the rate. This should transfer into their own work ethic too. With such a fast-paced industry, and trends that come and go, it is important that they acknowledge the importance of CPD and are eager to develop and add to their skillset by learning from different people and situations.
A business mind:
Hiring trainers with business acumen is extremely valuable – if they understand the importance of being a salesperson and are knowledgeable in the art of running a business, you can trust they will be driven to succeed within your facility. Try asking prospective employees to outline a plan of how they will build their own brand, what sort of audience they will target and how they will attract new clients. If they can demonstrate this, you will know they are switched on and well-equipped to build a client base.
In every gym, there will be a range of members of different fitness levels with varying goals. The trick to recruiting a personal trainer is to look out for specialists and experts in specific areas so you can bring together a team that can cater for everyone’s needs. Ask yourself, what does this person bring to the table that I don’t already have in my facility and what sort of client would they attract? Would you workout with them? Would you recommend them to your mum or the rising athletic star training at your facility? If they can bring something new to the table, such as a personality trait, specialised qualification or in-depth industry knowledge and experience, then you know they are worth the call-up.