The 10 Most Important Tips to Watch for When Hiring New Trainers

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A lot of S3 Members have been asking me about my hiring strategies and what I look for in a trainer. In my previous Member article on, “The Smart Way to Hire New Trainers,” I outlined every step of the process and now I want to take that post to the next level. In this post I will save you a TON of headaches and stress by detailing the 10 Most Important Tips to Watch for When Hiring New Trainers for your studio or bootcamp team.

I’d love to say that I’ve come away unscathed over the past 7 years of hiring CPTs, but unfortunately I’ve had a few bad hires that have led to unneeded stress and a loss of production.

Having said that I’ve learned from my mistakes and have only had TWO of my trainers leave over the past 3+ years at my studio. That’s a pretty impressive track record by any standard especially when you consider 2 of the CPTs also worked for another 2 years before that for me when I was a fitness director of at a local health club.

Plus, the 2 CPTs who did leave only left because one was going back to school full time, and the other had her first baby.

Anyway, the reason I mention this is because we all make mistakes that can hurt our business and the only thing we can do is pick everything up quickly, move on, and don’t make the same mistake twice.

And over the past 7 years of hiring CPTs I’ve definitely learned a thing or two about who to hire, and more importantly who NOT to hire. In my previous post on how to hire CPTs you can see exactly what I look for in each new candidate (http://www.smartstudiosystems.com/fitness-business-tools/the-smart-way-to-hire-new-trainers/).

Today though, I want to outline the 10 tips to watch out for when hiring a new trainer for your fitness business (namely your studio or bootcamp location):

1. This is the most important: DO NOT HIRE anyone who lives more than a 20 minute drive from your business location. Their availability is limited due to long commute times and they begin to resent the commute and look for things closer to home (especially if they have a family).

2. Do not hire entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are great since they’ll work hard, but they’ll also be looking to leave, start their own business, and compete with you one day…

3. Don’t always go for the youngest trainer just because they’re willing to work whenever you want them. A lot of times the young bucks don’t know how good they have it and often leave shortly after being hired thinking that there are greener pastures on the horizon.

4. Do not hire CPTs with a large following who are just looking “to train” at your facility and pay you a fee per client. These guys are renegades (I used to be one ; ) and will leave the moment they get a better deal.

5. Do not allow new trainers to continue training clients outside of the studio who aren’t included as part of your business. This just allows them the freedom to build up their outside clientele before they move on.

6. Even if a CPT comes on board and his/her previous clients want to transfer over to our studio they must be included as part of their current client base. They cannot receive additional compensation for them except for potentially a referral bonus. These clients will be paid at the same rate as the other clients that CPT trains. If this is not agreeable, then they do not get hired. Usually everyone accepts since the more clients they train the closer it brings them to reaching their highest bump in pay.

7. Don’t expect people to change. You can’t change the things you don’t like about the people you’re closest to in life, so you’ll want to be careful about selecting the trainers you choose to work with. If you notice during the interview process that someone has some weird quirks about them then you may want to think twice about hiring that person (those things only get worse once they settle in to a comfort zone).

8. Only hire team players. Sure, I want my team to be competitive about who hits the most sessions that month, but not at the expense of everyone getting along. I only hire people that complete the team, not tear it apart, or divide it into “cliques.”

9. I know this isn’t PC, but quiet, unconfident trainers who can’t hold conversations with their clients end up with no clients… which means you are spending money to acquire clients who are just going to leave because of poor client-trainer relations. Make sure the CPT you hire can speak confidently to you during the interview process and also won’t have any issue when it comes to talking about investing in training with their new clients.

10. If you do find that you made an error in hiring – let them go immediately. It is less painful this way and it will not infect your studio as powerfully. A bad hire can really disrupt the energy of a studio or bootcamp. Cut out the infection, bandage the wound, and start again.

I’ll tell you right now, if I had this list when I was hiring CPTs over the past 7 years I would have gone through a lot less stress and had to replace far less trainers (and clients who left with them). I now follow these 10 steps every time I go to hire anyone new… it saves me time, energy, future headaches, and definitely a lot of money.

I hope this S3 hiring cheat sheet was helpful!

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P.S. These hiring strategies do not apply to hiring in-home CPTs which you may have scattered all around your location. By definition, most in-home trainers are mercenaries anyway so you won’t be able to exhibit the same type of control that you would with your studio or bootcamp team.

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