Parts 1 and 2 of this series provided a starting point for finding the best candidate to be your first (or even your fiftieth) team member. Now it's time to interview, hire and most importantly, retain good people who believe in your business.

Once you have your potential candidates, consider doing a simple prescreening phone interview first. Chances are, you'll get a good idea whether or not they'll be a good fit before meeting in-person, saving you valuable time. Use the in-person interview as a time to delve deeper into the "non-negotiables" you determined before you started your interview process.

If you're looking to fill an administrative position, you may ask how they perform some of the common tasks you'll need them to complete like working with Microsoft documents and spreadsheets, Quickbooks or other accounting software or the client management system you use. You don't want to be spending valuable time teaching the basics once hired. For fitness professional positions, ask questions about their methodology of training and even nutrition and lifestyle perspectives. Ask them how they think their clients would describe them and to recall how they managed a challenging client or situation. Ask them what continuing education courses they are registered for or plan on attending. You may have them either take you through a mock training session, to role play common situations you face in your business or to co-train a group session to see how they interact with your clients.

Hire & compensate
Try to avoid hiring on the spot. Give yourself adequate time to think about whether this person is the right fit, where you see them fitting in your business and how they compare to other candidates. And pay attention to your gut feelings. As far as compensation, I've found compensating on a scale over an agreed period of time is a strategy that creates a win-win situation. For example, in the first month, you would pay a base rate considering you will be spending time training them, they'll be ramping up clients, etc. Over the next 3 months or so, you can gradually increase their compensation based on certain milestones or an agreed timeframe.

Schedule periodic meetings and reviews with your staff, ask if there are things they wish they were doing more of or less of; what they are enjoying or where they feel they could use more support. Many people value recognition and appreciation even more than money; so don't make the assumption that employees will always look for more money. Recognize their strengths and achievements, show your appreciation and offer creative ways to compensate outside of just increasing their hourly rate by creating incentives, educational credits or opportunities for personal or professional growth that will show them you are invested in them.

Good people might be hard to find, but they can be even harder to keep. Taking on staff promotes you to the position of manager and leader; make it a priority to invest some of your time and money in developing professionally as an effective manager and leader and your business will thank you many times over!


How much of your time would you estimate you spend growing your business?