If you've been reading my column for any length of time and taking action there's no doubt that your business is probably growing.

In the last six and a half years I've learned many hard lessons about recruiting and building a really successful team. In fact, I've had nearly 100 employees work for me in that time. I've been through times of high turnover and dismissals, and feels like everything in between. Prior to the birth of One-to-1 Fitness I even tried to hire contract trainers to assist with my client load and failed three separate times. I hope what you read below can help you fast track the growth and development of your super successful team. Everything discussed here is current within my business and is being implemented by many of my coaching clients so we know it works.

The number one rule of recruiting that you won't believe is that from this day forward you should always be hiring. Finding the best people takes time; if you're not perpetually recruiting you are making rush decisions based on the stress of trying to fulfill immediate needs.

Your recruiting ad
As people we're all generally the same. We value certain things, for many this might be a basic financial amount of income that allows us to live reasonably stress free; or a degree of freedom of time to manage our own schedule. Take this into consideration in your recruiting materials; address these considerations for your applicant, after all you're still marketing just to a different customer.

Where to recruit
We've tested all kinds of avenue for generating applicants. For both trainers and support staff in multiple markets this is what we've found to be the most efficient channels.

1. Form a relationship with your local college or university and offer practicum hours for related programs like kinesiology.

2. Free classified listing services such as Kijiji or Craigslist. (These only work if you are perpetually recruiting, infrequent postings don't work.)

3. Facebook, yes almighty Facebook, using paid promotion of posts within the newsfeed is the best source of more immediate applicant submissions.

What do you want from your applicants?
1. Test their vision of the position by asking for descriptive question submissions related to the position. (What do you feel is the difference between a good personal trainer and great personal trainer? Explain.)

2. Encourage them to submit a video, interview anyone that does, these are almost always stronger applicants.

The 45-second interview
This is the most critical part of the process; no interview should take more than 45-seconds for you to make "most" of your decision. There are two questions you need to ask yourself about each prospect after the first 45-seconds:

1. If I took this person to a cocktail party where they didn't know anyone, and left them alone for an hour, could you come back and find that they had a group of friends around them?

2. Would I trust this person to stay in my home for a weekend, or could I trust them with money?

If you can answer yes to those two things you likely have a winner, their skillset and experience means very little because with the right personality and an immediate feeling of trust you can teach them anything they need to know quickly (or get them certified if need be.)

The management interview
The second part of the interview process serves an entirely different purpose. You're now trying to answer: what will this person be like on their worst day? Let's face it, we all have bad days. We need to know if this is the kind of person that will come to work and bring their life stresses with them, if they will convey that to customers, avoid conflict in favor of gossip, or whether their inability to manage life will negatively affect your team.

These questions must be all situational so that creativity is eliminated, if they can't answer with real situations they've experienced don't hire them.

These questions begin with things like: tell me about a time when… (ex. Can you tell me about a time you had conflict with a co-worker or employer? What was the situation and how was it resolved?)

Three keys to award winning culture
1. Individual mentorship -- Make a point to meet with each team member. In our facility for inexperienced trainers this is weekly for the first 12-16 weeks. Ongoing it's typically once a month for each team member. The purpose of ongoing mentorship is to give each team member a safe and designated time to express their feelings about job satisfaction; and your chance to set, affirm and push them to their next performance goal. (Just like our clients our team needs regular support, affirmation and praise.)

2. Voluntary team meetings -- Include your team in decisions, but don't force it on them. Those that wish to lead will participate, those that don't immediately will eventually. Be sure to recognize some or all members in each gathering and make them casual. Don't insist they start promptly and try to end each one a little early.

3. Create a culture of appreciation -- many make the mistake to believe that marketing is solely external campaigns to attract new customers but internal marketing is much more powerful an entirely different, I feel it begins with your team. We take a portion of our marketing budget every month for internal marketing. These funds are spent on gifts of appreciation. These gifts are sometimes specifically for our team, and commonly for our team and customer base. If you begin by giving it to your team not only do they feel appreciated it they are more excited about telling their clients but giving them the gift also. These can be things as simple as Starbucks cards, T-shirts, water bottles, wristbands or any creative thing you can think of. You're budget may be small and that's fine, giving ten coffee cards away randomly every few weeks will go along way trust me.

I could carry on for pages more about the elements explained above but if you simply print this list and do your best to implement these important points I guarantee you will avoid nearly all the mistakes I've made. You will have a team that can generate referrals, keep attrition low and they will be loyal and fun to work with!

After struggling for eight years as a personal trainer, Cabel McElderry challenged the typical gym setup and created quite a reputation for himself. His 7 figure studio, now five years old, has won multiple awards for business excellence. Cabel has been recognized as one of the top 100 fitness entrepreneurs in North America and is currently one of 50 nominees for Optimum Nutrition’s Canadian Trainer of the Year. He now mentors fitness professionals worldwide in an effort to help them achieve similar or better results than his own. Cabel’s advice and writing can be found amongst some of the biggest blogs online and he is constantly called upon to offer his advice and strategies at some the largest fitness events worldwide.www.ProfitablePersonalTrainer.com

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