After advertising your vacant PT position you will start to have people answering to the ad via phone and email with most sending their resume as requested. Your first job is to carefully read the cover letters and decisions and decide which applicants you want to invite to your Group Interview. Before contacting your applicants you need to schedule the interview time and date.
Schedule the Group Interview Time and Date:
This is straight forward. Pick a time and date that suits you and any other people you want involved in the selection process ie. staff. We normally hold our group interviews late afternoon on a Friday or even on Saturday mornings. You might be surprised by hearing from some employers that they can not make it to the interview because they have to get ready to go out on Friday night !!! That's great news for you, because if they can not commit to turning up to the interview then how they would perform if they got the job!
Try not to allow anyone to reschedule a 1-on-1 interview with you as this defeats the purpose. As you will read further in the process there is an important reason for using the group interview method. If however, the applicant has a valid reason and you want to interview them separately then do so.
Just like you would do with any PT sales appointment, I suggest you make some confirmation calls to the applicants you have invited. Complete these calls the day before the interview. Below is a sample confirmation call script:
It's Trab Beckley here from XYZ Personal Training, I have you down to attend our Group Interview tomorrow at 4.00pm. I was just ringing to confirm you have our address, it's 69 Smith Street Melbourne. … ok great, I'll see you tomorrow at 4.00pm
Completing these calls will help you be confident in how many people to expect at the interview. The confirmation call can also be a good time to remind the applicant about the dress code. I suggest just neat casual is appropriate enough, no need to dress up formally!
Prepare your Paperwork!
Interview questionnaires are great tools for acquiring the applicants details such as availability, past experience and career intentions. This is also something for the applicants to complete while waiting for the interview to begin. These questions should be given to the applicant on a clipboard with a pen for them to complete prior to the interview starting. Once, it is complete they are given back to you to read and write notes on during the interview.
S et up your interview space!
I would suggest running your interview in your PT studio if you have one. Simply set up some chairs in a circle in a quiet area. It can also be a nice touch to have a bottle of water to give to every applicable upon arrival. Remember, we should give a good impression from the beginning, show them how we treat people in our business !!
Obviously you want to make sure there are enough seats, pens and paper on clipboards for everyone. I would also ensure your studio is clean and tidy including the toilets.
Carefully observe people when they arrive! Without being too obviously carefully observable the applicant when they arrive. You can tell a lot about a person in the first minute of meeting them.
- Observe how they enter the room. Are they confident, shy, quiet, loud, respectful?
- Observe how they are dressed, and what they have bought with them, are they prepared?
- Look for eye contact and a handshake when introducing themselves.
- Do they initiate the introduction or did they wait for you?
- Do they interact with the other staff and applicants or keep to themselves?
- Do they create rapport fast?
The Format For The Interview!
- Collect the Interview Questionnaires from the Applicants.
- Introduce yourself and your staff.
- Welcome everyone and thank everyone for attending.
- Give a brief about the vacant position and what is involved including some of the key criteria, eg: availability, qualification, etc.
- Ask the applicants to introduce themselves to the group, including why they are in the Fitness Industry, and a brief story on a client result that they have achieved.
- Brief the group on how your business works, the business values, and state your business vision.
- Randomly ask the applicants questions relevant to your criteria.
- Test their knowledge A good activity is to hand each applicable a piece of paper with an exercise written on it. Get them to partner up and in front of the group then each take it in turns to explain, demonstrate and instruct their exercise to their partner. Look for rapport skills, correct explanation and demonstration of the exercise and correct spotting technique.
- Back in the group setting, ask for any questions.
- Thank the applicants for attending and telling them you will be in touch during the following week.