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How to Interview Employees for Your CrossFit Gym

Interviews separate the employable from the unemployable, but how do you know what to look for? This is what you have to do to find quality employees for your CrossFit gym.

Sam Karoll
June 15, 2022
TLDR;
Interviews separate the employable from the unemployable, but how do you know what to look for? This is what you have to do to find quality employees for your CrossFit gym.

Going through applications, interviews, follow-ups, and scheduling conflicts are all necessary stepping stones to hiring employees. It can be a headache, but it’s even worse when you continually hire the wrong people that can’t carry out their tasks, and then your business suffers. We want to avoid that.

So how do you interview employees and make sure they’re actually going to fulfill their job role properly? What are the steps you need to take? That’s where we’re here to discuss. From conducting the interview to finalizing your decision, it’s a roller coaster ride with an admission for one. Time to figure things out.

Do You Need Preliminary Interviews?

Preliminary interviews save you money, time, and aggravation. A preliminary interview usually includes a one-minute video sent along with a resume and cover letter. This help with the entire interview process in multiple ways, and it’s recommended that you ask for that one-minute video:

  • Screens for Happy Faces: If someone can help your customers feel at home and welcome, they’re already off to a good start. First impressions matter, and your customers are going to make that first impression fairly quickly based on how the desk clerk is responding to their requests, and how they hold themselves.
  • Fitness Level: Let’s be honest for a second: unfit people don’t help sell the idea of fitness, or a gym that works to help you transform your body. The fitness level of the front desk staff matters. It’s the first thing that your customers see when they walk in the door. You can’t afford to miss this step, and finding out at the start of a 30-minute in-person interview is one way to waste your time.
  • Demeanor: Are they dreadfully boring to listen to? Gyms have energy, and excitement, and that can be dragged down by someone at the front desk who sounds like they’d rather be anywhere else in the world. They don’t have to be the most chipper people to ever exist, but this video can tell you how they would react to customers.
  • Saves You Time: If they’re not a good fit based on that one minute, there’s a good chance they won’t suddenly perk up for your clientele. It’s hard to read someone in an interview since there can be some nervousness that interferes with their personality at the time, so this one-minute video really saves you a lot of time.

Preparing an Interview

Preparing for an interview is often overlooked. Even if it’s just a quick 15-minute interview, the process leading up to it matters. If you’re not in a good frame of mind and prepared for the interview, you’re not going to pay proper attention to the candidate, and you may miss a few red flags or warning signs. This is what you have to do to prepare for an interview.

  • Review Applicant Information: People want to be greeted by their first name. They want a handshake, for you to rise when they approach the interview space, and feel mutual respect. Any good gym owner will respect their employees and understand their important role in the day-to-day success of their business. This sets the precedent.
  • Set Aside Appropriate Time: Don’t squeeze in an interview between other tasks throughout the day. Make dedicated time that you can use to focus on this process. You don’t want to hire the wrong person and then kick yourself in the behind for it later.
  • Arrive With Clarity: People often undervalue the time it takes to mentally prepare prior to conducting an interview. Go over your questions, understand what answers you want to see, and get into a good mindset to give candidates the time they need.
  • No Interruption: Make sure your front desk knows to hold calls for you or take messages. Your trainers should know you have dedicated time for this interview as well. While an interruption may convey to a candidate that you’re busy, it doesn’t convey professionalism, and they may choose to work somewhere else as a result.
  • Quiet Space: Have a dedicated, mostly quiet area where you can conduct the interview. If you’ve ever walked into a restaurant and seen an interview play out at a table in the lobby, know that that’s not a good way to do things. You want a safe, open space with as few distractions as possible.

Conducting an Interview

Now it’s time to actually have the interview. Before you sit down with your candidate(s), you have to plan accordingly. Are you going to bring a facilitator along? How are you going to judge the candidate based on their behavior? There’s a lot to think about.

  • Invite a Facilitator: This could be a trainer or management role employee in your gym, but it’s wise to bring them along. Nothing is more frustrating in a middle-management position like being tossed a new hire and not having any say in the matter whatsoever. It can strip some of the control out of the position and make for disgruntled managers. Bring them along with you and interview as a team. That way, they’ll have their own impressions, concerns, and notes that you can cross-reference with each other after the interview has finished.
  • Identify Behavior: Are they closed off? Do they appear fake? Is there agitation in their voice when you ask a question about references? You have to take this at face value, because this is how your clientele will take the same behavior when they walk into your gym. You want your employees, regardless of whether they work the front desk or not, to see happy and smiling faces with positive behavior. It establishes the behavior in the gym. Make sure you talk about your expectations for behavior and demeanor during the interview so the candidate knows what to expect while working.
  • Watch for Body Language: Closed-off arms, no eye contact, and other social signals can really make a difference when you’re interviewing someone. You’re trying to see how they will treat your customers and clientele, so if you’re getting mixed signals from them now, it’s only going to get worse when they talk to people in your gym. Be on the lookout for warm, welcoming, open body language.
  • Take Notes: If anything piques your interest, write it down. There’s no reason not to. You may forget details from that interview by the next day, so if it comes down to a half-dozen candidates, you’ll want notes to reflect on and remember which candidate provided the best chance of serving your gym.
  • Be Thankful: Thank them for their time when the interview concludes, and courteously walk with them to the exit. At every point of the interview process, the candidate should feel welcome and happy to be in your establishment, just like you want them to make clients feel.

Follow-Up

When it comes time to follow up on the interviews, even if the candidate didn’t make the list, be sure to send them a message through their preferred means to let them know. This is especially helpful if you had a few good picks, but they just didn’t make the cut. You can contact them at a later date and see if they’re available should you need to hire more help.

For those who made the cut, be prepared to make a phone call and excitedly welcome the new hire to the team. Have a time and date for their first official training session in mind, and let them know what they’ll need to bring along for their first day. You want this to be as personal as possible so they’re excited to work.

Making a Decision

At the end of the day, you have to make a decision based on the available candidates. While you could go back to the drawing board, if you curate your potential employees well, you should have one or two winners in every round-up.

However, if you don’t, do not settle for someone solely because you need a body at the front desk. If they don’t feel like a good fit, listen to your gut. It’s much cheaper to interview more candidates than it is to hire, train, and then fire the wrong person.

They can also do a good amount of damage to customer relations at crucial stages in your business development in the meantime. It’s always best to take it at the pace you need and not rush hiring anyone.

Employ Fast, Fire Faster

They say if you employ fast, you fire faster. Be 100% sure that you’re hiring the right person or people for the job, and don’t gloss over any of the fine details. Your employment churn rate should be as low as possible, so you can focus on what really matters in your business—your core values, your members, and driving a profit.

Sam Karoll

Sam is our Community Manager for PushPress. He also owns and operates Xplore Nutrition, a personalized nutrition coaching service designed "for your lifestyle and goals by a Coach who's always available."

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