How to Hire the Perfect Group Fitness Instructor

AFAA Certified Female Group Fitness Instructor Teaching Zumba Class On A Rooftop

Whether you have multiple applicants for a single job opening or you are selecting individuals from within your fitness classes and encouraging them to get certified, you want to choose the perfect instructor for your facility. The qualities of an ideal instructor are wide-ranging and include things like an outgoing personality, creative choreography, helpful and open schedule, and dependable. But which qualities are the most important to hone in on now? It all depends on the culture of your facility. Every gym, large or small, has different values. Culture, community demographics, and the number of members all play into what each gym values.

The first step is to establish what your gym’s culture is. Create a committee of the gym managers, key staff, favorite instructors, and some loyal members. Establish what qualities the team looks for in a group fitness instructor.

Once you know who you are looking for, the next step is to decide on an interview process. There are many options, and all offer great insight into applicants. The selection process can include a single method, or combine a few depending upon timing. The standard selection process is to conduct an individual interview and possibly a tryout, but the next time you hire an instructor, try some of these new interview ideas.

Group Interview

A group interview setting is a time saver for supervisors. All applicants are invited to come to the same interview session. Ask questions to the whole group, allowing them to alternate who starts answering the questions. This question style is a great way to see how applicants will respond in a competitive environment, how friendly and outgoing they are, and how comfortable they are with being watched – all qualities essential to have as a Group Fitness Instructor.

Potential Interview Questions:

  • What are your top three reasons that you like group fitness?
  • What are two qualities that you possess that make you a better fitness instructor?
  • List the following items by importance to a group fitness class: timeliness, music volume, verbal and visual cueing, class name, physical appearance of instructor.
  • What is the most important avenue of fitness; stretch, strength, or cardio?

The Answers:

Ask yourself, or those on the hiring committee, how they would answer the questions, or what they would like to hear as the answers. Watch for authenticity in eye contact and ease of speech. Telling stories that align with their answers is a sign they comprehend the concept and are being genuine. In short, there are no “right” answers, and a large gym in California will have a different value or desired answers than a small gym in Wyoming.

Group Workout

You can do this as a separate interview process, or immediately following a group interview. Invite the applicants to attend one of your gym’s favorite workouts. This is an excellent way for the applicants to see your gym’s culture firsthand. The applicants can observe how your instructors teach, such as whether they face the mirror or mirror the class, use a microphone or not, and music selection. After the group workout, gather all the applicants together again to ask a few questions.

Potential Interview Questions

  • Is this format a style that you enjoy?
  • Is this a format you think you could teach or offer an equivalent as a substitute?
  • What are three things that are the same or different compared to others you have attended or taught?
  • Do you have any feedback, positive or negative, for the instructor?

The Answers:

Work out with the applicants and watch how they react to confusion, how their body moves, and how they interact with participants around them. Notice if the applicant takes on any progressions or regressions during the workout. This is a great place to see coordination, music timing, and form. If those are important values at your facility, they can be constructive observations. Listen for valuable feedback on the classes they attended. Be wary of those that have nothing to offer or only want to compliment the instructor or class; they may not like getting feedback in the future on their classes.

Group Tryout

Ask each of the applicants to teach a 10-minute segment of a class. Each applicant can participate when they’re not teaching, and you can also invite members who you know will offer honest feedback.

Potential Interview Questions:

  • Ask them to label some significant muscle groups and then give an exercise with the equipment in the room that would activate that area.
  • Ask them to give a “Keep, add and drop” for each of the other applicants.

The Answers:

During the tryout, watch and listen. Do the workout with them, and notice how often, if ever, you got confused or lost. Observe how well they cue, how they play to music, and if they have an understanding of the flow of moves. Again, focusing most strongly on the areas you’ve decided are most important to create a perfect instructor. Can the applicant give constructive feedback to the other applicants, and can they recognize an excellent instructor when they see one?

After all the tryouts and interviews, see which applicants fit in best with the culture your team has outlined. Since your team invests themselves in the process, everyone will feel better about hiring that “perfect” instructor.

 

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