The Right Hire For Your Gym

The Right Hire For Your Gym

« Blog | Written by ezfacility | | (0) Comments

If you’re a fan of reality television, or even if you’re not, you have probably heard about the recent episode of Inside Job that featured New York’s David Barton Gym. Inside Job’s premise is that a company seeking to fill a position agrees to let the show’s producers select three candidates. Those candidates live together for a week and undertake challenges that supposedly reveal their worthiness for the job. A fourth person also lives in the house, someone already employed by the company who presents himself or herself as another candidate for the position. That person is the insider, reporting back to the CEO about the candidates and choosing one of them to recommend.
Well, that’s one way to hire an employee. For those of us who don’t have the opportunity to get to know job candidates quite so intimately before we hire them, we need other approaches. Since so many staff positions at a fitness center or sports facility involve direct interaction with members and clients, it’s crucial to hire carefully. Moreover, hiring is an expensive process; you want to get a good return on your investment.
What can you do to ensure you’re hiring well? To begin with, craft an excellent, clear, and precise job description. The more specific your description, and the more explicitly you define what you’re looking for, the better your chances of finding appropriate candidates. If you need a marketing person with social media experience, don’t just put, “Five years marketing experience”. It’s better to write, “Experienced marketing professional with social media expertise.” Also, be sure to stick in a few words that convey the sort of work ethic you’re looking for. If you want to scare off potential loafers, then change that wording to “Dedicated, experienced marketing professional with social media experience, a can-do attitude, and the willingness to stick it out when things get tough.”
Once you’ve collected your applications and narrowed the pool down to a handful of candidates, line up your interviews. Let me stress on the word “handful”: At this point, you don’t want to bring in too many people. Start with your top three or four choices; if you can’t find what you’re looking for among them, you can always call in others.
No doubt you’ve conducted interviews before, so you know the drill. Still, there’s one thing that’s easy to forget: Interviews are not effective if you’re focusing only on the science behind them — the questions you should and shouldn’t ask, how you read a résumé, what answers a candidate gives to your questions. More effective is to focus on the art of interviewing. This means paying attention to how a candidate answers your questions more than what they say. Did you get an answer — but not to the question you asked? Were there inconsistencies in the candidate’s replies? What was the candidate’s body language saying, what were the unconscious reactions and gestures? These will help you better understand who the person is (rather than just what he or she has done).
Once you make an offer, be prepared to negotiate. Any candidate worth hiring is probably going to come to you with a counter-offer. Remain open to the offer. Often, it reflects what the potential employee truly thinks he or she is worth. You might not be able to meet the counter-offer, but you might gain some clues about what alternative offers the candidate might be willing to accept. If you really want the person, you’ll have to find a way to make him or her happy.
Which brings me to my final point: Keep your employees happy. The gym and sports industries by nature face high turnover (how about a reality TV show that addresses that fact?). When you’ve invested the time, money, and energy to hire the right candidate, you want to do everything you can to make sure he or she stays. Create an open, warm workplace that makes relationship-building a priority. Recognize and reward good work. Consider perks such as tuition reimbursement, free lunches, and employee-of-the-month programs. The investment in human capital is worth it.

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