How to Find, Interview, and Hire Staff for Your Fitness Studio

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How to Find, Interview, and Hire Staff for Your Fitness Studio

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After months, if not years, of planning, you're finally ready to open your fitness studio! Opening a brand-new boutique fitness studio is an exciting and fulfilling endeavor. Many studios focus on their class formats, branding, and layout, but to ensure a successful launch, assembling a competent and passionate team that aligns with your studio's vision is crucial. Let's break down how to staff your boutique fitness studio for opening day, including the necessary staff, where to find them, and tips for conducting interviews.

Identify the Essential Staff: Who Do You Need?

Before beginning the hiring process, it's important to determine the core team members needed for your boutique fitness studio. While requirements may vary based on your specific concept, here are some key roles to consider:

  • Studio Manager: Responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations, scheduling, customer service, and staff management. 
  •  Instructors: Ideally, look for experienced teachers who can lead various fitness classes. If you're willing to train, state that in the application
  • Front Desk Staff: Friendly and efficient individuals to manage check-ins, customer inquiries, and administrative tasks. New studio owners often forgo desk staff due to start-up costs, but well-trained front desk staff can pay for themselves quickly by focusing on sales and member experience. 
  • Personal Trainers: Certified professionals who can provide personalized training sessions and guidance to clients. If you have plans to offer group and PT, start early. It can be challenging to find the right trainer fit. 
  • Marketing and Digital Pros: If social media, marketing, or website design is outside your wheelhouse, find someone who can take charge and take it off your plate because "if you build it, they will come" is a fallacy. Your marketing strategy has to be significant to let potential clients learn about your new studio.
  • Sales Manager: Although you're a fitness or wellness studio, you still need sales to survive. Who will take charge of your tracking sheets and see sales through? It could be you, your manager, your desk staff, or an outside remote salesperson. 
  • Maintenance Sub Contractors: Who will oversee the studio equipment and facilities' cleanliness, functionality, and maintenance? Consider hiring regular cleaning people (if you don't want to be the one to do it) and having someone on speed dial if something breaks. 
  • A coach: Full disclaimer, I am a studio coach, but I will continue to preach the benefits of a great industry consultant and the difference it makes to have someone guide you. 

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Sourcing Methods: Where Do You Find Them?

Before you start looking, you need a solid job posting. You can download a template, or ensure yours clearly states the following:

  • Job Title: Clearly state the position title at the beginning of the posting. This helps job seekers quickly identify if the role aligns with their interests and qualifications.
  • Company Overview: Provide a brief description of your company, including its mission, values, and any notable achievements to help job seekers understand your organization's background and culture.
  • Job Summary: Summarize the essential responsibilities and objectives of the position. Describe the role and how it contributes to the company's goals. Be concise and specific to attract candidates who are the right fit.
  • Qualifications and Requirements: Outline the essential qualifications, skills, and experience needed for the position. Specify any required education, certifications, or licenses. Differentiate between must-haves and preferred qualifications to help applicants understand if they meet the basic requirements.
  • Responsibilities: Provide a comprehensive list of the primary tasks and duties associated with the role. Be specific and use action verbs to convey what the job entails daily. 
  • Benefits and Perks: Highlight the benefits and perks of the role. This can include compensation details, benefits, vacation time, professional development opportunities, flexible work arrangements, or any other enticing aspects of the position.
  • Company Culture and Values: Share information about your company's culture, work environment, and values. This gives potential candidates insight into the company's ethos and helps attract individuals who align with your organization's principles.
  • Application Instructions: Clearly state how applicants should apply for the position. Specify the preferred method (e.g., email). If you require specific documents or information, mention those as well. Provide a deadline if applicable.
  • Contact Information: Provide a point of contact for any inquiries or questions related to the job posting. Include an email address or phone number that applicants can contact for further information.

It has been challenging to find qualified candidates for boutique fitness studio lately. You will likely need to get creative when posting your job to get views. 

Leveraging your existing connections in the industry is a great place to start. Ask any current teachers for referrals or reach out to other studio owners you're familiar with. Baristas make incredible desk staff- they're friendly, good with names, and have the correct availability for your hours. 

Post on job boards like Indeed, LinkedIn or fitness-specific job platforms like ACE. The best place to find trainers or teachers is often on the certification's website. Search for certified instructors in your area on their "Find a Pro" page. 

Utilize platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to share hiring announcements and engage with potential candidates. You can post on local job search pages or community/neighborhood boards, including those on Facebook or NextDoor. 

Lastly, engage with local fitness communities, fitness schools, and colleges to find passionate and qualified individuals looking for opportunities in the industry. They will be new and require additional training, but they're often enthusiastic and ready to learn.

Interviewing Potential Candidates: What Should You Ask?

Once you have received applications and resumes, it's time to conduct interviews to assess their suitability for your fitness studio's culture. There are countless schools of thought when it comes to hiring. Here's how I recommend my studio owner clients hire staff

  1. Pre-Screen: Start by reviewing resumes and shortlisting candidates based on whether they fully satisfied the requirements and completed their application. If you post on a large job board, you'll likely be inundated with candidates who aren't a great fit. Weeding out those who didn't follow the directions will save you frustration in the long run. 
  2. Schedule a Zoom or phone interview for those who meet your qualifications and experience requirements and align with your studio's values. These initial interviews will evaluate candidates' communication skills, knowledge, and enthusiasm for the role. Ask questions about their experience, certifications, teaching styles, and their reason for teaching. At my studio, I let my managers be my gatekeepers. They conduct phone interviews and pass the best candidates on to me. 
  3. Audition Assessments: For instructors and personal trainers, schedule auditions where they can showcase their skills and teaching methodologies. Do they teach to the students in front of them? How is their cueing? Do they engage before and after the class? Classes can be short (20-30 minutes).
  4. Evaluate candidates' compatibility with your studio's culture, mission, and values. Gauge their passion for fitness and their ability to engage and motivate clients. I recommend a follow-up email that asks, "How do you see yourself fitting into our studio? What would you bring to the culture, and what would you change or improve?" These questions require the candidate to think critically while balancing the delicate process of offering feedback in an interview. 
  5. After conducting interviews, it's time to make final decisions and extend job offers. You may check references and negotiate their starting salary. Remember to send over a contract and collect all of your state-required paperwork. 

Staffing your boutique fitness studio for opening day requires careful consideration and a well-planned approach. If you're reading this, you likely don't want to be a one-person show, so take time to assemble a dedicated team that shares your vision and contributes to the success of your new venture. Hiring the right people is crucial to creating a positive and engaging fitness environment for your clients, fostering loyalty, and building a strong reputation in the industry.

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About the author:

Niki Riga
Industry Expert
Limitless Studio

Niki has been a client, a studio owner, and a coach in boutique fitness for over a decade, and she can’t think of an industry she'd rather be in. Her favorite part about coaching and studio ownership are the same: she loves supporting clients as they push past their limits and achieve their goals. Niki became a coach because she was regularly asked, “how did you do that!?” by other studio owners who were drowning in the day-to-day responsibilities of business ownership but didn’t have the support to grow their studio to its potential. She created Limitless Studio to partner with owners who have a vision for their business and are ready to implement systems to build the studio of their dreams.