When you’re applying for a fitness trainer position at a gym, fitness center or any other facility, the interviewers will likely want to know that you’re competent, qualified, and have a good rapport with clients. As such, the interview questions they ask will likely be directed at those topics. Prepare for your interview by researching the job as much as possible, as well as brushing up on the basics of exercise science and designing exercise programmes.
1. Why do you want to work here?
With this question, employers want to know that you’re invested in the company and that you’ve done your homework. A variation on this question is "what do you know about our company?"
As such, the way to answer this question is to tell the employer some of what you know about the company, and to list a few of the qualifications or skills you have that make you a good fit for the company’s style and client base.
2. What qualifications make you the best person for the job?
Once again, the research you did into the company will be a big help here. Identify a few of the key qualifications, skills or personality traits the employer is looking for, and mention any of them that you possess.
3. Do you do X style of training?
Some fitness centers specialize in certain types of training, such as plyometrics, Pilates or TRX, for example. If you don’t already know that style of training, show that you’re willing to learn. As a certified trainer, you need to complete a certain number of continuing education credits to keep your credential. So if you don’t already know that style of training the employer mentioned, tell her that you’re going to pursue training for it during an upcoming continuing education seminar. If you already know that style of training, tell the employer about how you’ve used it and what successes you’ve had in using it with clients.
4. What workouts do you enjoy?
Be honest here -- but also keep in mind that the employer might be trying to understand what you’re passionate about and what you’ll be well-suited to do at the facility. If the employer is looking for someone to do extensive weight training workouts with clients, for example, it might be a good idea to tell him that you enjoy weight training.
5. How do you develop rapport with clients?
Establishing rapport with a client is paramount to keeping them coming back. To prepare for this important question, review the fitness trainer materials you used when you obtained certification, so the basic tenets of client rapport are fresh in your mind. That includes taking time to learn the client’s likes and dislikes and maintaining good communication, reminds the American Council on Exercise.
6. Tell me about a difficult client you've had.
With a question like this, the employer is using a "behavioral" interviewing technique. The idea is to gain a sense of how you’ll behave in future situations, based on what you’ve done in the past. Naturally, you should avoid bad-mouthing the client. Talk about how you listened to her concerns, and outline the various strategies you employed to meet her needs.
7. What's your sales record like?
Gym and fitness center owners are often concerned with making sales and keeping clients coming back to continue making gym fees -- so they’ll naturally be concerned about your sales skills and your ability to retain clients. To answer this question, talk about the methods you use to get clients excited about training, and how you work to keep them motivated.
8. How do you handle X medical issue?
If the fitness center caters to people with special medical conditions or an aging population -- as many do -- you’ll need to be well-versed in how to handle special circumstances. If you’re aware of how to handle the medical condition the employer has mentioned, outline the steps you’d take to ensure the client can exercise safely, including using props or modifying the program, for example.
If you don’t remember how to handle that particular situation, don’t make something up. Tell the employer that you’d use your exercise science books and consult other trainers for guidance and that you’d be sure to gather all the necessary information before starting to train the client.
9. How do you keep clients motivated?
Every trainer employs tricks of the trade to keep clients coming back. Talk about how you’ve rewarded clients with prizes for attending a certain number of other sessions, how you send out email reminders, or any other technique that’s been successful for you in the past.
10. How will you find new clients?
Once again, a sales question. The employer probably won’t want to hear that you’re going to wait for new clients to simply walk in the door. Talk instead about how you use social media, blogs, conferences and networking events, and business cards or promotional materials to bring in your own clients.
On top of those common fitness trainer interview questions, the employer will probably also ask you standard job interview questions about how well you work with others, what your salary requirements are, and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Prepare for any anticipated questions by practicing with a friend, and you should be able to sail through your interview with flying colors.