F45 is Leading the Way in How to Hire Personal Trainers

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Doug Watson has developed an innovative formula for how to hire personal trainers at his F45 studio near Toronto.

Doug is the manager of F45 Mississauga Downtown, a new franchise of a growing brand of boutique fitness studios that started in Australia in 2012.

The F45 concept is innovative, yet remarkably simple. Each studio offers a series of 45-minute high-intensity, circuit training workout classes. The workouts are chosen from a database of over 3,000 exercises, so members never get the same workout twice. Every day features a different 45-minute workout, and members can attend the daily class at different times throughout the day.

The challenge

Having recruited hundreds of times in the past, Doug knew hiring would be his greatest challenge coming into this new role. From his corporate days, he remembered the lengthy and inefficient process associated with traditional hiring. The hours spent screening, scheduling and interviewing, and the huge margin of error.

So when he came across Vervoe, he didn’t hesitate for a second. As he put it, “he knew the alternative”. Doug was used to hiring sales, marketing or product people in the software industry. But even though it was his first time hiring fitness trainers, he felt confident Vervoe would help him identify the skills he was looking for.

The solution

Doug set up a two-stage interviewing process: a simulation to assess the trainer’s familiarity with high-intensity training, followed by a second simulation to tease out the right personality traits. Testing for technical skills was fairly straightforward, with mostly text-based and multiple-choice questions to evaluate familiarity with exercise types and terminology.

The personality-focused simulation started by asking “If you had to live with one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?”. As answers started pouring in – each more interesting than the other – Doug decided to stream each song from YouTube.

The combination of song selections and unscripted video answers gave Doug a great understanding of each trainer’s personality. This was essential in deciding who to progress to the final stage.

Out of 49 applicants who started the interviewing process, 30 completed both simulations. That alone gave Doug a strong indication about who was truly motivated to join F45. “The process itself shows dedication”, he said. Doug then chose 12 candidates for a short call with F45’s head trainer, before personally meeting the final few.

The outcome

Doug ended up hiring six “amazing personal trainers”, and he now has a repeatable process for hiring great people.

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