What to Expect at a Personal Training Interview
You've done it: You have your personal training certification in hand. You're CPR and AED certified -- both of which are usually required before you receive your training certification. You've got all the qualifications to work as a personal trainer, but if you want an actual job, you have more hurdles to clear: job interviews with a potential employer. Set yourself up for success by preparing beforehand, being ready to answer potential questions and bringing the correct information with you to the interview.
Bring proof of your credentials -- either originals or clean photocopies. Avoid embarrassing mistakes by reviewing the requirements of the job you're applying for before you interview; some entry-level training positions require only a basic trainer certification, but other positions may require advanced degrees or certifications, or a set number of hours of client work as a substitute.
Bring proof of any relevant experience you have that meets the job requirements. If you've been granted an interview but don't meet all the required prerequisites, be ready to explain why you're still a good hire without them.
A prospective employer will ask you many of the same questions you'd answer at any job interview. They might ask what your goals are, why you think you're a good candidate and how your training and education have prepared you for the position.
They might ask why you left your last position, what you did or didn't like about it and how you got along with your former manager and coworkers. Be prepared to discuss your strengths and weaknesses, any training specialties you have and how you'd handle a hypothetical emergency.
Sometimes personal trainer interviewees are asked to demonstrate their abilities. This often includes putting the interviewer or another employee through a brief workout. If this is the first personal training job you're applying for, practice with a friend or family member beforehand, charting out a rough plan for which exercises you can demonstrate.
You should ask the employer before the interview if you'll be asked to give a demonstration, because that will determine what you will wear to the interview. If you will be asked to demonstrate, wearing neat, clean workout clothes may be acceptable. If not, professional attire is a better choice.
An interview isn't only an opportunity for the employer to asses your abilities; it's also a chance for you to determine whether you'd like to work with the employer. Think about questions you might ask before you're on the spot. For example, ask questions about what a typical day on the job is like, how performance is measured and if there are any opportunities for advancement or continuing education.
You might want to know if you'll be hired as an employee or an independent contractor, if any benefits are offered, if you'll be obligated to work certain hours and if there are any additional job duties. You can ask about the company culture, and even ask the interviewer what he or she likes or dislikes about working for the company. Just use tact and professionalism when asking more personal questions of that nature.
Lastly, if you really want the job ask for it. You might be hired on the spot, or the interviewer may let you know they are still interviewing candidates and but will be in touch.
Lisa Maloney is a travel and outdoors writer based in Anchorage, Alaska. She's written four outdoors and travel guidebooks, including the award-winning "Moon Alaska," and regularly contributes to local and national publications. She also has a background in personal training, with more than 6,000 hours of hands-on experience.