Recruit fitness club top talent with a great job posting
Okay, here you are again, someone on your team has given their notice and you need to find a replacement. You’re gracious and thanked them for their contributions and time, but in your head you’re saying, “UGH!”
Recruiting and hiring is a never-ending job in the fitness industry and costs time and money. The longer it takes to hire someone whose going to be good in a job, the more it will cost.
With the employment rate as high as it’s been in a decade, it’s a buyers’ market for candidates who may have a slew of job options to consider. As a result, you’ve certainly got your work cut out for you.
There’s a lot that goes into acquiring top talent. To hire the best you need a strong employee acquisition strategy that is multi-prong in nature and includes developing an employer brand, exciting online job postings and interesting website career pages. In addition, you need to implement company-wide networking tactics, create positive candidate experiences, and have a great place to work. This post would be way too long if we covered all of these strategies, so today I’m going to focus on just one component, the infamous job posting.
Let me be very clear, a job posting IS NOT, and I repeat, IS NOT a job description. Job descriptions serve as a tool for clearly communicating expectations, job duties, responsibilities, required education, and experience. They are usually dry and detailed. They should be shared with candidates in or after an interview but by their very nature, they don’t usually elicit excitement.
Job postings on the other hand are marketing pieces. Think of them like you would marketing tactics that you use to attract customers and entice readers to take action by inquiring about your business or by purchasing a product or service. With a job posting the objective is to excite people enough to apply. When potential candidates read a posting they should say, “Wow, this sounds like a wonderful place to work and a fantastic opportunity. I’m going to apply right now.”
Here’s a breakdown of the job posting structure and strategies you can use to increase job applications from good candidates.
Job Title: Make It Stand Out
When job hunters log onto online job boards and search for particular job titles, they see many listings with the same title so you need to do something to get them to click on yours. Think of it as a hook like you would find in the newspaper headline. You’ll want to include the name of the job, but add something that makes the job attractive, i.e. Personal Trainer for Club that’s Redefining Luxury, Membership Advisor with Growth Opportunities.
Opening & Description: Captivate & Excite
Start your posting by telling readers what you’re looking for in a way that draws them in and gets them to read on. Then, briefly describe the job in a captivating way.
Please, please, please don’t create a laundry list of every job duty and responsibility. Remember, people have short attention spans. No one is going to read something that is long and boring. You want enough substance to get people excited but not detail after detail that is tedious and dull. Share aspects of the job that would be attractive and/or garner excitement.
Here’s how I started a job posting for a Fitness Director:
“Want to help re-define luxury fitness and be part of an exciting new fitness venture? Here’s your chance! We’re looking for a dynamic and driven Fitness Director. As part of our senior management team you’ll play a vital role in turning our founders’ vision into reality. We’re opening in December so we’re looking for someone who is eager to jump in and get to work.
As our head fitness guru, you’ll lead all things fitness. You’ll recruit and manage an exceptional team of dedicated fitness professionals that support our members’ efforts to get strong and live a healthy life, create a dynamic group fitness program that gets rave reviews, and build a personal training and small group training service that’s in high demand and exceeds revenue expectations.”
Keep in mind that almost all jobs can be made to sound attractive. In describing a job, think about what would entice you. Be creative!
Whenever possible, not only share what a job hunter would do if they got the job, but also create a picture of how the job should be performed. For example, if you’re looking to hire a Front Desk Associate, instead of writing, “you’ll answer the phone and check people in” use this:
“You’ll lift up the spirits of our members and guests by providing a smiling, friendly face when they walk in the door, a helpful hand when they need assistance, and a warm voice to those who call on the phone.”
Or how about this for a Membership Manager:
“You’ll positively impact people’s lives by advising them on how we can help them be healthy and fit, lead our club’s sales department to new heights, inspire your team to be the best they can be, and serve as a role model in delivering exceptional service to our members and guests.”
Company Information: Sell Your Brand
Get people excited about your company. Keep in mind that even if they don’t apply for a job, maybe they’ll become a prospective customer after reading your posting. Don’t be shy! Show off what makes your company a uniquely great place to work. Share why employees love working for the company and how your company stands out. Describe awards, staff or member survey results, and/or perks of the job.
Start this section with a heading like these: “WHY WORK FOR (name of company)” or “HOW WE STAND OUT”. Then follow it up with 3 or 4 bullets that define the brand. Here are some examples:
“We have a strong track record of success, been voted the top gym in the city and served our beloved community for over 20 years.”
“We’re locally owned and operated and our leadership team works on site so you can be sure you’ll have a say in what we do and how we do it.”
“We love to see people grow in their jobs and are big in promoting from within.”
“We have a blast reaching for the sky and love to celebrate success. We cheer people on and reward them for reaching their goals.”
Qualifications: Describe What You Are Looking For
You don’t have to list every qualification that you’re hoping to get in a candidate. No one will have everything. Focus on the 5 to 7 key experiences, knowledge, and/or attributes you’re hoping a candidate will bring to the job.
Don’t create obstacles when you don’t have to. For example, if a front desk associate needs to be CPR certified but has 30 days to become certified once hired, don’t include “CPR Certification” in the qualifications. A very qualified candidate who isn’t CPR certified might think, “I’m not certified so I won’t apply.” If you listed CPR Certification as a qualification, you’ve just lost a good candidate. Sure, let candidates know they’ll need that certification, but wait until you’ve gotten them in the door and excited about the job.
Compensation & Benefits: Share What They’ll Receive
Just like you don’t always want to include your membership prices in your ads, you don’t always want to share compensation in your job postings. If your compensation is competitive and employees can earn bonuses, say, “competitive salary plus excellent bonus potential.”
However, if your compensation is going to make the company positively stand out because you pay better than your competitors, or if listing the compensation rates will weed people out who have big dollar dreams, include it.
If there are really good perks and benefits, make sure to include those as well. Many part-timers want to work in a gym so they can use it for free. If you offer that to your employees, make sure to list it. If your employees get discounts on services, programs and products, list that too with, “Free club membership and discounts on programs and services.”
Application Instructions: Make Them Clear
Make sure the posting is clear about how to apply. If you want a cover letter and/or to know what a candidate’s salary requirements are, be explicit.
Proof The Posting
Remember, your posting represents your company and makes a first impression. So before you hit the “activate” button always make sure you’re following the rules of good writing by reading over and correcting for typos, misspellings and bad sentence structure.
Create Strong Email Responses
Once you’ve gotten people to apply, keep them interested by continuing to create a great impression and continuing to sell them on the job and company. Make sure your candidate email responses are positive, upbeat and personal as well as clear and well written.
The job postings I write today are totally different than the ones I wrote years ago. After lots of trial and error, I’ve incorporated these tips into all of my postings. I’ve had people tell me that they applied for a job because the posting excited them and it was different from all the others. Improve your recruiting results by being creative and incorporating messaging that would inspire you to apply if you were looking for a job today. Need help? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll create enticing templates that you can use to recruit top talent.