Our series of blogs on operation strategies for affiliate gyms continues with tips on hiring front desk staff. I will discuss how to hire, ways to compensate, training and the benefits of having front desk staff. In my experience, I have found that having staff to answer phones, greet members/new visitors, make follow up calls, amongst many other tasks, has greatly contributed to the success of my gyms. It is extremely difficult for the owner/trainer to do everything himself or herself, so extra help is a must. Owners of gyms think they are saving money by not having front desk staff. Reality check! It's costing them money.
Where to Find the Superstar front desk staff .
Hiring is not an easy task, so spend the time and effort to find the right people.
- Start by placing multiple ads on Craigslist in two categories, sales and health and fitness. If Craigslist is not available in your city/town, you can follow the same technique below with any type of ad.
- Ads should be extremely specific about the job description, duties and the expected skill sets.
- Calculate the potential wage of the front desk employee based on an hourly wage plus potential commission. Include this calculation in your ad. “Potential of making $10-$25 per hour”. This helps to find the Superstar employees as they will focus on the $25 per hour figure.
- Make it clear in your ad that you are looking for Superstar Employees. “We are only looking to hire superstars and only overachieving superstars should apply for this position.” The title of the ad should read “Looking for Superstar Front Desk Staff”. By adding “Superstar” to your ads you will weed out people who are not confident in their skill sets based upon the job description. Someone who believes that they are a Superstar will be confident enough to apply for the job.
The Interviewing Process
- Choose the top 7-10 applicants you feel are the best candidates for the job;
- Schedule 20-minute phone interviews with each of the potential candidates. Ask them challenging questions about their abilities and why they feel they are the right person for the job;
- Narrow it down to 5 people and schedule in-person interviews. In-person interviews will give you a better feel for their personalities, energy and their ability to interact with members. Take your time, interview all 5 candidates, with the goal of narrowing the field to top 2 or 3;
- Set up second interviews with the top level candidates – ideally in a different setting than the first interview. Have them come in during peak hours and make then stand around watching what happens. Take a measure of how they react to the situation and if they feel compelled to jump in and lend a hand – a Superstar candidate finds it hard to stand by and watch the action.
- A common mistake is to hire the candidate during the first interview. Do a second or third interview if you are undecided.
- If you are interviewing a member, friend, or a friend of a friend, make sure you put them through the same interviewing process as you would if they were a stranger.
What to look for in Applicants
- Sales Experience is a must. It's hard to teach someone to sell, especially when they lack the desire, motivation or skill set. Hiring someone who is motivated by commission and has experience selling is a must.
- Personality: Front Desk Staff largely contribute to building a community, customer service and retention of your members. Having an amazing, upbeat personality is a must.
- Past Jobs: What type of jobs they have had, and the length of time at those jobs. If someone jumps from job to job, chances are they will do the same to you. If they have worked at another gym with the same management software system as you, that is a plus.
- Athletic: It is a requirement that of our front desk staff take our classes. It’s much easier to sell a product if you can tell a story from your own experience. Invite the candidates to take a class, before you make your decision. Get their feedback about the class.
The next blog will continue with operational strategies on hiring front desk staff for your affiliate Gym. I will discuss ways to compensate and motivate your front desk staff, training and the benefits of why you should hire front desk staff.