Episode 60: Learning to Execute Instructor Auditions

Barry Ennis

Episode 60 is all about creating a streamlined process for auditioning new instructors. If you don’t have a plan for this, it can be a big mess and a huge waste of time! Let’s prevent these little pitfalls by walking through it step by step.

Barry Ennis

Fitness Professional

Episode 60 is all about creating a streamlined process for auditioning new instructors. If you don’t have a plan for this, it can be a big mess and a huge waste of time! Let’s prevent these little pitfalls by walking through it step by step.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

Market your audition

What to look for in your candidates

How to follow up

Here’s the Complete List of Tips:

Planning in Advance

Work backwards from the date that you want new instructors on the schedule. Depending on the type of studio you run ,you may have to allot up to six weeks for a full training. Give yourself a buffer (a week or so) between the audition and the start of training so you can give yourself some time to review the candidates.

You’re then going to have to work backwards  to give yourself a chance to properly market the audition and get the word out. This should be about 2 weeks before.

Depending on whether you require instructors to go through training and how long the training is, you’re going to need to to start this whole process 2 to 2.5 months before you want instructors on the schedule.

Attracting Quality Instructors

1. Place an ad in an industry newspaper in print + online. Health, Wellness, Fitness, Training, Dance, Theatre + Film.
2. Ask local non-competing studios if you may post an audition notice on their community board or on Instagram/ Facebook.
3. Ask local businesses that cater to a healthy, active community if they can post our audition notice on their community board or Instagram/ Facebook.
4. Post audition notices to your own social media. Ask current instructors to also share via social media. Get everyone involved in the search!
5. Reach out to popular health, fitness, music and fashion bloggers and see if they will share your audition notice.
6. Pay your own Trainers to research and attend fitness classes in the surrounding area, or do this yourself. Whatever the case, if scouting/recruiting from another studio and you like the teacher, tell them you are looking for instructors you are interested in inviting them to an audition. Leave them your business card and let them reach out to YOU, so it does not appear as if you are poaching from other companies.
7. If you have an email list of your members you can create a targeted Facebook ad for those emails. At many studios, new instructors come from strong members who want to take it to the next level.
8. You may wish to invite individuals that you’re particularly interested in to come in and take class prior to auditions in order to observe them in action. Ask them to come to a specific class, and send a senior instructor in to TAKE that same class and share thoughts with the training team after.

Preparing Audition Announcement Materials

In your announcements, make it very clear what you’re looking for. Mention things like
“We are looking for the following qualities:

Clear Instruction/Cueing/Counting
Musicality/Using the Music to Drive the Movement
Ability to work within the 8 count and musical phrases
Ability to Lead and Control the Room with confidence”

If you’re okay with accepting people with no prior teaching experience, make sure you include that on the audition notice “no prior teaching experience necessary.”

Preparing for Audition Day

If your list of candidates is really long, then you may wish to give yourself the ability to filter some out. This can be a vital step to ensuring you’re not wasting your or anyone else’s time on audition day.

Ask them to send a video of themselves teaching, and another video of them introducing themselves, and answering a few questions like, what is it you’re passionate about, why did you decided to become a fitness instructor, how long have you been teaching? What types of exercises have you taught before? What’s your background like? What kind of music do you listen to? Ask questions that will give you a clear sense as to whether this is the type of person that will fit with your brand and fit in with your family. You may also wish to ask them to submit a resume, or ask them to include that in their video, so you know what certifications they have and what kind of experience. These videos can be especially helpful if you are gong to be training people that are brand new to fitness.

Recognize there is a difference between a performer and an instructor. Just because someone looks beautiful doing movement does not mean they have the ability to coach. Charisma and energy are more important. Focus on what can be taught, and what cannot.

Day of the Audition

1. Invite up to 20 people at one time to attend an audition. If you are viewing more than 20 potential instructors, break them up into smaller groups and set up two audition times/days.
2. Let attendees know what they need to bring and how long they need to teach for. If you have accepted people with no prior teaching experience, inform them that they can talk about themselves for 2 minutes in front of the group. (Prepare a few questions in case they get stuck). You may also quickly teach them 30-60 seconds of material and ask them to mimic your instruction.
3. Let those auditioning know they need to make themselves available for up to 2 hours+ to prepare 15 minutes (3 songs) of training/choreography/ class material. If they have no prior experience they may present 3-4 minutes showcasing their best teaching skills of whatever style they can do.
4. Begin the audition with 20 minutes of a class lead by a senior instructor. All attendees will take this class together at the same time. Master Trainers and decision makers will observe and take notes. You have the option of making a first cut after this class. “Call back” the list of people you’d like to see more from by writing out their names in the order you’d like to see them and post the paper on the door along with the start time of the first person auditioning. Excuse everyone else. Doing it specifically this way can avoid potential drama.
5. Bring your call back list into the studio one at a time to present their material. Invite some junior instructors to come in and take class from those auditioning so that they have someone to teach to and the training team and decision makers can continue to watch and observe. After they complete their audition, Thank them for coming and tell them you will get back to them within 2 days.

Important Note: You may have to hold 2 – 3 rounds of auditions this way to find a full team of new hires. Plan the audition schedule accordingly.

I recommend having all decision makers use the same form to complete when assessing each candidate. This will provide a baseline for everyone’s assessment.

Post-Audition Protocol

CALL the candidates that did not make it, and do it as soon as possible. It can be helpful to inform them why they did not make it, and what they can improve on if you’d like to invite them back to a future training. Try to keep it as informative and as positive as possible.

In many cases, candidates simply aren’t strong enough in their movement to teach. You may wish to consider giving them a free membership so they can continue to stay in your community and get stronger/more accustomed to your class style and format before inviting them to the next audition.

If you find someone who has a great personality and fairly good form/musicality but they are not very strong, invite them to take classes at your studio for a certain number of weeks. They must complete an assigned number of classes (ex: 10) and go through a second evaluation before being accepted into training. (This can only be done if the studio or nearby location is already open)

In the invitations for candidates that you’d like to accept (assuming you have a training), make it clear that an invitation to train does not guarantee employment.

Hold a meeting prior to training discussing company culture, spirit and expectations. Make sure they sign an NDA, waiver and agreement prior to participation. Examples of expections are:
1. Set a “Half Way” Mark for mid-training evaluations and excuse anyone who is not progressing up to standards. Be sure to collect all training materials from those who do not make it.
2. If your studio is already up and running during course training, invite your trainees to take and observe classes. Leave their names and a sign in sheet with the front desk so you can record their attendance. Set a mandatory number of classes to take per week (3-4) and a mandatory number of classes to observe per week (1-2).

Other References in This Episode:

Episode 43: Become the Leader in Your Market (Pt. 1) with Billy Polson

FREE Candidate Assessment Form

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