Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Why the Fitness Job Market Kinda Sucks

A new statistic came out last week stating that unemployment in this country has increased to a whopping 9.9%. That's almost 10% of  the population! This alarming news is draining for us to hear, but there's one area I believe still beckons a wealth of opportunity: the fitness job market. As a professional who has been hiring and teaching new, young students for a few years, I tend to think I know a little about what to look for when hiring an eager applicant. Each week,  I stand in front of 15-20 new and aspiring personal trainers teaching them everything from anatomy/physiology (fun stuff), exercise programming, exercise execution, and professional and ethics development. When it comes to lecturing about career preparedness, I begin to see where they fail. When I interview potential trainers for my facility, I hear where they begin to fail.

Let me put it to you this way. There is a lot of crap out there when trying to hire a good employee. Times are different compared to when I was graduating college and looking to make myself marketability to  potential employers. And that was only 12 years ago! Its seems along the way, society and job seekers have changed. This shift into entitlement has decreased our chances at succeeding because today's job seekers are prone to "getting what they want". Here is a list of the things I have seen in my classes and interviews I have conducted with aspiring personal trainers:

1.) Entitled. This is the biggest. Many of today's job seekers feel they are "owed" something.Sadly, many believe that its not about hard work anymore; its more about who can advance doing the least amount of work. I am old-school and still believe in the applicant that is eager to make an impact and become an asset to the facility. Entrepreneurs may apply, but please, you have to work to get what you want.

2.) Their time is more valuable. Since when is coming late to an interview acceptable? Today's job market includes many individuals that feel they are "going out of their way" to be present at a job interview. Some show up late, some show up on the button. But no one shows up 5-10 minutes early anymore? Why is that? What happened to the days of showing up early to an interview and waiting patiently for the boss to come out?

3.) Cell phones and accessibility. Put your phone away and stop checking your messages. In today's technology, we can be contacted instantaneously. That is convenient, however, this has conditioned us to think that we need to be available for everyone 24 hours a day--every minute, every second. I subscribe to the old school of turning my phone off before an interview, in the movie theater, and gym.

4.) Customer Service. What ever happened to looking a customer in the eyes and smiling? Today's job seekers concern themselves with their messages (see above); what's on TV, or what's going on anywhere but in front of the prospective customer. Paying attention to your clients/customers is crucial for retention. Somewhere along the way, the customer became #2 on the business floor. This topic is discussed immensely in my book Secret Skills of Personal Training:
5.) Laziness. Today's job seekers want it done for them. Every time I teach, every student wants the test answers practically "taught" to them. We have become a student body of "memorizers" and not "learners". Today's minds are not expanded by concepts and ideas, rather by toxic excesses that drain the birth of original thought, self-drive, and self-efficacy. Not only are we physically lazy, but most job seekers do not prepare and go the extra distance to achieve something. See number #1.

Not every job seeker I have encountered exhibits these qualities. But the truth of the matter is, unemployment rates are rising because this nation is breeding all the above characteristics (and more) and really making it more difficult for those that do aspire for greatness. "Remember, no one rises to low expectations." (Les Brown)

1 comment:

  1. Hi John -
    Great article! Wish you were closer... It would be an honor to work at your gym!!


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