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What to Expect at a Personal Training Interview

author image Marie Mulrooney
Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. A retired personal trainer, former math tutor, avid outdoorswoman and experience traveler, Mulrooney also runs a small side business creating custom crafts. She's published thousands of articles in print and online, helping readers do everything from perfecting their pushups to learning new languages.
What to Expect at a Personal Training Interview
You may be required to demonstrate your hands-on expertise during a job interview. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

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, then the "first session" interviews with prospective clients afterward.


As with any other job, you should do your best to project a confident, capable and professional appearance at interview time. Gauge your attire by what other trainers at the facility you're interviewing for usually wear, and remember that you may be required to demonstrate exercises or put somebody else through a workout. If in doubt, a crisp, clean shirt and slacks are generally acceptable wear for both men and women. Wear appropriate dress shoes, but bring your gym shoes with you in your briefcase, handbag or gym bag, just in case.

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Bring proof of your credentials -- either originals or clean photocopies. Avoid embarrassing mistakes by reviewing the requirements for 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. 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.

Employer Questions

A prospective employer may ask you many of the same questions you'd answer at any job interview: why you left your last position, what you did or didn't like about it, and your strengths and weaknesses. The prospective employer may also quiz you about business details, such as whether you carry your own liability insurance and how you'd handle a hypothetical emergency. Your potential employer will probably also ask about any training specialties you have and may inquire about how you see yourself fitting into the club or gym. You may also be asked to demonstrate your personal training abilities, either putting another employee through a workout, explaining the principles of exercise science or working through hypothetical situations.

Client Questions

A savvy prospective client might ask many of the same questions an employer would, including what you do for your own fitness routine, how long you've been training and whether you have any specialties. Both clients and employers might also request references from previous clients or employers.

Interview Back

Use the interview as an opportunity to discern whether you'd like to work with the employer or client in question. Make sure to find out whether you'd be working as an employee or an independent contractor, if you'll be obligated to work certain hours and if there are any additional job duties. Also, inquire about pay structure, limitations on or opportunities for recruiting new clients and career advancement.

Clients are looking for a trainer that's a good fit for them, but you're perfectly justified in looking for clients that you feel comfortable training, too. If you feel that a client you've just met is too high-maintenance, not motivated enough, or has special needs you cannot accommodate, you might suggest alternative ways of getting involved with fitness or even refer the client to another trainer.

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