Articles for Employers

Fitness Employers, Avoid the Recruitment ‘Groundhog Day’


Ah, Groundhog Day. A great comedic movie where Phil the Weatherman (Bill Murray) is doomed to re-live the same day over and over again until he gets it right.

Unfortunately, doing the same thing over and over again in real life is much less entertaining.

And yet this is often the experience for many fitness employers. A cycle of recruiting frenzy, candidate placement and then relax – starting from scratch again at the next recruiting frenzy… And this cycle is usually repeated (according to our records) at least three times a year for studios and more for larger facilities!

Given that the fitness industry abounds with innovation, why is it that so many employers are transfixed by traditional models of recruitment? Is it not time that more employers saw fitness industry roles for the ‘evergreen’ positions that they are?

Wait, what’s ‘evergreen’?

In the same way that an evergreen tree is always green, many jobs in the fitness industry should be considered ‘always open’, or ‘evergreen’. That is, even if you don’t need someone right away, it is statistically likely that you will be looking for someone within three months, so why not get the process started as soon as possible?

Here’s a few reasons why treating your jobs as evergreen could work…

1. Relying on job ads alone can cost you great candidates

When a role is advertised and filled with the best possible candidate, it’s likely that one or more excellent applicants were rejected in the process (the role has, after all, been filled).

Alternatively, by treating the job as evergreen, you are more likely to find space for excellent candidates as they arise, rather than ignoring them until you next have a role you need to sort immediately.

2. Ongoing recruitment helps avoid the ‘coincidence hiring’

There will always be a need for job advertising, but it’s fair to say it’s best described as ‘coincidence hiring’ – as in, it has to be a lucky coincidence that a top candidate is available during the same time that you have a job opening that suits them.

Rather than relying on this coincidence to occur, a superior recruiting approach is to continuously search for great talent for your evergreen positions and then, as much as business permits, hire them whenever they enter the job market.

By creating a position exclusively for them (or by giving them a short-term assignment until a position opens up) you can successfully capture this suddenly available top talent – top talent that will clearly go elsewhere.

3. Some roles, such as Personal Training, will always be in a shortage

The evergreen approach helps employers move closer to an employee surplus. And if you are worried about having too many of the right people on board, you can easily suspend recruitment for the evergreen role for a while. Or start a new business, expand your business or do some of the projects that you’ve wanted to do but couldn’t for lack of people.

4. An opportunity for an optimal candidate assessment

With an evergreen approach, there is little if any time pressure. This means that any uncertainty about a candidate can be teased out to whatever length required to satisfy the recruiting manager.  It also allows for a more comprehensive on-boarding of new hires. Conversely, job advertising is often under considerable time pressure – a role either needs to be filled, or is about to become vacant. Time pressure negatively impacts on the interviewing and screening systems, as well as reduces the optimal on-boarding period (not to mention, encourage the appointment of ‘the best currently available’ rather than ‘the best available’).

5. Regular recruiting builds stronger systems and more skilled managers

Where recruitment processes are being followed every week / month, the systems become stronger, managers become more skilled and the likelihood of hiring the right person is greater.

6. If you’ve got a surplus, it’s likely your competitors have a shortage

OK, you’re not likely to ‘over hire’ simply to scuttle the competition, but it doesn’t hurt to consider the possibility that your recent hire of a record producing Membership Consultant or Personal Trainer could just as easily have been working their magic for the competition (just sayin’ is all).

With just a little effort, generating candidates for an evergreen recruitment program has never been easier. Key sources include word of mouth, websites and social media. For the more serious employer, a HealthyPeople Business Membership can provide a steady stream of candidates (and cheaper job ads).

Do you think evergreen recruitment could work at your fitness facility? Please leave your comments below.

Regards, Dennis Hosking

For more on evergreen recruitment see ‘The Evergreen Advantage‘ by Dr. John Sullivan.


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