Blog

27 Personal Trainer Interview Questions & Answers

Why You Should Mystery Shop Before A Personal Training Interview

Got a big interview coming up and want to know what personal trainer interview questions are likely coming your way? 

Whether you’re a newly qualified fitness professional, or you’re already established in the industry and are looking for a new challenge, our extensive list of personal training interview questions and answers will tell you everything you need to know.

Contents:

If you’re looking to really impress your interviewer, though, a specialist Level 4 fitness qualification from OriGym can really set you apart from other candidates.

Download our FREE prospectus today to learn more about what we offer, and how it could be an ideal way to progress your career.

How To Prepare For Your Personal Training Interview

Before we delve into templates for personal trainer interview questions and answers, let’s have a look at some of the key tips to getting your interview off to a winning start.

Over years of giving careers advice to our Level 2 Gym Instructing and Level 3 Personal Training students, we have built up a pretty good idea of the concerns and questions of candidates going into interviews.

Let’s take a look at what you can do to effectively prepare for your personal trainer interview, as well as address any of the worries you might have.

Visit Your Potential Employer

personal trainer interview questions

Visiting a gym prior to attending a personal trainer interview is a must, especially if you have never stepped foot in what could be your next workplace. You’ll be able to fully visualise the gym’s layout, where you can train clients, and how effectively you can sequence together your routines.

With that in mind, you have a few options for what you can do.

You could book a tour of the gym, purchase a pay-for-a-day pass, or better still, pay for a personal training session to get a scope of your future competition. All of these are great ideas to put you ahead of the competition. 

Now you might be wondering, how exactly do you make the most of your mystery shopping questions? 

Well, here are some key questions you can weave into your mystery shop to get some answers that will help you later on in your personal trainer interview:

  • How Many Personal Trainers Work Here? - This can help you get a much clearer idea of who you’ll be working alongside, as well as what kind of gym it is. A larger team of personal trainers means that it’s likely to be a more goal-focused gym, whereas a smaller team means you’re probably going to be working with only those who have specific ideas in mind.
  • How Does The Personal Training Structure Work? - Think specifically in terms of payment structures and ground rent, as this can have a huge impact on your monthly earnings.
  • How Much Is The Gym Membership? - This affects both the amount of clients you’ll get, as well as how much you can expect to be paid for your services. Lower membership costs will mean a greater number of gym members, but higher costs means a more focused client base.
  • What Help And Support Do Personal Trainers Get From The Gym? - Some gyms offer limited support for personal trainers, whereas others will have systems in place to help you if you’re struggling. This is a crucial aspect of considering your future employer.
  • Do The Personal Trainers Work Shifts Or Is It Fixed Hours? - Another vital question to ask, especially if you’ve got other commitments that could impact the hours and shifts you’re available to work. Check out our complete overview of the day in the life of a PT for a detailed breakdown of the hours you’ll be working.

All of these not only register an interest in the place where you could be working, but provide you with key information that can help to shape your answers when it comes time for your personal training interview.

Dress Smartly

pt interview questions

There’s one key point we need to stress here - please do not wear gym clothes to a personal training interview.  Although many companies do not mind, some really do, and this can reflect poorly on you. 

We’d always recommend opting for smart business attire. This is arguably the best option, in that you’ll be presenting yourself in the best possible way. We’ve actually discussed this in more detail with our complete guide to how a PT should dress.

It is, however, advisable to bring gym gear with you to your personal trainer interview. More often than not, unless your interviewer specifically outlines that you will be required to take part in a practical demonstration, you will not be expected to have spare kit with you.

It is a good idea to take a change of clothes with you, though. While you may not be expected to complete any physical demonstrations, having an extra set of clothes with you is a great way to show your preparedness and willingness to adapt.

Bring Your Certificates

interview personal trainer

We’d strongly advise you to bring your fitness industry certificates with you to your interview. If you have any client testimonials, bring those too in order to support your expertise. Bringing proof of your qualifications and experience achieves a couple of things.

First off, it demonstrates how seriously you are taking the position in question, and your career as a whole. Again, this shows an employer that you have a hireable personality, in addition to all the paper qualifications they are looking for.

And secondly, it proves that you have a track record in terms of delivering a high level of customer satisfaction.

Nothing acts as a better reference for your service than the personal success stories of your clients, so don’t be afraid to show them off!

If there was one thing to look out for, it would be time constraints. You can’t bring all of your clients to the table, so choose your best ones, and make sure you can talk about them in detail if questioned.

 

Become a Sports Nutrionist

Become a Nutrition expert with OriGym's Level 4 Advanced Nutrition Qualification

Do Your Research

personal training interview

Before attending a personal training interview, many personal trainers think they are primarily going to be asked questions either in relation to their course, or to their specific training methods.

Actually, this is far from the truth. We've found that most questions revolve around building your business. This can include direct questions about sales, marketing and promotion.

If you do not possess a sales background, do some industry research on how you would develop relations with clients, and how you would sell and market to them. You may also want to mention how you intend to build a client base, and how you would retain that client base over a one year time scale.

Research the brand of the company you are having the fitness instructor or personal training interview with. Here are just a few elements you should know prior to attending:  

  • Their mission statement - This is normally found on the gym’s “About Us” page, and encapsulates what they stand for, and what they’re aiming to do for the members.
  • How long they’ve been in operation for - This can tell you how successful they are, as well as whether they’ve got the necessary experience to support you effectively.
  • Their notable achievements - Award nominations and wins, recognition in newspapers or magazines, and even Trustpilot reviews can be ideal information to take note of.
  • The personal training services they offer - Check their website for information on what PT services they make available to their members. This gives you a great idea of your personal trainer role and responsibilities, as well as what you can expect from the gym itself.
  • Their target market - What kind of clientele are they looking to attract? This can hugely inform your interview skills, especially as you can demonstrate your ability to tailor sessions for those clients.
  • What the gym is looking for - This can either be found through the job advertisement you applied through, or on the gym’s website. You can strategically mention these during your interview.

When preparing for personal training interview questions, it is also worth bearing in mind that most of the information you need can be found online.

By simply checking out the job description of the role you are applying for, you can anticipate a number of the key skills and attributes they will ask about in your interview.

See below for an annotated job description from Sports Direct, one of our corporate partners, and what an interviewer might ask you related to the advert.

pt interview questions and answers

Highlighted in orange are all the key factors an interviewer might be interested in. Notice how many of them aren’t directly related to personal training and fitness qualifications?

Your personal trainer skills, and how you present yourself as a future employee, are crucial, so you need to prepare to talk about your attributes with confidence and ease.

Personal Trainer Interview: Questions and Answers

We've covered some of the most important things to consider ahead of personal trainer interviews, and how you can avoid some of the common pitfalls. So now it's time for the important stuff.

What questions are you likely to get asked, and how are you going to answer them?

Below, you can find the most frequently asked questions at personal trainer interviews, as well as how we'd approach answering them from our years of experience in the fitness industry.  

 

Q: What Do You Like Doing Outside Of Work?

questions from personal trainer interview

This is a very common personal trainer interview question. In fact, it’s one that we open all of our interviews with, as it immediately establishes exactly who it is that you’re talking to.

The interviewer wants to find out if you have some depth to your personality. Are you somebody they want to work with? Do you have interests that can factor into your personal training, and develop how you deliver the client’s sessions?

Give answers that make you unique and show off the depth of your personality. Be as specific as you can with your answers. Here’s a few example answers to give you a clearer picture of what we mean.

  • “I play guitar to a Grade 7 level and love playing acoustic folk music. I’m hoping to complete my Grade 8 exam in a few months time!”
  • “I started taking Spanish lessons on my weekends and have my oral assessment next month. It’s my dream to visit Barcelona, and learn about how Catalan and Spanish differ.”
  • “I’m a member of my local squash club, based in Norwich, and I play three times a week. I actually competed at a national level when I was 13.”
  • “I regularly visit local art galleries and just visited The Bluecoat in Liverpool, where I bought a print from a local artist called James Miller.”

Each of these example answers gives just enough information to show that you have interests outside of fitness, and demonstrates that you can talk confidently about the things that you’re passionate about.

You’ll also notice that each of our example answers are specific. Interviewers can’t tell anything about you from generic answers (like “I like to socialise” or “I enjoy reading”), and it can often be an indication that you aren’t right for the role, especially one that’s as social as personal training.

 

Q: What Did You Cover Within Your Personal Training Course?

q&a pt interview

This is something you’ll have covered in great depth when you completed your personal training course, but we’ll recap some of the key points here.

  • Basic & Advanced Anatomy and Physiology
  • The Key Principles of Health and Exercise
  • Writing Effective and Impactful SMART Fitness Goals
  • Applying Nutrition To A Personal Training Programme
  • Health & Safety in a Fitness Environment
  • Writing Customised Plans For Clients With Differing Needs and Requirements

This shouldn’t be something you spend a long time explaining. Be concise, be clear, and get straight to the point. The interviewer doesn’t want a story here, they just want to check you are fully qualified. 

The next questions will help your interviewer find out more about how you’ve applied this knowledge over the course of your career. 

Q: Tell Me About Your Previous Experience As A Personal Trainer

personal training interview tips

Here, it’s important to remember that you are going to be competing with other personal trainers for the same roles, and they might have more experience in terms of years. This shouldn’t be something you worry about, though.

Even if you’re new to the fitness industry, you should always refer to the transferable skill sets that you possess, especially ones that you feel are relevant for the role. 

While doing this, always give examples from previous employment or life experiences, and then relate to how such skills could be employed in a personal training context. 

You can find the desired skills sets in the job description and match your transferable skills to what your potential future employer is looking for. Here is an example:

Time Management Skills

“In my last job role as a personal assistant, I played a key role in the Managing Director’s day to day running of his business appointments, ensuring he was on time for important meetings and scheduling around his existing timetable. This required me to use my initiative and make difficult calls under pressure.

I firmly believe this skill set applies to the offered role, as I would be able manage both my personal client timetable, in addition to hosting group sessions on behalf of the gym. My experience handling money also means I can make sure paying clients are top of my agenda, leaving subsequent time to sell, market, and promote my services.”

It’s immediately apparent how this skill can relate to personal training, and this example shows how, even though you might not have any relevant experience, you can relate previous roles to each aspect of personal training.

Other skills you might want to reference include:

  • Organisation
  • Initiative
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Communication Skills
  • Reliability
  • Receptive To Feedback
  • Working Well Under Pressure
  • Cooperation

Each of these are hugely important skills for personal training, and all of them can be related to different roles and times in your life where you’ve needed these key attributes. If you’re struggling, jot down a few moments you’re proud of, and see how these can relate to the skills we’ve mentioned.

Q: How Would You Grow Your Client Base?

personal trainer interview tips

Here, you’ll need to be specific with your answers, particularly with regard to the ways you would market to clients. Marketing is a crucial part of a personal trainer’s role, and understanding even just the fundamentals can set you up for success.

It is also music to an interviewer’s ears if you say that you want to go on a sales/marketing course to enhance these skills if you are not strong in these areas. Our guide to the best short courses in the UK has a wide range of choices for this, if you’re looking to get started.

Here are some strategies and tips you might want to mention to impress your future employer:

  • Use the sales team (if they have one) to get a list of the new joiners and invite them to have a complimentary gym session. If they don’t have a sales team, the reception, administrative staff, or owner should have a database of such contacts.
  • Run a free nutrition seminar to showcase your knowledge and skills.
  • Talk to clients at busy times on reception to fully engage with them. Offer free advice and check up on gym-member who seem to be struggling.
  • Use Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to bring new faces to the gym through personal training offers
  • Start your own class in order to familiarise yourself with the customers of your new gym.
  • Create your own personal training poster and place it in the most prominent places in the gym to increase brand visibility.
  • Create mini-fitness workshops such as kettlebell courses, to engage members, improve their fitness, and create rapport with potential clients.
  • Exchange referrals and leads with local businesses, like sports massage therapists or nutritionists.
  • Create a client referral programme and rewards scheme for your services
  • Use every class as an opportunity to promote and sell your services.

Q: What Are Your Career Goals?

personal training interview answers

Never restrict your answer to the offered role. This shows a lack of ambition, and also suggests that, if you got the job, it would be as far as you can go as a professional.

As opposed to reassuring the interviewer that you would be loyal, this kind of answer may lead them to believe that you would have no incentive to work hard or develop as a personal trainer.

This question is, therefore, a test of ambition, but an employer also wants to hear realistic and authentic answers. Do not say how you want to be the CEO in the next 5 years...it's just not going to happen.

Equally, don’t say that you want to use this job to develop skills in order to have a dream career with a direct competitor.

Try something industry related, and that reflects the ideas and thought process of someone who wants to succeed. Here’s a few examples of what you could choose to say:

  • “I’d love to own my own gym one day, with a team of personal trainers delivering sessions.”
  • “I really want to progress here, and move upwards into a gym management position in the near future.”
  • “I’m aiming to learn all there is to know about fitness, and develop my education through the additional training and support this role offers.”

Q: How Would Your Former Employee Describe You?

personal trainer interviewing questions

This is trickier than it might seem at first. Even if you do not like your former employer or job, you can’t be negative or indicate that you left in bad blood.

You need to show some evidence that you performed well, and that your choice to leave was for reasons related to career progression.

  • Refer to performance reviews or appraisals with exact quotes or something that you can evidence.
  • Refer anecdotally to an instance where you exceeded expectations. Perhaps you initiated a new sales strategy and received a pay rise as a result.
  • Name your strengths or positive traits with examples and demonstrations of these - don’t just list them without backing them up.
  • Equally, name areas where you have been willing to learn. Showing that you were willing to expand your skillset is a key trait that an employer will look for.

Much of this is about framing yourself in a positive light, and it’s often a crucial part of any personal trainer interview process. 

 

 

Become a Sports Nutrionist

Become a Nutrition expert with OriGym's Level 4 Advanced Nutrition Qualification

Q: How Do You Plan To Keep Your Knowledge Of Fitness And Health Up To Date?

questions in a personal trainer interview

Again, this is a question that requires direct answers. You should get straight to the point, and explain your ideas concisely, with actionable 

You can show a little ambition, but it’s best to keep your answers short and to the point.

  • Refer to Continuous Professional Development Courses (CPDs). These offer additional avenues for developing your skillset, and showing that you’re aware of these is an excellent way to subtly demonstrate your commitment to the career. Our range of CPD courses cover a wide range of specialist skills.
  • Mention how you already conduct your own research using journals and scientific studies, and would continue to do so in the current role. Remember, be specific: name some studies or resources you’ve used.
  • Talk about what other trainers might be doing better than you and a system you could put in place to improve this.

Each of these are ideal to mention, as they not only show the level of research you’re doing currently, but also the level of research you’re willing to do as well. Employers will hugely appreciate this, as it shows your drive and commitment to the fitness industry.

  

Q: How Would You Define Great Customer Service?

questions from personal trainer interviews

Answers for good customer service always need to be skill focused and backed up with an example from your experience as a customer, or as the employee giving that level of service. 

Almost all previous experience, regardless of the capacity in which you worked, will have provided you with some experience with customers or clients, and you’ll need to have developed a strong rapport with them.

This in turn provides you with skills and expertise that translates across to the fitness industry. Here’s a quick list of skills that show you’ve got excellent customer service:

  • A Great Attitude - Greeting clients or customers with a smile, and showing that you’re someone with a good level of patience, as well as a friendly and approachable demeanour.
  • Problem Solving - Part of the customer service experience is being able to solve any issues that the client may be experiencing, as well as taking responsibility for a client’s needs.
  • Communication Skills - Keeping clients fully informed and updated through regular, effective communication is crucial to providing a comprehensive service.
  • Product Awareness - Being completely knowledgeable about the product or service that you are offering, as well as how it could benefit the client, is imperative in the fitness industry.

Each of these skills are applicable to the vast majority of roles, regardless of the sector or industry that you’ve worked in. 

Q: What Would You Say Is Your Biggest Weakness/Flaw?

questions and answers for personal trainer interview

This is one of the most commonly asked questions in any kind of interview, and it can often be a way for a company to understand any aspects they might need to be aware of before they hire you. 

These could include any gaps in knowledge, or misunderstandings of key terms, or it could relate to you as a person. There’s a crucial tip to follow here that can ensure you always give a positive answer to a question that could trip you up.

Use weaknesses that can also be interpreted as strengths, as well as giving an authentic weakness, but crucially one that you are aware of and are putting systems in place to improve. Acknowledging your weaknesses, but putting steps into place to address them, is a fantastic way to impress your potential employer.

Weaknesses to strengths:

  • I can often take on too much responsibility because…..
  • I sometimes forget to delegate work to others because….
  • I can get stressed when I miss a target or deadline because…

An example of a genuine weakness, and how you are working towards improving it.

  • I sometimes get too invested in training, to the detriment of balancing other responsibilities… I am fixing this by taking on group classes and ensuring my schedules are mixed with client work and marketing responsibilities.

  

Q: How Would You Build Rapport With A Prospective Client?

questions to ask a personal trainer in an interview

Rapport building is one of the most important elements of being a great personal trainer. Customers only buy from people they like, and who they feel engaged with.

Your answer to this personal trainer interview question should revolve around what you could give to a client to improve their fitness, or how you would find common ground with a member to develop rapport.

Here’s just a few suggestions of what you could ask or do to help establish that initial rapport with a client, as well as build the foundations for a meaningful relationship.

  • Asking the gym member how their training is going
  • Offering to prep their shake for them
  • Giving them a towel for their workout
  • Asking them if they need a spot
  • Inviting them to take part in a gym challenge
  • Inviting them to an educational workshop
  • Offering to give them a free nutrition plan

 

Q: How Would You Motivate A Client?

interview with a personal trainer

This question is where most personal trainers jump straight into what techniques they would use to get the most out of their clients during a session.

And, in truth, that isn’t necessarily a bad answer, but it is one that doesn’t answer the question as effectively as it could.

The problem is that they are missing the trick as to what you should do both prior to a session and after it, in order to get your client motivated outside of the gym.

Firstly, explain to the interviewer that motivation comes in three stages:

  1. Before Gym Sessions
  2. During the delivery of the session
  3. How you set them up for their next session

Let’s break these down into more detail now.

Before Gym Sessions

  • Provide your client with clearly defined goals. This should be in terms of both longer-term goals, and goals that are specific to your next session. Doing this will maintain an excellent level of focus, and challenge your client to keep pushing when things get difficult.
  • Show them the results other clients have achieved. You’ll be able to provide real evidence of how setting short-term goals and accomplishing them can lead to the results they’re looking for.

During Sessions

  • Maintain a positive attitude. By staying positive and professional throughout your sessions, your clients are much more likely to respond to your suggestions, and therefore have a more impactful experience.
  • Mix up your sessions. Create challenging and engaging workouts that stimulate both the mind and body. Visual aids like videos can be hugely helpful for clients who struggle to focus.
  • Vary your approach to motivation. A one-size-fits-all approach is the wrong way to view client motivation, and it’s vital to recognise that before you train anyone. Some clients might need more of a push, whereas others might lack the confidence to pursue new challenges.

Setting Them Up For The Next Session

  • Use personal training software. These are apps or programs that allow you to track client data, upload progress photos, and plan out your next sessions in advance, so your client knows exactly what to expect. 
  • Involve your clients in planning. Ask for their input when you’re designing their sessions, especially if they’ve got an exercise or routine that they particularly enjoy or feel confident in doing.
  • Diversify your programmes. Always ensure that you’re coming up with fresh and interesting ideas for your sessions, as this can keep clients engaged, and therefore more likely to return to your services.

   

Q: Give Me A Time When You Have Had A Target To Hit And How You Achieved That Target.

personal trainer interview attire

Give the interviewer a specific example of when you have had a target that you surpassed. This can be an operational (day-to-day), compliance (longer term parts of your job process), or sales target within previous employment.

Explain how you broke that target down (e.g. if it was a monthly sales target) into weekly, daily, and hourly mini targets to make the overall target more manageable, as well as why you feel meeting or exceeding that target is an achievement.

Here’s an example to better illustrate how to answer this personal trainer interview question:

“In my previous job, I had to meet a sales target by the end of the month. I’d exceeded the target in the previous month, so management had increased it to challenge me further. I broke down the task into smaller, bite-sized chunks to better visualise what I’d need to do on both a daily and weekly basis. By splitting each task into those smaller components, I was able to meet the new, higher target, and even surpassed it through my use of specific targets. I’d bring this expertise to all my sessions, helping clients to understand how they can achieve both their short- and long-term goals.”

With this example, they’ve given a clear indication of how they’ve adapted targets for a sales environment, as well as how this skill can be seamlessly adapted to fit into a personal training session.

 

Q: How Would You Handle A Client Complaint About The Gym You Are Working For?

interview personal trainer

The first thing to note here is that the best way to deal with complaints is to be process-based. It can be tempting to react in the moment, based on the emotions you’re feeling, but this only leads to further complications.

Have a plan, and tell the interviewer how it will help you deal with the complaint.

Try something along the lines of:

  • Acknowledge the complaint - This immediately tells the customer that you understand their frustration, and that you’re going to do something about it.
  • Try and solve the complaint as it is raised - If you’re able to do something in the moment (like rectify an issue with payments), then do so, as this can help to alleviate the issue immediately, and maintain good customer relations
  • If it’s out of your jurisdiction, report the complaint to a manager on the customer’s behalf. 
  • Let the customer know who you have reported it to, and the expected time frame for hearing back. 
  • Check in with the customer at the next opportunity to see if the issue was successfully resolved.

This shows you understand how to deal with customers, as well as the process you’ll need to follow if you’re unable to deal directly with the customer’s issue.

 

Become a Sports Nutrionist

Become a Nutrition expert with OriGym's Level 4 Advanced Nutrition Qualification

Q: What Makes You A Good Teainterview questions for personal trainerm Player?

Fitness is often an industry where you’ll have to cooperate with others regularly, whether that’s working with your clients, communicating with those you work alongside, or delivering sessions to groups.

Always answer this personal training interview question with an example. This makes it far easier to explain exactly what it is that makes you a social employee, as well as a competent one.

Here’s a few key tips to follow when you’re asked this question:

  • Explain how you built bridges in your previous job. How did you develop and foster relationships between you and those you were working with?
  • Mention any awards or recognition you received at your previous job. For example, if you were voted Employee of the Month by your colleagues, tell your interviewer about it, and why you’re proud of that achievement.
  • Give examples of how you’ve gone out of your way to help others in your workplace. These should be specific, and explain how this benefitted the other employees.
  • Tell your interviewer about a time where you’ve put the interest of others ahead of your own, and give an example.

 

Q: What Are The Top Three Exercises That You Feel Are Most Beneficial To A Client And Why?

personal trainer job interview questions

This question is purely to test whether you can justify the benefit of a type of exercise for different clients, as well as gauging your overall knowledge of fitness.

You should always start by saying there is no exercise that can be applied to all clients blindly, and that you would have to take into consideration their past experience in the gym, current levels of fitness, age, medical issues, past and current injuries, in addition to their goals and fitness ambitions.

You can then go on to either explain a specific example, or case study client, or give exercises that, in your experience, are suitable for the widest pool of clients. 

We’ve outlined a great example below, if you’re unsure of how best to phrase your answer to this personal trainer interview question:

“Although there is not a one size fits all approach for any exercise, due to large variables from one person to another, my go-to exercises are squats, deadlifts, and clean and press.

The reason I have chosen those three exercises is that they are resistance-based compound movements, which help boost metabolic rate, improve blood flow, muscle tone, and build using multiple muscle groups. They are also suitable for most client’s fitness goals, such as fat loss, muscle tone, or muscle gain.”

  

Q: Name An Occasion Where You Displayed Great Time Management, And How Could You Apply That To Being A Successful Personal Trainer?

personal training job interview questions

Now, this can be a tricky question to answer, but there’s a strategy you can follow that will allow you to provide a detailed, thorough response.

Firstly, you should break the question down into two sections. You’ll give them an example of how you have shown great time management, before applying that example specifically to the personal trainer role.

This can seem daunting at first, especially if you’ve got limited experience, but we’ll outline an example below that can be applied to most roles, even those outside of fitness. Let’s examine this in detail.

Firstly, you should think of a time in your life when you’ve needed to do something at a specific time, or within a certain timeframe. This could be a deadline you met in education, a timeline you needed to follow in work, or something in your personal life.

Then, apply those fundamentals to personal training. Here’s a few examples on how you can do this:

  • Managing and maintaining client bookings - You’ll need to adapt and react to time alterations and cancellations as and when they happen, as these will form part of your day. 
  • Devoting time to marketing - Designate time in your day to market, promote and develop your personal training business further, as well as organising a busy client schedule.
  • Assisting with gym tasks - This could include helping with the management of classes, structuring and designing routines, in addition to planning and delivering your sessions.

 

Q: Before You Start Working With A Client, What Kind Of Information Would You Try To Find Out?

personal training interview

This is another question where you should get straight to the point.

If you have any experience training clients, just go through your usual questions and introductory session plan. If you’re interviewing for a first role as a personal trainer, you should be answering plainly with things like:

  • Previous exercise history - This can determine how you conduct your first few sessions, as well as have an effect on how you plan for the future with that client.
  • Medical history - A crucial question to ask, as this will have a huge impact on the exercises you complete, the intensity of your workouts, and how you structure their plans to reach specific goals.
  • Likes and dislikes in fitness - You can factor this into your planning, and ensure that you keep your client engaged and interested in their routines. For instance, if you’ve got a client who particularly enjoys squats, you can plan around that movement.
  • Aims and goals - What is your client hoping to achieve, and what timeframe do they have in mind for achieving that goal? This is vital information that should always factor into the planning you do.
  • Measurements and statistics - You might choose to do this through progress photos, or with more traditional measurements. We’d suggest photographs, as this is a much more visual representation for the client. 

Above all, your early questions to a client are to ensure their safety. Think about the information you need to know before planning a fitness programme, as well as what might affect your ability to deliver as effective a session as possible. 

You could also mention that you’d make sure to give your client a PAR-Q form prior to training with them. This is a necessary part of any initial client assessment, and allows you to find out everything you need to know. Mentioning this shows you’ve done your research, too.

Q: Is There Any Given Time When You Would Turn Away A Client’s Business?

personal training job interview

Your answer to this personal trainer interview question should always be yes! There’s a really good reason for this, though.

There will always be times when you should refer a client to someone else or to a medical professional. For example, this might happen when:

  • They’ve not got medical consent - If your potential client hasn’t received clearance from their doctor that they can exercise, then you should not train them. This is information you should establish before starting any formal programmes.
  • They’ve not filled in a PAR-Q form - With any form of training, your client should have filled in a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (or a PAR-Q form) before undertaking any exercise. Without it, you are not covered if something goes wrong, regardless of the coverage your personal training insurance offers you.
  • Your qualifications don’t cover them - This may be a difficult one, but if you’re underqualified, or lack the relevant certificates, you shouldn’t train that client. For instance, if you’ve got a diabetic client but haven’t completed a Level 4 Diabetes Control course, you won’t have the right expertise to help them effectively, and could risk putting them in danger.
  • They’re rude and aggressive - This should go without saying, but you don’t have to - and shouldn’t - train any client who acts aggressively towards you or any of the gym staff. 

This is just a small selection of the clients you shouldn’t take on, but there may be others over the course of your career in personal training. Understanding what you’re capable of, and what you’ve not yet qualified to do, is crucial, and shows your maturity as a PT.

 

Become a Sports Nutrionist

Become a Nutrition expert with OriGym's Level 4 Advanced Nutrition Qualification

Q: Which Clients Results Are You Most Proud Of And Why?

pt interview questions

With this question, an interviewer will want to hear about something that really challenged you, or tested your knowledge of personal fitness. 

You might have had to learn a new technology, worked hard to overcome challenging problems in a tight time frame, or come to the end of a long-term project with a client who had setbacks or difficulties along the way.

Much of this question is about how you approach adversity and how you overcame it, and that’s exactly what your interviewer will be looking to hear about.

This is also a chance to show how enthusiastic you are about work. Talk passionately about what you did for that client, as well as how it made both you and your client feel, and how you could implement those ideas for future sessions.

If you can show that you have a track record of going above and beyond for your clients, your employer will believe you will do the same in the offered role.  

 

Q: Why Should I Hire You As A Newly Qualified Personal Trainer Over Someone Who Has Five Years' Experience?

pt interview questions and answer

For this question, you really have to justify your passion for becoming a personal trainer, relate this to your past experience within other industries, and mention how you are going to apply these skills to your new profession.

Each of the previous personal trainer interview questions we’ve touched on provides key information on what you could say here. For example, relate how you met a difficult deadline in work to how you could effectively manage your time as a PT.

You could also question why a personal trainer with five years experience is applying for a role that clearly doesn’t require that level of experience. You can use that as evidence that they lack ambition, whereas you are bringing clear ideas, qualifications, and drive to the role.

As a piece of general advice, however, try as best you can to focus on yourself and what you bring to the table, rather than speculating on other candidates.

  

Q: What Are The Latest Trends In Fitness That You Find Interesting And Why?

personal trainer job interview questions

This question is to test whether your knowledge is current, and that you are actively learning new aspects of health and fitness as it continually evolves. This also reflects on whether you’ll be able to impart this modern knowledge onto your clients. 

Whether you agree with the latest trends or not, showing you have researched them is what an employer is looking for. There’s multiple ways to do this. You could:

  • Check social media (like Instagram and Facebook) for new and emerging ideas
  • Browse fitness-specific website (like OriGym’s comprehensive blog)
  • Speak to colleagues and industry experts
  • Read scientific articles and journals to discover new techniques
  • Ask gym members about what they’re doing

You should also show how you have used the latest trend to benefit a client. Explain how it improves what was there or available previously, and how it could be marketed as part of the organisation you are applying for.

Some latest trends include:  

  • Fad Diets - Diets like paleo or keto often factor into exercise, and being aware of these new lifestyles should always be something you keep on top of.
  • Technology Advancements - Wearable tech, like running watches or heart rate monitors, often moves quickly and becomes part of everyday life for gym goers. Understanding what these devices monitor can be a great way to keep on top of client exercise patterns, even outside of the gym.
  • New Exercise Concepts - Over the last 30 years, brand new exercises have grown hugely in popularity. Classes like CrossFit and Spin have become mainstream, and accepted as part of your average gym timetable.
  • Unusual Fitness Trends - Trampolining fitness is constantly gaining popularity, and could be an ideal way to show you’re interested in the latest developments in the fitness world.
  • Innovative Practices - Yoga and pilates are always evolving with new variations. Ideas like hot yoga offer unique ways to get fit and challenge the body. 

Q: How Would You Approach The Situation Of Another Personal Trainer Trying To Take One Of Your Clients?

questions to ask a personal trainer at an interview

This question is more about how to resolve a conflict at work and what steps you would take to resolve that issue. 

You should answer this question step by step, giving a past example if you have one, to demonstrate how to diplomatically deal with the situation. This not only shows that you’re able to deescalate a situation, but also the proper processes and procedures to follow.

If you have never experienced this, here is the step by step process you can answer this personal training interview question with:

  1. Talk to the other personal trainer directly and listen to their view. Focus on the problem at hand and not their personality. Identify points of agreement and disagreement and avoid directing blame.
  2. Develop a plan or resolution with the individual to move forward
  3. Ask your fitness manager for advice or to help facilitate the process without going through formal processes.
  4. If no resolution can be reached informally, go through formal processes with your line manager or HR in accordance with the HR manual.

By following this plan, you’ll have taken all the necessary steps to effectively resolve a workplace conflict, as well as demonstrated that you know when and how to take a situation to the next level.

Q: When Performing A Health Check On A Client, What Measurements Would You Take?

interview with a personal trainer

With this personal trainer interview question, there’s multiple things you should consider. 

Take into account your client’s goals and aspirations, as these can hugely impact the measurements you take. For instance, you’d place a greater focus on waist, hip and chest measurements if a client is looking for significant weight loss.

You should start your answer by reiterate it would be client specific, before picking the most relevant from the following options:

  • VO2 Max - how much oxygen your body can use during exercise
  • Sit & Reach Test
  • Functional Tests - such as flexibility, strength and endurance testing
  • Weight & Height
  • BMI - Body Mass Index, used as a measure of body fat
  • Hip-to-Waist Ratio
  • Skinfold Caliper Test
  • Body Fat Analysis
  • BMR - Basal Metabolic Rate. This is how much energy you use when resting.
  • Total Daily Energy Expenditure
  • Daily Nutritional Intake

Each of these measurements can be applied to a wide variety of the clients you might take on, and should always form part of how you establish your relationship with the client.

Q: What Are Your Personal Trainer Salary Expectations?

interview questions for personal trainer

Hopefully, the job advert details the salary within the advert itself prior to you applying, which makes your answer easy. However, that’s not always the case, and you should have an answer prepared if they don’t detail how much you can expect to be paid.

That being said, many gyms will place job adverts for personal trainers with salary ranges, or not disclose a rate of pay through external advertisements, so you must be prepared to answer this personal training interview question honestly.

As we said, first and foremost you need to be honest and say what your salary expectations are. In order to do this, you need to have a definitive number, not a salary range, in mind to give to the recruiter. 

As a point of reference, here’s data from Indeed that outlines the PT statistics for the biggest cities in England.

personal trainer practical interview

For instance, a completely new personal trainer can expect to earn around £17,000, whereas those with more experience  could earn over £30,000. For further information, we’d strongly recommend checking out our guide to personal trainer salary.

This question can make or break your entire interview.

Pitch too high and you’re being unrealistic and haven’t done enough industry research, which can be hugely detrimental to your chances of getting a job. Aim too low, and the employer thinks you may be inexperienced and naïve, and may even pay you less because of that.

This is why completing research or visiting a potential employer beforehand is always advisable: it allows you to narrow down your salary expectations from a prospective employer.  

Q: Why Did You Decide To Become A Personal Trainer?

personal trainer interview tips and tricks

With this question - and all the personal trainer interview questions we’ve just looked at - you should answer as honestly as possible. This is your opportunity to put across the enthusiasm and drive that’s made you go for a career in fitness

Everyone has their own reasons as to why they qualified, and this question is your opportunity to explain your personal reasoning. It’s passion and a keen interest in the industry itself that the employer is looking for here.

Think about elaborating on sentence starters such as:

  • I have been interested in sports and fitness all my life…
  • I have been on my own fitness journey and want to share that with others…
  • I love helping people and this career path would give me that opportunity…
  • I’ve always wanted to turn my passion into a career…
  • There’s so much scope for development in personal training...

Of course, these are just starting points. You need to show a little bit of personality and your story in order to make your answer believable.  

Q: Is There Anything You Would Like To Ask Me?

personal training job interview tips

This is not a trick question. You should be asking questions at this stage, so you have clarity and transparency with regard to what your role would be. You’ll undoubtedly want to know about your daily responsibilities, tasks that you will be required to perform, and intricate details regarding the role.

You should ask at least two questions, prepared in advance before attending a personal trainer interview. There are no right or wrong questions to ask here (within reason), but here are some you might want to consider:

  • Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of the role?
  • What could I do to impress you in my first 3 months?
  • What avenues for progression are available?
  • Can you tell me about the working culture as a personal trainer?
  • Where would you recommend as a starting point for building my client base?
  • What training and support will I be given?

Another little tip is to ask a question that the interviewer has mentioned in passing during the interview about the company or role. Try to make the questions look unrehearsed as this will create a better impression of you.

Frequently Asked Questions About PT Interviews

Are There Any Personal Trainer Interview Questions I Shouldn’t Answer?

personal training interview questions and answers

Of course! If your interviewer asks you a personal training interview question that doesn’t relate to the job role, then you can decline to provide an answer.

If you feel the question is inappropriate, you can politely refuse to answer questions in relation to: 

  • Your marital status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Personal lifestyle choices
  • Ethnicity
  • Disability and illness
  • Religion
  • Place of birth
  • Physical information (like weight and height) 
  • Memberships or affiliations not related to fitness

Ultimately, none of these should factor into the company’s decision on whether or not to employ, and therefore don’t have a place in the interview process. 

What Body Language Should I Be Aware Of When Attending An Interview?

personal training interview answers

Just like paying attention to your answers and manner of speaking, paying attention to your body language and demeanor can bring great rewards. The interviewer will expect you to be nervous, it’s only natural.

However, by taking the time to steady yourself, you can really make a great first impression, which may even result in you being the selected candidate. 

If you’re really concerned about your body language, though, here’s 5 key tips you can follow to help you make the best first impression:

  • Avoid Arriving Too Early - It can be easy to set off an hour in advance, and turn up for your interview 45 minutes early. You should avoid this if you can, as the interviewer may not necessarily be prepared for you. We’d advise getting there 10 - 15 minutes before your interview, so you can settle any nerves before going in.
  • Try Not To Fidget - Fidgeting or shuffling in your seat can be distracting for an interviewer, although a little bit of movement due to anxiety is completely acceptable. This includes twiddling your thumbs, or squeezing your hands together, too.
  • Show That You’re Listening - Nod as the interviewer is speaking, and show them that you’re not only listening, but that you’re interested in what they’re saying, too.
  • Sit Up Straight - Maintaining good posture throughout your interview shows that you’re engaged and keen to hear more, as well as paying attention to what’s being asked of you.
  • Smile! - Keep a positive attitude and demeanour throughout your interview. This goes a long way towards painting you as someone your interviewer wants to work with, as well as someone who can pass on that positivity to their clients.

Before You Go!

With that, you’ve got everything you need to answer any personal trainer interview questions that could come your way, as well as industry insider tips on how to make the best first impression you can. 

But if you’re looking to really rise above the competition in your next interview, then completing one of OriGym’s prestigious Level 4 specialist fitness courses can help set you apart from the crowd. 

Download our FREE prospectus today to learn more about everything we offer!

 

Become a Sports Nutrionist

Become a Nutrition expert with OriGym's Level 4 Advanced Nutrition Qualification

Written by Luke Hughes

CEO and Co-Founder

Join Luke on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Luke is the CEO and Co-Founder of OriGym. Holding a first-class degree in Sport and Exercise and an MSc in Sport and Nutrition, he is also qualified as a Level 4 Personal Trainer with various specialist credentials covering the entire spectrum of health, fitness and business. Luke has contributed to a variety of major industry publications, including Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Metro, Cosmopolitan, The Mirror, The Sun, The Standard and more.

Recommended Posts

Download Your FREE Course Prospectus & claim 15% OFF on Prompt Payment

free prospectus

Download Your FREE Course Prospectus & claim 15% OFF on Prompt Payment

free prospectus