Anatomy of an effective job ad

Recruitment begins with the words you put out there. HealthyPeople surveyed the industry and this is what you told us, when it comes to job ads that work.

When searching for high quality fitness staff, it helps to know exactly what potential recruits are looking for, what attracts their attention and, most importantly, engages them enough to submit an application. HealthyPeople undertook a survey to find out this very information. And here’s what we discovered.

Be up front

Many personal trainers are open to contract training roles, so long as they’re offered under the right conditions. This means providing crystal clear clarity around the job description, conditions, rental agreements, and the like. While there’s obviously a great deal of variation in what trainers look for in a job ad, details about job description and remuneration are highly regarded across the board.

Show respect

Employers are wrong to view employment as a favour to the employee.

In any new role, the Trainer is investing in the employer, just as much as the employer is investing in the Trainer. Therefore, being very clear about what you will offer them (e.g., ongoing development, career pathway/progression, mentoring/support) serves as a great way to convey this information.

Quality applicants need to sense a level of respect from prospective employers, and this starts well before they step inside your facility. For them to respond to your job ad, you’ll want to double check the tone and message you’re sending in your ad copy. Ideally, have someone from outside the organisation read it with fresh eyes before submitting for publication.

Be clear about who you are

Conveying your company identity ranks highly among Trainers.

This means clearly explaining who you are and what you stand for, including your organisational values and reputation. When crafting a job ad, it’s worth taking the time to think about: What is your brand reputation? This will encompass factors such as staff behaviour, social media presence, and management structure, as well as engagement with and perceptions among the local community.

Seek out opportunities such as a FITREC Team Page where you can promote your staff and the benefits of working in your facility. This Page enables you to include testimonials, images, videos, and other relevant information to attract like-minded candidates to your opportunities.

Demonstrate a supportive environment

You need to be mindful that many Trainers are feeling a bit cautious applying for PT jobs, so your ads may need to emphasise the recognised value of the job they do. Your ad should also clearly convey that support is provided in abundance.

Trainers are also attracted to roles that include a commitment to ongoing professional development; with opportunities delivered by an external source (i.e., not internal workshops) being most highly regarded.

Remember, by showing pride in your existing team, you’ll attract other like-minded trainers. Candidates need to feel like your workplace offers a good culture-fit for them, which may include training styles, client types, team culture and camaraderie, and the overall vibe of the place.

If you’re always hiring…

This could work against you if applicants don’t understand why they’re constantly seeing job opportunities within your business. The key is to ensure your ads clearly clarify that you operate with an “always hiring” mentality; meaning, you’ll always find space for great talent!

Avoid generic ads

Generic ads are those that focus more on the role of a Personal Trainer, rather than the specific opportunity within your facility. As a result, they don’t reflect any of your brand’s personality or uniqueness, and give the impression that you don’t actually care who you get on board.

With this in mind, your ads should always be tailored to your business. Think about it: your clients differ, your team differs, your location is unique to you, and the way you operate is equally so. Therefore, if you run a generic ad that is devoid of any individuality and fails to represent your unique offerings, then it can convey a lack of care, interest or investment in their contribution as a unique and individual team member.

Every business has unique offerings. Therefore, your job ads should always touch on them. Humans are attracted to things that are different, so the more tailored your ad is, the more likely you are to connect with the right candidates.

Limit your requirements

While it’s important to include details about your organisation and what makes the business and the job opportunity unique, where you want to keep things short is when it comes to key requirements. While there may be particular qualifications required, or particular experience you’re looking for, keep in mind that excessive requirements may end up screening out potentially valuable candidates. The right attitude and your own training can go a long way towards building a leading team.

If there are particular requirements you’re looking for, like ‘enthusiastic self-starter’, rather than state it in requirements, include detail that would necessitate this characteristic. For example, “You’ll be working alongside a team that is highly motivated and driven. If this describes your kind of people, you’ll thrive!” This increases the chance of attracting candidates who identify with this (and potentially discouraging those who do not relate). 


STOP with the long-winded and egotistical rants on how awesome your facility is. Make your details relevant to the candidate and keep things clear and concise. Special mention to banging on about international or even national reach – keep it local and relevant.

STOP using marketing lingo. Authenticity goes a long way when it comes to successful job ads so avoid using generic statements. “State-of-the-art”, “unlimited leads / earning potential”, “be your own boss” and “earn more money”, were a few that trainers identified as being turn-offs.

STOP having a narrow view of who you want to hire. State your key requirements and “nice to have” qualities, but remain open-minded about who is landing in your inbox. Remember, you can train people in a lot of skills, but some valuable qualities (e.g., that X-factor) you simply can’t.

STOP being vague in your job ads because it’s a massive turn-off for fitness professionals. Good candidates will want to be able to tailor their cover letter, so make sure you provide sufficient detail for them to respond in such a way. They want to know – very clearly – who they’re talking to.

Creating job ads that work. Download a free copy here.