In this episode, Rick speaks with Jessie Stackhouse, founder of Just Fitness Staffing, about how to recruit the right talent for your fitness business. Jessie specializes in recruiting and staffing boutique franchise fitness concepts and big box gyms across the United States. Jessie is also a vendor for talent acquisition for Alloy franchises.

Recruiting the best staff for your fitness business is arguably the single most important factor that will determine your success as a business owner. However, as any fitness entrepreneur will tell you, finding, hiring, and retaining the best talent in our industry is an enormous challenge.

Jessie Stackhouse’s Background

After college, she worked in the recruiting industry. Her first job recruiting in the fitness industry was with Equinox, which is a  strong fitness brand. She was the second recruiter for personal training positions in Equinox. They were hiring around 500 trainers a year for the clubs here in California.

She got to know the different schools that specialize in personal training, and then all the Kinesiology programs. She was able to build a pipeline of candidates that were getting certified and needed a place to work. Eventually, she was recruited by Crunch. There were 13 clubs with Equinox, but now she had 40 clubs with Crunch. At that point, she was working with different hiring managers, recruiting talent for personal trainers, membership advisors, general managers, marketing directors, and any fitness position. literally anything in the company that was opening up was somewhere.

The stars kind of aligned for her to start her own fitness recruiting business, Just Fitness Staffing. She needed to provide a fast and effective service and developed a solution to help clients fill positions in a week’s time. Fitness is a little different from a traditional staffing model and it already had a high turnover rate before COVID.

She is able to be really strategic with who to target for each position and speed up the process to get them into the interview to keep things moving fast and effective.

Jessie manually reviews 1000s of resumes and works with a client each week. It depends on the market, but the bottom line is to find and hire talent in a week by going directly to candidates. We not only use social media like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, but we have personal contacts, school relationships, etc. They have to get candidates to come to them and have a great interview process. They also need to make sure the hiring franchise owner is accountable to the candidates by showing up for the call to making sure they are communicating via text messages and emails to the candidates. Hiring is competitive because there are five other franchise locations that are recruiting and hiring the best candidates.   

Rick shares an example of how Jessie gathers applicants and cuts through them quickly to deliver the best candidates. Since Jessie knows the Alloy brand, she can easily match up the best possible staff and team for our franchisees. This is because Alloy includes the complete turnkey business system. The only missing link is a team with cohesive and talented people.

Franchisees get into business as an investment. They probably have a passion for fitness, but they aren’t necessarily fitness professionals with fitness experience. When a franchise owner is looking for an operator to run the day-to-day business, they will need someone with an entrepreneurial spirit that can lead people.  

Tips For Recruiting The Right Talent

Proactive Approach

The recruiting business is different before and after COVID. Now, we have to take a more proactive approach contacting candidates about the opportunity and earning potential. You need to reach out to candidates, share information, and actively engage with them. 

Keep Communication Open

The fitness industry really had to pivot during COVID. Candidates reacted in different ways because of fitness industry closures and remote offerings. Some candidates were left floundering trying to figure out what to do, while others had pleasant experiences with franchise owners or big fitness companies. The bottom line was people went into survival mode, pivoted and became empowered by going online and starting their own business. With the proactive approach, you must keep communication open with the candidates to recruit the right talent.

Searchable and Attractive Job Descriptions

Make sure that the title is attractive and includes earning potential. Use specific keywords like hiring Director of Fitness Training or Director of Personal Training, so when a candidate searches personal training, or fitness director or fitness trainer, your job is going to hit their radar. Communicate the opportunities in the fitness industry to make a good living and have the freedom to pursue a great lifestyle. 

Encourage Conversation on Job Requirements and Flexibility

Compensation ebbs and flow over time, but right now you need to consider inflation. It’s good to encourage a conversation with candidates to see what their mindset and requirements are. See where candidates have some flexibility, especially with the opportunity to have a leadership position like a Studio Manager, General Manager, or a Director of Training.

First 90 Days Investment

We encourage clients to look at the candidate’s ability to deliver in the first 90 days, instead of looking at this as a chunk of money to pay for the candidate. It is your first 90 Day investment in a candidate. If a candidate is proving themself by selling memberships or their management job responsibilities in the first 90 days, then they are actually worth the candidate recruiting fee.  

Highlight Benefits and Perks

Beyond a good salary, there are other things that make the employing client attractive to candidate. Benefits are important, but even just little perks can be significant. Memberships for family members, for example. Highlight those things in your job description. Try leading with the benefits instead of putting down at the bottom. Change your job description to what people want to see. How much money can I make? What are the hours? What’s the opportunity? 

We want to attract people and give them the information they want to hear. People want purpose, the ability to make the money they need to make, and feel like they’re making a difference on the team. Fitness is a great vehicle for making a difference in your community and help people to have a better life.

Contact Us Now

Additional Resources

Contact Jessie Stackhouse


Key Takeaways

  • Jessie’s background in the fitness space (01:26)
  • The challenge of fitness staffing (11:44)
  • How Jessie manages to find good candidates (12:49)
  • Why there’s a shortage of applicants for fitness positions (15:14)
  • Building a team for a franchise business (17:40)
  • Why it’s hard to find talent post-Covid (21:39)
  • How to get people interested in your job (25:58)
  • What are the compensation/benefits candidates are looking for (31:42)
  • Culture is king (37:08)

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Mentioned in this episode

Jessie Stackhouse 

Matt Helland

Rick Mayo 

Alloy Personal Training Franchise


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