The Guaranteed Interview Scam

14th October 2011 4 Minute Read

Lee Cain

Lee Cain

Writer, Tutor and Experienced Fitness Professional

Lee has over 20 years’ experience in the health and fitness industry and has performed multiple roles, including physical training instructor, strength and conditioning coach, lecturer, writer, tutor, assessor and verifier for vocational qualifications. He has a passion for all things exercise, with his key specialisms being strength and performance-based training....
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The fitness industry training sector is an incredibly competitive market with a vast array of providers delivering much the same qualifications, well… in title anyway! While the qualifications on sale may be the same, the quality of the provision, materials, support and practical tuition is often very different. In an attempt to make their training packages and qualifications more attractive, some training providers offer a guaranteed interview with a leading health clubs upon completion of the qualification. Fitness First, DW Sports Fitness and LA fitness are just a few of the clubs that these interviews are offered with. In some circumstances, training providers also invite health club operators along to your course in the guise of a ‘career day’ to present to you opportunities within their company.

So far you are probably thinking that this all sounds extremely exciting and very appealing, and you’d be right if what you are being sold is actually what you get. The fact of the matter is that these so-called  ‘guaranteed interviews’ are in most cases for self-employed positions within health clubs where you will be required to pay a weekly/monthly rent in order to operate. This isn’t something that the training providers engaging in these practices want to clarify at the enrollment stage, they save this golden nugget until the end of the course when you are already tied in.

To add insult to injury, some of these providers also offer ‘loan schemes’ whereby you pay a small deposit upfront, and then pay back your fees over the next 12 months or so. These loan schemes can appear to be quite attractive because in theory, you don’t start paying back your fees until you are qualified and in work. Since the company said they will guarantee you an interview when you complete the course, the risks seem pretty low right? Because these interviews are for rented positions, it may however take you some time to build up your client base and start making a real profit. The training companies will however expect that you start repaying your loan straight away- irrespective of your income, or your two newly acquired expenses- the loan and rental.

It is also worth noting at this point that these loan schemes aren’t backed by any banks, because to do so would subject them to too much regulation and generate too much attention. These loans are secured on homes, and require you to secure the balance of the loan on your property, or obtain a guarantor to do the same on your behalf.  A typical APR on a loan of this variety is around 39%, meaning on average that you will pay around £450 of interest each year on your fees*

Now let us get back to the subject of career days! So you have paid, sorry we mean ‘borrowed’ around £2000 to pay for a training course that will teach you all you need to become a personal trainer. This company then decides to sacrifice a day of your overpriced training to allow a health club manager to present their sales pitch to you, hoping to sign you up to their club and in doing so securing an additional rental income. Surely if you have paid for 6, 8 or 10 days training, that is exactly what you should get. If you have the appropriate qualifications to practice as a personal trainer, the reality is that any health club, gym or leisure centre operating a rental scheme for their personal trainers will guarantee you an interview. They won’t turn your rental income away any more than they would turn customers away who want to join.

This article isn’t intended to deter you from rented personal training opportunities because many personal trainers make a great living from this arrangement. These personal trainers however have usually served their time, learnt the trade and built up their skills, confidence and custom over many months and years. Personal training is much like driving, you don’t really learn how to truly master it until you have passed the test and started. The last thing any newly qualified personal trainer learning the business needs, is a great big fat secured loan with an astronomical rate of interest hanging over their head, especially if they have to pay rent also.

*calculation based on a package value of £2000.00

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