Recruiting Through Uncertainty: Are you Ready for the Bounceback?

Recruiting Through Uncertainty
By Paula Comfort

By Paula Comfort

As owners, operators and fitness professionals this past year has had a dramatic impact on our industry.  However, being the eternal optimist, it is time to embrace the ‘current reality’. (I hate the term new normal!) By no means, does this imply that the impact and effects of this pandemic are over, what this means is that at the core of our DNA as industry leaders, it’s time to ensure we are poised for the bounceback.


Everything and everyone has changed over this past year.  I hope you have taken this time as individuals and companies to really review your talent management strategy and digital recruitment experience.


Here are some tips and thought stimulating questions for recruiting and retaining top talent during uncertain times.

  1. Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Reflect on your personal and corporate values. Assess how you’ve faired this past year. I’ve interviewed candidates from brands all over North America and if I’m being ‘honest not nice’ – few brands have maintained a positive culture this year.  Communication and empathy have been lacking.  Pressure and profits over health and well-being have surfaced.  It’s time to reset your culture and put your people first.


  1. Digital recruitment is here to stay. I’ve been practising this for many years. There are so many excellent strategies that you need to create, design and train your teams on. Map out the entire candidate experience. Audit this. I’ve had candidates that have given me feedback and have dropped out of the process with some great brands.  Receiving a job offer and compensation plan by text just doesn’t cut it!


  1. Do you have an employee value proposition? Why would someone want to work for you?  Have you audited what all the reviews say?  Glassdoor, indeed, LinkedIn and your own websites and social media channels.  It’s time to review and reset these assets. The pandemic has changed candidate’s expectations and needs. Are you keeping up with the times?


  1. In this current reality, all brands need to review their job descriptions, interview process (questions), compensation plans, benefits, offer letters and onboarding process. Are you still competitive? Candidates have different needs today. 


  1. Hire for talent vs. skill. Forget about years of experience. Whether you use ATS or not – so many human resource professionals or senior leaders will eliminate out top talent (unicorns) because they didn’t meet the skill or criteria set. This is 2021 fitness leaders! If you are committed to diversity and inclusion you need to rethink your recruitment methods.

With over 25 years’ progressive experience in the Health Club industry, Paula is a proud Partner of the 360 Impact Group, where she focuses on 360 degree talent management services.  Specializing in building high-performance teams for her clients, she consults full-service human resource management. From the digital recruitment experience to finding the perfect fit for your team, her insight and intuition are unmatched. She has worked in the private, public, start-up, franchise and private equity fitness sector. Paula is also a boutique club owner (eMbody Fitness Club), Board of Directors member for the Women in Fitness Association, and Provincial leadership team member for Fitness Industry Council of Canada. Contact her at or visit to book a free consultation.


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