I was recently approached by a fellow fitness and indoor cycling instructor who was preparing for an audition at a boutique indoor cycling studio in New York. She asked me for some pointers about preparing for the audition and any tips or suggestions. As I started to think about this, I recalled some of my own auditions and how I prepared. Here is the list of things to know:
Do Your Homework
Learn as much as possible about that studio or facility you are auditioning for. Here’s how:
– Study their website to see where there are gaps in their schedule. See if you can make yourself available for those spots. This is where you become more valuable from the start.
– Learn about their lingo and mission statement.
– Checkout their Twitter, Instagram, Yelp reviews, Rate Your Burn reviews, Glassdoor, Google reviews, and Facebook feeds. The more you know, the better prepared you are.
– Learn about which bike platform they are using. Is it a Spinner Blade Ion with onboard computer? Is it a Real Ryder? Is it a Keiser M3? Also, know the industry lingo: cadence, watts, seated climb, heart rate threshold, bpm, etc.
– Read up on the founders or management, their story and how they established the studio.
– Inquire about attending a class as a guest (or be prepared to pay for the class) before you audition. This will give you firsthand knowledge of the studio’s culture, instructor caliber, music choices and most importantly, the demographic of the riders.
As I always say when teaching my Project Management classes (my other job that pays the bills!!) people do not plan to fail , they fail to plan. Here’s what to do:
– Bring a backup MP3 player, CD or copy your playlist onto a cloud service (Spotify, Soundcloud, etc.) just in case. After all, one of Murphy’s Laws is that the most import resource (your music) will fail at the worst possible time (during audition). If using batteries, bring fresh ones.
– Create a short playlist for the audition. It is likely that your audition will last about 5 minutes or less. Prepare music for a warmup, climb, combination hills and a cool down. It doesn’t hurt to ask the studio if that is OK or if they would prefer something a bit different.
– Bring a copy of your certifications, your CPR/AED card and your resume. I know you probably emailed all this info to them, but you never know if the person you will audition for is the same one who scheduled the audition. Present these copies before you start auditioning.
– Arrive a bit early to ensure that you can find a parking spot or to check out the neighborhood. If not travelling by car, be aware of rush hour’s impact on mass transit.
– Practice a 20 second summary of your background (aka ” elevator speech”), your capabilities and why (and that is so important) you want to teach at that studio. For example: “ I have a passion for teaching indoor cycling classes, and have been actively doing it for 8 years. I enjoy inspiring my riders to become stronger and help them overcome fitness challenges. I admire XYZ Studio’s mission statement and feel a strong desire to be part of this unique team”
– If using your mobile phone for music, put it on airplane mode. If not, turn it off or mute it!!
Dress The Part
Showing up in non-fitness gear and asking to change may be ok, but I would rather you wear your cycling gear and be ready. However, do not wear your cleats on the subway or while driving. Additionally:
– Make sure you have cycling shoes and also make sure they are compatible with the studio’s bike platform. Ask if the pedals are SPD compatible.
– Bring a towel and a water bottle.
– Do not wear something with a competing studio’s logo.
– Smile, be confident, and make eye contact.
During The Audition
Own the room!! One of the most important things to do is just as you are on the bike and about to start, describe what you are going to do. It is very important to project a clear set of objectives and identify the goals of the ride. Then, start and follow these suggestions:
– Do exactly what you promised to do when you described the goals of the ride.
– Call out cadence numbers, resistance, bpm, etc. If the bike platform does not use power or computer displays, use descriptive narrative such as “I want you to think about the resistance being as heavy as walking through mud…”
– DO NOT do any cotrarindicated or unsafe moves.
– Be energetic, enthusiastic, cue properly and have great form.
– When wrapping up, avoid stretching on the bike – off bike is best.
– Wipe down the bike.
– Thank the interviewer.
– Ask about the next steps. They will likely tell you on the spot if things went well or not. If they say they will get back to you, then respond by stating that you will contact them in a week if you do not hear back.
Post Audition: Rate Negotiation
This is somewhat challenging. They may offer you a spot to teach at a rate that is lower than what you are currently making. If you see the potential of growing with that studio and the possibility of going further, then consider this as an opportunity. However, make it clear to them that you will start at that rate, but in 6 months you would like to get to the rate you had in mind. Unless the gap is so wide, that should be feasible.
If, however, they offer you a spot but then ask you how much you want, this is where you have to think about honoring your commitment to the industry and what value you place on your time. Your number should be in line with your experience, certs and where you have worked previously.
Overall be YOU!! Be passionate, show that you love to teach indoor cycling, and exude confidence. Regardless of the result, being true to your personal mission, is ultimately, the only way to be.