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It’s not everyday that you find an ad in the “help wanted” section of the classifieds seeking an experienced black belt instructor to teach at the local martial arts studio.

Teaching martial arts is one of those specialized fields that would be difficult to fill via an ad in the local paper.   In addition to martial arts skill, and the ability to take a class filled with anxious, wide-eyed white belts and turn them into confident martial arts experts, you’re looking for loyalty and respect.  

That’s a pretty tough order to fill for the guy coming in off the street.

So, where does a martial arts studio owner go to find a qualified new assistant, or even a new staff to fill his sequential studio openings?

While there is no foolproof means of adding new staff, recruiting from within your leadership team is the most consistent method of hiring someone whom you know well and have a great working relationship with already.

If you have to hire from outside, you will need a good screening process as there will be little if any loyalty of emotional connection to the school from an outsider. The challenge begins when it comes to interviewing these applicants, assessing their qualifications, and making your final selection.

What To Look For During An Interview

Just the idea of conducting an interview can send a chill down your spine.   You are, in fact, choosing someone to help you and your studio succeed over the long term, based on a relatively brief interview.  

If, for whatever reason, your new hire doesn’t work out, you will lose money spent on training.   And, you’ll be back to square one and conducting the interview process all over again.

Enter into the interview with a good idea of what you are expecting from a new hire.   For instance, your interviewee should display an excellent attitude, and a high level of enthusiasm.  

Try to look beneath the façade that folks naturally wear when they’re in the “spotlight” of an interview.

Your biggest role during the interview will be that of a listener.   For the best results, avoid asking yes or no questions.   Word your questions in such a way that the interviewee will have to explain his answers.  

This will give you an idea of how he thinks, as well as how he communicates those thoughts.   If you’re considering having this person operate one of your schools without supervision, make sure that he’s got the leadership skills, discipline, and your interests at heart before you hire him.

As he discusses his past experiences, listen closely to what he says about his past masters and co-workers.   You’ll be able to gather a lot about his attitude and interpersonal skills.   

Talk about his teaching methods and what he’s looking for from his students.   If he doesn’t share your goals, philosophy, and values, kindly show him the door.

Once you’re satisfied with the first part of the interviewing process, it’s time to have him demonstrate his teaching skills by having him instruct a few classes for you. Have him do enough so you can see the, “true” personality emerge. Anyone can fake it for an hours’ class, but a few hours and the real person begins to show him or herself. Be aware of how he communicates with the students, his level of energy and enthusiasm, and his ability to provide motivation when it’s needed.

When you’re looking for an office assistant to help keep you organized and answer telephones, you might consider hiring them through a temporary employment agency on a “temp to perm” basis.   This gives you the opportunity to give your new employee a “test drive,” as it were.  

The temp agency will conduct the interview, background checks, and such. If you don’t feel this person is working out, you can have the temp agency send you another and another – until you’re satisfied that you have the right person for the job.