You may know this already from the ubiquitous commercials: Noom, an app based health-tech company, relies on an army of virtual health coaches to encourage its users to make healthier lifestyle choices.
And that army of about 1,700 virtual coaches is growing.
Codetic spoke with Chief Psychologist Dr. Andreas Michaelides, who created the health coaching program, about the company’s hiring initiatives, what the role entails and how to qualify for one.
Michaelides said Noom constantly recruits and trains new virtual coaches, and that the company plans to hire at least hundreds by the end of the year, possibly up to a thousand. He was hesitant to give an exact number because new positions are tied proportionally to a number of new app users.
“We have a need for a lot of coaches,” Michaelides said, noting that the roles are a good foot into a behavioral health career.
Michaelides said the application page closes temporarily from time to time. But the company reopens it and starts accepting new applicants again.
Noom coaches are full-time, regular W-2 employees (not independent contractors), eligible for benefits. Here’s what’s entailed in landing a Noom health coach job.
Noom Virtual Health Coach: Requirements, Responsibilities and Benefits
The virtual health coach workforce is completely remote, distributed internationally but mainly in the United States. One of the biggest qualifiers is location. According to the job application, the company only recruits coaches from the following 27 states and Washington, D.C.:
Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
It’s common for companies to have state restrictions for remote jobs for various reasons such as local licensing laws and workplace regulations.
Education and Experience
The virtual coach positions are “entry-level” in that they don’t require a background in behavioral psychology, but they do require certain levels of education or a combination of education and related experience.
Michaelides said the overwhelming majority of virtual health coaches have bachelor’s degrees. In lieu of a bachelor’s, you can still qualify with an associate’s plus 2,000 hours of “wellness experience,” which roughly equates to a year in a related, full-time position. Noom will also consider a combination of course work and other qualifiers laid out by the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching.
Noom’s virtual health coach job listing is (almost) always open to new applicants.
The position doesn’t require board certification to qualify, but health coaching sessions at Noom do count toward board certification requirements. Noom is a certified training program provider and covers the cost of the examination if you want to pursue the certification.
Michaelides describes Noom as a “behavior change company.” The majority of users sign up for Noom to lose weight, but he said that coaches help people through all kinds of changes to personal health. “Where there’s a positive lifestyle change that needs to take place that is really difficult, that’s where our coaches” come in, he said.
Coaches are trained in and utilize motivational interviewing techniques, specifically the OARS method (open-ended questions, affirmations, reflections and summaries).
During the hiring process, Noom recruiters expect you to use the OARS technique through a role-play style interview.
Virtual health coaches use a lot of technology in their day-to-day — Slack and Zoom to connect with each other, and a digital dashboard that’s used to track behaviors and progress of Noom app users they’re assigned to.
Coaches use the information from the dashboard to help their users stay on track and strategize when things aren’t going well. Most coach-user communication is text-based, Michaelides said.
The coaching process is tailored to each person. For example, you might be helping someone who’s low on free time and struggling to avoid the Starbucks drive through on the way to work. They might need a quick, healthy option they can make at home. Or maybe a middle ground: black coffee instead of a frappuccino.
The coronavirus outbreak has also had an impact on day-to-day coaching, a Noom spokeswoman told Codetic.
“There are a lot of COVID-19 related discussions going on,” she said. These days, coaches help users with “problem-solving ways around food shortages, or establishing a much-needed routine.”
Benefits and Perks
Noom virtual health coach jobs are full-time and come with a solid benefits package.
Schedules are flexible, and you can choose to work an eight-hour shift between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern, Monday through Friday.
Noom’s standard health-coach benefits package includes:
- Health, dental, vision and life insurance.
- Health-savings and flexible-spending accounts.
- 15 days of paid time off.
- 10 paid sick days.
Because coaching is typically chat-based, you can also choose where you want to work. Cafes, coworking spaces and couches are all fair game.
The company doesn’t list the salary in the job application, but self-reported salaries from other Noom coaches can give you an idea. Based on Glassdoor data from more than 140 coaches, the average virtual health coach salary is $38,000. There are fewer salaries reported on Indeed, but its estimated average salary is similar.
Application and Hiring Process
The recruitment process is pretty involved and can move quickly, so be ready.
Here’s a look at the four main steps, based on hundreds of Noom job seekers and employees who reported their experience on Glassdoor.
- The first step is completing the online health coach job application, which requires a cover letter and includes more than 30 long-answer, short-answer and multiple-choice questions. The questionnaire covers your work history, your personality type, English proficiency and provides space for you to explain your related “wellness experience.”
- If your application is approved, you’ll receive a timed email prompt that asks you behavior-based questions and a request for a one-minute video pitch about why you’re a great candidate for the job.
- The third step includes a mock interview with a recruiter playing the role of Sam, a middle-aged woman who wants to lose weight. Implement the motivational interviewing techniques, or this interview probably won’t go well.
- Making it this far is a good sign. It’s the final stage. This video call is to review your mock interview and to see if you’re a good culture fit.
Then comes training. The listing says space may be limited. If there are no upcoming training sessions for new applicants, you may be placed on a waiting list until one comes available.
“We have a pretty high bar of who comes in the door,” Michaelides said. “We hire coaches to almost be at the finish line before we can start them.”
Adam Hardy is a staff writer at Codetic. He covers the gig economy, entrepreneurship and unique ways to make money. Read his latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.