Salon business is a people business. At the Natural Hair School, we’ve observed that people are drawn to a salon partly for the service but mostly for its people. The right staff can help you retain customers, get more business out of existing patrons, and help you acquire new clients. Plus, considering the fact that it’s an industry with a turnover rate of 40%, you need to ensure that the people you hire won’t leave you in a jiffy.
With over a million salons in the country, hiring for salons is competitive. This means that as a salon owner, you have the dual tasks of screening and selecting the talent, and convincing them that your salon is the ideal place for them to join and grow. Therefore, it’s of the utmost importance that you develop a systematic approach to communicate and attract top talent based on an analysis of both their hard skills and soft skills.
Searching for salon staff
Gone are the days when you could hang a board outside and people would just walk in. You can’t depend on just one avenue to connect you with prospective employees. These days you need a multi-pronged approach to get the right talent.
List on job sites
You should begin by posting your requirements on industry-specific employment sites, like All Salon Search and Behind the Chair. You could also expand to generic employment sites if these niche sites aren’t giving you the right response.
Advertise in newsletters
There are many digital newsletters, salon industry sites, and online hairstyling magazines where you can publish your ads. You should look at sites that are popular in your vicinity and start there.
Approach cosmetology schools
One of the easiest ways to get fresh talent is by approaching cosmetology schools in your city. If you inform that you’re looking for talent, they will have not only their current student pool but also their alumni to reach out to. Like Natural Hair School, most institutions have their own newsletters and blogs which would be a treasure trove of talent. You should also reach out to schools in neighboring towns and cities as students would be more than willing to relocate for work.
Use social media
Salon owners should use their social media handles to announce vacancies and the required expertise and experience. This is one more reason for salons to have active social media pages. The job posting should also be pushed through the social media handles of the existing employees.
Ask for employee referrals
Current employees are an effective source for finding future employees. You could ask your staff to share your job openings with their professional colleagues or classmates from cosmetology schools.
Interviewing for salon staff
Once you’ve got a list of candidates, it’s time to do some due diligence. You should ensure that the person you hire will be a good fit for your salon and would complement its culture. This can be achieved to a great extent by asking the right questions in the interview. The fundamental traits you should be looking for are the ability to connect with people, respect others’ opinions, accept feedback, work as a team member, and keen attention to detail.
What got them into hairstyling?
Hairstyling will be more than just a job for the right candidate. They would have shown interest in it from a young age. Or maybe they discovered they have a knack for it. Either way, they should be proud to be in the profession and look forward to its challenges.
Do they have any favorite clients?
Most hairstylists would have a couple of clients they feel more attached to, who insist that they do their hair. Ask whether the candidate has any such clients. If so, let them talk about why the clients choose them over others.
Why are they looking for a change?
Is it for a higher income or is there more to it? How was their previous employer? Did they get along well? These are essential questions for figuring out the personality of the individual. Ensure that the tone is conversational to help them open up with ease.
Can they provide referrals?
Ask for referrals and get in touch with them for a more comprehensive picture of the candidate. For a more balanced view, contact at least two references. While getting feedback, what should raise red flags are tardiness, temper, and a lack of attention to detail.
Can you access their social media?
If you can access their profiles, see if they are proud to share photographs of their clients after they’ve had their styling done. Also, find out if their clients tag them or thank them for the work they do. Public appreciation is an excellent barometer of someone’s expertise and people skills.
Can they do a simple task?
Always ask if they can do something simple. See how eager they are to do it, their preparation for the same, and their level of conscientiousness.
Don’t be in a rush
After the interview, you shouldn’t immediately announce your decision, even if you are convinced that you have the right candidate. Look back at the conversation you had with them and analyze the candidate according to these parameters.
• Were they easy to talk to?
• Did they constantly interrupt?
• Were they glad to be there?
• Did they show interest in your work?
• Did they ask questions about your salon?
• Had they done any research on your establishment?
• Did they talk about the latest trends in the industry?
If you’re comfortable with the answers to these questions, check with their references for further clarity. Only then should you confirm with the candidate that you’ve chosen them.
As a salon owner, if you systematically approach the hiring process with these approaches in mind, it will be easy for you to hire the best-of-the-best candidates for your business, even in challenging times.