A good team of professionals is fundamental to achieving your business goals…
…at whatever stage you may be with your salon business; just starting up, looking to expand, or trying to efficiently run your current setup.
Recruiting and retaining quality professionals is the most important managerial skill you’ll ever learn; whether you’re an artist trying to make it as a salon owner, or a business person testing the waters in the beauty industry.
This blog focuses upon designing a recruitment process that helps you attract and choose high quality professionals for your salon. It includes thoughts and advice on:
- Is hiring really that important?
- How to attract good employees?
- How do you know someone’s the right choice?
- Things to keep in mind while designing a recruitment process
Is hiring really that important?
We know you’re a busy salon owner. Reading about hiring is probably the last thing you want to do today. But let me tell you why you should do it anyway:
The industry has a 40% annual turnover.
Meaning you’ll need to recruit almost half of your team every year. Whether you like it or not, there’s a revolving door of stylists in the salon industry. And spending time on learning something that you need to do so often is actually an investment of time.
There’s a lot of competition out there
I recently heard a salon owner say that she soaks in all business information like sponge. People in the industry today are doing everything they can to get better at anything they can. Even if you don’t focus hard on recruiting the right team, the salon next door will.
Do you wanna fall behind?
It has everything to do with how much money you make
Your customers is where your revenues will come from. Whoever you hire is going to talk to and work with your customers. Someone who’s in direct contact with them need to be chosen carefully, or it might affect your numbers.
How to attract good employees?
You can hang up a “Help needed” sign in the evening and might get 12 people lined up the next morning.
But are they really the kind of people you need?
High quality professionals don’t come running at the first offer they get. They weigh their options, compare, and finally make an informed decision. So start thinking like them.
Give them what they actually want
And no, offering more money isn’t the answer. Commissions in the salon business are low. And people in the industry know the deal. So offer them something that they might value more.
The profession of a stylist or a cosmetologist is one that requires constant saw-sharpening. Professionals are always looking for better learning opportunities. So, promise them high-quality training, and good learning opportunities and watch the talent roll in.
Promise them a work-life balance. Give them a chance to perform in public and flaunt their skills. Allow them to assist you in organising and administrative matters.
I know there’s always a possibility that all of this may empower them to leave and start a business of their own. But it’ll happen anyway. Sooner or later. There’s a fine line between promoting your staff and promoting your business. Strike the balance between the two and you should be fine.
Look in the right places
If you think putting a “Hiring now” tab on your website or a post on your Facebook page is enough, think again.
You might still get a lot of responses but you’ll end up rejecting most of them. Here are a few platforms where you can the word out and receive applications from quality professionals.
Local cosmetology schools
Let them know you’re hiring. Find out if they’ll post your job description on their websites, blogs and social media pages, and in their email marketing newsletters. Ensure that they can send the communication to present and past students, especially if you’re searching for a stylist with years of experience.
Sign up as an employer on hiring sites
This something that I’ve seen a lot of salon owners try on social media. Some popular ones are: Salon Employment, Behind the Chair, Salon Builder, Salon Gigs, All Salon Search, etc.
Ads in industry newsletters
Put up ads in industry newspapers, online newsletters and stylists’ magazines. Stylists keep up with industry changes and trends by reading publications and websites. Consider your geographic location and place ads that will reach your target market.
Ask your current employees. Many stylists know others in the industry who may be unhappy at their place of work or who are recent graduates from beauty school and already have a loyal following.
Choosing the right person
Resumes and certifications matter. Certainly. But they’re just to figure out if a candidate is eligible for the job. They don’t tell you if the customers will like him, if he’ll click with your staff, or if he’ll be good at learning new things.
To determine these things, you need to look for the kind of person your candidate is. Here are the three most under-rated qualities to look out for in a potential employee.
The three most under-rated qualities of a good employee
1. A love for the profession
Hire someone who thinks that his profession is art. Someone who has a thirst for business knowledge like you do. Someone who believes in serving to make others look beautiful.
These are the best kind of people. They are happy, content, and generally have a good vibe. They can not only work with the rest of your team, but also inspire and get inspired by them.
2. The ability to understand people
You work in the beauty industry. Most of the time, your customers don’t know what they want but only that they want it. Even if they do, they’ll always struggle with explaining it to you. As a stylist or a cosmetologist, you need to have the ability to not only understand your customers but deliver something close to what they might want.
Having someone who understands what people want naturally can be a great employee. I agree, a part of it comes from practice, but sometimes people have a natural talent for it.
3. A general sense of upkeep
It’s the grooming industry that we’re talking about. Of course you’ve got to take care of your hair and makeup. Customers usually show inclination towards getting services from someone who has styled himself better than the others. It’s almost instinctive.
While it shouldn’t be a filter for candidate elimination, but the good ones mostly look stylish and are well-kept.
Five tips to keep in mind while designing a hiring process
Now that you know where to put your ads and what kind of people to look for, I’ll wrap up this post by just mentioning five important tips you need to keep in mind while working out a hiring process for your business:
Have an elimination round
No matter how targeted your marketing is, a lot of redundant applications are bound to show up. Having a pre-examination of your applications helps to weed these out. Although, don’t spend too much time on it. In fact, if you can, ask someone else to do it for you and you can simply skim through the results later. Remember, it’s not a selection round but an elimination round.
Meet candidates personally
It’s your business. The person you hire is going to meet and greet your customers. It’s your salon’s image that’s at stake. Hence, it should definitely be you who interviews the person. I know you’re a busy salon owner, but you need to take out time for this. You can delegate any other thing, but doing this yourself is non-negotiable.
Make the interview conversational.
Interviews are meant to get to know the person. See what they look like, how they talk, and know their personalities. They are not the time to make decision about whether to hire the person or not. So keep the interview casual. Don’t try to be intimidating and put the person in a lot of pressure.
Also, take two minutes after each interview to make notes about the person. Just mention the top 3-4 things you remember about the candidate after interview. It’ll help you make a decision later.
Always have the person do something practical.
Have the candidate perform a simple little task. This is the oldest trick in the book. When someone hires a programmer, they don’t ask them to write a complex code. They ask them to write the simplest one.
The logic is that asking them to do something easy will give you the opportunity to observe their technique. So don’t ask them to do a celebrity haircut. Just ask them to blow dry someone’s hair and see how they do it. If they do it wrong, you’ll have your answer.
Take references both before and after the interview
If the candidate and you have a mutual contact, always ask for that contact’s opinion on the person. This will help you have a neutral opinion from someone you know.
And don’t just stop here. Remember, you’re creating a process. Something that you can use repeatedly and improve over time.
Once you recruit a great team, groom them properly, and build their trust so that they stay with you. They might have come in for the money and the incentives, but they’ll stay for loyalty.
Turn them into your brand ambassadors and during the next recruitment drive, you can show them off and inspire people with their stories.
Don’t just hire employees. Build a team. It’s another trait of a good business owner.
…But more on that later. Right now, wrapping this post off. Let us know if you like any of this. Also, if you’ve anything that you think works better, do tell in the comments. 🙂