grow your salon, Howto, Marketing Tip, salon tips, small business, Tip

How to Find and Recruit Staff that’s Perfect for Your Salon Business?

Salon team

If you are in the salon industry, a good team of professionals is fundamental to achieving your business goals. 

From increasing profits to delivering top-notch customer service, it’s your dream team that drives all growth initiatives. 

And not surprisingly, a lot of business owners in the salon industry acknowledge this.

Staff is more important to salon owners than to entrepreneurs in any other industry. 50% of all costs incurred by a salon is staff.

As a salon owner, 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 will help you optimize your salon recruiting process so that you find and employ high-quality professionals for your salon.

  1. Is hiring really that important?
  2. How to find good staff for your salon?
  3. How to choose the right person for the job?
  4. Things to keep in mind while designing a recruitment process

Should you spend time learning about hiring?

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:

1. The industry has a 40% employee turnover rate

Meaning: You’ll need to re-hire almost half of your salon staff every year. 

Whether you like it or not, there’s a revolving door of stylists in the salon industry. You are bound to spend a few weeks (or months) every year involved in recruitments.

Learning about something that you need to do so often can actually be a good investment of your time.

2. Hiring is competitive! 

With over 1 million active hair salons in the United States, skilled professionals have a number of options to choose from. Business owners in the salon industry today are doing everything they can to get high-quality staff onboard. 

Even if you don’t focus hard on recruiting the right team, the salon next door will.

Do you wanna fall behind?

3. It directly affects how much money you make!

Your customers are where your revenue will come from. Whoever you hire is going to talk to and work with your customers. Someone who is in direct contact with them needs to be chosen carefully, or it might affect your numbers.

How to find good staff for your salon?

A "Help needed" signboard on a window.

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 staff doesn’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.

1. Education and mentorship

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.

2. Secondary incentives

Promise them a work-life balance.

Give them a chance to perform in public and flaunt their skills.

Allow them to assist you in organization 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 get the word out and receive applications from quality professionals.

1. Local cosmetology schools

Fresh graduates straight out of school are often very eager to learn and you can mould them easily. 

Always make sure that you are connected to the local beauty and hair schools in your area and let them know you’re hiring. Find out if they’ll post your job description on their websites, blogs, 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.

2. Sign up as an employer on hiring sites

This is 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.

3. 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.

4. Employee Referrals

Ask your current salon staff. This is the easiest and most effective way to find and recruit hairstylists. Many of them 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.

How to choose the right person for the job?

The right staff cutting hair of the customer.

Look beyond their resumes!

Degrees and certifications certainly matter a lot.

But use them to just 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 salon 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 underrated yet important qualities to look out for in a potential employee.

The three important traits to look out for during interviews!

1. A love for the profession

Hire someone who thinks that their 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 an 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, the good ones mostly look stylish and are well-kept.

Stylish staff with beautiful hair color

Five tips to keep in mind while designing a recruitment 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 salon business:

1. 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.

2. 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 might have things to do, bills to pay, and hair to cut, but it’s important that you take out time for this. You can delegate other things, but interviewing potential recruits yourself is non-negotiable.

3. 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. Don’t worry about making the decision about whether to hire the person or not during the interview. So keep it 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. Just mention the top 3-4 things you remember about the candidate after the interview. It’ll help you make a decision later.

4. Always give them a task

Have the candidate perform a simple task. This is the oldest trick in the book. When someone hires a programmer, they don’t ask them to write 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.

5. Take references both before and after an 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.

They can give you very detailed information on the work ethics, style of execution, and attitude of the person which you might miss out on during interviews.


Don’t just stop here!

Remember, you’re learning to create a process – something that you can use repeatedly and improve over time.

Once you recruit great salon staff, 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 your next salon recruitment drive, you can show them off and inspire people with their stories.

Don’t just hire beauty salon employees. Build a team. It’s another trait of a good business owner.

…But that’s me getting ahead of myself!. Right now, time to wrap this post up. Let us know if you like any of this.

Also, if you have any other suggestions that you think work better, do tell us in the comments. 🙂

About Appointy

We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, and resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day. 

If you have any thoughts on this blog or would like to chat about your business struggles and achievements, let us know in the comments below. 

We love a good talk!

This post has been updated on January 22, 2020 and was originally posted on July 19, 2017.