We’ve teamed up with the experts from international job search website Jooble to take a closer look at finding that all-important first hair and beauty salon employee.

The guide to hiring your first employee

So, after putting in the hard work building your brand, your calendar is fully booked and you’re thinking about bringing on an employee to take some of the load (and give you back your evenings!)

Sounds great. If only it was that easy. Finding the right candidate who’ll treat your clients as well as you do, have a positive outlook and turn up on time (early even!), can be both challenging and time-consuming. You may end up receiving dozens of resumes, most of them similar. So how do you go about selecting the best candidate for the job?

Are you ready to hire a new employee?

Hiring your first employee is an important decision. You need to be sure you require extra help in your business. If you’re turning away customers because you’re fully booked most of the time and your customers are going elsewhere then yes, it’s definitely time to bring someone new in.

Hiring a competent and talented individual can help you service more customers and boost your sales as a result. It’s simple math. Increasing your bookable time by an extra 40 hours per week will definitely increase revenue.

Check  your appointment book and your waitlist over the past four weeks to determine how fully booked you were and how many potential customers you had to turn away as a result. Have you lost out on a significant amount of business? If so, it’s time to get writing that ad (we’ll help with that later).

Know what type of salon employee you’re looking for

As a salon owner, you need to be sure of the type of person you’re looking for in a new employee. Hiring the right individual is more than just focusing on their abilities. Personality, work ethic and communication skills should be taken into consideration in addition to their experience, credentials and talent.

Who’s the kind of person you want to work with? A skilled beauty therapist or hairstylist is a must, but what about their personality? As we all know, we’re in the people business and it’s vital you hire someone who’s going to get along with your clients.

What level of experience are you looking for? Your budget may dictate this, but be open minded and remember ‘will over skill’. It may be easier to train someone in a new service than it is to teach them a strong work ethic.

Remember, potential staff are interviewing you!

Before you get too far down the hiring process, stop and take stock of what sets you apart as an employer. What are you doing to attract and retain talented, hard working staff? You might want to establish a commission structure to help reward new team members for their hard work, or choose to arrange your working hours so Saturdays and late nights are shared between the team..

It’s a competitive job market out there, but many people will choose a good working environment over a higher paying job. Small considerations for your staff can have a big impact.

How and where to recruit your new employee

When hiring someone in the hair and beauty industry, the competition for talented professionals can be fierce. But there are several options.. You can either go the usual route of advertising for someone suitable, or you can network to find the right candidate.

Here are some possibilities:

Hair and beauty training schools

Reach out to your nearby school or training academy and tell them about your career opportunity. Competition can be fierce, but it’s a great place to find potential employees who are passionate about their new career. Hiring straight out of school can be a great option as a student’s skills will be bang up-to-date and your new employee is ready to be trained to fit your salon – without any of the ‘baggage’ other employees may bring!

Trade expos and industry events

Attending industry events or expos to spread the word that you’re hiring. You never know who might be in the room, or who could be able to provide you with a fantastic referral. And remember, developing professional relationships through networking is never a wasted effort.

Write a job advertisement

If you decide to go with the tried and tested method of advertising the position, your success may depend on the ad you create. When writing the ad, give serious thought to the kind of employee you are looking for. The more detailed your ad, the less likely you will be to receive unsuitable applicants. Be sure to include the position’s title, primary requirements, desired skills, experience, and pay scale.

Describe the tasks they will be performing, what their responsibilities will be and the environment in which they will be working. Be particular about the experience level you’re looking for. Try to get across the culture of your salon in the advertisement. Is it informal and laid-back? Chic and fast-paced? This will attract the right type of candidate who may be eager to join a particular kind of workplace.

Where to advertise

There are a lot of options for advertising.

Here are some ideas:

Social media 

Social media can be a great place to advertise if you are followed by a large number of professionals in your industry. Posting a job ad on your Facebook page, industry specific communities and Instagram, especially if it has a large following, can be another great option.

Online job boards

Salon positions are listed on numerous job sites, including Jooble, Indeed and other local websites like Reed in the UK and Gumtree in Australia.

Hair and beauty training schools

As mentioned above, training schools can be a great place to look for your next hire. Just remember that those starting out may need to be more thoroughly trained and may require more of your time.

Get ready for the interviewing process

As a potential employer, you will need to be prepared to spot fake or embellished CV’s as well as applicants who exaggerate their accomplishments in their previous job in your face to face initial interview.

Plan ahead before an interview:

  • Make a list of the questions you need to ask
  • Refresh yourself with the applicant’s CV – especially if you’re doing lots of interviews
  • Underline any topics or skills you want to ask about

Tip: If your salon is not the best place for interviews, conduct the interview at a nearby cafe or another location that’s quiet and distraction free.

Check references

Do the fact-checking basics by conducting a comprehensive background or reference check on your shortlisted applicants. Did they actually work where they claimed to? Did they accurately describe their previous roles and achievements? You may also want to find out how the person interacted with customers and others in the team in their previous job.

Finding out as much as you can about an applicant’s previous employment will help you make an informed decision about whether they are the right fit for you and your business.

Candidates who make it through to round two

You can ask your shortlisted candidates to demonstrate their skills on yourself or another member of staff. There are two ways you could do this:

  1. Trade Test

An unpaid test where the candidate could carry out a massage, facial, nail treatment or a cut or blow wave for hair salons.

  1. Trial Day/Hours

This is generally a 3 hour session (as per law, minimum shifts are 3 hours and must be paid) where candidates would come in and provide extra services to clients for the day. This could be a basin rinse or blow dry or just general cleaning/spa fairy.

To sum it all up

The process of hiring your first new employee for your salon is exciting. It’s a big step but it can also be daunting and time-consuming. And once you’ve successfully hired someone, your work isn’t necessarily done.

Prove yourself to be a good and trustworthy employer by paying a fair wage and providing a supportive work environment. This will encourage your new employee to be loyal and committed to giving their full attention to your business. It’s a win win for all.