How to Avoid a Salon or Spa Recruitment Disaster

by Pam Stellema

in Business Development, Salon and Spa Management, Staff Management

How to Avoid a Salon or Spa Recruitment Disaster

One of the biggest problems that many industries face, including the beauty industry, is employee turnover.

When you consider the cost of advertising, recruiting, training, and development of a new employee, you can certainly see why minimising employee replacement is a great idea.

To avoid this additional expense in your salon, you need to recruit using proven strategies to help you select the right person the first time around.

While you may not be able to prevent employees from leaving altogether, by following some very straightforward steps, you can minimise employee loss, and retain your employees for much longer periods of time.

Let’s look at some of the key factors that will help you to achieve that.

The Salon Recruitment Process

Without a doubt, this is the most important part of getting and keeping great employees.

A major mistake made by many is the lack of sufficient research done on an applicant before hiring. This lack of research often leads to a bad hire, which in turn then leads to the recruitment process starting over again.

Let’s start at the beginning.

#1. The Job Description
Lots of employers don’t bother to create a Job Description.

They assume that they know what they want without having to think things through or write anything down. This is a mistake.

The fact is that the Job Description is not just about what you know or want, it’s also a valuable document for the applicant so that they know exactly what they are signing up for when they take a job in your salon.

When a new employee finds out that the job is not what they expected it to be, then it won’t be long until they are job hunting once again, leaving you with yet another position to recruit for.

Also, the Job Description is an important document that you can refer back to if there’s ever a dispute about what the job entails.

If you’ve written your expectations and offer clearly and concisely in a Job Description, there’ll never be any confusion later on.

#2. The Job Advertisement
The Job Advertisement needs to be crystal clear about qualifications, knowledge, and skills that your applicant must have.

It’s pointless getting dozens of unsuitable applicants for the position, which is what will happen if you’re not completely clear about these minimum requirements.

It also provides an opportunity for you to showcase what your salon has to offer a successful applicant.

When you do this, it may help a prospective applicant make the choice to apply for your position over another one.

#3. The Phone Interview
A well prepared short phone interview will save you from inadvertently inviting an unsuitable applicant in for an interview. This pre-interview process will save you hours of valuable time.

Prepare for your phone interviews by creating a list of questions based on your knowledge of what’s required of the applicant.

Not only will you confirm that the applicant meets all the must-have requirements, but you can also check on other essentials such as their proximity to the salon, transport options, work-time restrictions, and anything else you believe might hinder them from doing the job on offer.

A few short minutes on the phone with all your applicants will ensure only the qualified few make it through to a face to face interview.

#4. The Job Application
A resume is not a worthy substitute for a completed Job Application.

Resumes can so easily deceive prospective employers with what they don’t include.

This is why you should always use an in-depth Job Application form – one that will give you as much information as possible on which to base your hiring decision.

Make sure that your Job Application is designed to address the specific requirements of your salon and the job offered.

For instance, in the beauty industry, you would normally need to know the following, at the very minimum:
 that the applicant is fully qualified
 that the applicant has the legal right to work in Australia
 how many hours per week the applicant requires to earn sufficient money to live on
 how much hands–on experience the applicant has within the industry
 how recent her industry experience is
 if the applicant has any postgraduate qualifications showing additional skills
 if the applicant is willing to attend on and off the job training
 where, and for how long, the applicant has been employed in previous positions
 when the applicant is not available to work (holidays, evenings, weekends)
 if the applicant is engaged in any recreational activities that will interfere with her job
 if the applicant has any previous injuries that would prevent her from doing the job on offer

There are lots of important points to consider when designing your application form, so if you don’t have a comprehensive one already, make the time to create one.

#5. The Job Interview
As most salon owners don’t have any formal qualifications in Human Resources, there’s a good chance that they don’t get enough quality information from their applicants during the interview process.

In fact, one of the major problems is that the person doing the interview often does most of the talking, when of course it should be the other way around.

During an interview, you should use the completed Job Application form provided by the applicant, to supply you with topics for discussion.

By getting the applicant to open up and do most of the talking, you’ll gain a much better insight into their suitability.

During the Job Interview is not the right time to be ‘selling’ your salon to the applicant, so avoid the temptation to do this.

Instead, use the time to gather as much information as you can about your applicant so that you’re sure to make the right hiring decision.

#6. Reference Checks
Employers who don’t bother with this step, often regret it.

Past employers can be a wealth of information about your applicant – even if they say nothing at all.

I’ve always found that past employers who don’t want to give a reference of any kind, do so because they don’t want to say something negative, and possibly get themselves into trouble.

When this happened to me (and it did many times), I simply asked, “Would you re-employ this person in your salon?” I usually got the answer I expected.

#7. The Second Interview
After you’ve completed your initial round of interviews and reference checks, and selected a smaller number of suitable candidates for the job, it’s worthwhile asking them back for a second, more relaxed interview.

Usually, the applicant will have lost some nervousness by the second interview, and if left to speak without undue interruptions, will reveal a lot more about themselves (sometimes not intentionally).

The second interview can also be a good time to ask a manager to sit in, providing you with the benefit of valuable input from someone else who knows the needs of your salon.

#8. Skills Assessment
Sometimes applicants look fantastic on paper and interview well but are hopelessly incapable when it comes to hands-on skills.

But you won’t find this out until you’ve given them a comprehensive skills assessment.

Don’t be put off by the fact that you have to pay the applicant for their time because, in the big picture, this is really a very small investment to ensure you don’t end up employing the wrong person.

When you think about the amount of money you may lose through unhappy clients who leave your salon for greener pastures, you will realise that it wasn’t worth the money you thought you were saving at the time.

Sometimes, even after placing the best advertisement and interviewing many candidates, you still won’t have found the right person for the job. Don’t be tempted to hire the “best of a bad bunch”.

This is a mistake that will bring regrets in most cases.

#9. Attitude Check
It’s far better to hire someone who has real potential with regard to their skills but also possesses a terrific attitude toward the things that matter to you as a salon owner.

Someone who loves being around other people looks for the good in others before the bad, sees potential instead of problems, loves working in a team environment, and can always find a genuine smile.

Your clients will love this person, and forgive them some imperfections.

Always keep in mind that additional skills can be taught or upgraded, but attitude seldom changes.

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
~ Winston S. Churchill

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Pam Stellema

Pam is an industry experienced coach, salon owner, speaker, author and copywriter.She works beside salon and spa owners to show them how to effectively grow their profits and remain in business for the long-term.
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