The (It Didn’t Have To Be) Sad Story of the Salon Owner and Her New Employee

by Pam Stellema

in Business Development, Salon and Spa Management, Staff Management

The (It Didn't Have To Be) Sad Story of the Salon Owner and Her New Employee

Once upon a time, a happy salon owner realised she needs to employ a new staff member because her business is growing and she didn’t want to have to turn clients away.

The very next day, a pretty young girl straight from college walked into her salon and offered her an attractive resume.  The salon owner was uber-excited.  After all, a potential new employee had just walked into her salon, which means she’d been saved the dreary job of writing up a job description, placing a paid advertisement, taking job applications and interviewing multiple applicants.

It must have been a ‘sign’ that this was the right person to hire.

So, the happy salon owner offered the girl with the resume a job, starting on Monday.  She excitedly began to book clients in with her new team member, positive that because she had a diploma, she was more than capable of doing a great job.

The new girl arrived at the salon on the Monday – right on the dot of starting time.  Her first client was already waiting in the reception.  After checking her mobile phone for those last-minute Facebook posts (well, no-one said she couldn’t), she took her first client into the treatment room and delivered the treatment – a facial.

What a disaster.

The new employee had no idea about where to find things and she’d never worked with that particular product range before.  On top of that, she chatted all the way through the facial, talking about her boyfriend and the fight that they had at the pub over the weekend.

The client was decidedly unhappy, but paid for her service, vowing she’d never return for a repeat performance.

The day continued on in much the same fashion.  A waxing client got a burn, the brow client was really unhappy with her ‘new’ brow shape, the lash tint client had stinging eyes, and the pedicure client left with the worst polish job she’d ever had.

At the end of the day, the new employee picked up her bag and headed out the door on the dot of finishing time, leaving wax on the floors, dirty towels in the corner and tint stains on the sheets.

This went on day after day until the clients began to either not return, or ring and complain.

And bit by bit, the salon owner began to feel more and more stressed. After all, this wasn’t at all what she wanted or needed.

Does any of this story sound familiar to you?  I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it did.  In fact, most of my coaching clients have had a similar story to tell at some time, and the sad part is, that this is one type of stress they didn’t need to subject themselves to.

So, what could they have done differently?

They could have followed a tried and tested recruitment process that would have gone a very long way toward ensuring that when they hired a new employee, it would have been someone who would have been an asset rather than a liability.

Naturally, each step has its own process, but here’s what I recommend to my clients when recruiting for their salons or spas.

How to Hire Well for your Salon or Spa

Step 1. Write up a comprehensive Job Description.  This ensures that not only does the new employee understand exactly what her role and responsibilities will be, but that you as the business owner understands it as well.

Step 2. Advertise your position outlining required experience and expertise.  Be clear about the ‘must-have’ as opposed to the ‘would-like-to-have’ so that prospective employees understand clearly what the job requires of them.  Be precise about what you want and need so that you end up with only the right people to interview.

Step 3. Conduct 10 min pre-interviews over the phone to weed out those who don’t meet the ‘must-have’ criteria.  This is an important step if you don’t want to waste a great deal of time on useless interviews.

Step 4. Have all prospective employees fill in a custom job application form so that you can access the right information about the applicant.  Forget the resumes that you are handed as, in nearly every instance, they’re a work of fantasy. Prospective employees who simply attach their resume to your job application should be immediately eliminated from the recruitment process.

Step 5. Ring several past employers for a verbal reference; the more the better.  Written references are often not worth the paper they’re written on.  I’ve found a simple question asked and answered will often tell you what you need to know – ‘Would you re-hire this person in your business?’.

Step 6.  Those who pass the reference check should be given a substantial skills test to determine whether they are as good as they say they are.  Remember, you are choosing someone to work on your very valuable clients.

Step 7. Offer a written contract outlining your requirements and your offer, that includes a probationary period of employment.  You don’t want to be stuck with someone who simply does not meet the needs of your business or the expectations of your clients.

Step 8. Sit down and discuss your salon policies and procedures with your new employee.  Make sure she fully understands the job and what happens if her performance is not up to your requirements. Don’t simply hand over the salon manual and ask her to read it sometime – it’s not likely to happen if you do.

Step 9.  Spend the time required to train your new team member on how your salon provides treatments to the clients.  You must deliver consistency in all things and by all team members if client retention is high on your priority list.

And there you have it.  A brief overview of how to have a happy ending to the recruitment story in your salon.  If you want to bypass the steps involved, you will pay the penalty and gain the unneeded stress it will bring.

Your clients are the most important part of your business.  Their money is what pays your bills and leaves some over for you, therefore anyone who is hired to look after them must be selected with great care and trained continuously to provide the very best treatments and customer service at all times.

Related Modules: The Employment Application and The 10 Minute Phone Interview

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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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