In the beauty and cosmetics industry, having efficient and committed employees is crucial for your business to succeed. When it comes to salons, your employees become the face and essence of your brand. After all, there are the ones directly interacting with your customers.
However, one of the most challenging aspects of being a salon owner is finding and retaining good employees. Over the last decade, hiring stylist and other salon specialists, has genuinely become a daunting task. The industry’s growth has created a deficit between offer and demand — meaning that salon owners are chasing a scarce pool of talent and experience.
Hence, this poses a fundamental question: where to find good salon employees? And while the answer is not that simple, there are a few tips and practices that can help you in your quest for hiring only the best stylist and specialist including:
- Defining Need/Wants
- Ad Placement
- Employee Value Proposition
- Open Communication
- Always Be Recruiting
Below we will go over each of the practices mentioned above to ensure you hire the right team members and improve retention.
First things first! If you want to attract only the most talented and experienced staff for your salon, you need to do some introspection. Strong salon brands attract good stylists, specialists, and therapists. Thus, make sure you cover a few things before posting a job ad:
- Have an appealing and professional-looking website.
- Make sure you have good, or at least decent, online reviews.
- Invest time (and money) on professional photos of your salon.
- Encourage existing staff to ‘put in a good word.’
Remember, the salon industry is mostly about appearances. Hence, how you portray your brand is crucial! When someone visits your webpage, speaks to your receptionist, looks at your Instagram feed, or reads a review on Yelp, they get an impression of your business. Thus, if you want a steady stream of talent knocking on your salon door, then you need to work on your brand.
2. Defining Need/Wants
Now that you know future employees are receiving the right impression, you need to determine what it is you are looking for in a candidate. When you have a clear picture of who you want to be working by your side, it is easier to put it into words when writing an ad for open positions.
I suggest you begin by making a list of qualities and skills you are looking for — meaning that you should write down the education, license, experience, and skills requirements.
Additionally, I recommend making a list of secondary requirements that include certain personality traits. For instance, if you need people with an eye for detail or who have a way with words. As I mentioned before, employees are the face of your brand — and as a result, their personality needs to match your vision.
3. Ad Placement
How you write and where you place your job advertisements is extremely important. The job advertisings for salon employees should be two things: attractive and informative. Hence, try to break through the clutter by crafting colorful amicable ads that highlight the advantages of working for your salon. Nonetheless, do not forget to include your business’ policies and pre-requisites for the position. Keep them short, but sweet! You do not want to bore people with an extensive list of ‘must-haves’ as if you were recruiting for NASA.
Additionally, consider where you will be advertising. In my experience, the best way to go about it is by posting it first on your website and social media profiles. Why? Simple. By doing so, you will be reaching out to an audience that is familiar with your brand and your salon.
Also, consider taping on your professional network. More often than not, you already know plenty of talented staff within the industry. Thus, call or email ex-coworkers or other liaisons to see if they are interested in a new job opportunity.
Lastly, research specialized websites that could potentially give you more exposure, such as Glassdoor and Indeed. Moreover, if you are looking for level-entry applicants, consider also going to beauty schools and colleges to recruit candidates.
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4. Employee Value Proposition
By now, I am sure you gathered that finding and retaining good salon employees is no easy task. Thus, try developing an ‘Employee Value Proposition’ (EVP) that explains outlines the benefits and advantages of working for your salon. Think about what sets you apart from the competition. Is it flexible work schedules? Career advancement opportunities? What do you provide that others lack?
The EVP will not only help you with recruitment, but it will also allow you to retain existing staff. So, make sure that your EVP is appealing and honest. Keep in mind that employees will not stick around if they feel they were misled or are not receiving what you promised. Also, if you have trouble crafting an EVP, or do not know where to start… Talk to your existing staff and ask them what attracts them to your salon in the first place and how they would pitch it to others in the industry.
5. Open Communication
Okay, so let’s say you already have your “dream team” but find out that some of them are looking for new jobs or a not entirely happy with their jobs. Having channels where employees can continually express how they feel is very important. More often than not, employers are so busy trying to run their business that they forget to look after their own.
Thus, make sure your staff has a way of reaching out. Furthermore, not everything needs to be negative; sometimes, employees simply want to be able to pitch new ideas! Open communication is the best way to retain existing staff and should never be underestimated.
6. Always Be Recruiting
The best way to expedite the recruitment process is by always being on the lookout for new candidates. In other words, try not to wait until someone quits or gets lay off to start looking for a replacement. By the time you have a vacancy, you are already losing money because you have one less team member, and thus, the remaining staff needs to cover those hours or clients until you find a replacement. More so, if he or she was the only specialist available in a specific area, this means you would have to cancel that service altogether until you find the right person for the job.
Consequently, think about adding a ‘Careers’ section on your website, this way you can keep promising candidates on file and contact them if need be. Also, accept resumes even if you do not have open positions; by doing so, you will always have a pool of interested candidates on hand.
Finally, consider attending industry tradeshows and events to get exposure and develop brand awareness. Having a well-established brand within the beauty industry goes a long way when looking for personnel.
There you have it! These six tips and practices will help you in your quest for talented and experienced salon staff. Always remember that to find and retain employees, you also need to take care of them. Work relationships, like any other relationship, need to be nurtured. Therefore, think about not only what people can do for your business, but also what you are offering to your staff.
Also, keep in mind that the recruitment process requires patience and effort on your part. Do not get discouraged if you cannot seem to find the right candidates right away.
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How can you reduce salon recruitment costs?
One of the biggest obstacles in hiring new personnel is how expensive it can turn out to be. Ads and marketing campaigns are proven to be costly, especially if you are trying to attract only the best candidates. Thus, consider crafting campaigns based on word of mouth!
If your brand is a well-established and respected business, people will come to you. As a result, you only need to get the ball running by saying you are hiring. Also, turn your existing staff into brand ambassadors! You can even recommend a ‘referral’ scheme for new employees; this will make your job much more manageable and promote a feeling of belonging while reducing costs.
How do you know when a candidate is a good fit for your salon?
Sometimes, deciding who not to hire is even more important than finding the right candidates. In other words, you do not think a person is right for your salon, do not hire them! When recruiting personnel, you need to trust your instincts. Thus, always choose what is right instead of what comes easier.
Also, it is vital that you always ask for references. Remember, impressions and resumes can be deceiving. Therefore, it is best to be safe than sorry! Recommendations will help you determine if a person has the right qualities to work by your side, while also allowing you to have additional insight from an outsider’s perspective.
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Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
Shawn Chun is an entrepreneur who has owned several types of businesses from a coffee shop to an import and export business to an online review business plus a few more and now creates online resources for those interested in starting a salon business. It is demanding work he loves to do it. Shawn says “I do it for those passionate about their business and their goals. I know how hard the struggle is to obtain and retain clients, finding good employees all while trying to stay competitive.”
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