This blog was created to educate and prepare a salon manager or owner hiring the right stylists for your company. Aside from hiring inbound applicants, it is important for you to build an effective recruiting campaign. You can’t grow unless your team grows, and in order to grow you have to be superb with ATTRACTING new talent to your salon or spa.

Whether your company is a stepping-stone or final destination, your company vision should ensure each team member receives the love and support needed to grow within their career.  In another article, ‘How to Create a Career Path,’ you will learn how to set up the pillars of attracting new and motivated talent.

Recruiting Overview

The recruiting process for your company will be an on-going process, requiring full-team support, effort and a pooling of resources from team members and others from your circle of influence.

As a policy and in accordance with State Laws, your team is only employed with proof of an active cosmetology license from the State they are conducting services. For information about licensing in your State, feel free to spend time researching my other blog posts to learn more.

A recent cosmetology school graduate typically has a grace period of 6 months to be employed in a salon without their industry related license, as to give the recent graduate time to make arrangements for studying for their State Board exam. In this instance, you may offer employment to an individual based on the notion that they can only continue employment outside of 6 months with an active cosmetology license, otherwise it should be grounds for immediate termination/suspension, until they are licensed.

All cosmetology licenses should be printed and stored in a folder at the front desk. Most state board websites will have an option for licenses to be downloaded and printed. 

It is important to note, employing technicians who do not hold an active cosmetology/estheticians license can put the salon in great jeopardy, often leading to massive fines and in some cases, the loss of an operating business license. 

Most companies want a team member who is “enthusiastic, positive, hard-working, a team-player” etc., which would also be what you are looking for. However, we also have to consider our primary recruiting demographic will be individuals right out of beauty school, often times lacking related experience. This approach has its pros and cons, but ultimately it means we need to look outside of the cliché characteristics of a suitable team member so we can focus not on who will help our company grow, but why they feel they can take us to the next level. 

Profile of the Ideal Team Member

There are several qualities to look for when recruiting  a team member. You are wanting to bring on a candidate who believes in being a contributing member to a team, is enthusiastic and a pleasure to work with, exhibits hustle and is career driven, etc. Generally speaking, a ‘desperate’ hire may work in the short term, but the damage caused in the long-term is never worth the short term results. Below is a general, yet important list of qualities to look for when building your team at Ten Friends:

Stylist/Esthetician/Misc. Technician:

  • Recent cosmetology school graduate or has a few years experience in a full-service salon
  • Enthusiastic and energetic; a zest for life
  • Is a people person and has a natural ability to connect and create meaningful conversation
  • Appearance is trendy and fashion forward
  • Has a passion for styling, makeup, bridal looks, skin care, etc
  • Values continuing education, training and career growth
  • Has a positive outlook and does not participate in gossip 

Front Desk Receptionist:

  • Having an active cosmetology license is a major plus
  • Enthusiastic and energetic, a zest for life
  • Is a people person and has a natural ability to connect and create meaningful conversation
  • Appearance is trendy and fashion forward
  • Ability to multitask in a face paced environment
  • Understands the concept of hospitality and is able to do what it takes to ‘win’ over a client
  • Any previous retail, hospitality, restaurant or salon experience is a plus
  • Has emotional intelligence and knows how to balance creating magic for the team and holding them accountable

Salon Manager:

  • Having an active cosmetology/esthetics license is a major plus 
  • College Degree, Associates or other post-secondary education also a plus
  • Enthusiastic and energetic, a zest for life
  • Is a people person and has a natural ability to connect and create meaningful conversation
  • Appearance is trendy and fashion forward
  • Understands how to grow a team and influence positive behavior
  • Possesses emotional intelligence to have tough conversations and put out fires in order to bring greatness out in people
  • Is a natural leader and is willing to get into the trenches with their team
  • Understands P/L and is able to inspire/motivate their team towards growth
  • Is detail oriented and meticulous with organization and tasks
  • Has great conversation skills and exhibits empathy
  • Someone who has worked within your organization in another capacity, and has a proven track record in their position – this is a great option to illustrate growth within the company and helps paint the ‘big picture’ 

Cosmetology Schools

There are several ‘brands’ of Cosmetology Schools across the globe. For instance, in Illinois, there are close to 50 schools, but only a small handful are preparing their students to be successful in the beauty industry. You should never, ever disregard an applicant based on where they attended Cosmetology School; however, we need to take into account the level of education being offered at these schools. In our salon, our training program is an accelerated 4 week program, we need to have those in the program who we feel are already setup for success with a strong foundation.

The primary, but not limited to, Cosmetology Schools your company will recruit from are:

The best method for contacting the school’s Admissions Rep would be phone or email. It is also ok to do a ‘surprise’ visit, though it’s not always the most effective. Cold calling a cosmetology school and asking the rep to ‘send us’ anyone who might be a fit for your company will generally be met with resistance, as the majority of schools want salons and salon reps to come in and ‘play’ with the school ie build a relationship. We want to introduce ourselves, develop rapport, and ask the following questions:

  • About how many students are currently enrolled in your Cosmetology program?
  • What events/programs does your school host for career placement? How often?
  • Do you have events similar to career fairs, salon tour days, or guest artist days, that we may be a part of?
  • What is the best way to get in front of/recruit your students?
  • I’d love to stop by to tell you a little more about Ten Friends, what is your schedule like for the next few days?

The Admissions Rep is ‘the gatekeeper’ to our future growth so we need to always be open to accommodate their schedule, requests, etc. On the flip side, the Admissions Rep NEEDS us to improve their institutions’ Placement Rate, which is regulated by the government. Also, we should also share how many of their students we have placed within your brand, how much they love it, and bring former graduates to a recruiting event.

The relationship we nurture and cultivate with local Cosmetology Schools is the most important resource we have when it comes to team recruitment. Always be courteous, kind, and helpful in any way possible. We should accompany our initial visit with a Swag Bag for the Admissions Rep who helped us. 

Website Inquiries

From time to time, you will receive inquiries from applicants via your website. If you don’t have the capability of accepting applications through your website, you should direct applicants to your social media handles or simply email. All inquiries need to be printed and filed, assuming our site is equipped to prompt an applicant to fill out a formal application form. All online inquiries for employment should be answered within 48 hours of submission. All online inquiries should be kept on file for a period of 6 months, before being discarded.

Hangout Days

There may be opportunities to invite an applicant to your location for a ‘hangout’ day. This is a chance for the applicant to spend the day shadowing one or several of our stylists, experience our culture, and determine if your company is a suitable environment for their place of employment. This is also an opportunity for Management to determine if the applicant is a fit, and should generate constructive feedback from staff that had interaction with the potential team member.  

A hangout day should only be scheduled on a Saturday, and the applicant should participate in a team ‘huddle’ that morning. At the end of the workday, the Store Manager should get feedback from the potential team member, and if appropriate, schedule an official interview. The potential team member should NEVER be required to help with day to day operations, as you have staff to fulfill those responsibilities; we don’t want to take away from the experience by having our potential team member doing laundry or folding towels. We would want someone to hangout for the entire day, however, there is not a set required time.

Attracting and hiring quality people into your organization is a mix of art and science. For the better part of a decade this is what I mastered for cosmetology schools and our salons. If you still feel hopeless after reading this post, feel free to drop us a line and we can set aside time to help get you on the right path.