How to Recruit for the Front Desk
Kristi Valenzuela, founder of Crystal Focus Salon Coaching
High turnover is often caused by not having the "right person for the right position." Often, salon owners or managers are hiring out of emergency due to an immediate opening at the front desk. Due to this urgency, there is a lack or preparation and time needed to find several qualified people to interview, and the interview is not tailored to reflect the important duties of a front desk sales support staff. If the front desk is the first impression, the last impression, and often the LASTING impression of the salon, salon owners need to get focused, get organized and get prepared for the recruiting and interview process.
The best way to recruit for this position is to find someone that already has customer service and sales experience, and possesses "sales charisma." Keep your eyes and ears open for your next front desk person through your own customer service experiences. It's the waitress who offers an appetizer, deliciously describes her favorite menu item, and reminds you to save room for dessert. Or it's the woman working behind the counter at your favorite retail store who talks about their loyalty program, gift cards, or special sales.
The people who WOW you should work for you. Don't wait until you need someone, interview often...even if you don't have an opening! This will improve your interview skills, keep qualified people on file, and keep your existing front desk on their toes! (Wouldn't you be on your toes if you knew the owner was always looking for someone for your position?)
One more hot tip: If you put an ad in the paper, on craigslist.com, or other sources, place you ad in the SALES section, not the receptionist section. This is a sales position.
During the interview, make sure to explain all the sales responsibilities the front desk team has, including offering additional services, pre-booking the next appointment, closing the retail sale, taking guests on tour, offering sales and promotions, etc.
There are two interview exercises that we recommend in The Front Desk Doctor Training Series. One exercise we discuss on the Chapter 2 Hiring Audio CD is called, "Sell me this pen." This is an interactive point in an interview when you would hand your ink pen to the person you are interviewing to see how well they could describe and offer the sale of the pen. It's a great way to test and see how brave their sales skills really are! You will find, or eliminate, many candidates with this simple exercise. Try it!