OWNER OF LA JOLIE HAIR SALON (lajoliesalon.com) in Princeton, NJ
OWNER OF DANTE LUCCI SALON (dantelucci.com) in Cleveland, OH
CO-OWNER OF AURA SALON & DAY SPA
(aura-salon.com) in Scottsdale, AZ
OWNER OF PARLOR HAIR SALON (parlorhairsalon.com) in New York, NY
The future of every salon rests on its ability to recruit and train top talent. Salon Today invited these owners to give some insight on their interviewing processes and training programs for new employees.
What are some creative ways your salon has recruited new employees?
Sasha: When we get a call from a potential new team member, the GM is listening for strong phone skills, including active listening. When we get an e-mail inquiry, the GM is looking for a professional e-mail address and a wellwritten request.
Gina: We had a professional video made specifically to use at job fairs. It has me answering questions on what we are looking for in a stylist and my views on the industry, including snip-its of salon events, decor and in-house training classes. We also give everyone a gift—usually a make-up mirror with our logo and information on it.
Sarah: We get out to the schools and teach. We participate in Industry Day at Kohler Academy. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to meet all of the upcoming graduates in the program and it’s set up like “speed interviewing.” We are able to get a first impression along with their resume.
Gwenn: We are regularly available to our surrounding schools to do presentations and demonstrations. During our demonstrations we do skill set exercises and give gift certificates for free services to the winners; ensuring we get more intimate contact with students who show extra promise.
What’s the interviewing process like for new employees?
Sasha: The formal in-person interview process starts with a greeting and tour from the GM. Then she gives them a letter of introduction along with our salon’s “nonnegotiable” information. We want them to actually leave the building, read the document and decide with certainty that they want to move forward with interview (or not). This tells us so much about the candidate and the candidate about us
Gina: After a very casual interview with me, and a candid visit to the salon, the applicant brings in a model and the other stylists interview and assess their work. My team decides if we should hire them. If the answer is “yes,” then I have a formal interview and discuss pay plans and such.
Sarah: Four interviews and an online personality test are administered. The first interview is with our HR manager. I conduct the second interview and ask more non-traditional types of questions and get a feel for their overall attitude. Fourfive members of our team conduct the third interview. My business partner, Christy, conducts the final interview—she’s the one who teaches the apprenticeship program and directly supervises their work.
Gwenn: We ask them to stop by and fill out one of our applications. Then we call those who show promise for a second one-on-one interview. If we are still interested then we have a group interview. The next step is a technical interview. In the technical interview, I am looking for how much effort they put into finding their model. Last, we have a few of the final applicants come and hang with us for a half-day. I talk to the staff and then I make a decision.
On average, how many new employees do you hire per year?
Sasha: We hire an average of three employees per year.
Gina: Usually one. Never more than two.
Sarah: Six salon apprentices, one spa apprentice.
How long is your training program?
Sasha: The length of our training program varies from approximately eight weeks to 18 months depending upon one’s level of competency, experience and motivation.
Gina: It varies depending upon the employee’s skill level and their personal industry plan. I try to have them on the floor and their hands in hair on some level (kids) by three months so they don’t lose interest. They are usually on the floor full time by one year and monitored for the remainder of their employment.
Sarah: Our program is a combination of training/ models two days per week and assisting three days per week. As they progress through the program, they gradually work into a chair on the days they were assisting. The average time-frame is nine months.
Gwenn: We allow our hairdressers to choose to do both hair cutting and coloring or opt to choose a specialty. The ones who are diligent will finish the hair cutting segment in 8 to 10 months and the color in approximately 5 to 7 months for a total of 13 to 17 months.