Q. What kind of questions do I ask potential spa staff?
A. A thorough interviewing process is a must for hiring any type of staff. Consultants advise communicating the culture of the spa to the candidate on the first interview, and finding out about his or her own goals, education and experience. Clearly define the responsibilities and expectations of the position he or she is applying for, as well as how the spa will support them through advanced education or otherwise. For a second interview, says Canavino, ask potential managers how they would handle specific situations and confrontations. Have a potential esthetician perform a service on a staff member, and observe how she communicates with the client. What questions does she ask in the consultation? How does she guide the client through the process? How does she close the sale? How does she ensure that the client returns? Let the candidates know they will be doing this beforehand, so they have time to prepare.
If the candidate makes it to the third and final interview, discuss the employee manual and how they feel about policies and procedures. Don’t rush it, says Canavino. The more you talk to a person, the better understanding you’ll have of whether she’ll fit in your culture. A recent grad may be an easy fit, but you’ll have to provide a broad education program when she joins your staff. Conversely, experienced technicians will need less training, but it’s imperative they work within your culture, not that of their previous employer.
Q. What kind of retail program should I have for skin care?
A. The standard is 10-percent commission on retail sales, says Canavino, or you can do a sliding scale if you want to go higher. To get clients hooked, factor the price of a skin care starter kit into a treatment so clients have something to take home. Educate the esthetician on ways to recommend products so she doesn’t feel like she’s selling, and structure promotions so there is always something new to catch the eye. “Another key is compensating the front desk for retail sales, although the commission might not be as high. Receptionists sell to walk-ins and must close the sale if the esthetician is busy or not willing to sell.”
Q.How often do skin care professionals need continuing education?
A. Education should be ongoing, as things change so rapidly in skin care. The skin care line you carry should have an education program, says Canavino, and there are schools that offer CEU credits, as well as classes at various shows and events. “Get copies of every CEU credit your staff gets and keep it in their files so you know they are all up to date.” Put a certain percentage of their retail or service dollars toward an education account for each employee, or match their education spending dollar for dollar.
Adapted from “The Business of Skin Care,” originally published in Salon Today, September 2007.