Recently, I released my book, Build Your Best Team This Year, because recruiting the best people for your salon is one of our top three responsibilities as salon owners. A portion of the book I share why we must be tenaciously recruiting. We have to be employing the same strategies in growing our team as we do in growing our clientele. One of those strategies is building face-to-face relationships in our community—specifically our beauty schools. Today I will share my top tips for recruiting beauty school students.
Create a list of the beauty schools in your area and plan to visit each of them once per quarter. You know the saying, “out of sight, out of mind.” If we aren’t present on a regular basis, people will unintentionally forget about our salon—our brand. In order to have top-of-mind awareness, we must have each beauty school as a top priority. Not only should we seek to visit, but we should seek to be apart of events they host. If they have career fairs, plan to attend! If they have an anniversary celebration, make sure you acknowledge them on social, send flowers, and join their party. You’re not only establishing relationships with their students, but you’re also establishing trust with their faculty. And people will not buy into your brand unless they trust you.
Always Add Value
Once you plan to visit each beauty school on a quarterly basis, reach out to the school to see what value you could provide during your visit. Even though you’d love to show the students how fly your salon is with balayage, they may need someone who’s willing to show barbering haircuts. If you can show that you are there for them—this will again, establish trust. The next time they need an artist to share their knowledge and techniques with their students, they are going to think of you because of your willingness to meet them where they’re at in their education plan.
What’s in it for them?
When you’re visiting the beauty school, remind yourself that not every student will be a good fit for your brand and culture and vice versa. How do you discover that as quickly as possible? By asking them! Ask the students during a lull in your presentation what they are looking for in their career and their future salon home. If you can identify their hopes as well as their fears, you can speak into those topics and focus on selling your brand based on what matters to them. Not only does this help you identify strong candidates within the group, it also sheds light on areas that you may need pivot in order to attract great candidates to your salon! It shows you who has potential, who doesn’t, and what changes you need to make as an organization if you want to stay competitive in your market.
Continue to Connect
It’s so important that we treat beauty school visits with the same intentions as we would a hair or bridal expo. In other words, we have to capture leads! We have to have a way to gather information from the students in order to stay in front of them—especially digitally. I recommend starting with a sheet you can pass around where everyone can write their Instagram handle down. Start following their hair page, commenting on their work, encouraging them, and once in a while send them a DM (direct message) sharing possible shadow dates or event opportunities at your salon. Very few salons are doing this, and even fewer are doing it consistently. If you can build this into your marketing plan, you have a stronger chance for a larger pool of candidates to choose from when you are hiring.
*Pro Tip* You can start doing this for hairstylists in your community that have already graduated. It doesn’t mean you have to aggressively try to recruit and steal stylists from neighboring salons you love, but you never know if a salon will close, or if a stylist is looking for more opportunities. Having that relationship established will build a positive bond between your brand and the professional. And if it leads nowhere, you’re still supporting a local hairstylist—and that’s cool.
About the Author: Kati Whitledge is an entrepreneur, speaker, author & podcaster. She opened Be Inspired Salon in 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. Her passion for salon marketing and business grew tremendously and encouraged her launch of Meet Your Stylist, a matchmaking marketing tool used by salon owners nationwide. She’s also the beloved host and founder of The Beyond The Technique podcast—where valuable education is provided on the vast topics of salon business. Kati’s mission is to equip salon owners and their teams with the most innovative business marketing strategies.