Human resources

Top Tips For Recruiting Staff in Time for Reopening

by laurahusband / last updated March 5, 2021

tips recruiting staff

As hair salons prepare for reopening, business consultant Phil Jackson shares his top tips for recruiting staff and new team members ahead of reopening.

If you want to grow your hair salon business in 2021, now is the time to consider whether you want to recruit new staff and team members ahead of reopening. Build Your Salon’s Phil Jackson points out there are qualified teams looking for work and self-employed stylists who want to come back onto the payroll so it is an ideal opportunity to fill the positions in your business. Simply follow Phil’s eight tips for recruiting staff and team members ahead of reopening.

Phil’s eight tips for recruiting staff and team members ahead of reopening

1. Be flexible

Advertise for full-time and part-time team members. Personally, I love the flexibility of having part-timers and there is an inbuilt robustness to the business model when you have team members who can do a few extra hours to help cover short-term sickness, holidays or maternity leave.  It is important to appreciate how priorities have changed for many over the last 12 months – though you may be desperate to get back to work full-time, that isn’t the case for everyone and potential candidates may be looking for a different work/life balance. On the flip-side, you may have a part-time vacancy in mind, but are you seriously telling me that if a perfect candidate came through the door with a great skillset and a batch of regular clients you wouldn’t make room? Really?

2. Don’t be cagey about pay

With Lidl paying around £10 an hour it’s time for us to shake off the poorly-paid image forever. Be bold with your pricing and targets to start moving your wages higher. Be up-front about wages and earning potential: it shouldn’t be an embarrassed section of the interview that nobody wants to broach. Make rates of pay clear in your job ads and job descriptions – if you’re embarrassed about what you pay it really is time to review the finances in your salon.

3. It’s less of a risk than you think

Often I’ll hit resistance around recruitment when salon owners think of a new team member as, for example, a £20k a year cost. If realistic but challenging expectations are in place and you’re marketing new team members aggressively, there is no reason for your new recruit to be a financial drain. In fact, if you pay monthly it isn’t unrealistic for a new stylist to cover their wage before their first pay cheque – they’re literally giving you 30 days credit!  Monitor performance closely and be brave about ending employment for those that just aren’t working out. As long as you’re the right side of the law (and legal advice is always money well spent) it is relatively easy to terminate employment in the first couple of years. This all reduces the financial risk of employing and should give you the confidence to take your growth plans forward.

4. Advertise your vacancy

A lot of salon owners are disappointed when they advertise their vacancies on Facebook, but when you think about it that makes perfect sense – you’ve spent years building your Facebook page to appeal to customers, not potential employees. You need a blatant call-to-arms to get your customers to share your vacancy off your page. That doesn’t mean potential applicants won’t be stalking you on social media. Try to ensure at least 20% of your posts show what a great place your salon is to work, what a great, friendly team you have and how you invest in the training and development of your employees.

5. Update your expectations

Take the opportunity to refresh your job descriptions. Make them easy to read and don’t be afraid to make earning potential and your performance expectations crystal-clear. Coaching your team towards targets they didn’t realise were important is hard work. Putting your targets in your job description ensures what you expect has been communicated from day one. It may mean some potential applicants are put off from taking their application further – which is great!  Only those who feel they can hit those targets will apply.

6. Review your application process

I’ve helped salon owners get some great applicants by making it much easier to apply for a position. If it’s OK for you to advertise a position on social media, I think it should also be fine for an applicant to express their interest on social media too. Judging applicants on whether they have a beautiful CV doesn’t get you great stylists or therapists; it gets you people who can put a CV together!

7. Test the skills

A trade test is essential – for apprentices their ‘test’ was a training session where we would watch their attitude to learning a new skill and taking feedback. When in the recruitment process you have the trade tests will depend on your priorities. Personally I always interviewed first because an applicant’s skills weren’t relevant if I didn’t enjoy our conversation. Other salons prioritise technical skills and hold the trade test first.

8. Review your selection process

We’re all out of the loop as far as in-person communication is concerned. Start the journey in a non-intimidating way with a telephone interview (but call it a chat). This is your chance to make sure the applicant understands which position they have applied for and save a lot of wasted time. When we’re able, follow the call with an in-person chat (don’t call it an interview).  A formal interview process, again, won’t get you great team members – it just gets you people who are great at interviews!

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