Your guide to recruiting your Dream Team
At Caronlab, one of our biggest missions has always been to help the beauty industry grow and thrive. Passionate therapists that do their job with enthusiasm and outstanding skill are the key to that. In my 40 years as a salon owner, I’ve seen many therapists come and go – both good and bad. Finding therapists that you can trust and rely on is like finding a needle in a hay stack and I’m truly grateful to say that my team is the best it’s ever been.
The quiet time of winter provides a great opportunity to think about the future of your team. You can use this time to take a good look at your staff; is everyone working to the best of their abilities? Are you missing any particular skills? Does everyone seem happy in their job? Now is the perfect time to identify any gaps or opportunities that will help you develop a strong team. In this article I talk about my best practices and will give you some easy-to-follow tips for recruiting the right staff.
No longer a job for life
Times have changed. The younger generation of therapists isn’t looking for a job for life anymore and we need to embrace that. This generation is looking for a job that makes them happy and fulfils their career goals. When a job does not tick those boxes anymore, they simply move on. This can be a real pain – especially when you finally feel like everything is working well and everyone knows what they’re doing. Through the years, I have learned to see the upside to a staff ‘refresh’ every now and then and I have come to view it as something positive. A new staff member can bring enthusiasm, curiosity and can cast a fresh eye on your processes. The difficulty lies in finding the sweet spot; always having a new generation in training that can be promoted when needed will ensure your salon runs like a well-oiled machine!
Considering a local college trainee
A healthy team – at least in my opinion – consists of a manager, some senior therapists, some junior therapists and trainees. This way, there’s always someone being groomed to step up once the time comes. Our best practice when recruiting new talent has easily been hiring trainees. Any way you look at it, it’s a win-win situation. They either work out perfectly and you have trained and inducted them for free – or they don’t work out, but you’ve shown your commitment to giving the next generation of beauty therapists a chance. Either way, you have nothing to lose. At Smooth & Tan, our last 2 trainees have been absolute stars and they’re currently working themselves up the chain.
The right fit
I’m always looking for people that are the right fit for my salon. To me this is someone that has the right skills, personality, values and mindset.
There are a couple of signs that help predict if a therapist has the right skills or qualifications. The most obvious one is education. We have great relations with a number of beauty schools that we trust to deliver excellent education for the next generation of therapists. For a full list, visit our website: https://caronlab.com.au/education/caronlab-schools/. Also, not to blow our own horn, but it’s a good sign when they have been trained by our Caronlab trainers – an added bonus if they have worked for a Caronlab preferred salon. These therapists will be highly skilled and confident to give your clients an experience they will want to repeat.
Personality over skills
If staff retention and building a strong team is what you are aiming for, a good cultural fit is essential. The best time to ensure this is during the recruitment stage. Always make sure you have a good balance of personalities in your team that complement each other. Just remember – you can teach someone a skill, but their attitude will not change. One of the most important things you can do for creating a happy, balanced team is to recruit people that share your salon’s values. When candidates share similar values and passions, they will get along with other employees and clients.
Posting and promoting the job
After you’ve determined what you’re looking for, it’s time to write a job ad that attracts the right people based.
The job ad should list what’s on offer, what you’re looking for and what your salon’s values are. Is there anything the therapist needs to know about your salon before they choose to apply? Do they need to have computer skills? Will you expect them to answer the phone? Are there incentives when they sell retail products? Adding an overview of what makes working at your salon different from working elsewhere, can really help you stand out. Click here for an example of our most recent job ad.
When the job is ready to post, get the word out with these free or inexpensive methods:
- Your salon website
- Social media networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn
- Online job boards: Jora, Indeed and LinkedIn
Social media presence
Over the years, the recruitment process has changed. When I first started hiring people, local therapists would simply walk through the door with their resume in hand and ask for a job. Now, with online job boards and social media, the playing field has become something else completely. On one hand it’s more challenging to be found; the sheer number of job vacancies can make it hard to stand out. On the other hand, people do more research about a salon before they apply. They go online, look at the website and social media to find out if the salon aligns with their personality. When they apply to your position, social media is where your selection process starts. You can shortlist the candidates based on what you find on their profile, but make sure you don’t just judge a book by its cover.
Once you are happy with what you have read about them, you can give the applicant’s references a call. Don’t skip this step, because it is your one chance to ask someone that has actually worked with the therapist about how they are. A brief chat about their work history, their strengths and weaknesses and their role within the team will give you confidence that they will be a good fit. If the reference check didn’t give you that confidence, it’s probably better not to invite them to a personal interview.
The best therapists I’ve had, all had one thing in common: they didn’t feel they were ‘too good’ to do certain things. They will always find something productive to do, even during quieter times. Giving other therapists a hand with the clean up after a treatment, restocking shelves or just generally cleaning and tidying up where needed.
But how do you test for traits like that when you’re still in the recruitment stage? Asking the question outright will most likely give you the answer the interviewee thinks you want to hear. Consider asking questions that don’t directly give you the answer, but that give you an insight into their personality. Make sure to ask follow up questions so the candidate can give examples of their statements. Their answers can tell you if they fit the team dynamic that you’re after.
- What made you want to work for our salon? (alternatively: What appealed to you in our job ad?)
- Why are you leaving your current job?
- What would your ideal working day look like?
- What type of work environment helps you thrive?
- Can you give us an example of how you deal with customer service?
- What are your strengths and your weaknesses? Can you give any examples?
- What are your top 3 favourite treatments to perform?
- What do enjoy the most about being a waxing technician, and what is your specialty?
When you’re confident that the applicant’s character is a good fit for the team, you can give them the opportunity to show their skills on models. It’s perfectly fine if they aren’t flawless yet, like I said before; skills can be taught! This is your chance to assess the need for further training. A good show of character is whether they are asking to get paid for this step in the recruitment process.
When you are happy with the level of training that is needed after the assessment, you can discuss the role in more detail. This can include responsibilities, remuneration, benefits and working hours. This should really be a formality by this stage and if there are no issues, you can offer them the job.
Onboarding your new therapists
Now that you’ve found the perfect fit, the hard part starts. There are no short cuts when it comes to onboarding your new therapists. A good process includes at least an induction into your business where they meet the rest of the team and cover your main business values and business goals. It’s always a great idea to have some induction paperwork printed and ready to go; an employee profile form for all their personal details, a TFN declaration, a Superannuation Form and a printout of your procedures and manuals will show your new therapist that you will look after them well!
Training to meet your standard
I am a firm believer that you have to offer every client the same experience, no matter what therapist treats them. This means that the training for your new therapist needs to focus on what your salon does differently; why do your clients come back to you time and time again? Your new hire will need to be trained in the products used, the benefits and features of the products and most importantly; a full training session on all the treatments on offer. Our highly experienced trainers are happy to come to your salon and teach them the world renowned Lilliane Caron waxing methods (we also have some great refresher courses available for your other staff!).
Introducing your new therapist
Once they have completed the essential training, you can introduce your new therapist to your client base. I like to introduce my new therapists by offering their services at a discounted rate for a limited time. This way, they quickly gain a lot of experience and they are up to speed in no time! It will also give you a good indication if your therapist gets along with your clients and expresses the right attitude and values. At my salon, our new therapists are booked in for 2 hours of training a week for the first 3-6 months. This training is performed on models and our Caronlab Trainers keep a record of what has been assessed, what the therapist needs to improve and when they will be reassessed. This helps build the right skillset and seeing the progress will encourage them and boost their confidence. Regular check-ins also help keep the lines of communication open.
Now is the time
I want to ask you to look at your team and determine if there are any gaps based on what I’ve just discussed. Does everyone have the right mindset? Is your staff skillset on point? Does everyone know what values are important at your salon? Do your staff have room to grow? It’s okay if you haven’t answered “yes” to all those questions. It helps you evaluate what you need to do to get to where you want to be. Now is the perfect time to start recruiting!