For many years, salons have placed an emphasis on hiring only students.
I’ve talked to salon owners all around the US and the sentiment has always been the same,
“I hire new talent because I can train them before they develop any bad habits”.
This fear of hiring experienced stylists seems to finally be shifting as more and more of my clients ask me,
“How can I find someone with experience?”
I attribute this urgency to hire someone turnkey to the pains of post-pandemic business ownership. On average, salons across the US are down in staff by 20% AND revenue levels are the same as 2019- or in many cases even higher.
That means you are doing the same sales revenue with less staff! Before you jump into panic mode because things are too busy let’s celebrate your current success. You are doing an amazing job! Let that sink in.
I know when you feel short-staffed in the salon it is easy to forget that you are in a good place right now. Instead, we laser focus on what isn’t working- like being fully booked on a Saturday with no place to put a same-day appointment.
Or feeling overwhelmed when you have to reschedule a stylist’s day who was sick and find out there is nowhere to put the clients for weeks. I can help you figure this out.
I’m going to give you two proven practices for attracting experienced stylists.
Method #1: Create an in-salon referral program
According to my most recent workforce report where 20,000 stylists weighed in – the #1 way an experienced stylist finds a job is a referral from a friend. Those *friends* are the current team members in your business. Your job is to create a referral program and then make the ask of your existing staff.
Referral programs are usually made up of two types of incentives. Compensation for a “lead” and Compensation for a “close”.
When we apply this to the salon, we can think of it this way:
- You offer compensation for a qualified stylist lead – someone who comes in for the interview process and;
- You offer additional compensation for an actual hire.
Step 1: Define what a qualified lead is.
100% your own decision.
A few ideas to consider:
- A stylist with X number of years in the industry.
If you are seeking someone with a specific amount of years working in the industry.
- A stylist who has worked with X product line.
If you are looking for someone who already works with a specific product brand. Or, if you are looking to expand into working with a new product line and want someone who has experience working with it already.
- A stylist who completes the 3 interview steps.
You define 3 steps that make up the process of interviewing with your salon.
- A stylist trained in X.
If you are in need of a stylist who is already trained in providing a specific type of service.
- A stylist who is actively looking for a job.
Diversify your application pool by opening up to any stylist in the job-seeking market. You never know who you might meet!
Step 2: Define the way you compensate for the “close” or actual hire.
I suggest your referral program have a tiered approach to pay for the close.
Provide compensation for the referring stylist at the time of hire – and then sweeten the prize when the new hire reaches a specific milestone, like completion of your training program or 90-days in the salon.
You can choose what the compensation program looks like. It can be money, paid time off, a service perk. Get creative here!
Method #2 Make the Ask
After you’ve designed your referral program, you have to make the ask.
Just like you have to consistently remind your clients about your referral program you have to make this program something you regularly talk about. I even suggest that you open it up to anyone- not just stylists on your team. What if you had your clients referring hairdressers to work in your business?
Put the program details on your website, write a blog about it, share it on social media. Beef up the share when you are in active hiring mode- but talk about it regularly.
Hiring an experienced stylist can shorten your lead time for them to be available to take clients and you want this to be an active part of your hiring plan.