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Introducing...

Recruitment guide for salons

Lockhart Meyer Salon Marketing logo

Talk to any hair or beauty business owner and they’ll tell you that recruiting talented, experienced therapists and stylists with the right attitude and personality is getting even harder. Strong candidates are in short supply, and recruiting the best team is one of the biggest challenges owners and managers face.

In this guide we:

  • Explore the key role your brand and recruitment marketing play in today’s competitive marketplace.
  • Show you how to create a highly effective recruitment advert.
  • Walk you through creating a Facebook recruitment ad (with screenshots).
  • Examine the best places to recruit to attract top talent (plus template Employment Application form).
  • Explain the benefits of phone interviews and give you our Recruitment Checklist template.
  • Talk through the best interviewing prep and on-the-day techniques.
  • Share our template Interview Questionnaire and discuss how you tackle salary questions.
  • Look at the interview follow up including the script for a rejection letter/email.

 

This industry specific recruitment marketing and hiring guide is a joint production brought to you by:

  • Lockhart Meyer Salon Marketing, one of the most experienced beauty, aesthetic and hair marketing agencies in the UK and
  • Loop HR, creators of easy to use HR software for salons, spas and clinics.

 

*Any legal information is for guidance only and you should always seek professional legal advice before taking any actions.

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Chapter 1:
Employer branding & recruitment marketing

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Chapter 2:
Write an advert that works

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Chapter 3:
Where to recruit the best talent?

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Chapter 4:
Save time with a telephone interview

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Chapter 5:
Preparing for the interview

How to instantly improve your salon's client retention

Chapter 6:
On the day

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Chapter 7:
Job offer and rejections

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Chapter 1

Today’s game changers:
Employer branding & recruitment marketing

In today’s competitive marketplace, salon owners are increasingly realising that the traditional methods of attracting and hiring good candidates need to change, and many are adopting employer branding and recruitment marketing techniques.

So what are employer branding and recruitment marketing, and how do they differ?

 

#1. Employer branding

At its most basic employer branding is your reputation as a place to work. The better you are at employer branding (your external image) the more likely you are to attract the best local talent.

Think about it:

Many salons invest time and money in creating a strong brand to attract clients to their salon, but how many spend time creating a positive, employee-facing business image to ensure they attract and retain a top team?

Reputation building

Building a reputation as a great place to work is a key factor in today’s competitive market for top talent. Whether that experienced therapist or stylist decides to join your business, or accepts a competitor’s offer, is often down to the strength of your brand and local reputation (your employer brand).

A great employer brand also helps your bottom line as:

  • you spend less on recruitment advertising
  • get higher quality applicants
  • retain your employees longer
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Companies with great employer branding see 50% more qualified applicants, hire at a rate of 1-2x faster, and reduce cost per hire by 50%. (LinkedIn)

#2. Recruitment marketing

Recruitment marketing is how you get your message in front of the right candidate at the right time. It’s a one-off campaign, unlike building a strong employer brand which is an ongoing process.

 

Build a strong employer brand

Step One: Conduct an employer brand audit

First, ask your team what they think about your business’s local reputation as an employer.

Next, think about what first impression you are making to potential applicants? Assess all your external facing marketing such as social media, your website, the exterior of your premises and printed materials such as price lists. Now do the same for your competitors and rate your business against theirs. Which would attract you if you were a local stylist, therapist, manager or receptionist looking for your next career move?

 

Step Two: Ways to improve your employer brand

Decide on what brand values and image you want to portray to both potential and existing employees.

Now use all your marketing channels to promote that employer brand image. You could:

  • Put employee interviews or testimonials on your website and social media so people can see what a cool place it is to work.
  • Being shortlisted for awards shows would-be candidates that they’d be joining the best in town.
  • Highlight training opportunities on your social media, and encourage your team to share on their social to spread the word.
  • Shout about any photo shoots or backstage work at runway shows your team are involved in.
  • Include videos of your team giving treatments on social, or showcase their client work. Make sure you give them a call out and credit.

There are dozens of ways you can demonstrate what a brilliant place your salon or spa is to work in, and persuade your competitor’s team that they’d rather be working with you.

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75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job. (CareerArc)

Recruitment marketing to hire the best talent

The goal of recruitment marketing is simple: attract, engage and hire the best talent for your hair or beauty business.

Although aimed specifically at hiring, recruitment marketing uses many of the same elements and ideas as general marketing. Your recruitment marketing campaigns target the right audience across multiple channels (website, social advertising, word-of-mouth etc) to get your salon’s message in front of the right candidate at the right time, and convince them to leave their current job and join your team.

In the next two chapters I look at writing and creating a recruitment advert that works, and also at the various recruitment marketing techniques you can use to find the best talent. Loop HR then gives practical, hands-on advice and tips for interviewing and selection techniques, plus templates you can download and use.

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Chapter 2

Write an advert that works

Your recruitment advert may be the first time a potential applicant has seen your business so make it count. First impressions are important and you only get a few seconds to make an impact.

First write a job description. This helps you and your team clarify what is needed in the role and the type of person who would ideally fill it – your target employee. Now write your advert with that person in mind.

Give your advert a clear structure:

Headline
About your business
Job description
Benefits
Job requirements
Call to action

Let’s look at each part:

 

#1. Headline

Start with a punchy clear headline. Most people will skim hundreds of job adverts so make sure yours jumps out.

 

#2. About your business

Don’t assume everyone knows about your hair or beauty business. Your advert needs to persuade the right people that they want to join you.

Briefly introduce and ‘sell’ the salon, and explain why it’s such a great place to work.

 

#3. Describe the job

Tell potential applicants about the job, including:

  • day-to-day tasks
  • duties and responsibilities
  • a salary range (money is a key part of people’s decision-making process)

Marketing recruitment tip

Use ‘you’ and ‘your’ rather than ‘the candidate’. This sounds as though you’re talking to the person, is friendly and welcoming, and is more likely to make the reader engage with your advert.

#4. Benefits

Potential applicants want to know what benefits you offer. This could be anything from flexible working hours to taking part in industry awards, and from bonus schemes to photo shoots.

Show too how you can progress their career, training opportunities and the different career and personal development paths that are open to them.

 

#5. Job requirements

Clearly list the must-have skills and qualifications for the job. Keep to the factual essentials and leave out ‘nice-to-have’ requirements as a long wish list can put a potential applicant off applying if they don’t feel they meet all of your requirements.

Remember, at this stage you’re not choosing a person, merely ruling out the ones who would just waste your time.

 

#6. Call to action and the application process

Tell people what exactly they need to do to apply, how, and to whom.

Then let them know what happens after they have applied, and when they can expect to hear from you.

Include a closing date for applications to be received.

Use an application form

Ask all applicants to complete the same application form as it ensures everyone gives you all the essential information such as qualifications and experience you need.

CVs, on the other hand, all differ in their content and topics covered and it’s more difficult for you to consistently assess and compare the applicants.

Send your potential candidate an employment application form (or ask them to complete one in the salon if they have walked in looking for work).

Download our template Employment Application form here.

#7. Visuals

Remember you want your advert to stand out from the crowd so:

Write short, precise sentences.
Punchy bullet points work better than long paragraphs.
Use photos of your salon or team to give your advert more authenticity.
Include links to your website and social media, as well as email and phone contact details.

The Law

Any recruitment advertisement must not discriminate on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex (gender) and sexual orientation.

Be careful as even seemingly innocent phrases such as a ‘young and dynamic stylist’ could be age discrimination.

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Chapter 3

Where to recruit the best talent?

Successful recruitment marketing doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Alice Kirby of Lockhart Meyer Salon Marketing compares the options:

#1. Ask your team

Beauty therapists and hair stylists tend to have friends in other local salons and spas. And team referrals are usually good candidates as your existing team member is unlikely to risk their own reputation by a poor recommendation.

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Candidates trust a company’s employees 3x more than the company to provide credible information on what it’s like to work there. (CareerArc)

But do remember these friends are going ask your employee about what’s it’s like to work in your business, whether you are a decent boss, and what the salon culture is. So make sure you walk the talk.

Having trouble getting referrals? Try offering a bonus – money or extra holiday work well.

 

#2. Your website

A careers page is your free recruitment tool. It is also the first impression of your business for many candidates and needs to represent your salon culture, set applicant expectations, and encourage ideal people to apply.

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52% of candidates first seek out 1) the company’s website and 2) social media to learn more about an employer. (CareerArc)

Give yours a spring clean and make it work harder for you:

  • Keep it clean, uncluttered and visually eye-catching.
  • Use images of your own employees and salon rather than stock photos.
  • Add an employee video testimonial explaining what they love most about working at your salon.
  • Remove specific adverts as soon as you fill the vacancy.
  • Create useful content like ‘5 reasons to join us’.
  • Tell people how to apply. Make it easy for them.

Attract passive candidates too

As well as any current vacancies a careers page is also a good way to attract passive candidates and give them a way to contact you. These are people who are not actively searching for a new job at the moment, but could be persuaded by the right opportunity if they happen to see it.

#3. E-news

Mention you’re advertising on your regular client e-news as you never know who they might pass the link to.

Just be careful not to sound desperate when recruitment marketing to clients, and talk instead about expansion and growth being the reasons for recruiting. We’ve all wondered at the huge sign outside a pub or restaurant shouting ‘Chef wanted urgently’. Doesn’t make you rush to book in for a meal, does it?

 

#4. Social

Again, use positive messages about your need to recruit as some clients will inevitably see your posts.

Organic social recruitment

Non-paid (organic) posts are free but only a small percentage of your followers (3-9%) will see them in their feed. They are still worth doing but you need to pay to advertise to get the word out.

Paid social recruitment

Advertising on Facebook and Instagram to a targeted audience works well and I’ve had some great results for clients. You can target people by their location [your town] and their job role [beauty therapist or hairdresser] and get your advert seen by the right local audience.

Create social recruitment advertising campaigns

Here’s a step-by-step guide (with screenshots) to creating a successful Facebook and Instagram recruitment advertising campaign.

#5. Posters

It may seem old-school in today’s digital world but a good quality, professionally designed poster in your window still works well. Just don’t be tempted to use a DIY version on a curled up sheet of A4 paper.

 

#6. Online recruitment sites

These fall into 2 groups:

General online recruiters

Such as Monster, Indeed and Reed, some of which have free options. However, I find you’re better paying, and it isn’t too expensive. The downside is that it’s not industry specific.

Industry specific sites

Such as Hairdressers Journal (HJi) who offer a dedicated recruitment website for the hairdressing industry, but these can be expensive.

 

#7. Local newspaper job boards

The  costs vary considerably for these across the country. But if they are within your budget they are often worth a try alongside targeted Facebook advertising as they are targeting your local area.

 

#8. Recruitment agencies

These can be very expensive indeed. Opt for a specialist hair and beauty agency rather than a general agency for best results.

Template application form

Download our template Employment Application form here.

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Chapter 4

Save time with a telephone interview

At Loop HR we recommend a telephone interview initially as it can you a lot of save time and effort.

#1. Ask the applicant to call you at a specific time as this demonstrates their time management skills.

#2. Schedule time before each phone interview to review the applicant’s CV so that they feel valued during the call and leave with a positive impression of your hair or beauty business.

#3. Give applicants the opportunity to ask their own questions throughout the phone interview, and at the end of the call check if they have any other questions.

#4. If the applicant passes the telephone interview set a time and date to meet to continue the interview and/or trade test. If you prefer tell the applicant you will call / email them later – just be clear as to when.

#5. Download our template Recruitment Checklist here to keep track of each candidate throughout the recruitment process.

GDPR compliance made easy

The General Data Protection Regulation 2018 (GDPR) covers information collected by you when recruiting. Loop HR software ensures you stay legal and protect candidates (and employee) privacy under GDPR.

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Chapter 5

Preparing for the interview

Make candidates feel welcome, prepared and valued by sending them an ‘interview pack’ in advance.

You could include:

  • A brief description of your business including the treatments/services offered.
  • Any brochures or other marketing materials to help them understand your brand, culture and approach.
  • Re-confirm when and where their interview will be held.
  • Give directions so they have no excuse for being late to the interview.
  • Explain your employment procedure and how long the interview will take so they leave enough time.
  • Request reference contacts.
  • If they are doing a trade test at the interview let them know whether they need to provide models, tools or equipment.
  • Ask them to bring any relevant documentation such as qualification certificates or proof of right to work with them.
How to instantly improve your salon's client retention

Chapter 6

On the day

#1. Leave yourself plenty of time before the interview. If you can, avoid taking clients immediately beforehand to avoid any potential stress or delay so you’re calm and focused when the candidate arrives.

#2. Set the room in advance together with any paperwork you may require.

#3. Having introduced yourself, offer refreshments to help relax the candidate.

#4. Use a standard format for questioning as it makes comparison easy, enabling you to identify the best candidate even if the interviews take place over a period of time.

To help you here’s Loop HR’s sample hair and beauty business Interview Questionnaire.

Ask open questions

Open questions, ones that can’t be answered by just ‘yes’ or ‘no’ work best as they encourage the candidate to talk.

Tell us about yourself’ or ‘What do you enjoy most about being a beauty therapist’ are handy ice-breakers giving them time to relax, yet still with scope to provide valuable insights.

Towards the end of the interview turn the tables and ask  ‘Do you have any questions you would like to ask?’ This lets you assess a candidate’s enthusiasm for the job, and how much they have researched your business.

#5. At the end of the interview or trade test explain the next step and when they will hear from you by.

Discussing salary during interviews

In the hair and beauty industry a combination of technical skill, experience and personality affect how much someone is worth to the business.

You probably have a ceiling figure that you are prepared to pay in mind. But be open-minded as the final figure can be determined by the candidate’s expectations (assuming it is not higher than your limit).

The language you use is important here:

Closed language, which just requires a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, such as ‘We’re offering £x’ can come across as inflexible and backs everyone into a corner.

Instead choose open questions which show the path to increased earning potential, and indicate that there is opportunity to prosper within the business.

Try asking:

‘How much would you like to be earning this time next year?’

Or for a more mature candidate:

‘What are your salary expectations?’

These open questions allow the candidate to give feedback. If their expectations are too high then you can either end the interview or offer them an incremental salary increase over a year (or period of time), based on their ability to achieve targets.

And remember to comply with National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates which change every April. These are complex around apprentice employees in particular, so always check them out before you start recruiting. You’ll find the current rates here.

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Chapter 7

Job offer and rejections

Formally offer the successful candidate the job, verbally initially if you prefer, but always confirm immediately in writing, ideally with a copy of the contract. By law every employee must be given a Contract or a full Written Statement within two months of starting work.

Get legal advice

Always take professional legal advice when dealing with Employment Law. Members can also get legal advice on contracts and employment issues from the NHF/NBF, the largest trade organisation for salon owners in the UK.

This letter should include:

  • start date
  • job description and title
  • job location(s)
  • pay (inc commissions, bonuses and pension)
  • working hours and holiday entitlement
  • any probationary period
  • how to accept/refuse the job offer

If you are doing any pre-employment checks such as references, and the job offer is conditional on these being satisfactory, then this needs to be in the letter too.

Asking for references

ACAS advise: ‘prospective employer should only approach the candidate’s current employer with the candidate’s permission. Any request should include a job description to give the referee context. It should not ask for personal information or conjecture about the applicant.’

Unsuccessful candidates

You might want to delay telling unsuccessful candidates until you know that your chosen candidate has accepted.

Download our template refusal letter for unsuccessful candidates here.

 

Start off on the best foot

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69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for at least three years after a great onboarding experience (O.C. Tanner)

How do you give your new recruit the best first impression of your business and make them feel confident they have made the right decision in joining your team?

Start with a strong onboarding process. Loop HR software helps you build a great salon team from day one. Our automated onboarding process kicks in when your new hair or beauty employee accepts your job offer ensuring you set them up for success from the start.

It covers everything you could possibly need for your stylist, therapist, front of house, manager or apprentice – from hours, commission structure and holiday allowance to bank details, pay rates and even allergies.

Nurture new talent from day one with Loop HR software:

  • Complete paperwork quickly and effectively.
  • Ensure personnel records are GDPR compliant.
  • Reduce your admin time.
  • Start building relationships before their first day.
  • Keep all information secure and in one place.
  • Automated reminders for missing information.
  • Hair and beauty business specialist HR software.

And don’t worry, if the team are accessing personal data, automated GDPR compliance alerts and reminders show for peace of mind.

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