Are you hiring new team members?

Do you have an interview process that uncovers the values of prospective employees? Are your new team members settling in?

How to hire and onboard a new team member is an important skill. Do you pick the right new team members at interviews and have an onboarding process to ensure they start well?

Few of us have time to hire and onboard really well when we are already busy building and running a salon business.

This is more important now than ever with the current Covid-19 pandemic. I talk about this in an article I wrote for Stuff New Zealand, New Zealand’s largest news website, about how salons are responding and adapting to Covid-19. Check it out HERE.

Salon owners are often in desperate need of new team members and just want them to take the load off and get on with the job. They just show them around, have a quick meeting and let them get on with it. Is that you?

Interviewing for a salon role is challenging at the best of times.

How do you uncover the values that you want in a stylist and work out whether they are saying what you want to hear or how they really feel? Are they passionate and motivated?

Is the next apprentice going to cope with the rigours and commitment required for training?

Will they take personal responsibility or just become negative and complain?

Are you just inviting a poison apple into your team only to regret the hire later?

Common things salon owners say when they are asked what they regret or what they would do differently is… ‘I wish I’d not rushed to hire someone’ or ‘I’ve hired the wrong people’.

It’s a horrible mistake. An unsuitable person can make your life and those on your team a misery and it’s not just the hairstyling team…

Hiring hairstylists is not the only HR role salon owners have.

Front desk and a back end team like bookkeepers, salon managers or VA’s are also essential to get right. These are pivotal roles and bringing the right person into the fold to help your business grow is crucial.


You know what they say, ‘Hire Slow, Fire Fast’


But the truth of the matter is that moving someone along if they are not working out is easier said than done these days. Actually, it’s a minefield and one that could cost you dearly if it’s not handled correctly.

Your contracts and employee agreements have to be updated and incredibly watertight so you don’t get caught out on trial periods, grievance and unfair dismissal.

How to Hire and Onboard New Team Members

woman's hands signing an employment contract, close-upStylists and trainees need to have their skills tested and their ability to learn accessed.

  • Are they interested in a job or a career?
  • Do they have passion and are they driven?
  • Are these the same values your salon shares?
  • Are they individuals or team players? What influences them? Are they coachable?

These questions will expose their ability to work in a team, how they view the industry and if they will add value to your business.

For more interview questions that really uncover the values, passions and potential of prospective new team members, get our ‘Done For You’ Interview Questions. Join the Salon Leadership Library and get your copy here…

Ok now you have them onboard, how do you go about starting the relationship off well?

Create a welcome package for new team members. See below for essential elements to consider.

Salon Systems and Procedures Manual. If you don’t have one by now it’s time to get it done. Think of it as an insurance policy and a massive peace of mind strategy.

Salon Values Document or Mission Statement. Create your own vision for what your salon represents. What do you really care about?

Job Description. This should be included in the contract, so make sure they understand what they are responsible for and what is expected of them.

On-boarding Training Programme Schedule. Training for the first month/quarter. Include things like:

  • reception
  • client care
  • colour usage
  • pricing
  • product knowledge and usage
  • services you offer
  • record-keeping
  • how to sell and promote services
  • loyalty schemes and promos.

For example, do they consult with customers to your standards? See our fact-filled blog on customer care and client development here.

Marketing Strategy. How do you plan to market them to potential customers and what do you expect them to do themselves? Haphazard promotion with no strategy will not cut it when you want a new stylist to be busy, attracting good quality customers and keep them.

Client Management Systems. Make them aware of how you record data and KPI’s for your business, like new client retention, utilisation of time, average client spend, average client year visits, client lifetime value etc… Discuss targets and benchmarks you want them to achieve in particular time frames.

Wages and Pay Structure. If this is performance-related, it goes well with the meeting you will be having in the previous point. Explain how your salon runs and what you need from them to be profitable. Junior team members and the front desk need to understand that their wage costs need to be covered. They should know that all product and time wastage will kill everyone’s earning power and how their efficiency affects the ability of the salon to be more profitable.


A true leader is not a boss. They lead, motivate and encourage a team. Micromanaging and controlling your team is not the way to success or happiness.


Frustration is easy when things get out of control and you are facing under-performance and ineffective teamwork.

Being the boss can be challenging when you have a disgruntled team and you are facing challenges that they just don’t understand. Your team needs a leader. Step up and put aside time to get things right from the start. Set clear expectations so everyone is on the same page and refer back to these when you need to keep them on track.

If you want to create your dream salon owner life

Get your copy of my Salon Leadership Library

There are ‘Done For You’ Interview Questions so you know the right questions to ask to build a team for success, a Leadership Goal Setting Guide so you can ask yourself the right questions to build your dream salon owner life, and a Leadership Skills Tool to help you become the leader your salon needs for success.

Click here to learn more…

2 replies
  1. Henry@ISL
    Henry@ISL says:

    Great work. Thanks for sharing.
    I actually came across this post while researching a new onboarding process at the company I work for – which is in a completely different sector.
    I suppose it makes sense that a lot of this stuff crosses over industries. And I guess good onboarding is good onboarding, regardless of the market or audience.
    Anyway, learned a lot, so thanks.

    Reply
    • sos
      sos says:

      Thanks for the feedback. I love it when someone gets some insight from my posts and as you say all industries that employ people are in the people business. Pleased we could offer some value.

      Reply

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