BUSINESS: How To Recruit New Team Members with Phil Jackson

  International business consultant Phil Jackson from Build Your Salon, offers useful tips for recruiting new team members.

Recruiting and sustaining staff has forever proved an issue for the hairdressing industry. In the past, more for unmanageable hours and expectations (what lunch break?), and now, with an ever-shifting landscape whereby running your own show in a collaborative space is a reality wrapped and presented in a tidy (well designed) bow. However, with COVID there is opportunity to tap into staff whose salon has perhaps ceased trading. And with government support coming to a close, getting back to payroll is a sudden priority.

With 20 years in the salon industry and a passion for innovation, Phil Jackson is an international business coach offering a unique perspective on the challenges of salon ownership. Phil works with many salons, barbershops and spas around the world to build a business they can feel proud of, making sure they look outside the box and consider all aspects of the business. Here, he talks top tips for recruitment

1. Marketing your vacancy

A lot of salon owners are disappointed when they advertise 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 (beyond 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.

2. Make your expectations really clear from the start

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.

3. 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!

4. 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, at one point you have the trade test 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.

5. 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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