A Guide to Beauty Trade Tests at your Interview

Published on: 1 Mar 2018

The majority of companies in the hair and beauty industry will conduct a trade test as part of the interview process when recruiting therapists and stylists. This is completely understandable given the specialist and practical nature of these professions. To not conduct a trade test would surely be like hiring a striker for Manchester United without seeing him score a goal! So given that therapists and stylists compare well to professional footballers, hairandbeautyjobs.com have worked with Jenny Wilson, a recruitment specialist for this sector to devise a detailed guide to ensuring you get chosen for that winning team.

Before you arrive for the trade test

There are some important details you need to know prior to arriving for your trade test so that you can make sure you are prepared to give a star performance:

Find out what you are expected to wear.

What will the trade test consist of?

How long will the trade test take?

Find out what you need to take with you. Will they provide product and equipment?

Who will be conducting the trade test?

Make sure you read up on your techniques and if possible practice the night before so that you are confident and prepared.


  • Make sure you are well-groomed. Your nails, hair and skin need to be perfect
  • Keep jewelry to a minimum 
  • Make sure your clothes are immaculate, clean, well pressed and professional
  • Make sure your make up is well applied and not too dramatic
  • Clean your teeth and make sure your breath is fresh
  • Allow plenty of time so that you arrive at least 10 minutes early
  • Have a look on the company's website so that you are familiar with their history, culture etc.
  • Get yourself into a positive frame of mind. Think positive thoughts about yourself and your ability. Be confident; you are fantastic.

The Trade Test - Tips

  • Be early - this shows that you are keen and reliable

First impressions - your interviewer will be imagining you in the role from the point they welcome you into the salon / spa. You have 7 seconds to make a good impression.

  • Smile and make eye contact
  • Firm hand shake
  • Be confident and friendly
  • Take control

Even though you are in an interview situation, you need to move into professional mode and pretend you are actually working with a client. Guide your client (the interviewer) confidently into position explaining what you are going to do throughout the treatment.

  • Contra indications

Ask the right questions. Find out if your client (the interviewer) has any conditions / problems you need to be aware of before you start your treatment

  • Client care

Make sure your client is comfortable and at ease throughout the treatment.

  • Stick to the time

If your client has specified a length of time they want you to conduct the treatment for, make sure you stick to this time. For example, if the request was a 15 minute back, neck and shoulder massage make sure you have your watch or timer set to remind you.

  • Quality

Whatever treatment you are trade testing for, be it hairdressing or beauty therapy, make sure you offer an excellent standard of treatment and service. For example, if you are giving a massage, make sure the pressure is good. If you are doing a cut, make sure your lines are precise and accurate.

  • Aftercare

Retailing is a key part of the majority of in salon roles these days so make sure you demonstrate how you would encourage home care and product use. This will impress your interviewer and could set you aside from other candidates.

  • Re-book

Ask your client (the interviewer) to schedule their next treatment / appointment. This will end the trade test on a light hearted note but will also hammer the point home that you are thorough and the ultimate professional!