Advice for your Hairdressing Interview

A hairdressing employer will determine your salary on your skills and trade test and not on your qualifications. Even though you have gained your Level 1, 2 and 3 qualifications it doesn’t mean you skills are of a high standard. To become an excellent stylist you have to practice especially colouring a client’s hair as this could be your chosen career path. Many salons have colour specialists, you will not be employed if your talent is not exceptional, so practice, practice, practice!

Interview Preparation

Make a list of interview questions

Whilst preparing for your interview make a list of questions to ask, the manager will always discuss the job with you but they will also want you to take initiative and ask questions about the salon and job role, this will prove you are confident and have excellent communication skills. Typical questions could be –

  • What brand of colour do you use?
  • How many clients do the stylists get on an average day?
  • What continuous education/training do you offer? (This is a very important question to ask as it shows the employer that you are serious about developing a successful career in this ever-changing industry and continuing to learn throughout your employment)
  • Do your stylists go to hair shows?
  • Are most of the clientele women or men (if you are not a trained barber could you complete this training along side your job?)

Ask questions to initiate conversation about your strengths for example any clients that you may have completely changed their style/colour; this will create a discussion about how you did it and what products you used, having photos to show evidence proves that you are confident in completing tricky/unusual/creative styles.

Think about the type of questions you might be asked and prepare yourself to give precise, confident and specific answers, for example:

  • What is the most enjoyable part of your current job?
  • Tell me what you think the biggest challenge in a hairdressing career is?
  • Why do you want to leave your present salon?
  • What can you tell me about our salon? (Research opening times/any extra service they provide for example – hair extensions)
  • What made you apply for this job?
  • What qualities do you think you can bring to our salon?
  • What is your greatest strength as a hairdresser?
  • What is your biggest weakness as a hairdresser?
  • Tell me about yourself /what would your friends say about you? (This will identify how well you can communicate, explain details about yourself and how serious you are about getting the job)

Trade test tips

Whilst in your interview you will be asked to do a trade test, this shows off your hairdressing skills, always make sure you understand what is being asked of you. If you have to do a colour test ask how long you have to do it.

If you only have an hour pick something that you know you can create in that hour, never try something that will take longer, this will only prove you are not capable of taking instructions and completing work in the desired time frame.

Again practice at home first, even if you have been a hairdresser for years, always practice your trade test so that you can walk into the salon with your head held high, confident and prove that you will be the best person to employ over all the other candidates.

Always communicate with the client, explaining all details of what you are going to create, client care is the most important part of hairdressing, your client must leave happy and wanting to return. The manager will be looking at the way you conduct yourself, your mannerisms, your customer service skills, the time scales, if you offer product knowledge/merchandising and your image, all of this along side your hairdressing skills.

Transferable skills

Always think about what your transferable skills are, if this is going to be your first salon job after you leave college or you are returning to work after starting a family. Look at what skills and knowledge you have gained from previous employment, for example if you have worked in retail/sales you will have gained customer service skills, merchandising (this will help to sell the salons products), team work, cleanliness, Health and Safety (including COSHH), First Aid (you could become the salons first aider, which will always help to boost your interview) and the confidence to work independently.

The right image

Always make sure you prepare yourself for the interview. Look professional at all times; I’m not saying you must attend the interview in a suit but make sure you look like you would fit in, walk past the salon see what the stylist are wearing and dress to suit the business; all salons will have a dress code. Your hair must be clean and tidy and well presented, along with your make-up, nails and even your shoes.

Always take a file with you containing your CV, interview questions, photos, all your research about the company, any continuous professional development that you would like to do, a pen and a note book. This will demonstrate you are organised, committed to gaining employment and prepared to deliver an excellent interview.

And finally....

Remember, there is always competition for the job, someone more dedicated, hungrier and wanting to succeed, so be prepared, turn up on time (always 10-15 mins early), show off your skills and knowledge and always remember your manners. Shake the employer’s hand and thank them for taking the time to see you. Most of all just be yourself; allowances will be made for nerves, all employers know that candidates will be nervous, it’s normal to feel anxious about interviews.

If you have been unsuccessful this time, always ask for feedback for your next interview, it might be that you came across too shy and quiet or you took to long to complete your trade test. All of this feedback is good, constructive criticism and things that can be improved for your next interview.


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