Hair and Beauty Jobs talks to Emma Gurden, Director of eg Recruit

Her specialist agency specialises in filling education and sales vacancies and is targeted specifically to the hair and beauty industry. spoke to Emma about her background in hairdressing, her thoughts surrounding recruitment and top tips for anyone wanting to further their career in sales account management or education.

Q. What is your experience of working in the hairdressing industry?

I started my career as a hairdresser then progressed into field sales, selling hair care products.Whilst I was a hairdresser I loved educating my client to create the same look at home. I would hear the same questions all the time; 'how do you make my hair look so good?' and 'I can never recreate this look at home'. Of course they can, with education! I made sure that every client was educated to use the right products and right tools to create the style of their choice.

One thing that struck me during my hairdressing days was the hairdresser's caution towards educating their clients (hairdressers are not natural 'sales' people, or so they say!). Whilst selling hair care products into the salons during my time in field sales therefore I made sure that I spent time showing the hairdressers how to educate their clients too.

Next was the world of recruitment! I have been recruiting in the hair and beauty industry for 4 years now, building sales and education teams.

Q. What prompted you to set up your agency?

Candidate and client frustrations with regards to finding and filling good sales positions within the industry. It became apparent that there was a gap in the market for a company who looked after sourcing candidates for sales and education teams. Many other recruitment companies have 'dipped their toe in the water' but the feedback I was getting was that they didn't understand the sales structure within the hair and beauty industry. It really is quite different to other industries.

What type of roles do you specialise in?

Business to business field sales, account management and education mainly. We also have a strong candidate bank of marketing executives amd HR managers.

Q. What is unique about the service that you offer?

We are the only recruitment company in the UK that specialise exclusively within the sales and education sectors for the hair and beauty industry. With our in depth knowledge of requirements within salons and also within product companies we can ask the right questions during consultation with candidates and clients and also ensure they are receiving the best, up to-date advice.

Q. What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

Finding quality candidates who are willing to move during these uncertain times

Q. Name the top 3 qualities found in a good business development manager

Target driven, organised and determined

Q. What are your application 'pet hates' that you see from candidates?

CV's not being fully up to-date! Too many candidates don't understand the importance that a CV plays in the application process, especially for a sales role. This is the 'hook' to get potential employers interested in you. For example, if you mention in your CV that you are organised and pay good attention to detail, make sure your employment dates (including months) are on your CV and correct. Strong sales candidates will know their sales figures for the month and where they are against budget year to-date. Alarm bells ring for both me and my clients when candidates get this wrong!

Q. What inspires you to do what you do?

So many things!!! There is a lot of satisfaction to be had in helping candidates who work really hard to get their dream role. We mentor all of our candidates through the whole application process, for some of our most senior roles this can take months to complete.So, yes it's a wonderful feeling to see all that hard work and perseverence pay off!

Our role extends to ensuring that sales teams have the right blend of personalities and skills to achieve financial targets. When the clients feedback to us that they are delighted with the teams that we have helped mould, it really inspires you to do it all over again!

Q. How important is an understanding of the hair and beauty industry to the roles that you typically recruit for?

Very important! We understand the importance of each player, the salons, the sales staff, the product houses etc in what is a huge jigsaw puzzle. I have seen recruiters and sales people come into our industry believing they can easily transfer their skills. Of course their skills are transferable but what they often don't appreciate is how much of sales within the industry are made up of emotion alone!

Q. Define what type of sales experience candidates should possess

Business to business field sales experience preferably selling a product rather than a service. Candidates from a strcutured sales background that can demonstrate working in a target driven environment are ideal.

Q. For anyone wanting to embark on a career in sales within this industry, what steps would you advise they take?

This is a question I get asked on a daily basis! I would advise they gain as much sales experience as possible in a business to business environment. Clients prefer candidates who have structured sales training, ideally out in the field but telesales is also a really good place to start. If you want to brush up on your sales skills and have an edge over other interviewees then buy a sales book that can educate you on the sales process.

Call eg recruit for further advice as we are more than happy to discuss career moves with candidates.... Lastly don't give up! If you work hard you will achieve your goals.

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