Ian Kent the Atrium Hairdressing Recruitment Agency

Ian and Elaine Kent run 'The Atrium', a recruitment / motivational agency specialising in the hair and beauty industry. With over 30 year's experience in the hairdressing industry they are well placed to offer assistance with recruitment, job searching, training and business support.

Hair and Beauty Jobs took some time out to speak to Ian Kent about his experiences of working in the hair industry, what the inspiration was and is behind the services that The Atrium offers and his thoughts on some of the recruitment issues surrounding stylists and salons in the industry today.

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

32 years in Hairdressing , 25 of which were running salons, I initially completed my hairdressing training with Robert Seligman Corporation in Bournemouth during the mid 70's. After managing salons in the area I purchased my initial salon in 1987, and then went on to successfully run three salons within Dorset. Elaine comes from an administration background, encompassing legal, personnel and health and safety.

Q. What prompted you to set up The Atrium?

Recognizing staffing issues within the hairdressing/beauty industry, I decided this was an area we wished to move into. Over a year was spent canvassing salon owners on their staffing and training issues and then we invested heavily in branding The Atrium. It was then realized that The Atrium HR could offer more than just recruitment.

Q. What sets your agency apart from others in this sector?

The Atrium presents a personal approachable service. We offer career advice to those new to the hair and beauty industry, as well as assisting those who may be looking to return after starting a family, Our major strength however is our highly successful affordable recruitment solutions for salon owners.

Q. What inspires you to do what you do?

Knowing that what we offer really makes a difference and the understanding we have gained over the years, cannot be measured– it is priceless!

Q. What are the most challenging aspects of the work you do?

We know that we're not perfect, but when we have worked hard to arrange interviews with owners/managers that have booked out valuable time to meet candidates and they do not even bother to show up, with not even the courtesy of a phone call to us or the salon owner!

Q. Regards the NVQ versus apprenticeship debate, what route would you advise for someone wanting to enter hairdressing as a career?

Both sectors have their merits. If only we could get both areas to work closer together the new stylists and employers would be winners. At present, the lack of everyday clientele development is the hindrance to employers recruiting junior stylists. So many employers still require at least six months full-time experience on the salon floor. Hence, we lose so many to working in supermarkets whilst operating mobile/freelance. What a waste!

Q. Name 3 things that set apart an exceptional stylist from an average stylist

Dedication! This is not a 9-5 job.

Exceed expectations! This is where employer value, trust and responsibility, plus column-building emanate.

Never stop learning!

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

Hearing 'I one day want to be a mobile hairdresser'. No employer wishes to recruit someone with this on their CV, a cv should always be tailored to the role they are applying for!

Q. If you were to leave a legacy to this industry what would it be?

The knowledge that maybe some people exceeded their expectations.


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