What Employers Look for when Recruiting Therapists

My recruitment process like many salon employers consists of a CV request, interview, trade test and trial half day. During that process I can get a good idea of how that person works and if they're right for the salon. I work in a small salon so how they get on with the clients and other therapists is important to me. In bigger spas and salon this might not be a priority so they may have a shorter selection process.

Either way if you want to get the job at the end then you'll need to impress at every stage. Ultimately you will be trying to show the employer that having you as a member of staff will benefit their company.


Your first point of contact with the employer


Always include a cover letter

Your first point of contact with the employer will probably be via your CV. Always include a cover letter stating the job you would like to apply for and why. Receiving just a CV on its own in my opinion is quite lazy. It gives me no idea who the person is or why they want to work for me.

In the past I have received  blank emails with just a CV attachment; this is very impersonal. The person has probably sent it to numerous recipients without much thought, so it doesn't give me much encouragement to think about them.

Don't include too much detail in your cover note  as hopefully this will all be on the CV,  so a few paragraphs should be fine. A brief introduction to yourself, your experience and what you could bring to the role gives the employer interest to want to find out more about you. Tailor it to the company that you are applying for and include why you want to work for them and why you would be good at working for them.

Remember to keep it formal! I received an email that read 'Hi, got any jobs? :-)' needless to say they didn't get to the interview stage. You are not sending this to a friend so no smiley faces and no kisses!

Make sure your CV shines

Next for your CV; make sure it is clear and easy to read. Remember the employer hasn't met you yet but they will be building up a picture of you!  A messy CV will give them the image of a messy person. Keep it relevant, do include as much of your qualifications and experience as possible but don't include absolutely everything you've ever done in your life. The employer hasn't got time to be reading pages and pages so if it's too long it might put them off reading it altogether.  So if you've had some jobs or qualifications that weren't in the beauty industry just stick with the company names and dates and possibly a very brief description, not paragraphs.

Give good descriptions of your training and experience that are important to the job.

Spell check! Spelling mistakes really put me off. Whilst spelling might not be the most important thing for a beauty therapist, any body can spell check these days and if there are spelling mistakes it makes me think the person hasn't put any effort in. If they couldn't be bothered to put effort into their CV what effort will they put into a job.

Give your contact details and if you are leaving an e mail address make sure it is appropriate partychick1@whatever.com doesn't give the best impression, maybe set up a separate e mail address for employers with a more sensible name.

Be careful how you come across on the phone

If you call on the phone to enquire about an advert or vacancies, again this will make the employer build a picture of you in their head, so make sure you are professional and polite. In a salon it is more than likely that you will have to answer the phone and carry out reception duties, so hearing someone's phone voice is quite important to an employer. They will imagine they are a customer calling and think about whether the person's voice will be making them want to book treatments or if it would put them off! Speak clearly and properly and sound polite and happy. There's nothing worse than someone on the phone being mumbly or sounding miserable.


Your Interview


Punctuality counts

So if you look good on paper and sound good on the phone then hopefully you will get an interview. If you do, be punctual, preferably 5-10 mins early. Timekeeping is important in beauty! If you're late for the interview it will make me imagine customers waiting around for you which is not what I would want.

If you have a genuine reason for being late make sure you ring and let the employer know so that they're not waiting around for you as this wastes their time and if they're quite a busy person having their time wasted will not put them in a good mood for the interview! If somebody had let me know in advance they were going to be late, apologised and seemed like they had a genuine reason I would be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, so if you are genuinely late for a good reason don't panic.

Have pride in your appearance

Image is important in beauty so look the part and follow the uniform rules that you were taught at college. Some salons  are quite relaxed and don't implement all of these rules but you won't know that until you get there so follow them just in case. Flat shoes, natural well applied make up, hair tied back, no jewellery and short clean nails. If somebody turned up to an interview with nail extensions, big hair falling on their face  and wearing non smart clothes this would put me off. A lot of salons will ask you to do a trade test within the interview so either wear your uniform or bring it with you.

Be positive!

When greeting the interviewer, smile! Don't look miserable as this is not how they would want their clients to be greeted. Answer their questions clearly and show your passion for the industry. Talk about what you like about it, your favourite treatments and don't moan! Of course everyone has things they don't like about the job but don't mention it unless you are asked and play it down when you do talk about it. If you're moaning about the industry at this stage imagine how moany they'll think you'll be to work with. Don't moan about the industry, clients or your current employer.

If you're asked direct questions by the employer and you want to be honest then that's fine but be discreet with your answers and don't break confidentiality.  If you're breaking confidentiality or saying more than you should to them it might make them worry slightly about how discreet you'll be if you work for them. Bitchiness is never good in salons and employers want to avoid it at all costs. If you say things you shouldn't to the clients or they overhear you making remarks behind their back this can upset the clients, the other staff,  or your boss and end up with problems with the staff and possibly losing clients.

Don't put on an act though, do be yourself and be honest. Don't lie in the interview or make promises that you can't keep as this is unfair to yourself and the employer.

Overcoming limited industry experience

Experience is always a plus and some jobs will require a minimum level of experience. This can be difficult if this is your first job within the industry. Don't be disheartened though, not every job will request it. I have taken on members of staff straight from college and in many ways it can be a bonus as they won't have picked up any bad habits in other jobs and it will be easier to teach them the way you would like them to work.

If you're finding it very tough to find a job without experience then think about doing some unpaid work to  build up some experience.

To me training and qualifications are also very  important. Take every opportunity that you have to do extra training courses. A lot of salons offer treatments that you might not necessarily have learnt at college. There are so many further training courses that you can do from IPL and laser to lava shell massage to eyelash extensions. Also each product house and brand will usually have their own training courses.

So if I see on someone's CV that they are trained in the products that we use or an extra treatment that we do this would be really appealing to me. It means that I wouldn't have to spend time or money sending you on a course and you could start doing the treatment as soon as you start.

It is good for you as well because it means you would have more clients when you first start and it would be able to build up a client base quicker. If you are working on a commission basis it means you will earn more too!


Your 'trial day' or trade test


If you are offered a trial day then this is your chance to show how hard working you are. Ask questions, show an active interest in the job and follow any instructions given to you.  Don't be afraid to ask if you don't understand something as after all of these stages hopefully you will have impressed your prospective employer.


Dealing with the outcome of your interview


If you aren't offered the job this can be very disappointing. There may have been lots of people applying for just one position and you can't take them all on which means that some applicants, whilst they were very good, won't get the job.

However the person given the job might not work out or another vacancy might arise so you might be contacted at a later date. I often go with my instincts when looking for a new member of staff; sometimes I might have a connection with someone or just get good vibes about them. Of course this is something that is out of your control so all you can do is be yourself. As long as you are good at your job, have passion for it and get this across to the employer then that's the most important thing. When the right job comes along hopefully they will get a good feeling from you and you from them which means you will probably be very happy and settled in that job.


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