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  • How would you build a personal relationship with a client?

It’s no secret that building relationships with clients is part of the reason they keep coming back to your salon, but this is not an ability that every stylist has.  Great conversation skills, killer consultation, and delivering desired results are all ways to establish a relationship, but it is important to not forget about the client.  Stylists who reach out to their clients after their appointment stand out above the crowd and make for a meaningful relationship with the client.


  • How would you consult a client on adopting a new hairstyle?

There are 5 main steps to an effective consultation:

  1. Sit your client down. Make sure your client is comfortable, especially on the first consultation with a new client. This step is CRUCIAL. Remember that your station's chair may not be the best place to begin a consultation. Having them sit in the chair could make the client feel uncomfortable, and rushed toward the cut. Thus, a comfortable sofa is a much better place to have a consultation.

  2. Ask your client what they want. Let them lead the consultation. They know what will make them happy. You, as the stylist, have a responsibility to fulfill the client's expectations, not complete your own personal agenda.

  3. Consider what your client has said. Use their requests as a basis for your own suggestions. Make sure that you remember what length they're looking for, the amount of time that they have in the morning, and how comfortable they are with your hand in the decision making.

  4. Explain your ideas. Tell them what you think would work. Make sure they are comfortable with your idea.

  5. Proceed with the cut.  Explain what you are doing during the process to ease their nerves.  


  • A client has frizzy or damaged hair. What would you recommend?

This gives you the opportunity to judge the applicant’s knowledge of services they can offer and products they can not only use but suggest to the client to purchase for use at home.


  • Has a client ever been dissatisfied with your work? How did you respond to the criticism?

In this industry, we can not please everyone, but the way the stylist responds to criticism is what is important.  Stylists need to first separate themselves from the criticism and not take it personally.  They also need the ability to look at the situation as a way to learn and better themselves instead of getting defensive.  


  • How do you keep updated on the latest hair trends?

In today’s technologically advanced world, the opportunity to stay on trend is not only easily accessible but a requirement for our industry.  Social media, celebrities, magazines, and fellow stylists are all trendsetters.


  • Give me an example of when you have had to work as a member of a team?

Getting a specific example of when the applicant has had to work as a member of a team gives you insight into what teamwork means to them.  As an employee of the salon, they will be a member of a team working toward the same make people feel beautiful and to make money.


  • Why do you want to work at this salon?

This is a chance for the applicant to give you insight into their motivation.  Are they driven by their passion or are they just looking for a paycheck?  Their answers should include values, desires, passion, and the direction they intend to take their beauty career, but make sure it is in line with the culture of your salon. 


  • What did you like best about your last job?

This will give you an idea as to where their attention will go to on the job.  If they say they loved the people they worked with, you will know that they are more than likely easy to get along with and a team player.  There is not necessarily a wrong answer here, but zero in on the qualities that match the vibe of your salon.


  • What did you like least about your last job?

Hopefully, this doesn't turn into a ranting session about how horrible their past salon was.  This question is tricky because the response can make the applicant look unprofessional.  Hopefully, they don’t fall down a rabbit hole bitching about how horrible the past salon owner was, but if they do this gives you more insight into their personality.


  • What are your goals for the future?

As a salon owner, you want to see that the applicant has given thought to the direction of their future.  While it is not fair to expect that they have their life fully planned out, it is good to know what their professional goals are.  Are they looking for management opportunities?  Do they hope to open their own salon someday?  These are also great opportunities for you to be a mentor.


  • Where do you see our industry heading in the next 10 years?

Someone who is passionate about this industry is going to have knowledge not only on how trends work but the administrative aspects of the cosmetology profession.  Do they know what deregulation is and how it affects not only our career but the lives of our clients?


  • A client sits in your chair & says, “ do what you want,” how do you figure out what THEY actually want?

Again, this comes back to providing an effective consultation.  The stylist will need to ask the correct questions to obtain the information needed to decode what the client is wanting.


  • What are you passionate about?

Hopefully, the applicant responds with things that are industry-related and not irrelevant things like Kim Kardashian or Instagram.  Their responses will give you an idea of what they are good at and what drives them to achieve kick-ass results.


  • What hours are you available?

The best answer is ANYTIME!  It is understandable that life can get in the way, but the less availability an applicant has, the more struggles you will have in creating a schedule that covers your business hours.  This is also a great opportunity to bring up the fact that in this industry every stylist can expect to work a few evenings a week and weekends.  After all, this is the beauty industry, not a bank job.


  • How many hours a week do you expect?

Knowing an applicant's expectations will help you understand what they are looking for.  Not all salons consider 40 hours a week full-time, most franchise salons consider full-time only 30 hours a week.  This is also your opportunity to relay what you have available.  Maybe you are only looking to fill in a few gaps during the week or maybe you need someone who can commit to six days a week.  It is best to establish an understanding before hiring a stylist who is looking for something other than what you have to offer.


  • Do you already have a clientele? How big is it?

Depending on whether your salon is a private salon or a franchise it is important to know if the stylist has already established a clientele.  Generally, franchise salons work mostly on a walk-in basis, so if the stylist is coming from a franchise salon don’t expect them to have built much of a clientele.  If you operate a private salon, walk-ins are fewer, so bringing in a stylist with an already established clientele will benefit your business.


  • How do you plan on building your clientele?

Private salons do not have near as many walk-ins as franchise salons do.  So, if the applicant believes that they can start at a private salon and only rely on a walk-in base to make money, they are in for a shock.  Therefore, they need to be thinking about how they are going to approach clientele building. The ability to build clientele means money in the cash register for your salon, you want to know the stylist’s point of view on clientele building.  For instance, do they understand the significance to the salon; do they understand the impact on their paycheck; do they think clients are going to fall from the sky and land in their chair?


  • How do you feel about selling professional products?

Selling retail is a part of a stylist’s job description.  It is important that the applicant understands the following:

  1. Retail brings in a 30-45% profit margin, while salon services only 5% profit.

  2. Without selling a client product they are not fully servicing them.

  3. Selling retail builds trust with clients.

  4. Selling retail improves client retention by 30%!

  5. Product use in clients makes them look like a miracle worker!


  • How would you sell me this *random product*?

Challenging the applicant to sell a random product gives you insight not only to how they think on their feet, but how they pitch a sale which can serve as a guide for future coaching.


  • Sometimes we get involved with a client & have to stay longer than scheduled. Would that be a problem for you?

There are limits to the questions that can legally be asked in a job interview. You can't ask how many kids the applicant has, if they have a car or any other personal questions. But, that doesn't mean you can’t find ways around to obtain pertinent information.  Hopefully, the applicant will be upfront with you and have the betterment of the salon in mind.


  • You just got done applying a full head of foils in a client using lightener & the fire alarm goes off. What do you do?

This real-life situation will give you the ability to gauge how well the applicant thinks on their feet.


  • How do you get rid of brassy undertones after performing a lightning service? 

We all know this is an inevitable challenge every stylist faces and knowing how to tone is a very important aspect of the job.  If the stylist isn’t sure how to answer, this does not mean they aren’t good at what they do, this just gives you a starting point to further their education with some training.


  • What do you think are the most important characteristics of successful people, and how do you rate yourself in this area?

There are several key characteristics that can be listed, here are a few:

  • Self-Discipline

  • Determination

  • Team Player

  • Motivation

  • Resilience

  • Passion

  • Patients

  • Risk Taker

  • Innovative

  • Creative


  • What about this opportunity that most excites you?

This sort of question allows you as the employer, to assess the applicant's ability to answer honestly and quickly.  Their answer will help determine their excitement about the opportunity and the motivations that led them to pursue the job.


  • What will make you love coming here to work every day?

Another opportunity to help determine their excitement about the position.


  • Share an effective method you have used to keep work stations and tools clean.

It is no surprise that cleanliness and sanitation are pertinent aspects of this profession.  Your salon’s reputation and license are dependent upon it.  This is a great opportunity to segway into explaining the importance of cleanliness.


  • Share an experience when you applied new technology or information in your job. How did it help your company?

As previously stated, technology and information in the beauty industry are ever-changing.  This is also another example of the applicant’s ability to show you they are always thinking one step ahead of the situation.


  • Give me an example of when you thought outside of the box. How did it help your employer?

Thinking outside of the box is something that can push your business to the front of the pack and I’m not just talking about the hair color box.  Being innovative and creative are qualities that set not only the stylist apart from the competition but also your salon.

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