How do you recruit new stylists? Do you look for experienced technicians with a book of business or do you want them straight out of school? At our salon we have decided that we want them fresh out of school. When we've hired experienced stylists/massage therapists we've found that it was difficult for them to adapt to our corporate culture. It's especially difficult if they came from a contractor situation versus an employee situation.
We hired a massage therapist who had worked independently for some time. During the 18 months she was at our salon she never really belonged and she never accepted our culture. We expect our massage therapists to be just as much a part of the salon as the stylists. If there's hair to sweep, grab a broom; if there are towels to fold, get folding. She had the attitude that if she wasn't doing a massage she wasn't getting paid therefore she could just sit around. It never should have taken us 18 months to let her go. We held on too long because we didn't have anyone to replace her.
The main massage school in our area is just awful when it comes to helping us find people. They will not let us talk to their students. All they offer is a three ring binder that we can put a job posting in. Fortunately a local college recently added a Massage Therapy program. We have hooked up with them and will be getting an intern Monday! We will have her for 10 hours per week for five weeks, then she graduates and hopefully we hire her! We are optimistic that this new program will become a feeder system for our massage therapist needs.
For stylists we have a great relationship with one of the local beauty schools. We visit them about twice a year and do a class for their students. We open the floor for questions and invite the students to shadow with us. All of our hires for the past two years have come from the same school.
One thing I've always thought about, but never done, is hosting an open house for students. I think it would be fun to invite them over one evening for refreshments and a tour. It would be a good chance for them to get to know us a little bit.
Now that we have our Massage Therapy recruiting situation under control I'd have to say that front desk is the most difficult position to recruit for. Fortunately I have a fantastic front desk now but it wasn't always that way! About this time last year I let go two of my three front desk people. I had one replacement lined up, but I ended up working the other hours myself until we made a hire. It was well worth it. My front desk sucked! I wasn't going to go through another holiday season with sour-pusses behind the desk. They were chasing people away.
I'm a little concerned now that one of my front desk people will leave. She's in nursing school and is only working about six hours a week. I think even that may be too much along with school. Trying to find someone to work just six hours a week may be even harder than finding a full-timer! Hopefully she'll stick with us or I'll be up there behind the desk again!