We're in a hiring slump at my salon. We need two new stylists but we're just not seeing any good candidates. We brought on an apprentice in January but after about three weeks we cut her loose for poor attendance. When you're short-handed it's tempting to take on anyone just to get a body behind a chair. That will backfire every time! We're forcing ourselves to be patient and wait for the right candidate.
So how do you find a good stylist? We want ours fresh out of school so we send job postings to all the local schools. We also try to schedule times to speak at the various schools. Generally we try to put together a program that will be interesting to the students and that is different from what they get every day at school. Sometimes we'll do a men's cutting class since they don't do as much men's work in school. We encourage students to shadow with us for a few hours to get a feel for our salon. We also conduct tours for the students periodically.
Once we get a candidate in the door, we want as many of our team to meet with him or her as possible. Fit is critical - even more so than technical ability. Technical skills, we can teach, but a person either fits our culture or they don't. We will have a minimum of two interviews, one of them a technical interview where they will cut a mannequin head.
It's a long process that surprises some of the candidates - they are not used to a salon being so selective. Even though we are struggling with staffing right now we are confident that being selective brings the best long-term results.