10 Ways to Interview a Salon : Taking Control of the Hiring Process

What are we like when we start a new relationship?  We choose the most impressive outfit, we talk of interesting things and we keep all the baggage and dirty laundry shoved under the bed.  It isn't until eight months later that we see our partner has a very bad temper. We rightly choose to walk away from situations before we can be fiscally and emotionally damaged by that relationship.


Yet we accept to legally bind ourselves to salons that require hiring contracts on day one.  After the glow of the honeymoon wears off, all too often stylists realize they made a mistake.  All too often, they are contractually bound to non-compete areas and compensation for training to the salon.  This can be to the tune of working no closer than 10 miles away from the salon, and thousands of dollars owed.  And all too often this leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the novice hairdresser and can delay or cancel their career.


Destroy the Hairdresser is here to destroy the interview process and offer empowering tips.  DtH will teach you how to have chutzpah as you apply for salon jobs.  Don't know about chutzpah?  Don't worry, you will.

 A little audacity never hurt Beyonce

A little audacity never hurt Beyonce


First off, interviewing is not a one and done process.  Even if you have set your sights on one salon and only one salon, or you know of a salon in town that you would never ever work at, we recommend interviewing here, there, and everywhere.  If you haven't interviewed at least five salons, you aren't doing it right.  Ten would be better.  It's an investment in yourself that will save time and money in the long run; it helps give perspective for the training, requirements, and benefits that are out there.  It helps hone the hairdresser's opinion of what do I want out of my career?  Is it money?  Is it flexibility?  Is it celebrity status?

They are not just interviewing you; you are interviewing them.

You re interviewing their training program, their clientele, the state of their salon, their payroll, benefits, and culture.  Beyond dressing professionally and artistically,  speaking well and succinctly, having a thoughtful resume, and showcasing a clean tool kit (if a technical interview is required), are the key aspects to any salon you should be watching out for.  Here is Destroy the Hairdresser's 10 top tips on taking control of your career: Interview Edition.

10) Before applying, get a service at the salon.  Try and pick a busy time of week and day.  See how the salon operates during peak hours.  

9) Review the salon's social media presence to get a feel for their work.  This includes individual hairdresser's pages, the salon website, and reviews.  Reviews should always be taken with a grain of salt; there will always be a negative comment but if there are 15 out of 20 negative comments, move along to the next interview.

8) Ask to see (not take home) specific materials from their training program.  Do they teach pivot point cutting or Sassoon?  Is their infrastructure organized enough to provide for this request?  Is their program formalized or is it whatever they feel like?  WHAT IS THEIR PHILOSOPHY?  If they have the answers or the materials its a good sign they are organized.

7) Observe.  How are the other stylists dressed?  Is their conversation professional?  Are their tools clean?  Are the retail shelves dusty? What music are they playing?  Is the shampoo area clean?  

6) Ask hard questions.  What is the turnover rate like?  What is the average tenure for a hairdresser at the salon?  What is the realistic income the first year.  Not "you can make up to six figures if you work hard!"  How will they help you build a clientele?  What do they expect you to do to build?   What continuing education do they offer?  What is the promotion rate?  What are the benchmarks for promotion?

5) Elevate what you do.  Do you post work on Instagram?  You are in marketing with a focus in social media platforms.  Do you blog?  You are an industry columnist.  Play with a sibling's hair on the weekend?  You spend time away from the salon honing your craft.  

4) Be yourself.  Don't change for them.  Don't hide who you are in the interview.  If you are not a good fit then you are not a good fit; let THEM decide.  But no masks on your part.  This is all personality based; make sure your nails are clean, your teeth are brushed, and your color cut and style reflect who you are.

3) Practice.  Before the interview, whether it is technical or a sit down, keep yourself warmed up, keep yourself passionate about what you do, know who your mentors in the industry are, what the trends are,  and absolutely make sure all your tools are clean.  

2) Don't be afraid to say no.  What are you as a novice hairdresser okay with  schedule wise, money wise, time wise?  Ask the questions pertaining to what you need, be able ask a salon 'will you work with me and what I need?' AND BE ABLE TO SAY NO THANK YOU THIS IS NOT A GOOD FIT.


1) Write up your own contract.  Here, I will do it for you.


I, __________________ agree to work at ________________ and will adhere to all cultural and business commitments required of employees.  If during my tenure at _______________ salon inventory fails to be up-kept, facilities and salon supplies (chairs, sinks, lockers, et cetera) fall into disrepair and are not maintained in a timely manner, or management and/or ownership of _________________ salon does not meet it's administrative requirements of payroll, meetings to help me grow, and the salon promised continuing education, the termination contract agreement between ________________________ (stylist) and ______________________ (salon) is null and void.  

__________________________________ (stylist \ date)


___________________________________ (management \ date)

Copy and paste this, get it signed, and DO NOT LOSE IT.  A hairdresser's relationship with a salon is very one-sided in favor of the salon.  Let us destroy that.  Take control of the interview.