Tips in hiring your first employee
Making the decision to expand and grow your business is not something that should be taken lightly but if you find yourself burning out and overworked it might just be time to take the leap and hire your first employee. Although it’s an exciting time, when you go from solo artist to official boss babe, it does come with a new set of risks and responsibilities. The people who work for you/work at your salon are an integral part of your expanding success. They represent you, your brand, your mission statement and quality of work. Your artists not only help define your salon’s culture and reputation but they can either help your business grow or condemn it. Which is why it is so important to hire the right people. Hiring can be a daunting task, but being prepared,organized and educated will help you feel more confident during this next phase of your business.
So let’s point out the elephant in the room and acknowledge the fact that no one, not even your mom is going to care about your business like you do. That might be a little spicy to read but it’s the truth. However there is a silver lining. You can find people who are still passionate about your business, your industry and want to invest in you as much as you want to invest in them. So your job is to find and build your tribe.
You likely know who your ideal client is but who is your ideal employee? Do you need to hire a lash artist, a receptionist or maybe you need a marketing/social media manager. Ask yourself where your passion lies most. Do you enjoy the artistry of working with clients or do you want to invest your time managing the business. Once you know where you want to invest more of your time you will know what position you need to hire for. It’s important to be organized and build out the details of employment. Providing a detailed job description that outlines the job's responsibilities and expectations is crucial. This information should be provided when advertising for new hires and will help in finding the ideal candidate.
Before you start booking interviews and bringing potentials in you will want to be prepared. Here is a list of things you will want to consider having before officially bringing in interviewees:
- Detailed Job Description.
- Employee Contract - This should include details of employment like dress codes, payment details (commission, flex/tired hourly or structured hourly), social media expectations, benefits and any other pertinent information your new hire will need to know and abide by for example any ongoing education and training that may occur and how it would be structured. It’s important to include any and all expectations you have for the employee and to outline not only their responsibilities but yours as well. The less that is left up to interpretation, the better.
- Employee Handbook/Policy - Make sure this includes your mission statement and detailed information about any policies and expectations you have.
- Insurance for your employee.
The paperwork is lined up and the applications are rolling in. If you’re feeling a little nervous that is completely normal. This is a big change and finding the right person isn’t always easy. It’s important to outline your interview process ahead of time and write down any qualities, skills, questions and red flags that are non-negotiable. Not only will the person you're interviewing be nervous but you probably will be too and don’t want to forget any key questions etc. Which is why having a double interview process is helpful. Not only will it provide you more time to think about if this person is the right candidate but it also gives you and them a second chance to go over or ask anything that might have been missed or overlooked in round 1.
How you organize your interview process will be tailored to you and your business needs but during the interview and throughout the process you will want to remember some key things:
- Personalities and the way people conduct themselves are more important than skill. People can learn new skills but passion and desire to learn can not be taught.
- You are pitching them as much as they are pitching you. Interviewing isn’t about grilling or quizzing, it's about finding the right people who are going to contribute to your branding, beliefs and mission statement, adding to your success.
- Ask the right questions:
- What kind of salon culture are you looking for?
- What motivates you?
- What upsets you in a work environment?
- What made you want to apply here?
- What do you like most about my business?
- Why did you leave your old job?
- Red Flags. Avoid people who are set in their ways and want to do the bare minimum. It’s not that their skill level is not up to par or that they are not nice people but you will spend more time trying to reverse this mentality, then it would take to teach someone fresh who is driven etc.
- If you are hiring an artist, see their work in person. Have them complete a set of lashes on you or a mannequin head. Instagram is a great portfolio but it’s also saturated with facetuned work and it’s important to see their skill level in person.
In the end, trust your gut. This is incredibly important. You haven’t gotten this far by ignoring instinct. If something is feeling off, it probably is. You may not know the exact reason why but when it comes to your business, your baby, that gut feeling is crucial to you staying true to your vision and values.