September 2008

Kerrin Delaney

Marketing Solutions | by Kerrin Delaney


From Gifted Grads to Great Hairstylists

How to Successfully Recruit Students From Cosmetology Schools

Achieving increased sales with an expanding client base are always primary goals for salons. To accomplish this, let’s think outside the box when it comes to hiring new hairstylists.

Have you ever found yourself in a rut when it came to hiring new hairstylists? Whether you are recruiting, interviewing, hiring or training a new employee, finding the right individuals can be frustrating.

Progressive businesses are always looking for new talent or individuals with specialized skills that can benefit the company. Salons must do the same. The following strategies will help you successfully recruit students from cosmetology schools.

Build Your Recruiting Program: The key to success in hiring the best cosmetology students is to get them to want you, just as much as you want them. Establishing a well thought out and detailed staff recruitment program will help lay the ground rules for your salon business.

When building your salon brand, you must first determine the kind of salon you wish to own. From there, you will need to focus on the kind of team you wish to build. A strategic staff recruitment plan should also reflect the vision and future plans for your salon business.

A recruitment plan should consist of media advertising, direct mail campaigns, newsletters and various other marketing elements. In order for these tools to successfully target and recruit students, they must communicate a specific message. This message should reflect your vision and intention to attract students who share common goals and values.

Staff Recruitment must be an ongoing process. Jeff and Nancy Hugueat, owners of Escape Medical Spa and Salon located in Green Bay, Wisconsin offered keen insights into implementing a quality recruiting program. Mr. Huguet explained, “If you wait to hit the switch on your recruiting program the day an employee leaves your business, you will already be too late. We made this mistake in the past. We quickly changed our method and found that continuously recruiting made us better prepared for unexpected staffing changes.”

A well-organized salon staff recruitment plan will get you noticed by the competitive schools and help prepare you for any unexpected bumps down the road.

Become Active With Cosmetology Schools: If you want your salon to be known as a great place to work, you have to get out there and raise awareness. Your main objective in recruiting from cosmetology programs is to gain access to the schools before other salons do.

In order to find the best cosmetology, aesthetic and massage students that exemplify values you are looking for, you will need to seek out the schools that focus on a curriculum you would abide by. Research and make a list of the top schools from which you would like to recruit. Make appointments to meet or speak with their school directors, teachers and the other facility-management team members.

Once the school agrees to develop a partnership with you and your salon, start to schedule presentations that will focus on educating their students while simultaneously marketing your business. Topics could include resume preparation, how to dress for success, how to interview, advanced haircolor techniques, creative haircut designs and the realities of salon life.

Consider participating in career fairs where you can deliver presentations and offer information about your salon. These are a great way to define your competitive advantage in the marketplace, meet students and gather resumes. Don’t forget to leave information including your vision statement, training programs, employee packages, growth opportunities and employment applications.

Once you find the schools that best suit your needs, you can go further to become an active member on their cosmetology school advisory board. This will help cement a positive relationship with their director, and board members are invited to special events, make decisions on curriculum and gain insight about their best graduating students.

Host Events—Get Students Into Your Salon: Opening your doors to potential students is a great way to show and tell. Hold an open house for those who want to discuss employment opportunities at your salon.

If space is available, you should think about conducting educational seminars. Whether focusing on hair, skin, nails or color techniques, seminars offer you the chance to display your philosophy, meet students, seek out talent and establish a great reputation.

Successfully recruiting students into your salon will take time. However, the long-term investment will result in a salon staff that is young, eager to achieve and open to new ideas. Students are our future, so start focusing on recruiting, networking and becoming an active member in education today.

Kerrin Delaney is a Marketing Assistant at Marketing Solutions, a complete marketing, advertising, graphic design, PR and consulting services firm for salons, spas, manufacturers and beautycare entrepreneurs. For more information, call 703-359-6000, e-mail or visit